A Travel Guide to Southern Cape Breton, Nova Scotia For Visitors

We recently spent a week road-tripping across Southern Cape Breton and what a trip that was!

This was our fourth summer exploring Nova Scotia, and this time around we focused on the southern part of Cape Breton Island, specifically the area between St. Peter’s and Port Hastings. 

I think this is a really interesting area because of its accessibility. Port Hastings is the first town you hit if you’re crossing to the island via the Canso Causeway (the only land access point), so it’s a logical starting point, especially for travellers who want a taste of Cape Breton beyond driving the Cabot Trail

We spent our week in Southern Cape Breton doing an iconic sail from lake to sea, feasting on seafood at every meal, tackling different hiking trails, and enjoying the warm hospitality that Cape Breton is known for. This is our travel guide to the southern part of the island.

Scenic views from our trip to Cape Breton Island.

Southern Cape Breton Travel Guide

Isle Madame

The Groundswell

If you’re going to be travelling around Isle Madame, you need to make time to eat a meal at The Groundswell Pub & Inn! This place had some of the best food of the whole trip, plus, it’s just a really cozy seaside pub that makes you want to linger.

Drinking craft beer at The Groundswell Inn in Isle Madame, Cape Breton.
Mourbon maple bacon-wrapped scallops at The Groundswell Inn in Isle Madame, Cape Breton.

We went for dinner and got their bourbon maple bacon-wrapped scallops as an appetizer – they were divine! Then for our mains, Sam got the Cajun linguine with shrimp (the sauce was so creamy and I kept stealing bites!), and I went for the Thai green curry with haddock and rice (I loved this Asian dish done with a Cape Breton twist).

Cajun linguine with shrimp at The Groundswell Inn in Isle Madame, Cape Breton.
Green Thai curry with haddock and rice at The Groundswell Inn in Isle Madame, Cape Breton.

We also enjoyed some local craft beers and ciders with our meal, and it was fun listening to some 90s tunes. If you can be there on a night when there’s live music even better!

Aside from being a pub, The Groundswell also offers accommodations. You can choose between rooms at the inn (all named after different songs by The Beatles), or their 2-bedroom cottage by the sea (which is where we stayed).

Visiting The Groundswell Pub & Inn in Isle Madame, Cape Breton.