Cape Breton Island vacation rentals
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Your guide to Cape Breton Island
All About Cape Breton Island
Located in the turbulent Atlantic waters off the eastern shores of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island is known for its rolling forested hills, fishing villages, the expansive and brackish Bras d’Or Lake, and rugged, dramatic coastlines. The remote island has attracted generations of hikers, flyfishers, and kayakers to its vast hinterlands and sprawling seaboards — wild landscapes that shelter enormous populations of moose, black bears, and seasonal migratory whales. Cape Breton’s human residents cluster in several dozen communities scattered across the island, Sydney being the largest.
Museums and art galleries keep the island’s cultural scene current, and several heritage sites invite visitors to learn about the Mi’kmaq people and other Indigenous communities. The island is also famous for its seafood, and you’ll find many restaurants serving up lobster and other locally caught shellfish. As Cape Breton connects easily to the mainland via the Canso Causeway, the broader offerings of Nova Scotia are within reach.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Cape Breton Island?
Eastern Canada and the North Atlantic waters around Cape Breton Island are subject to a varied climate, with drastic swings in conditions between the seasons. Summers are warm and pleasant, with regular rain showers that create lush, vibrant landscapes. These months are great for hiking, exploring the inland areas, and enjoying the cultural offerings of the local communities. Winters bring frigid temperatures that often fall well below freezing, with heavy snowfall accumulating from November through March. These colder months can still be excellent times to book vacation rentals on Cape Breton Island, as there are plenty of opportunities for cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and nestling up in a cozy cottage in front of a fire.
Most of the island’s festivities and events occur during the summer, when it is comfortable to be outside. All summer long, the Patio Lanterns Festival sees makeshift stages pop up throughout Nova Scotia for free live music and food on patios lit with twinkling lights.
What are the top things to do in Cape Breton Island?
Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site
This 25-acre historic site in the town of Baddeck perches above the Atlantic waters; its angular architecture and expansive glass walls merit a visit alone. Inside, the museum showcases artifacts, re-creations of historic aircraft, underwater submersibles, the world’s first patented telephone, and other achievements from the life of the famed inventor.
The Big Fiddle
This 60-foot statue honors Nova Scotia’s strong Celtic community and its proud musical traditions. It stands in front of the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion in Sydney, which hosts concerts throughout the year. The Port Sydney area offers plenty of options for shopping and dining, as well as a waterfront promenade that provides expansive ocean vistas.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park
This expansive national park and recreation area sits amid Cape Breton’s northern highlands, coniferous forests, and rugged coasts. Miles of hiking trails through the undulating hills bring travelers to the tops of towering peaks, along winding creeks, and to the beaches of secluded mountain lakes. Flyfishing is one of the park’s popular activities, in addition to spotting eagles, moose, and whales in the wild.