Rugged shorelines and friendly people welcome campers to the Maritimes.
The island of Cape Breton, off the coast of Nova Scotia, is renowned for its music, natural beauty, and long Indigenous, Celtic, and Acadian history. Many visitors head to the island to drive the Cabot Trail, a loop of less than 300 kilometres, but campers should do themselves a favour and take a few days to do the route. It’s best enjoyed at a leisurely pace, with plenty of fascinating spots to explore and photo opps that will tempt you to stop.
At 950 square kilometres, Cape Breton Highlands National Park covers most of Northern Cape Breton. Here you’ll find beaches, interpretive programming, and the chance to learn about Indigenous Mi’kmaw culture, plus 26 hiking trails, from gentle strolls to challenging treks through the highlands. Seven frontcountry campgrounds and one backcountry campground are available in the park, while additional private options are set nearby in the surrounding area.
This massive estuary was designated a UNESCO Biosphere in 2011, and its mix of sea and freshwater houses many species of plants and animals. Canoeing and kayaking are popular on the inland sea, as is sailing, and several communities ring Bras d’Or, many with campgrounds near or on the water. One of the bigger centres, Baddeck, has a summer resort feel during high season and is a fun place to pitch a tent or paddle out to Kidston Island and its lighthouse.
If you fly in from Halifax or further afield, this is where you land. The largest community on Camp Breton, Sydney went through a time of economic downturn around the turn of the century before the ingenuity of Cape Bretoners and their love for their home resulted in the creation of charming small community areas and a flourishing tourism industry. About a half hour’s drive from Sydney is Louisbourg, where it’s possible to set up camp at an area campground and set aside a day to visit the sprawling 18th-century Fortress of Louisbourg Historic Site. If a day isn’t enough, you can even camp right at the fort.
Acadian culture is an important part of Cape Breton. In Cheticamp, you will see houses adorned with Acadian stars, hear the accent in the French language peppered in conversation, and taste it in the local food. Museums and boutiques showcase traditional crafts, while pubs often feature fiddle music. This region, on the west side of the island, is a great base from which to set out on cycling, whale watching, sea kayaking, or salmon fishing adventures.
When camping in Cape Breton, there are several great locations to base yourself depending on your interests and activities. A few popular options include:
There are many campgrounds and accommodations available in these areas, ranging from private campsites to provincial parks and RV parks.
Yes, Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, Canada, is definitely worth visiting. The region is known for its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and diverse outdoor activities. Cape Breton is home to the famous Cape Breton Highlands National Park, which offers breathtaking views, scenic drives, and numerous hiking trails. The Cabot Trail is a must-do scenic drive that winds around the island, showcasing its picturesque coastline and lush forests. Cape Breton's cultural heritage is rooted in its Celtic and Acadian history, which is evident in the local music, food, and festivals. The region is also known for its friendly and welcoming locals. Camping options in Cape Breton range from well-equipped campgrounds to more secluded, backcountry sites. Overall, Cape Breton is an excellent destination for those who enjoy natural beauty, outdoor activities, and cultural experiences.