Cape Breton: Like Tofino, it’s worth the long drive

The Cape Breton Highlands

Steve Says:

My traveling companion and I have fallen in love with remote places on islands on each Canadian coast that we’ve visited in the off-season.

To reach Tofino, on the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island, we have traveled by plane to Victoria, by ferry to Sidney, both about a six-hour drive from Tofino, and by ferry to Nanaimo, a four-hour drive. All three routes, you spend about two hours winding through the mountains on a narrow but spectacular old logging road. Piggybacking on my professional travel to British Columbia or Washington state, we have visited in January (twice, including our first visit), December, November, October and September. Our only summer visit, in August, was our only visit purely on personal travel, for our 30th wedding anniversary.

We’ve visited Nova Scotia four times now, but didn’t make it to Cape Breton on our first three visits. We had enjoyed the capital city of Halifax and the nearby Lighthouse Route on our earlier trips.

My companion loves the ocean and I love the mountains, and I knew Cape Breton would be a favorite (Canadians would say favourite) of both of ours. While we both enjoyed the Lighthouse Route on Nova Scotia’s southern shore, the Atlantic’s waves there were not as raucous as Pacific waves that enchanted her in Tofino. She’s an Iowa farm girl who can’t get enough of the ocean. I thought the eastern shore of Cape Breton might provide more crashing waves. Not to mention cliffs and mountain vistas. I spent five years growing up in Utah and fell in love with mountains and canyons. Continue reading