Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Canada
Reload this Page >

Nova Scotia/PEI/Cape Breton 12 Night Itinerary

Nova Scotia/PEI/Cape Breton 12 Night Itinerary

Old Mar 20th, 2022, 02:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2022
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nova Scotia/PEI/Cape Breton 12 Night Itinerary


I am planning a trip for myself and my mom (in her mid 70's) for mid Sept (Sept 11-23). I think I have ALMOST gotten it down but am struggling with a few options (particularly Cape Breton and time in Halifax). Any tips would be helpful!! We are mostly interested in sight seeing, small coastal towns, good food and music. Not going to be into heavy hiking or anything strenuous with my mom. Here is my tentative plan...

Day 1 (Sunday) - Arrive at Halifax Airport (we land at 6:30am). Car rental from Airport - Drive straight to Lunenburg to stay for the day/night. Will book hotel the extra night so we can go straight there and rest. (Alternate option is spend this day/night in Halifax. But thinking going straight to Lunenburg will reduce the amount of moving between places. Open to suggestions!)

Day 2 - Day trip to Peggy's Cove/ Mahone Bay. Spent the night in Lunenburg (Lunenburg Arms? Challenge finding places that have two separate beds!)

Day 3 - Wolfville. Lunch at a Winery. Dinner in Hall's Harbour. Stay in Wolfville (Gingerbread House B&B)

Day 4 - Day trip to Digby/Annapolis Royal. Lunch in Digby for some scallops! Night back in Wolfville

Day 5 - Make our way to PEI stopping at Burntcoat Head Park (plan for low tide). Lunch stop somewhere (Masstown Market?) Take the Confederation bridge. Stay in Charlottetown (Harbour House)

Day 6 - Morning in Cavendish (my mom really wants to see Green Gables, otherwise we may have skipped PEI altogether). Afternoon in Charlottetown. Stay night here. *Note I see the International Shellfish Festival is this weekend... Maybe get tickets to an event?*

Day 7 (Saturday) - Make way to Woods Ferry. Lunch in Pictou maybe? Then up to Mabou. Dinner at the Red Shoe Pub. Stay night at Mabou River Inn.

Day 8 - Hoping the Sunday Ceilidh will be happening in Judique. Mabou Farmers Market, maybe venture up to Inverness? Relax, do some laundry lol (we have a washer in our suite!) Night in Mabou.

Day 9 - Drive North and either stay in Cheticamp (so I can do the Skyline Trail at sunset) OR continue on and stay the night in Ingonish. My mom thinks she would be okay doing the Skyline trail but I am not certain... I don't want to tire her out too much I don't want to stay in Cheticamp except for this reason, so I am debating just scrapping it and going to Ingonish. Thoughts?

Day 10 - Drive to Baddeck. Night in Baddeck.

Day 11 - Option to stay another night in Baddeck OR make our way to Halifax.Thinking if we stay in Halifax the first night we arrive I could add this day onto Baddeck and we could do Fortress of Louisbourg.

Day 12 - Halifax for the night.

Would love any input or suggestions!
sarahw6310 is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2022, 04:57 PM
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 130
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
PEI comments.

After visiting Cavendish take a ride into PEI National Park in Cavendish for a great view, enter the park via Rt 13 after the tollbooth make the 1st left and take it to "Oceanview Lookout" for a beautiful view. Foxes like to hang out on the road to the lookout, go slow they will be looking for a handout.

Stay in the National park and drive to North Rustico is a beautiful place. Stay on the National Park road to the exit from the park. Continue until you get to a T intersection, make a left to see the stuff listed below and in the maps. A must see, nice wood boardwalk along the inlet, little fishing village at the end. You can also walk into the National Park, just a wonderful place to take it all in.

MapNova Scotia/PEI/Cape Breton 12 Night Itinerary-untitled.jpg

https://northrustico.com Town info


We enjoy 2 restaurants Pedro's Island Eatery and the Blue Mussel Cafe.

