Planning your next weekend road trip? Add the Cape George scenic drive to your bucket list. This route is an ideal alternative to those who might not have time to experience all 300 kilometers of the Cabot Trail, but still want to experience the natural beauty of Nova Scotia.

Also referred to as the Mini Cabot Trail, start your journey on Highway 245 by Malignant Cove, a small community located nearby the town of New Glasgow. From here, prepare to be wowed by picturesque coastal scenery, an abundance of hiking trail, and of course, lighthouses.

Take in Panoramic Views atop Cape George Point

Overlooking the waters of St. George’s Bay is Cape George Point. Located approximately 18 kilometres from the starting point of Malignant Cove, this short drive opens to one of the Northumberland Shore Regions’ most impressive views. If you arrive on a clear day, you may even be able to see Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton Island in the distance.

Once you arrive, look out for the Cape George Lighthouse. Located atop a cliff, this lighthouse makes a great photo op for visitors and continues to serve a functional purpose by guiding incoming vessels at St. George’s Bay. While you admire its architecture, consider its history as well. Initially erected in 1861, the current lighthouse is the third of its kind to be built at this location. On-site interpretive panels further tell the story of this lighthouse and its history.

Get Active at the Cape George Hiking Trails

Take your travels from the road to the trail. Designed by local trail builder, Peter Jackson, the Cape George Hiking Trails offer up 33 kilometers of trail in the form of connected loops and linear sections around the Cape George peninsula, overlooking St. Georges Bay.

With a range of trail length and difficulty, there is something for everyone. Depending on your route, this Mini Cabot Trail hiking experience may take you past meadows, old-growth forests, cliffs, bay views, and elevations of 600ft above sea level. Hikers will appreciate several panoramic views, including one of Ballantyne’s Cove.

The three serviced trailheads include Cape George Point Lighthouse, Cape George Heritage School, and Ballantyne’s Cove Tuna Interpretive Centre.

Immerse Yourself in Tuna Fishing Culture at Ballantynes Cove

As you pass through farmland and the occasional view of the Northumberland Shore along Highway 337N, you will soon approach Ballantyne’s Cove. Before proceeding further, stop at the lookout for incredible views of St. George’s Bay, Cape George, and the cove itself.

Once you are on foot, walk around the Ballantyne’s Cove Marina, where you will immediately take notice of an abundance of Tuna fishing boats as well as other watercraft, especially between August and October. Ballantyne’s Cove is also a principal trading point for Japanese merchants who are looking to purchase sushi-grade Atlantic Bluefin tuna. If the Cove’s emphasis on fishing is starting to pique your interest, stop in at the Tuna Interpretive Centre to learn more about its history. You will be amazed to read about the area’s largest tuna catch at over 1400 pounds!

The beauty of Ballantyne’s Cove may have you tempted to experience it further. If you don’t fish, check out a crescent pebble beach, a short walk from the Tuna Interpretive Centre. Here, visitors can enjoy the warm waters of St. George’s Bay in the summer months.

Stop for a Break at the Livingstone’s Cove Wharf Park

Whether you decide to begin here or break up your journey between a few other Mini Cabot Trail sights Livingstone’s Cove Wharf Park is a great spot to take a break and enjoy your surroundings. 

Pack a lunch and enjoy a meal outdoors at its picnic tables. Stop by later in the day to savor a beautiful sunset by the beach. If you want to stay active and enjoy the nearby waters, Livingstone’s Cove also provides a launch area for canoes and kayaks.

Keen to experience more landmarks in Nova Scotia? Consider these remarkable attractions upon your next visit.

Special thanks to the staff at the Comfort Inn in New Glasgow, NS for their suggestions.

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