Have you ever travelled to a new place and wished that you had been there a week or two earlier? Or later? Have you developed FOMO (fear of missing out) about something that happens at another time of the year?
Cape Breton Island changes with the seasons and presents different experiences at all times of the year. Many people who visit inevitably wish to return again when they see and hear about the local culture, scenery, festivals and events, seasonal changes, and activities. The blatant truth is that there is never enough time to do and see everything on a trip so here are a few tips to help you decide when is the best time to come to Cape Breton.
Around the May long weekend most of our seasonal venues “reawaken” and begin to welcome visitors to the Island. The sight of fishing boats off the coastline in early morning entices locals to pull out their biggest pots and fill them with fresh catches of Nova Scotia lobster in May and June. Visitors can head to a local harbour, talk to the fishermen and buy lobster direct from the pound. In the evening, head to a local pub to hear traditional Celtic and folk music and sample local food and drink (some of our favorites include the Red Shoe Pub in Mabou and Governors Pub in Sydney).
Ah summer! The weather gets warmer and the activities heat up. Beginning June 29th and ending July 7th is the return of KitchenFest!
“Fiddles and bagpipes, concerts and céilidhs, food and drink, Gaelic language and song, cheering and dancing, informality and hospitality — consider this your official invitation to Cape Breton’s biggest kitchen party!”
What better invitation can you get than that! But if you can’t make it during that time, don’t despair! Strathspey Performing Arts Centre has a summer series line up that is going to sizzle – great local artists all summer long. Cape Breton music is on display everywhere from May to October in communities all over the island so you will never miss out.
Summer is beach time and we have some of the best beaches to be found anywhere and the warmest waters north of the Carolinas. Spend some time at one or more of Port Hood’s five beaches, bask in the sun with spectacular scenery at West Mabou, Inverness, or Margaree Harbour beaches (just a few of many).
Being an island with the Bras D’or Lakes Inland Sea in the centre means there is no shortage of water-based activities to be had; see whales, puffins, bald eagles, or learn to fish lobster on one of many boat tours in the area. Enjoy surfing? Stand-up paddling? Kayaking? There is an abundance of these experiences available all over Cape Breton.
October is one of the busiest months in Cape Breton as we prepare to welcome guests from all over the world for 9 days to the Celtic Colours International Festival.
“Celtic Colours is an experience like no other. For nine days in October, Cape Breton Island is alive with music, energy and excitement as people come from far and wide to celebrate our rich culture. From concerts to dances and workshops to community suppers, we offer a full range of events against a gorgeous backdrop of autumn colours.”
The Festival is perfectly timed to take advantage of the changing of the leaves as Cape Breton puts on its show of spectacular natural beauty. Remember when I asked you if you’ve ever missed out by being somewhere at the wrong time of year? This is one of those times.
Watch our website for upcoming details on a multi-day Celtic Colours package.
Cape Breton is on the rise as a premiere winter destination. Those who are brave enough to bear the frigid temperatures are rewarded with memorable adventures. Fancy staying in a cozy cottage at night after snowmobiling, snowshoeing, or skiing during the day? Warm up in a hot tub, by the fire, or with some good hearty food and drink.
Hiking is popular at all times of the year and there is no shortage of hiking trails, the most popular by far being the iconic Skyline Trail. While the Cape Breton Highlands National Park is full of hiking trails and waterfalls, there are many fantastic trails at different difficulty levels all over Cape Breton. Hike Cape Breton provides comprehensive information on Cape Breton trails including location and difficulty.
No matter what time of year you choose to come to Cape Breton there are 3 things which are simply not to be missed:
Taste local food and drink! Cape Breton is home to many producers of locally sourced and organically farmed meats and vegetables used in many of our restaurants. Our Good Cheer Discovery Tour takes visitors to one of Nova Scotia’s award-winning craft breweries, and to Cape Breton’s only vineyard and whiskey distillery.
Get out and immerse yourself in Cape Breton culture! A complex mixture of our Mikmaq, French, Scottish, English and Irish ancestry has led to a down to earth people with a self-deprecating sense of humor, warm hospitality, wonderful storytelling, and superior music and dance. If you only have time to do one thing, go to a square dance in a local community hall! Don’t know how to dance? Not to worry, locals will show you the way and you will be an expert before you get out of the hall. You can find a dance at least 5 nights a week in summer/fall and at least weekly in winter.
And finally, no trip to Cape Breton is complete without a tour of the Cabot Trail, a 300 km journey of winding road highland mountains alongside the Atlantic Ocean. Our Cabot Trail Discovery Tour will show you why it is hailed as the crown jewel of Nova Scotia. But make sure someone else drives; trust me, you will be distracted by the scenery and wildlife.
Let us be your guide! Cabot Discovery Tours can provide all three of these experiences and many more. We are always happy to assist in any way we can with your trip planning so feel free to send us an email with your questions (firstname.lastname@example.org).