Check out the National Park at Brackley-Dalvay very nice place to bike, hike or just take in the beautiful views. From North Rustico take 6 to 15 (gas station on corner) at the circle. Take 15 to the T intersection make a left at stop sign.

About 1/2 mile on your right is a place called the Dunes Gallery, my wife and kids love the place a lot to see, one of the bigger paces like it on the island. They sell art, clothing, furniture, jewelry, etc. The restaurant in the gallery is also good. They have great gardens out back, do not miss them. Bring a lot of $$$$, lol.


Continue into the park, take your first left to great beach. Parking lot is on your left, park, cross the road to the beach.

At the second left continue on the road to the end to the Robinsons Island Trail System. It has bike tails, picnic area, and beach access.

When done go back to the main road you came in on and make a left turn. Great beaches on your left and wonderful views to the right along the way. When you get to the Covehead Bridge, go over it and make a right into the parking lot. Nice view of the bridge and inlet and lobster boats.

Try Richards's Seafood, does not look like much, but good food. Wonderful lobster rolls and fried food. The orders come with fries, which are large, we save $4 and order one with fries and one without fries and share. Order your food and wait for your number to be called and find a place to sit and eat, nothing fancy but good stuff. The lines moves fast, they have 2, the one on the left is for beer/wine, the one on the right is for food. My wife usually goes find a table, do not forget to check out the 2nd floor they have both inside and outside tables.

Continue on Gulf Shore Parkway (make a right out of the parking lot) and continue to the Dalvey By the Sea. http://www.dalvaybythesea.com

The house was built in 1895 it has antiques-filled rooms in a classic Queen Anne-style Victorian with restaurant & afternoon tea. As a part of their royal honeymoon tour, Prince William and Kate, Duchess of York attended an outdoor reception at Dalvay by the Sea. Map and more info here. http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/pe/pei...ey-dalvay.aspx

After crossing the Confederation Bridge on your way to Charlottetown stop at Victoria By The Sea another beautiful place to check out.

This link as more information on the North Rustico, Victoria by the Sea and several other gems on the island.


PEI is so much more than Charlottetown so get out and explore.
tlc195 is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2022, 07:04 PM
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 130
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A lot more information on PEI in this post.

Halifax and PEI
tlc195 is offline  
Old Mar 21st, 2022, 11:19 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,713
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

(I feel kind of out-of-practice where it concerns addressing actual itineraries that are likely to occur... so maybe that is what most challenged me about yours)

I made two maps of your anticipated spots... (ALL tainted in my mind by the mere idea of feeling upside down at 6:30 in the morning upon arrival)

I'm also minimally used to someone having done such a thorough and well-researched plan beFORE getting here to Fodors.

IF EVER my own mind can recover from YOUR 6:30am arrival starting me off kinda upside down, I'm quite in approval of your efforts.

(I should ask, at least for my own curiosity, HOW much flying you'll DO prior to 6:30am arrival??)


While I always endorse the ritual that is going to Peggy's Cove... I think in your case (having driven the hour to Lunenburg immediately, AND potentially being upside down with sleep), I would not venture back to Peggy's Cove OR Mahone Bay. Lunenburg is a cutesy place which might match very well on its own to the not-exactly-enormous amount of TIME you've allocated to it.

I KNOW we're not talking a huge amount of time, and I also know that in Nova Scotia you DO more things merely because "when will you ever get back there again??"

BUT... Lunenburg is plenty enough for the short while you'll be there, AND not demanding too much (ahem, "...more...") of yourself in the infancy of your trip might serve you well later (as you will be on-the-go quite a bit).

I would opine that Annapolis Royal is a more pleasant destination for a day trip than would be Digby. Annapolis Royal is more quaint, and Digby is a more rough-n-tumble -seeming coastal-ish community. At the very least, don't sell Annapolis Royal short in the event of a quest to get to some certain spot in Digby for a meal. Seafood is plentiful all around the area.
(in brief: "more Annapolis Royal, less Digby")

I'm not a B & B person, so I resisted the impulse to nudge you off of your Wolfville target... (although I did stay at a B & B in Annapolis Royal that I really liked).

