After leaving PEI, we headed to Nova Scotia. Our first stop was Caribou/Munroe’s Island Provincial Park. I had reserved our site here in advance, so we ended up with an great site facing the water. None of the sites here have hook-ups, so we just pulled straight in to take advantage of the view. As a side note, there is a ferry that runs from PEI right to Caribou. We didn’t take it because the dogs have to stay in the car or RV during the trip, and we weren’t close to the ferry departure location on PEI, but it might be a good option for some people.
The beach here was really long and wide – great for a nice long walk with the dogs.
There really isn’t a lot to do in this area, which was fine with us as it was just a 2-night stay, which gave us some time to read up on all the brochures we picked up at the visitor center! But it’s a nice quiet park and if you were going to take the ferry to/from PEI, it’s a good place to stay.
Next we headed up to the northeast section of Nova Scotia called Cape Breton Island. We had reservations at the Broad Cove campground in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. This was another full hookup campground and our reservation was for the 50-amp section. But when we got there we realized that area was more crowded and had fewer trees than the 30-amp section, so we ended up moving there. There’s a short trail from the campground down to the beach.
One of the more popular features of this park is the Cabot Trail, a 185-mile scenic highway that runs in a loop around the northern tip of the island. We picked one day to do a portion of the drive, and did about 65 miles from our campground over towards the town of Cheticamp. There were beautiful vistas along the way, especially once the road started hugging the coast.
The national parks in Canada place red Adirondack chairs at various “secret” locations throughout the park, and if you find all of them and take pictures of them, you’re entered into a drawing for a prize. We found one of them at one of the scenic lookout on the drive.
We packed a picnic lunch on this day as we knew it would be a long drive, and enjoyed the view at this picnic table on another scenic pullout.
On the way back we took a trip down one of the side roads to Meat Cove. The road to get here is a very bumpy, twisty, hilly gravel road. At the end there are only 3 things: a beautiful view, a campground, and a restaurant. And that’s it. We talked to this couple who had driven their Class C RV up there and they were happily sitting outside. They said they were a little nervous getting their RV up there but that it was worth it. We talked to one of the owners who said they’ve even had 45-foot Class As there! I’m not sure it would be worth it for us, only because there’s just not a whole lot to do once you get there. But it was worth a drive in the car for sure.
And of course we found even more cute little fishing villages…are you sick of pictures like this yet?!
There are a lot of hiking trails in the park, the most famous of which is the Skyline Trail. I really wanted to do this hike, but it was on the other side of the park from where our campground was, which would mean another drive all the way over there up and over the mountains with 15% grades. It’s one of the few trails dogs are not allowed on, so we would have had to do it on a different day than the day we drove the Cabot Trail (because we brought the dogs with us that day.) After making that drive once, we just didn’t have it in us to make the hour-long drive again. If we ever return, I’ll try to stay in a a different area of the park where we could more easily do this hike as I’ve heard it’s great. At one of the lookouts we stopped at, you could just barely see the hikers on the trail along one of the mountaintops.
Even though we didn’t get to do that hike, we did find a pretty great one closer to our campground called the Middle Head hike. This hike is along an peninsula with ocean bays on either side, and ends on a rocky cliff.
And after that hike we did a quick walk near Freshwater Lake along the cobble barrier that separates the lake from the ocean.
Just across from our campground was another nice hike around Warren Lake. It’s an easy 3-mile trip around the lake, nothing special but a good place to walk the dogs. After the hike Jake decided to take a quick swim in the lake. Our other two dogs don’t care for the water that much, so Nikki just stood on the shore and fussed at Jake while he went swimming.
And lastly we did another short hike near Black Brook – and found another red chair!
After 5 nights we left the Broad Cove campground and moved to the little town of Baddeck. We remembered the serious inclines that we had climbed up on the way to Broad Cove, so I drove the tow car while Deas skillfully managed the inclines going down.
Baddeck is home to the Alexander Graham Bell Historic Site which we visited our first afternoon there. Bell had a summer home here (which is still privately owned by family) and the museum is located nearby. We all know of Bell’s most famous invention, the telephone – but I did not realize all of the other things he accomplished in his life. He was truly a genius. In addition to the telephone, Bell was also responsible for innovations in aeronautics, hydrofoils, and optical communications. He also worked extensively with the deaf, even working with Helen Keller. This museum was very interesting and is definitely worth a visit.
The harbor near Baddeck is full of sailboats and has a pretty lighthouse which is only accessible via boat.
The next day we had plans to do a couple of hikes and also drive around the nearby Bras D’Or Lake. Upon arriving at our first planned hike 30 minutes later, we discovered that we had left the dogs’ leashes back in the RV. Deas tried to improvise by buying some cheap rope at a nearby hardware store but it was too hard to walk them like that. So we frustratedly headed back to the RV to get the leashes. We abandoned our original plans and went in search of another hike that I had read about. The directions weren’t very clear though, and neither were the signs directing us there. We ended up driving down really bumpy gravel road for over an hour, occasionally turning around and redirecting. We were so annoyed and finally decided that hiking just must not be in the cards for the day, when we suddenly stumbled upon the entrance to the park we were looking for – Uisge Ban Falls Provincial Park. It ended up being a lovely trail that followed along a river for most of it, and ended up at the falls.
Deas and the dogs waited (un)patiently for me while I took pictures…as usual. Jake for some reason never looks at me when I try to take a picture of all of them so this was Deas’s solution…lol.
14 thoughts on “Cape Breton Island”
Wow, that whole area is just gorgeous!!
Yep, it’s really beautiful…but I think the west coast has it beat. But it’s been fun to explore somewhere we haven’t been before.
No, it’s not possible to get tired of pictures of colorful fishing harbors! This looks like such a lovely part of the country…thank you for taking me there because I don’t know if I’ll ever make it there myself!
Yeah, I’m not sure the hiking here would be enough to keep you and Hans happy!
Am always amazed at how much your Nikki looks like our Abby! Love the picture of Deas helping Jake with his photo pose. lol Awesome pictures as always, and thanks for sharing your fabulous adventures! Susan & Russ
They really do look a lot alike! Thanks for your note – hope you two are having a good time as well!
We are going to Nova Scotia during the summer of 2016. When is the earliest we can make reservations?
Really enjoying your writing and photographs, beautiful.
We made all of our reservations in April of this year – I’m not sure when exactly you can start making them, but in April we had no problem booking whatever we wanted. Hope that helps and enjoy your trip!
What a beautiful area that we hope to visit one day. I LOVE the red chair idea. So clever. Looks like some great trails and such beautiful scenery!
There were several great trails – I’m really disappointed we didn’t get to do the Skyline one – but that just gives us a reason to come back!
Hey Kat and Jackson here..love your post and pics. Deas and the pups are so cute. I know he likes to be called cute. We only have Pink but have had to put a backup leash in the truck because duh we forget the leash also. Looks so beautiful and fun. Hope we meet again down the road.
We almost forgot the leashes again the very next day – we may have to invest in backup leashes too! Definitely hope we can meet up again somewhere.
Skyline Trail is really worth to walk. We took it in September last year and had a great time. Sadly we saw no wildlifearound, but the view is spectacular. If you want to stay closer to the Trail I recommend Hideaway CG about halfway around the Cabot Trail. Really nice spot with great hosts and fresh food. And not as remote as Meat Cove. Our 31 ft. Class C fitted nicely. Wooded lot with enough privacy. We are already plannig our trip for the next year. PEI is on the list as well 😉
We will have to make sure we do the Skyline Trail if we ever return! Thanks for the comment!