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Nova Scotia road trip, top places to visit, tips and much more

Nova Scotia the sea bound coast
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”Nova Scotia – The Sea Bound Coast”​


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Coastal views with the Sunrise Trail, Celtic Shores, Cabot Trail…

13 Spots

Cape Breton, Louisbourg, Halifax, Peggy’s Cove, Lunenburg

5days

Recommended stay in Nova Scotia


Nova Scotia, also known as the sea bound coast, is one of four Atlantic provinces on the east coast of Canada. It is the most populous of Canada’s three Maritime provinces and four Atlantic provinces. Plus, it’s Canada’s second-most densely populated province and second-smallest province by area.



-Alexander Graham Bell once said
“I have travelled around the globe. I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes, the Alps and the Highlands of Scotland, but for simple beauty, Cape Breton outrivals them all!”


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About Nova Scotia

It’s said that nowhere in Nova Scotia is more than 67 km (42 mi) from the ocean.  This explains why there are so many coastal driving trails. It also paints a clearer picture as to why it is called the sea bound coast!

Here you’ll find many influences from Scotish, Irish, French and British decent, making for a great mix of history and culture.

Nova Scotia the sea bound coast
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What to do in the Seabound Coast

Nova Scotia the sea bound coast will continue to amaze you throughout your road trip. Starting with scenic highways like the Sunrise Trail, the 92km Celtic Shore Coastal trail which stretches from Port Hastings to Inverness on the west coast of Cape Breton Island. Then there’s the famous Cabot Trail, where Alexander Graham Bell expressed his strong sentiments.

Moreover

There are great fortresses to the likes of Louisbourg (which is truly magnificent) and the Halifax Citadel which has been preserved today to remind of the rich colonial and military past.

Additionally, you can make time for small cities and towns such as, Sydney, Halifax, Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg to name a few.

Read on

1. Coastal Trails in the Sea Bound Coast

Nova Scotia is the second smallest province in Canada, but don’t let that fool you. It can take up to 9 hours to drive from coast to coast and another 5-6 hours to exit from either extremity.  

It’s possible to ride along the coast, bouncing from sunrise trail to the Celtic shores coastal trail and later Cabot Trail in Cape Breton. 

More on the Coastal trails below. 

Sunrise Trail

With roughly 450km of highway, the Sunrise Trail runs just outside Amherst all the way to the Canso Causeway. It’s said there is much to discover with many resting areas such as bnb’s and cottages along the way. 

Alternatively, you can remain on the main highway and select main points to visit, like Cape George for example. 

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sea bound coast
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Celtic Shores Coastal Trail

The sea bound coast offers a 92km Celtic Shore Coastal Trail which stretches from Port Hastings to Inverness on the west coast of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Along this highway, you’ll enjoy magnificent views in Judique, Port Hood and Mabou.

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sea bound coast
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We did just that, as we drove from Port Hastings all the way to Inverness on the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail.  Stopping along the way to take pictures when a view struck us.

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sea bound coast
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The Cabot Trail

After driving through the Celtic Coastal Trail we arrived at the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.  We had no clue what to expect in Nova Scotia and were completely taken by surprise with the Sunrise Trail and the Celtic Shores Trail. In hindsight, we recommend to break the drive in two instead of ‘rushing’ from one trail to another. This way, you can take your time and enjoy each stop rather than feel rushed.

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There is an entrance fee to the Cape Breton National Park, estimated to be $ 15.60cad. If you’re travelling around Canada day you’ll enjoy knowing that July 1st is free of charge to visit the park.

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sea bound coast
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Our Cabot Trail discovery continued as we left the Cheticamp Information Centre, stoping at the big rock and Petit Étang for some quick pics.

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sea bound coast
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The Cabot Trail gives coastal views, all the way until Pleasant Bay. At which point the highway bends to the East for more gorgeous views on the other side. 

We recall the highway conditions being optimal, despite the many roller coaster like mountains to climb.

Cabot Trail
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The Cabot Trail is out in the open, so you won’t get much refuge in case of rainy days. Our second day was overcast, however not raining. We explored Ingonish Beach, Mary Ann Falls on our way to Meat Cove.

If you are blessed with a sunny sky in Cape Breton, then we recommend that you soak it all in.  You’ll enjoy stopping at the various viewpoints to admire the wonderful views.  Also, if you’re into hiking you’ll want to take note of the multiple trails.

Nova Scotia the sea bound coast
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sea bound coast
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    Meat Cove

    Before leaving our motel the next morning, we spoke with the main reception in order to get local inside information. The front desk told us about a place called Meat Cove, how it wasn’t part of the Cape Breton park but that it would be worth checking out. 

    We left Mary Ann Falls in direction for Meat Cove and only got coastal views as we approached our destination. We stopped at the main campground and ‘Chowder Hut’ and decided to enter for some lunch. Here was yet another memorable moment from the sea bound coast.

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    Click and check Hotels Best Deals for Cape Breton

    To our surprise, the Chowder from the Meat Cove Chowder Hut was very delicious!  The staff were great and even helped us find our next discovery!  They spoke about a trail that led to a spectacular view from a hill/cliff. 

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    sea bound coast
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    Many times during the trail, we thought we were lost because the woods were dense and faintly indicated. Crossing paths with other people secured us that we were on the right way. Alas, we finally arrived at the edge and were so grateful that we spoke with the staff at the Chowder Hut !

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    It was difficult to select just a few pictures to describe Meat Cove, so we’d like to invite you to visit our ShutterStock catalog.

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    2. Louisbourg Fortress

    Also worthy to visit in the sea bound coast is the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, which is a construction from 18th-century. It was partial reconstruction by the Government of Canada and according local information, from 1713 to 1768, the fortified port of Louisbourg was a place of profound significance in the Franco-British struggle for empire.

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    Louisbourg Fortress

    The GPS might give you two locations for Louisbourg. We found out it’s because there’s the ‘main reception’ area where you need to purchase your tickets then a shuttle bus which takes you to the main Fortress entrance.

    You’ll need to ‘clear’ the front gate as the armed guard asks a few questions of where you’re from and the purpose of your visit. This guard did not break character 😉

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    Many activities are timed throughout the day, all are listed in the pamphlets from the main entrance. Then it’s possible to pick and choose what you would like to see based on your arrival time. Lucky for us, we arrived just in time for the cannon ceremony.

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    It’s an entire reconstructed village to the likes of ‘Upper Canada Village’ and ‘Green Gables’. 

    If you enjoy discovering Fortresses, then you’ll enjoy being part of this reenactment and strolling around the various streets.  Check out the Parks Canada – Louisbourg Fortress site for a list of activities. From rum tasting to firing canons.

    Allow yourself to be surprised or plan in advance, we think you’ll enjoy it just the same.

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    Nova Scotia the sea bound coast
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    3. Sydney

    Sydney is the largest urban area on Cape Breton and the island’s historical capital according their Official Website visitors website information page.

    We just spend an hour there, walking around the waterfront, where we check out the Big Fiddle”, which according their website, it’s the world’s largest fiddle, built in recognition of Cape Breton’s musical talent. 

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    Sydney, Nova Scotia information centre
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    The sea bound coast fiddle constantly plays local music, kind of Irish music style and it’s really fun to walk around it.

    The harbour & waterfront walking paths are the main attraction, where you can also find cute stores where you can buy some local crafts and souvenirs.

    sea bound coast