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More Cape Breton or visit PEI?

posts: 25
reviews: 9
More Cape Breton or visit PEI?

We have made a plan for late June, early July to do a camping/road trip to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI. We are interested in scenery, hiking, something different than what we know, etc., We currently have an itinerary that includes:

7 days - Cape Breton

8 days - the rest of Nova Scotia

3 days - New Brunswick.

For the last several days should we add more days to Cape Breton (it sounds wonderful there) or head over to PEI. My husband isn't too keen on PEI from what he has read about it. He thinks it sounds dull. Any tips?

Edited: 5:12 pm, April 09, 2012
Montreal, Canada
posts: 73
reviews: 16
1. Re: More Cape Breton or visit PEI?

I am going to PEI/NS this summer, but went to PEI many years ago.

I may have been 14, but I followed my parents everywhere and thoroughly enjoyed my time there (I'm going back, aren't I?)

IMO there is a lot to do and see in PEI especially if relaxing is on the agenda. What I mean by that is that the pace is more relaxed (it takes less time to get where you're going so you have more time to enjoy what's there)

I remember having the most amazing time (I cried the morning we left) but it all depends on your interests.

We spent a lot of time driving around to different harbours and towns to talk with the locals and watch fishing boats come and go, we went deep sea fishing, we had awesome food, walked on some gorgeous beaches and did the lighthouse lover's tour in the eastern part of the island...

This time around, with my boyfriend, we are focusing on beaches, golfing, food, lighthouses, and relaxing (coming off from 10 days in Nova Scotia where distances are much greater and therefore the more hurried pace can get tiring)

We are staying 3 days in Cape Breton (because we felt that no matter how gorgeous it is, we can't cut time elsewhere) and about 8 days in the rest of NS. We are then going to PEI for 8 days.

I feel your 7 days in Cape Breton is very long, but that is just me. While I adore outdoor adventure (hiking, etc), my boyfriend is not so much a fan of that and I wouldn't know what to do with myself in Cape Breton for more than the 3 days if we're not hiking the Cabot trail much.

In short, my suggestion is to try PEI for at least a few days...he might be pleasantly surprised...and if not, you can always move on to something else...

If I can help in any way, let me know.

Nova Scotia
Destination Expert
for Nova Scotia
posts: 6,688
reviews: 97
2. Re: More Cape Breton or visit PEI?

PEI has wonderful sand beaches and scenery on the north shore. (The water is cold, but people do swim in it.) The Island caters to tourists and there are lots of shops (crafts, art, jams, etc.) and other attractions.

Seven days is time to really enjoy Cape Breton, so you could swing by PEI on your way back.

Burlington, Canada
posts: 2,565
reviews: 29
3. Re: More Cape Breton or visit PEI?

I also think 7 days in Cape Breton is enough. Two years ago we did 7 days in Nova Scotia (2 on the Cabot Trail) and 7 days in PEI. Both places are very different yet both very beautiful and worth seeing. We were so, so, so very happy that we went to PEI.

By the way, 5 nights in PEI were spent in a cottage we rented near Souris. It was fantastic. We spent the other 2 days in Cavendish and Charlottetown. Unless you're an Anne of Green Gables fan I'd skip Cavendish...very touristy and tacky. However, Cavendish does have Prince Edward National Park which is lovely but there is lots of that type of scenery all over the island.

Pleasant Bay, Canada
posts: 6
4. Re: More Cape Breton or visit PEI?

The main thing to consider i think is just what are you both looking for, there are many hikes in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park as well as some not in the Park that most people never even know about. Like Pollets Cove and Meat Cove Mountain. There is a great website that lists all the awesome hikes in Cape Breton, it is called Moosebait. It is a fairly new site but full of great information. PEI is more relaxed for sure but offers good Biking as it is quite flat. The beaches are amazing and the singing sands are cool. I am sure you will have a trip to remember.

A lot of people find that they underestimate the time they need to drive in Cape Breton as the distances are decieving. If you go to Fortress Louisburg take a full day and a sweater!!!! It is often cooler there as it is on an out crop of land.

Have Fun.

Advocate Harbour...
posts: 1,518
reviews: 19
5. Re: More Cape Breton or visit PEI?

Hi pinkbegonias - To really experience something different, with some of the most dramatic scenery and hikes in eastern Canada, don't miss the big tides and sea cliffs of the Cape Chignecto/Cape d'Or area. Situated on the upper Bay of Fundy, where the largest tides on earth have carved the 600 ft sea cliffs of the Avalon highlands into a impressive coast of sea stacks and caves, hosted by the small fishing village of Advocate Harbour. Off the main tourist routes and still undiscovered compared to most of Nova Sctoian, it is a awe-inspiring region if you love nature and outdoor activities.

The trail system at Cape Chignecto Park, the largest and wildest provincial park in the province has some incredible hikes, from the rigorous coastal trail similar to the Pacific Rims west coast trail, to the easy trails to places like the Three Sister rock formations. With your likes of scenery and hiking, this could be one of the highlights of your trip.

Its the compete opposite of the rural agricultural, extremely touristy PEI - a place that for the active outdoor enthusiast is best visited in the fall once the place returns to normal, with wonderrful cycling. (PEI is a great place for families with kids that need activities to keep the kids entertained or the real lay on the beach type person, which it attracts in droves) The Chignecto region isn't for people looking for the old time tourist offers of souvenir shops and mass tourism products but if you want an authentic maritime experience in a stunning natural location that is very unique, its worth making the effort to discover.

Check the Chignecto area out at





Invermere, Canada
posts: 2
reviews: 13
6. Re: More Cape Breton or visit PEI?

More time in Cape Breton! If you are hikers you will wish you had more time! Tons of hikes, from easy to difficult. Think of multiple river crossings for difficulty.

There are places to hike here where you won't see another person all day!

posts: 884
reviews: 2
7. Re: More Cape Breton or visit PEI?

My wife and I operate a B&B on Cape Breton Island and strongly believe that Cape Breton is the best place in Atlantic Canada for a vacation. That said, 7 days is quite adequate to see all that the Island has to offer. I would break the 7 days down to 4 in the northern part of the Island doing the outdoor activities that the Cabot Trail and the Cape Breton Highlands National Park has to offer (hiking, whale watching, beach, etc) and 3 days in the sydney/Louisbourg area covering the historic and cultural attractions (Fortress of Louisbourg, Cape Breton Miner's Museum, Alexander Graham Bell Museum, Highland Village Museum, etc).

You will get Cape Breton/Celtic music all over the Island. As caperbeach mentioned you will find a local ceilidh somewhere on the west coast of the Island each night. In the Sydney area Thursday night at Rollie's wharf in North Sydney is a great cultural experience and starting 26 June there is a ceilidh at the Louisbourg Playhouse in Louisbourg every evening at 8.

I don't feel you need to add more time in cape Breton and if you do have a few extra days it would be a good idea to visit PEI. PEI is quite different from Nova scotia. It is a more "pastoral" setting with rolling hills, farms, and long sand beaches. Assuming you're from Rockville Maryland, I would compare it somewhat with the peninsulan the east side of Chesapeake bay.

Whatever you decide to do, have a great Maritimes vacation.

8. Re: More Cape Breton or visit PEI?

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