Oh, might as well spell-out that the driving path between Digby and Truro... takes its own sweet time... and you are meandering most of the while, and can't hope to make up time in most areas.

Go and look at the tide tables ASAP to gauge Burntcoat Head... https://www.tides.gc.ca/en/stations/00270

At least you'll have a decent "window", while not needing to see a make-it-or-break-it point in time like the Tidal Bore.

But definitely go OUT and walk on the floor of the Bay... on which you can go waaaaaaaaaaaaay out there near to the point of low tide.


The skyline trail path is NOT especially taxing other than its mere length. When you get to the good part, there is considerable down hill path, and then you can sit, and rest, before needing to retreat up the hill you just went down. AND there is easy opportunity to gauge where you are in terms of remaining strength, SUCH THAT you might not then go so far DOWN the hill, so as not to need to return back up it.

I would have precise awareness of the moment of sunset for the date you'll be there... AND THEN recognize that you don't REALLY need to BE there until the moment the sun dips below the horizon... the only point being to make certain that mom is not retreating along that path in the dark. People are nice, and friendly, and IF the sun is really there, others will be there too... so in the event of unavoidable (darkness), others will likely assist.

As for Cheticamp... I loved the location of the place I stayed there... (you can find a photo of it on my not-too-far-down thread about Visiting Nova Scotia)

(the photo was taken just outside of the door to MY hotel room. (boat/harbour/light house, etc) )

Also, to stay there has you IN POSITION for either a sunset effort at the Skyline Trail, or for an early effort at it the next day, with plenty of time remaining to traverse the length of the Cabot Trail.

LOL as to Baddeck... I always list it as a good base to hedge against the fog (potentially wrecking an effort at the Cabot Trail)... but in your case, the deed will hopefully already be completed, and your 2nd night will be much better invested in Halifax...

In fa... X,

you might be best to envision your dinner evening-trip to Peggy's Cove for the middle of the last 2 nights spent in Halifax.

I am comfortable with your plan to cover lots of territory at the sometimes-break-neck pace that I have known at times... (which is probably scary - about you, not about me ).

LOL - you're planning to cover so much territory that my aforementioned thread of not-too-far-down-the-list might somehow mirror your own in ways.

Of course I would add Hopewell Cape (as a side trip on the route to the Confederation Bridge) if possible, but over all you have done a through job at planning.

I hope Covid lets your trip occur without any hiccups.

Good luck!

Last edited by NorthwestMale; Mar 21st, 2022 at 11:21 AM.
NorthwestMale is offline  
Old Mar 21st, 2022, 06:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2022
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks so much for your detailed reply!!

So I am flying in from Vancouver, BC (I think about 5.5 hours). Awful time for a flight but it was the only direct flight in and I'd prefer not to have any stops. So we land at 6:30AM which is going to feel like 2:30AM. That is why I want to have a place to go straight away (I will book the night of the 10th just to be able to check in early). That day we have no plans, Peggy's Cove was the next day. I am reserving that day purely to rest and recoup, have a nice dinner somewhere, walk around in the afternoon and see the town. I am torn between going to Halifax for this first night or going straight to Lunenburg. I am starting to lean more towards Halifax, as Peggy's Cove and Mahone Bay would be on the way, rather than backtracking the next day.

Day 2 (after our first night) will be when we do a day trip to Peggy's Cove and Mahone Bay if we stayed in Lunenburg night 1. Back to Lunenburg for the night.

I would be happy to hear your suggestions for any accommodations. I am not set on a B&B. The Gingerbread house was appealing as we have a private entrance and it does not seem to be as "shared" of a space. Again I am struggling with finding availability in rooms with two beds (and this is 6 months out!)

