What to do in Ingonish, Cape Breton

Camping, hiking and wow-worthy waterfalls make this road trip itinerary extra special.

Laura Hawkins
Middle Head

W inding roads hugging the coastline, cute accommodations, beaches, waterfalls, incredible look offs—Cape Breton has it all. And while you could spend a couple of weeks exploring everything Cape Breton has to offer, it's possible to fit a bit of everything in a single weekend without driving the entire circumference of the island (although I'd definitely recommend that another time!). This road trip itinerary focuses on some highlights around the Ingonish area.


There are some fantastic options for glamping here—offering cozy (and photo-worthy) accommodations that blend a nature experience with the comforts of shelter for Cape Breton's sometimes unpredictable weather.

click to enlarge Cabot Shores - LAURA HAWKINS
Laura Hawkins
Cabot Shores

Cabot Shores
A variety of yurts, domes, chalets and more are all options at this inviting, eco-friendly wilderness resort. The domes are a highlight, with many offering skylights so you can gaze up at the stars from within the comfort of the dome!

Broad Cove or Ingonish Campground
oTENTiks at these federal campgrounds offer a cross between a tent and a rustic cabin, including comforts like beds, lighting, heat and access to campground amenities.


All of these attractions are within a short drive of the accommodations mentioned above, so you can build a great itinerary depending on how much time you have on the island.

Middle Head
This four-kilometre hiking trail takes you out on a little peninsula, making you feel like you're right in the middle of the ocean. Enjoy views of Cape Smokey and the surrounding coastline on every side.

Franey Trail
A challenging uphill climb and a seven-kilometre return trip lead to rewarding panoramic view—first, a river valley between highlands, and finally a 360-degree view of the coast and yet another river valley between highlands.

click to enlarge Cape Smokey - LAURA HAWKINS
Laura Hawkins
Cape Smokey

Cape Smokey
You can choose your own adventure on this 11-kilometre return trail! Take in views of the winding trail on the coast. Go a little further to discover a look-off to the dramatic Cape Smokey cliff and out to the ocean as far as the eye can see. Keep going to get to stunning views to the north.

Mary Ann Falls
This popular waterfall—a 20-foot cascade—is an easy walk 200 metres from the parking lot with a viewing platform next to the falls.

Black Brook Beach and Jack Pine Trail
This little corner of Cape Breton offers incredible bang for your buck in terms of spectacular scenery. Black Brook Beach has emerald green water contrasting red and white stones along the shoreline. A horseshoe-shaped waterfall flows right into the ocean here. For another perspective take a hike along the Jack Pine Trail—the trail starts from the parking lot.

Support The Coast

At a time when the city needs local coverage more than ever, we’re asking for your help to support independent journalism. We are committed as always to providing free access to readers, particularly as we confront the impact of COVID-19 in Halifax and beyond.

Read more about the work we do here, or consider making a donation. Thank you for your support!

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment


For a couple weeks at this time of year, the blooming cherry trees on Park Avenue make for the ultimate photo backdrop in the city. But what’s the most photogenic location year-round in HRM?

Get more Halifax

The Coast Daily email newsletter is your extra dose of the city Monday through Friday. Sign up and go deep on Halifax.