Cape Breton is most accessible by car. The main road is the Trans-Canada highway (Hwy 105), which connects Sydney on the east coast with the causeway to the mainland on the west. You can rent a car in Sydney if necessary. Like any place, you see more if you get off the main road, and the Nova Scotia government has been helpful in this regard by creating a number of scenic drives. These include the:
- Cabot Trail - Mountainous, windy and sometimes foggy, this drive alternates between hugging the ocean and crossing the rugged Cape Breton Highlands. Considered one of the top drives in North America, it should be considered more a destination than a drive for the variety of activities available around this 190 mile loop.
- Fleur-de-Lis Trail - Covers the southern French-influenced part of the island.
- Ceilidh Trail - Covers the western part the island with its strong Scottish influence.
- Bras d'Or Lake Scenic Drive - follows the shoreline of Bras d'Or Lake.
Road maps and additional information on the island is readily available at any tourism information center (located at entry points and any major towns and cities) and a number of private operators offer trip planning services.
A more adventurous option to get around the island is to cycle. The roads tend to be narrow and windy, so prior experience is recommended. Bike rental and trip planning are available through Sea Spray Outdoor Adventures
Hiking trails abound in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, and the above-mentioned Sea Spray Outdoor Adventures offers guided hikes to little-known remote areas north of the national park.
Regardless of your mode of travel, watch out for moose on the roads.
There are many small cable ferries between the islands. They usually go every few minutes and charge $5.
Salty Bear Adventure Travel - An excellent alternative to renting a car, Salty Bear offers budget adventure tours around the Cabot Trail. Run by passionate travelers who aim to provide a true Cape Breton experience, their trips include roundtrip transportation, accommodation, guide with full commentary, guided hikes, National & Provincial Park access, ferry passes, wildlife encounters, BBQ's, bonfires! Discounted optional activities of kayaking, sailing, and whale watching! www.saltybear.com
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