10 Things to Experience On Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island
Author: C.S. Deam
1) Mountaintop and seaside hiking trails. The Cape Breton Highlands National Park has both easy and rugged trails for both the casual and ambitious hikers. You can hire a hiking tour or just strike out on your own to enjoy the serene and beautiful scenery of the region.
2) Sea Kayaking - hiring a tour guide can provide you with equipment and experience to better encounter the wildlife and rugged scenery of the coast of Cape Breton Island. Depending on where you hire your tour, you can see bald eagles, cormorants, guillemots, pilot whales, a minke. You can find sea kayaking tours from Cheticamp, Cape North, Baddeck, Ingonish, or Louisbourg and places in between.
3) Spend an afternoon in Baddeck, at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum overlooking scenic Bras d' Or Lake. Mr. Bell made his summer home in Baddeck, and the museum houses many of his lesser known, but highly intriguing projects. His hydrofoil, his fascination with tetrahedrons, and many other intriguing things are in the world-class museum for you to discover.
4) Dust off your kilt and don your dancing shoes. Cape Breton is full of Celtic colors and tunes. If you're driving through town and see home-made signs that say "Ceili Tonight" it might be worth stopping for a spontaneous sampling of Celtic culture. Otherwise, you can also plan your Ceili (pronounced Kay-Lee) experience by checking local tourist bureaus for feature events. In October, the entire island is abuzz with the Celtic Colours International Festival, the largest celebration of its kind in North American, but you'll also find smaller events at other times of the year.
5) Scuba diving around Cape Breton Island. Literally hundreds of shipwrecks litter the ocean floor along Cape Breton Island. In fact, since 1597, more than one thousand shipwrecks have been recorded along Cape Breton Island's coast. For the most rewarding diving, consider St. Ann's Bay to St. Paul Island.
6) Descend down into a coal mine beneath the ocean floor in an underground tour of the Ocean Deeps Colliery Your guides for the underground excursion are retired coal miners who will help you imagine making your daily living in dark quarters beneath the ocean floor. Located about one mile from downtown Glace Bay on Cape Breton Island.
7) Hit the beach and bum around. The beaches of Cape Breton Island can be small and isolated, or large and packed with people - or any combination in between. If you've seen on Cape Breton beach, you have NOT seen them all. So, if beaches are one of your interests, you may want to consider a sampling of Cape Breton's beaches and find out which ones suit you the best for your vacationing state of mind, and your personal travelling style.
8) Visit the Fortress Louisbourg. Spend your time wandering freely through a wonderfully restored centuries-old Acadian village. Staff at the fortress are dressed in clothing from the period, and restaurants on site serve food from the era. It's a delightful step-back in time at North America's LIVE largest historic reconstruction on the east coast of Cape Breton Island.
9) Hit the road (or the mountains) on your bicycle. Cape Breton's scenery has been embraced by bikers worldwide, and Cape Breton Island officials have greeted them with arms wide open. Several wonderful biking trails (cycling and mountain biking) are available across the entire Cape Breton Island. Local chambers of commerce should have ample information about their specific locales trail system and related service providers.
10) Whale watching tours from Cape Breton Island will not only give you a chance to see the large graceful creatures, but you'll also likely have a fair shot at seeing white dolphins, seals, leatherback turtles, and native birds. On portion of Cape Breton boasts a 95% success rate in whale sightings, and some tours will give you a certificate for another free excursion if you a whale isn't sighted (or perhaps that's just in Tiverton). Some tours use Zodiac boats, others use schooners, and some are via kayak. Cape Breton has plenty of options for the aspiring whale watcher.
About the author
C.S. Deam and his wife fell in love with Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island on their first vacation to the region in 2001. Since then they've grown to be avid promoters of the scenery and lifestyle enjoyed by Nova Scotia residents and vacationers. Their website www.Vacation-Nova-Scotia-Tourism.com is a visual treat.
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