If I miss the Skyline Trail - how terrible is that? I would prefer to almost do it on my own (well with the guided tour) than drag my mom along. But I don't know if she will feel lost for those few hours to entertain herself.

Can you send me the location you stayed in Cheticamp? I didn't see a link.

The only reason I aimed to stay in Baddeck two nights was so we could have the second day to go to the Fortress of Louisbourg. But if it would be more worthwhile to spend this extra night in Halifax that works too.

I am really blown away by the trouble finding accomodations. I am almost thinking I might scrap my ENTIRE itinerary and start from scratch. So if you have a better route I'm all ears! I was really planning my stay in Mabou to be there for the weekend but maybe that is not very important.

Thanks again!
sarahw6310 is offline  
Old Mar 21st, 2022, 08:21 PM
Join Date: Mar 2022
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, stay in Halifax the first night. The next day, stop at Peggy's Cove, then Mahone Bay on your way to Lunenburg. On the last night, you wouldn't need to go back into Halifax - you could spend the day meandering back from Cape Breton to a Halifax airport hotel. There are 4 available: Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Quality Inn, and Alt Hotel. The first 3 have a short shuttle straight to the airport doors. The Alt hotel is right there just about at the doors already.

I would spend that extra day in Baddeck, as the Louisbourg fortress is historical, and you could take your time here. There is a very comfortable bus included with admission that takes you to the grounds of Louisbourg from the visitor centre. I see that you'd be in Nova Scotia in September. Approximately around September 17 is the start of shoulder season at Louisbourg. There is quite a bit of walking at Louisbourg, if that's a consideration.
Baddeck also has the Alexander Graham Bell museum, with very pretty grounds and a view of Bras D'or Lake. Baddeck has a walkable waterfront area with restaurants.

When you do the Cabot Trail, there are many scenic pullouts and stops. The Bog trail and Lone Sheiling (full of large maple trees) are 15 minute easy level stops along the way if you'd like to stretch your legs.
backyardjay6 is offline  
Old Mar 22nd, 2022, 12:52 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,713
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Sarah...

I just... did a hunt through my computer and old emails, and the place I stayed in Cheticamp was the Auberge Bay Wind Suites at baywindsuites.com

My room seemed to have plenty of... room for me... and it was quite unique.

We did dine at the hotel restaurant... and aside from the angle of the setting sun taking no mercy, everything else about the place was fine.

I WONDER if some of the challenges you're facing with booking rooms are a function of various resistance to re-opening in full based on Covid?

Yet those booking similar trips at similar times are going all-in about their booking, POSSIBLY with a smaller inventory of rooms to work with.

My (limited effort and ability to imagine being in your shoes @ 6:30am arriving at Halifax airport ) paralleled the exact 'red eye' flight and length you seem to be describing and anticipating, SO my visions for your journey are keenly aware of your F (P)light.

Of course, in a way, it doesn't matter WHERE you live seemingly-upside-down on that first day, but I do like to stick with the backbone of somebody's offered itinerary rather than just randomly create one. SO since you had Lunenburg in YOUR thoughts... I think it's just fine.

Although with that a given, I think that the implied amount of time IN Lunenburg is just enough time to truly sample THAT city, AND get the rest that you need. Peggy's Cove is a small event/ritual which DOES make sense, but it might not be fair to apply that to a time when you are still attempting to reverse your inner clock after the flight. In contrast, Lunenburg itself has plenty of randomness in the way of eateries amid the local scenery, and to awaken on your then-bumpy inner clock schedule and be inspired to hunt for some local food DOES seem a good match for what's there. Lunenburg has cutesy little streets, impressively colored houses, and at times LOTS of touristy activity ongoing all around.

I know/knew that you:

A - had interest in Lunenburg
B - were heading near there anyway for the drive to the Fundy side

and that Lunenburg IS big enough to be quite suitable to a combination of recovering from your flight, and letting you begin your journey slowly so (your mom) isn't exhausted too early into the trip.

SO I (still feel that Lunenburg suits you).

