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Part I: Driving Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, World Top 10 Scenic Drive

I’ve always wanted to visit Nova Scotia, if only for the chance to drive its beautiful coastline.  For the most part, I’ve always been attracted to seascapes more than any other landscape.  And if rugged coastlines with blue water stretching as far as the eye can see are your thing, it’s hard to do better than Cape Breton.


The plan called for about four hours of driving time to arrive to the northern part of Cape Breton Island, the most easterly part of Nova Scotia and as far north as I would get on this particular trip.  However, I was itching to see coastline and the most direct route bypassed what looked like an interesting piece of land on the map.


This land jutting out to sea was called Cape George Point.  I decided to veer off course and go check it out.


Cape George Point did not disappoint in the “view” department.  Cape George Point Lighthouse sits overlooking St. George Bay.


The lighthouse is no longer manned 24/7 and it’s fully automated.  Not much else to do in the area, but the trek was worth the encounter with my first Nova Scotia lighthouse.




Continuing on from the lighthouse, I got a glimpse of the coast as I made my way back to Trans Canada Highway 104 and on to Cape Breton.



I reached Cape Breton Island by crossing the Canso Causeway, built in 1955.  The causeway’s construction made obsolete the vehicle ferry people that was in place.



Cape Breton Island is dotted with seaside fishing villages.  I can’t imagine a better road to trek on a motorcycle.




Starving, I stopped by “The Dancing Goat”, a superb soup/sandwich place in the middle of literal wilderness out in Margaree Valley.  Stop by and try the orange carrot soup if you’re ever in the area.


It was here I ate the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had.  Bought more than a few for the road.  Outstanding, friendly place.




Cheticamp is one of the most visited fishing villages and is located in the northwest side of Cape Breton, at the entrance of Cape Breton Highlands National Park.  It is the biggest Acadian settlement in Cape Breton and French signage is prominent, which I hadn’t seen since I left the Quebec province.


Interesting village, which I would’ve liked to have spent some more time exploring.



Before leaving the hotel in Truro, I pre-booked on the Internet a room at an inn on the other side of Cape Breton, meaning the Eastern coast on the island.


Sundown was fast approaching and I was still on the western side of the island due to my off-course side trips.  This presented a slight problem, as in order to cross get to the inn on the other side of the island, I had to drive through Cape Breton Highlands National Park first.


I wasn’t sure if I’d make it to the other side before nightfall.  I was running lower on gas than I’d wanted to, about a quarter tank of gas.


I took a chance and attempted to cross the park with the remaining gas.


It turns out that was the wrong decision, as about a third of the way through the park, with its steep hills, was moving my car’s fuel gauge needle downward at a much faster rate than I’d calculated.  To compound problems, there weren’t any gas stations inside the park and I did not carry any extra fuel on board.


This was a good lesson in fuel management, which I’d keep in mind for the next part of my trip.



On the positive side of things, had I stopped for fuel at Cheticamp, I’m sure I would’ve missed one of the most stunning sunsets I’d ever seen in my life.  I’m still unable to explain the double sunset illusion and Google searches don’t quite explain it, but it was breathtaking.



Eventually, I decided not to press on and before I reached the point of no return (not enough fuel to return to Cheticamp).  I doubled back, filled up at Cheticamp and made the trip through the park after sunset, which was stunning too because due to the full moon that night the landscape was beautifully illuminated by moonlight.


You’ll have to trust me on this one, as the camera was not up to par for night pictures.  This is quickly becoming my biggest annoyance.


I arrived safely at the inn and after a hot shower, I was ready to rest.  Tomorrow, I’ll be doubling back to head to Meat Cove, the northernmost point in Nova Scotia and the starting point for my “top to bottom” journey across the American continent.


To read Part 2 of my journey through Cape Breton, click here!


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Also, check out my Pinterest page about Antigua Guatemala, one of the prettiest colonial cities in the world and my latest digital nomad destination I’m trying out.

About Rich Polanco

Fan of dogs + all things tech. Love a great pizza. My goal is not to travel to every country in the world. I only want to get to know my favorite ones REALLY well. Check out the big bio here. Follow @RichPolanco and connect on Facebook.
Currently exploring: Guatemala.


  1. Anaiz says:

    That was a great trip! I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Awesome blog! That looks like such an awesome trip. Great pics too!

    • I appreciate the feedback, Anesia! Yes, it was awesome, haha :-D


  3. Very cool trip. My favorite part has been the trip to cape breton. So beutiful!

  4. Love the photos! And it must have been a great scenic road trip :)


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