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Cape Breton Island is one of the most beautiful places to visit on Canada’s East Coast. It’s home to one of the most scenic road trips in the world – the Cabot Trail. Even though this 298km drive could be done in one day, I don’t recommend it. There are so many places to stop along the Cabot Trail that you’ll want to spend at least 3-5 days experiencing it. So, that means you need somewhere to stay! This post will help you find the best places to stay on the Cabot Trail, whether you’re on a tight budget or looking for some luxury.

This 298km Cabot Trail winds through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, going alongside the Atlantic ocean through the highlands. From campgrounds to glamping domes to high-end golf resorts, here are the best Cabot Trail accommodations.

Places to Stay in Cheticamp

cheticamp where to stay on the cabot trail
Cheticamp, Cape Breton

Cheticamp is a great place to start your trip on the Cabot Trail if you’re coming from Halifax. It’s just a couple kilometers away from the entrance of Cape Breton Highlands National Park and is well set-up for tourists with many places to stay as well as restaurants. Don’t miss l’abri cafe restaurant!

There are also many activities to do in Cheticamp itself. You can join a whale-watching expedition or take a helicopter flight over the park. This was one of the main highlights of my time in Cape Breton!

I stayed at Auberge Bay Wind Suites, which are these quaint seaside apartments. The inside isn’t luxurious, but it has everything you need for a comfy stay. The location is perfect. The suites are right in the center of Cheticamp next to the ocean. There’s also a cute lighthouse just outside of it, and a nice restaurant attached to the apartments. This is a great mid-range option to stay in Cheticamp.

cheticamp sunset
View from outside my apartment at Auberge Bay Wind Suites

There are also a number of affordable Airbnb options in Cheticamp to choose from. These log cabins look super cozy! If it’s your first time using Airbnb, you can get up to $95 off your stay by using this link.

Places to Stay in Cape Breton Highlands National Park

If you want to stay inside Cape Breton Highlands National Park and truly be in nature, the best place to stay is a Parks Canada campsite! There are seven campsites throughout Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Cheticamp, Corney Brook, Fishing Cove, Macintosh Brook, Big Intervale, Broad Cove, and Ingonish Beach.

map of parks canada campsites in cape breton
Credit: Parks Canada

The campsites have various levels of service. The biggest campsites are Cheticamp, Broad Cove, and Ingonish Beach, which offer showers and flush toilets.

These campsites also have oTENTiks, which is a great option if you want a bit more comfort while still being in the wild. The tents are already set up with beds inside, so you don’t have to worry about bringing your own camping gear. Unfortunately, the oTENTiks aren’t being rented this year due to COVID, but they will hopefully be back next year!

The campsite near Ingonish beach looks gorgeous – imagine waking up next to this!

ingonish beach
Ingonish Beach

Corney Brook and Macintosh Campsite offer flush toilets but no showers, and Fishing Cove is a backcountry camping site. It’s a 6km one-way hike down to the campsite, which is by a beach.

Places to stay on the Cabot Trail: Pleasant Bay

If you want to stay inside the park but not camp, another option is to book a Pleasant Bay hotel. It’s a small fishing community near many of the best hiking trails in the park (including the Skyline hike). It’s also where many of the whale watching tours depart from.

Budget: If you’re traveling solo or looking for a budget-friendly place to stay, there is a HI-hostel in Pleasant Bay. I’ve stayed at various HI locations throughout the world, and they are always good quality!

Mid-range: A good option is Mountain View Motel & Cottages, which offers self-contained cottages with kitchens. Perfect if you’re a family and want extra space!

Luxury: Another really cool place to stay inside the park is True North Destinations. This 5-star eco-conscious, luxury geodesic domes are one of the most unique places to stay along the Cabot Trail. All the domes have ocean views – I would love to wake up in one of these.

Top of the Island – Meat Cove

meat cove cape breton places to stay
Meat Cove Campground

During my time in Cape Breton, I drove to the top of the island, where there is a community called Meat Cove. There, I found what is possibly the coolest camping spot in Atlantic Canada.

Meat Cove Campground is literally on the side of the cliffs at the most northerly point in Cape Breton. It’s off the beaten path from the Cabot Trail (you’ll have to drive a dirt road to get there), but such a unique place to stay.