Arriving at 6:30am... and wildly guessing you can be in your car and on the road by 8am.

The airport is SMALL... and anything ongoing there is within easy reach for anyone.

From 8am it is 75 minutes drive to Lunenburg... and I think a second wind of excitement will fuel you to where you'll have enough energy to reach the hotel and then sleep.

If there is much delay beyond that, you can go to (your anticipated) hotel and beg for the mere mercy of an "early check-in" vs. that 'night' nearly ended.

It's still my vibe to save Peggy's Cove for a mild 'celebration' near the end of your long journey... and let it be more of an "event" (perhaps the night before flying home) than it would have been had you gone there with uncertain inner clock, UNcertain appetite, and having allocated a 'block' of your precious recovery time to marching through the motions of Peggy's Cove.

From the airport to Lunenburg you will skip around much of the central Halifax area and get right on the path to the south, which prooooooooooooobably won't present you with any glitches early on a Sunday morning.

I don't usually demand much FROM my hotels and motels to seem to have a right to recommend them to others, so I couldn't give a concrete reason why you should physically STAY over night at one accommodation vs the others.

From years on this forum I know (or at least sense) that to have stayed overnight in Annapolis Royal seems to inspire more awe both in hindsight and while looking forward, than does staying overnight in Wolfville. (but what do I know? Last time I went, during 2 weeks gallivanting around the province, I numbered roughly 4 nights in Truro... which is at the center of all the roads and directions, but generally not much of a grand spot to occupy your time). (I blame Priceline in many ways - but we don't have that problem anymore)

I can't have a sense for how well your mom gets around... but IF the (length of the) path on the Skyline Trail is easily within her scope, then I think you should take her along on the hike and forge the memories that go along with so doing.

The challenge about what path you should take (on the whole trip) reminds me a lot about seldom-spoken make-up lessons for young girls:

There's a giant difference between using the first layer to create an entirely blank canvas before you apply the face that you think you want, with layer two

and taking your own personal uniqueness and flattering that with much less store-bought substance.

SO... I can't stress how much easier it is for me to touch-up somebody else's created itinerary than it is for me to randomly apply something to a blank canvas.

However, in this unique spot at Fodors... I offer you the option of clicking on my name and finding LOTS of Nova Scotia threads and ideas in the list...

I can barely imply that any are especially "better" than others... but I do love the self-perceived vibe from someone creating their own trip and sensing it to have been better because they did so.

I think your trip/itinerary as generally presented... is FINE... and that it might be OK to tweak it a bit here and there... but I truly saw no reason to do much more than that.

PS - I know, too, that Green Gables people are really into the Green Gables aura... so I know not to even imagine nudging them off of that path (I don't even know enough about it myself to know if/whether I would do any nudging)
NorthwestMale is offline  
Old Mar 22nd, 2022, 05:01 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My first impression is that your plan involves a lot of driving. I realize we are not all wired the same way on this, but PEI may be a bridge (or ferry) too far.

A couple of comments and suggestions:

- In Lunenburg, take a look at the Mariner King Inn, as I am pretty sure they have at least one room with two beds.

- I agree with the suggestion that Annapolis Royal is a far more attractive town than Digby. We have stayed at the Queen Anne Inn, and I think they, too, have a room with two beds.

- In Wolfville, our favourite inns and B & Bs do not have any rooms with two beds, but do take a look at the Tattingstone Inn and the Blomidon Inn; again, I think they both have rooms with two beds. I haven't stayed at the Gingerbread House.

- I haven't stayed in Mabou, either, but have stayed twice at the Outback Inn in Cheticamp. The drawing card there is the flawless hospitality of the innkeeper, Michele, but i do know that she and her husband are trying to sell the inn, and one never knows for sure what happens when a place like that changes hands.

- Baddeck: we have stayed several times at the Inverary Resort. it is a large facility with a mixture of accommodation, including cabins. Its main attraction is its location on the shores of the Bras d'Or Lakes.

