Typical Vacation Days in the Area

So many Margarees, so little time! However, once you begin to realize there is no hurry, that you can see the National Park enjoyably over several days, it's easy to stop in Margaree and smell the roses–wild roses that is, like those which adorn our Harbour.

Whatever you're looking for in Cape Breton, we've got it here. And we are just a scenic drive to ALL island amenities.

Seaside:
If you're staying at or near Margaree Harbour, you might want to take advantage of the fishing wharf down the Belle Cote Beach road beside Caper Gas just past the Island Sunset Resort. The Belle Cote beach is over the breakwater but there are access points along.

The lower river area is a great place for safe canoeing, paddle boarding and kayaking. If you need some gear, search out CB West Paddle Boards. Enjoy a quiet paddle downstream from East Margaree or Margaree Forks to the Harbour; keep an eye out overhead for bald eagles, which are plentiful in this area.

May and June is Lobster Season on the Inverness County side of the island; fishing boats and their crews arrive with their catch around midday–don’t be afraid to say hello. If you’re in Margaree during the season, find a place to stop and watch the lobster fishers check their traps; what a great photo op! If you’re here after the season, don’t worry-there is a kiosk below the Island Sunset where you can buy fresh lobster or have them cooked for you for an oceanside picnic.

There is another long, beautiful beach on the other side of the harbour, over the bridge. Access it by heading to Laurence's General Store, in the village of Margaree Harbour, where there are also a couple of historic lighthouses. Later, continue south on the Shore Road, (Rte. 219), one of the most spectacular stretches of road in Cape Breton! In a few kilometres, you’ll arrive at Whale Cove, where the beach, bluffs and coastline will fill your senses.

There is also a fabulous walking beach at Chimney Corner, just one kilometre south of “Chimney Corner Coastal Cottages” sign. Look for the gravel road on your right and drive in to the end! If the humidity is just right, this is the beach with “singing sands”

In the Harbour area, there is sit-down dining with stunning views of the river, harbour and coastline at either the Duck Cove Inn on the Margaree Harbour side of the bridge or at the Island Sunset Resort across the river. The Belle View Restaurant is also available for a great meal right on the Cabot Trail!

If you have time, make the twenty-minute trip to Margaree Valley for some of the best music and dancing on the island at the “Three Fiddlers’ Ceilidh” held in The Barn at the Normaway Inn (Wednesdays in July and August and Fridays in September and October until closing) or at the dance at St. Joseph's Hall on Friday nights in Southwest Margaree.

Suggested day Car Trip:
Start in the Margaree Valley area with breakfast or brunch at the Dancing Goat, a lovely bistro serving coffee, cappuccinos, fresh-baked goodies, breakfasts and lunches. That taken care of, take a walk across the road and check out Jennifer MacPherson’s painted floor mats and other great items at Two Macs Gallery. From ‘the Goat’ it is a quick drive to the Salmon Museum, “a jewel” according to the New York Times. After your visit, head further up into the valley being sure to stop at Cape Breton Clay to see the lovely pottery on display.

Just a minute or so further, you cat grab a quick burger at Macpherson's Red & White general store, then explore the historic Margaree Hatchery, where salmon and trout are hatched then released into the river. Leaving the hatchery, it’s certainly worthwhile to take another 15 to 20 minute trip up to Big Intervale to see Anne Morell Robinson's quilts and hooked rugs at Kingross Quilts and Fibre Arts. By then you likely will have worked up an appetite! If so, Big Intervale Fishing Lodge offers great food and hospitality in a spectacular setting.

 

If you would rather grab a quick bite on your way out, visit Ingraham's Store for take-out fare in Margaree Centre.

Another option for meals in the area is the restaurant at the Lakes Resort. If your kids crave excitement, try the Go-karts available at the Resort or rent a canoe and paddle around Lake O’ Law.

On your way to the Lakes Resort, you may find Josef McKinnon and his folk art carvings at his roadside Four Winds Gallery on the Cabot Trail which is “open by chance.”

Gas, ATM cash, spirits and groceries can be found at Northeast Margaree and at Margaree Forks. As well, at the Forks, there’s "Myles from Nowhere," a funky antiques shop with plenty to look at, and a lovely park and picnic area at the Margaree Area Development, (MADA) Building. This building is a Hot Spot, for those wanting WiFi to check their mail and also houses the Drs. Coady Tompkins Library.

You will also find our Visitor Information Centre there, and the friendly staff can show you what’s going on where and help you find restaurants, accommodation, and more–in short, whatever you need to make your stay more enjoyable. Nearby, try your luck at the Old Miller Trout Farm U-Fish. Catch a fine trout for dinner! All of the Gear can be rented.

Should you need a bite before heading out on the road again, try the ice cream and hot-dog Take Out just north of Margaree Forks; from Margaree Forks to the Harbour, you'll find some of the most spectacular views of the Margaree River, a world-famous destination for salmon fishers. Closer to the Harbour, feel free to drop by for a tour of the Larch Wood Enterprises mill in East Margaree or visit their kiosk just past the Duck Cove Inn, beside the bridge. Flooring and lovely juniper cutting boards are fabricated and available for sale here.

Don’t miss the view from the Margaree Craft and Gift Shop that you will pass; it’s a must see!!!

Admire the awesome view as you approach the Harbour. Instead of crossing the big bridge, turn left on Route 219 and, following the signs, turn right towards Margaree Harbour. In this quaint village, you will see two working lighthouses, (more properly referred to as “Range Lights”) right across the road from Laurence's General Store. Continue over the hill, past the store, where there is parking and paths over the dunes to the beautiful beach just beyond; take it in!

More awaits you further south on Route 219 (also known as the Ceilidh Trail). The coastline and Whale Cove beach will dazzle you. Don’t hesitate to follow the little gravel road out to the pretty cemetery overlooking Whale Cove Beach. The view is spectacular!

For a bigger and more private beach, and safe for kids who want to play in the ocean, drive a little further south toward Chimney Corner Beach, as detailed above.

Day Trips Further Afield:
Margaree is also a good central base for seeing some of the great attractions on Cape Breton. There are some of Canada's finest golf courses within easy driving distance in Baddeck, Ingonish, Cheticamp, Inverness and Dundee. There's also the Fortress of Louisbourg, which is one of the most elaborate historical reconstructions anywhere. For hikers, there is a variety of trails in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Isle Madame, in Richmond County, is an under-explored area which makes a lovely day trip, and the Broad Cove area (only minutes from Margaree), offers some spectacular coastal vistas. All in all, there is more than enough to make your trip truly memorable.

Bike Days in Margaree:
This is a leisurely way to enjoy the Valley. The Salmon Museum and Fish Hatchery are close enough together to reach comfortably by bike. Check out the craft shops; then head over to Margaree Centre, where you'll go over the Margaree River, and notice people having a good time swimming. After you have a bite at Ingraham's Take-out/Irving, turn right and head for the Ingraham Brothers Store Museum at 2084 West Big Intervale Rd. (open six days/week), a cute general store built in 1885, and restored to its original condition. If you turn left, you can continue toward the Phillips Mountain Lookoff, a scenic viewpoint over the valley. When you're back on the Cabot Trail, you could bike to Margaree Forks, passing beautiful hayfields, catching glimpses of the river. Enjoy a few hours of trout fishing at the Old Miller Trout Farm U-Fish. When you have completed your leisurely day trip and worked up an appetite, there are refreshments and accommodations available in abundance in the Valley and the Forks. Save some energy for the music and dancing at the Barn on the grounds of the Normaway Inn.

 

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