Ingonish Accommodations

If you want to a place that feels like you’re inside the park with a town’s amenities, then Ingonish is a perfect choice. There are several places to stay here as well as restaurants.

One of the most beautiful places to stay in Ingonish is the Keltic Lodge at the Highlands. It’s got stunning views from the property and is right next to Ingonish Beach.

keltic lodge cape breton
Keltic Lodge, Ingonish

Ingonish also has quite a few Airbnb options to choose from. This cottage looks perfect if you’re a couple – it even has a hot tub! If it’s your first time using Airbnb, you can get up to $95 off your stay by using this link.

North River

The North River is a great place to stay if you want something quiet – it’s a small community between Ingonish and Baddeck. There’s not a lot to do here, but the scenery is spectacular, and it’s the perfect place to go if you want to experience kayaking in Cape Breton. I booked myself a room at these extremely cozy cabins on my last night, which is basically my dream home!

The owner of these cabins built them himself, and they are so well designed. Each cabin has a theme; I stayed at the ‘Octopuses Garden’ (queue Beatles playing). Inside, there is a super comfy bed and two small mattresses in the top loft. They have electricity inside, and even built-in speakers in the walls. There’s a kitchen area you can use outside, as well as a fire pit. These cabins are one of my favorites places to stay on the Cabot Trail.

Best Places to Stay in Baddeck NS

Baddeck is considered the start and end of the Cabot Trail, so depending on what direction you are coming from, this is a great place to stay at the beginning or end of your road trip in Cape Breton. I recommend starting your trip in Baddeck if you’re coming from Newfoundland and taking the ferry. It’s just a 40-minute drive from the ferry port in North Sydney.

I stayed at Inverary resort and spa, which is a lovely place to stay in Baddeck. The interior of the rooms could use some updating, but the facilities are gorgeous. Inverary resort is set right on Bras d’Or Lake, and there’s a private beach with chairs to relax on. Perfect for watching the sunset!

inverary resort sunset
Inverary Resort, Baddeck

My favorite part about Inverary resort and spa is that there’s an adventure center onsite, where you can rent kayaks, paddleboards, jet skis, and boats – you can even rent a floating picnic table! We paddle out to this lighthouse below one morning while staying at Inverary, and it was so lovely.

baddeck nova scotia
Baddeck, Nova Scotia

There’s also an on-site spa where you can treat yourself to a massage, facial, pedicure, manicure, or all of the above! It was raining one of the days I was in Baddeck, so this was the perfect thing to do. I had my first facial there, and it was amazing.

Inverary also has a restaurant on-site, which serves delicious food as well as live music daily. Lastly, they are pet-friendly. We took my foster dog, Layla, here while on the way to her new home, and they even gave me a pet-care kit when I checked in.

Another hotel with great reviews in Baddeck is the Telegraph House. I didn’t get a chance to stay here, but I’ve heard great things about the restaurant inside this hotel. It’s also got some unique history and is right next to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site.

How long to spend on the Cabot Trail?

places to stay on the cabot trail

You may be tempted to drive the Cabot Trail in just one day since it’s only 298km in length, but I strongly advise against this! There are so many beautiful sights to see and outdoor activities. With over 26 hikes inside the park, you could easily spend weeks here hiking alone. I spent a week in Cape Breton mostly on the Cabot Trail, and still didn’t do everything I wanted. I recommend spending at least 3-5 days driving the Cabot Trail.

What direction to take the Cabot Trail?

There’s a debate as to whether you should drive the Cabot Trail clockwise or counterclockwise. The truth is, either direction is breathtaking. Both ways provide amazing scenery and activities.

I drove the Cabot Trail clockwise and found the scenery amazing. I was driving solo and had to pull over a lot because I wanted to take photos, but there were tons of safe places to pull over in the park.

Pick the directions fits best into your travel plans – you won’t be disappointed by the views no matter which way you take.

I hope this guide could help you find the perfect place to stay on the Cabot Trail. For more inspiration on things to do while driving the Cabot Trail, be sure to check out this post!

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About Author

Lora Pope is a solo female adventure travel blogger living nomadically around the world. Raised on a rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, she has a deep love for nature and wildlife. Lora has traveled to over 58 countries and is on a quest to visit them all, seeking out a deeper connection with the nature and wildlife on this planet.

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