Destination guide

Cape Breton Island vacation rentals are gateways to magic

If you don't believe in magic, you may just change your mind when you visit Cape Breton Island. With its rugged trails, craggy coastal mountains, pebbly beaches, mirror-like lake, and Celtic and Acadian music floating in the air, Cape Breton Island is a place straight out of the pages of Tolkien – but without the doom and gloom of Mordor. It's the perfect place to reinforce your kids' sense of wonder or get lost in a merry journey with your fellowship. You can also feast like a hobbit, drink like a dwarf, or do whatever it is Gollum does for fun. And you can do all of that from the comfort of Cape Breton Island vacation rentals.


Cape Breton Island prides itself as a truly multicultural society, where peoples of Celtic, Acadian, and First Nations descent co-exist in harmony and help each other keep their heritages alive. At the Highlands Village Museum, you can explore 19th-century farmhouses and watch costumed curators perform traditional skills like weaving and quilting. The reconstructed Fortress of Louisbourg was the heart of the original French settlement on the island. Here, you can watch actors reenact battles or perform French court dances in full costume. At Membertou Heritage Park, you can listen to First Nations oral histories or participate in traditional games and dances.


Activities and attractions in Cape Breton Island

Are you hoping to discover top things to see and do during your stay? Venture out of your cozy vacation rental and experience everything that Cape Breton Island has to offer. These are some of the most popular attractions to explore, all within 30 miles (48.2 km) of the city center:

  • Bell Bay Golf Course (3.5 mi / 5.7 km)
  • Bell Bay Golf Club (3.5 mi / 5.7 km)
  • Baddeck Forks Golf Club (3.6 mi / 5.8 km)
  • St. Anns Provincial Park (5 mi / 8 km)
  • Coxheath Hills and Trails (17.5 mi / 28.1 km)
  • Ben Eoin Provincial Park (17.7 mi / 28.5 km)
Natural features

Exploring the natural features in Cape Breton Island

Whether you're an active traveler or just want to take in the scenery, Cape Breton Island is a great spot to appreciate mother nature. These are some of the area's most stunning natural features, all within 30 miles (48.2 km) of the city center:

  • Uisage Ban Falls Provincial Park (4.9 mi / 7.8 km)
  • St. Anns Provincial Park (5 mi / 8 km)
  • Ross Ferry Provincial Park (5.6 mi / 9 km)
  • North River Provincial Park (11.2 mi / 18 km)
  • Barachois Provincial Park (12.2 mi / 19.7 km)
  • Bras d'Or Lake (14.7 mi / 23.7 km)
How to get there

Transportation to and around Cape Breton Island

Fly into Sydney, NS (YQY), the closest airport, located 31.2 mi (50.3 km) from the city center.

Restaurants and bars

The best chow on Cape Breton Island typically consists of seafood fresh out of the sea, grass-fed beef, artisanal cheese, and local wine. To eat well while you're on the island, check out these restaurants:

  • Dancing Goat Café and Bakery. This café on the Margaree Valley portion of Cabot Trail is a favourite stop for breakfast and lunch among the locals. Their hearty fare – a selection of sweet and savoury pastries, soups, salads, and artisanal sandwiches – hits the spot. When driving Cabot Trail, stop here for a pastry or sandwich and one of the best lattes you'll ever have the privilege of drinking.
  • The Bitehouse. The Bitehouse is perfect for intimate dinners. This Baddeck restaurant offers a 5-course meal featuring vegetables and herbs grown in the restaurant's backyard, freshly caught game and fish, and ingredients foraged or sourced from local farmers. The menu changes monthly. However, The Bitehouse opens only 10 tables every evening, so you'll need to book in advance if you want to try their ultra-local eats.
  • The Red Shoe. Celtic music is an experience you shouldn't miss while in Cape Breton, and in Mabou's The Red Shoe, you can enjoy it while knocking back a few pints and chowing down fish and chips. Of course, they have other delectable pub fare worth sampling, like pulled-pork sandwiches, and mussels steamed in ale, bacon, and garlic.

Essential info

Fast facts for your Cape Breton Island vacation rentals stay

Cape Breton Island lies to the northeast of Nova Scotia, separated from the mainland by the Strait of Canso and connected to it via the Canso Causeway. Bras d'Or, one of the world's largest saltwater lakes, forms the centre of the island. With an area of 10,311 sq km, Cape Breton Island makes up around 19% of Nova Scotia's total area. The island has a population of more than 132,000 people claiming Scottish, Irish, English, French Acadian, and Mi'kmaq heritage. English is widely spoken on the island, though it's common to hear Gaelic, French, and Mi'kmaq used here, too.

Family friendly

Fun for the family at your Cape Breton Island vacation rental

Bring the kids along to your Cape Breton Island vacation rental and it'll be them telling you what you're going to do. Day at the beach? Check. Eating fish and chips? Check. And that's only the start of it. A trip to the famous Neil Harbour Lighthouse ice cream parlour is bound to be a hit, while children will love petting the animals and visiting the old schoolhouse at the Highland Village. And if they don't? There's always more ice cream.

How many vacation rentals are available around Cape Breton Island?

Our 2020 vacation rental listings offer a large selection of 306 house rentals around Cape Breton Island. From 106 Cottages to 145 Houses, find unique vacation rental for you to enjoy a memorable holiday or a weekend with your family and friends. The best place to stay around Cape Breton Island is on HomeAway.