A few thoughts on dining and wineries:

- If you visit Peggy's Cove, do not make a special effort to eat at the Sou'Wester, which is the facility nearest the lighthouse. Tom's Lobster Shack. which is between the new, enlarged parking area and the lighthouse, offers a generous amount of lobster. Alternatively, Rhubarb's, in Indian Point, is ok.

- Lunenburg: sadly, what was once the best restaurant in Nova Scotia closed a couple of years ago, but the Salt Shaker Deli offers a great lunch (we were there two weeks ago and their thin-crust pizzas are terrific); the South Shore Fish Shack, although very casual, will not disappoint.

- In Annapolis Royal, I think the best resto is Founder's House, with Café Composé a distant second.

- Wolfville: I have mixed feelings about Halls Harbour. Yes, it is a striking little village, and the Lobster Pound has a great reputation, but I don't think I would go there for dinner. Lunch, yes, but not dinner. A couple of alternatives for lunch: the Noodle Guy, in Port William (on your way to Halls Harbour) or the Church Brewing Company in Wolfville itself. Several of the vineyards offer lunch. From a purely culinary perspective, Le Caveau at the Grand Pré vineyards wins hands down, but for ambiance, Luckett Vineyards and Lightfoot and Wolfville are more attractive. In terms of wine, do not miss Benjamin Bridge. As for dinner in Wolfville, there is no question that the best food is at Le Caveau in Grand Pré. Give a thought to the tasting menu with wine pairings from their estate. We have done this many times and it is always a pleasure.

- If you do end up staying in Chéticamp, l'Abri Café is probably a safe enough bet. This might be a good place to mention that mid-September is still heavily touristed here, and that where possible, restaurant reservations are a must, especially at places like Founder's House, Le Caveau, and l'Abri.

- About the Skyline Trail: the walk from the parking lot to the point at which you can look over Bay St. Lawrence is on a wide, flat, and well-groomed trail. One could choose to sit there to enjoy the spectacular view; alternatively, one could descend a series of stairways to a lower point with an even better view, but that descent (and re-ascent!) is not necessary to enjoy the site. To return to the car park, simply retrace your steps. (If you really wanted to, you could actually make a big loop, but the loop trail is rather boring.)

- As to your specific proposed itinerary, I have driven all of those roads (I live on St Margaret's Bay, between Tantallon and Hubbard's), and it just strikes me as being a lot of ground to cover in 12 nights. There are a lot of two-lane highways on your route, and some parts (Cape Breton generally and the Cabot Trail in particular) will be slow. There is also a lot of road construction between New Glasgow and the Canso Causeway, which may also slow you down. But we each have our own travels styles and interests. so it really comes down to what you are comfortable with. If there is anything else I can help you with, just sing out.
AnselmAdorne is offline  
Old Mar 22nd, 2022, 05:33 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,713
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

I LOVE the above post... although to it I would apply the standard appropriate for the rest of us who live so far AWAY from the Maritimes that we just owe it to ourselves to cover territory given the challenge we'd know to ever get back there again.

Technically that's accurate about "a lot of driving" ... AND that's coming from someone whose life is adjusted to the local highways that don't, in most cases, let you cruise at break-neck speed.

(somebody coming from Vancouver to visit, will be used to larger freeways which, during non rush-hour, let you make tracks... who will then need to adjust downward from the notion of 110km/hr upon finding herself on the local roads of NS). Nova Scotia is great in part because it isn't on the WAY to anywhere and thus isn't overrun by people trying to get from one spot to another. (Newfies don't count) But the roads are built to match that less-hectic pace.

I say that the worth in the mom's mind of Green Gables IS reason enough to make PEI a priority of some magnitude... and IF one is likely going to traverse the Confederation Bridge, she should probably make a side trip down to Hopewell Cape to get the full effect of the Fundy tides (go at low tide).

NorthwestMale is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Sep 28th, 2019 03:28 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -