It’s hard to imagine warm Summer days, as we currently battle the biggest blizzard of the year, but believe it or not we only have 127 days left to go. With that being said, I can’t think of a better time to share some photos from my Summer camping trip to Cheticamp, Cape Breton.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with Cheticamp, it is the western gateway to The Cape Breton Highlands National Park and is situated along the picturesque Cabot Trail. It is a traditional Acadian fishing village, some might even call it the Maritimes most vibrant and thriving Acadian community. Nestled between the mountains of the Highlands and the stunning waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, it is arguably one of the most beautiful towns on the East Coast.
Growing up in Cape Breton, Cheticamp has always held a special place in my heart as it is where my Grandfather was born and where my ancestors first settled to Canada in 1891. It was also where most of my childhood vacations were spent. Cheticamp’s rich Acadian culture truly is remarkable. To this day the locals have managed to maintain and celebrate their heritage in a way that you’ll feel it immediately as you enter the community.
Summer just wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t get the chance to head to the Highlands. So when my Mom suggested I meet up with her for a couple days of Camping, I didn’t think twice. I packed up the car after work and hit the road. My first stop on route to Cheticamp from Sydney is always Lake O’Law. Located in North East Margaree it’s the perfect spot to stretch your legs, grab a bite to eat and catch a glimpse of the mountains.
As a photographer I couldn’t have asked for a better day to make the trip. Storm clouds were moving through the mountains which made the landscape extra photogenic.
If you begin the Cabot Trail on the Western side, you’ll get your first look at the rugged coastline you’re about to explore as you enter the tiny villages of St. Joseph du Moine and Grand Étang just before Cheticamp.
I always plan a little extra travel time because there is just so much incredible landscape to see, I’ve traveled this route so many times and still cant resist stopping and exploring.
I eventually did make it to my destination: The Plage St-Pierre Campground on Cheticamp Island just south of town.
Camping essentials: Bbq’d burgers/sausage and beer. Am I right?!
The best part about this campground in particular is that is has it’s own private beach. I’ve been to just about every beach on Cape Breton Island and this is hands-down my favorite.
In typical camping fashion, I had some beers around the campfire with the Fam and called it a day!
The best part of camping with my Mom is that she always makes a killer breakfast. So she kicked off day #2 with just that, before we hit the road to do some exploring along the back roads of Margaree.
It’s no question why Margaree is loved by locals and tourists alike. The beauty of this place is incomparable to any place i’ve ever been. One thing sure to take your breath away is the Margaree River, world famous for its salmon, it runs through rural valleys and hills that are a dream come true for photographers, artists, and explorers.
I always love exploring the back roads of any East Coast community. Margaree is no exception to that! Make sure you plan some time to check it out if you’re traveling the Cabot Trail.
I went for a walk along the beach before dinner to shoot a few more photos. It’s so darn pretty you could literally spend everyday there and not get tired of the view.
As I was heading back to our campsite, I noticed what appeared to be a “fairy village” someone built in the woods haha. Take a look, it’s pretty wild considering all the details and work that went into making it.
Mom cooked up a delicious Dinner and we followed that up with a bonfire before heading to sleep.
I started the next day at this adorable little place called “The Frog Pond Cafe” just a few minutes outside the town of Cheticamp. Seriously if you’re doing the Cabot Trail or staying in Cheticamp you have to grab a coffee and check this place out. It’s the cutest cafe you’ll ever see and the perfect spot to relax and grab a bite to eat.
Mom and I spent that entire day at the beach swimming and followed that up by getting dinner at Wabo’s Pizza. It was so good I didn’t manage to get a picture of it. The restaurant is located on the main street in town and has a pretty fantastic view besides the great pizza.
The best part of spending the night in the Highlands is being able to catch the sunset or sunrise. If you follow the winding roads of the Cabot Trail outside Cheticamp into the Cape Breton Highlands National Park you will find the most breathtaking views of the northwestern shores as the trail travels up from Cheticamp to Pleasant Bay. This is my absolute favorite place to watch the sunset in Cape Breton. I could write paragraphs on all the reasons why I love this place so much but I’ll let the images speak for themselves.
I traveled to Cheticamp by car but my Mom, her boyfriend and his brother made the trip on their motorcycles. The Cabot Trail is an exceptional drive for anyone who owns a bike. Hopefully someday i’ll have my own but I had to resort to hitching a ride on the back of one for my third day of exploring. It was awsesome, it made me want a motorcycle that much more after spending the day cruising around the trail. If you’re looking for an unreal adventure the extreme climbs up the mountains and curves of the road will leave you speechless. It’s no wonder people travel from all over the globe to experience the Cabot Trail not only by car but by bike as well.
My last adventure was to a place I’ve never been before. Located on Cheticamp Island, only minutes from the campground somehow I didn’t even know this place existed… what I’m talking about is “Cow Island” also known as Enragee Point Lighthouse. It’s a long, rough dirt road with stunning views parallel to Cheticamp harbour. You’ll see fields of cows along the way and unique views of the mountains and the town to Cheticamp. The road leads you to a beautiful little lighthouse at the end.
Lots of tourists pass the road that travels towards Cheticamp Island without even noticing it. Unless you plan to stay at the Plage St-Pierre campground you might not know it exists, so make sure to check it out. I hope this blog post will help you to start planning your next Summer adventure. I really can’t think of a better place then Cheticamp or the surrounding communities to plan a fun trip. Even though I’ve grown up visiting these places, I couldn’t possibly get tired of it. Every time I go, I’m just as excited as the first time I went. So what are you waiting for?!
Photos & words by Nicole Boutilier