Amoeba Sailing Tours. Take a tour aboard a sleek schooner (C$25), lasting from 90 minutes to two hours, which views bald eagles and the Bell Estate. Trips depart daily at 11, 2, and 4:30 from June to mid-October, with an extra sailing at 6:30 pm in July and August. Baddeck Wharf, Baddeck, NS. 902/295–2481 or 902/295–1426. www.amoebasailingtours.com.
Donelda's Puffin Boat Tours. The Bird Islands, 2 km (1 mile) from the entrance to Bras d'Or Lake, are the breeding grounds for Atlantic puffins, as well as other seabirds and gray seals. To see them, sign up for one of these narrated nature cruises (C$38). From mid-May to late September, boats depart daily from Englishtown, about 28 km (17 miles) northeast of Baddeck. 1099 Hwy. 312, just before the Englishtown Ferry, Englishtown, NS, B0C 1H0. 902/929–2563 or 877/278–3346. www.puffinboattours.ca.
Paddle Dog. Easy 90-minute to 2-hour guided kayak tours on Bras d'Or Lake are offered three times daily in July and August (C$44). 22 Water St., Baddeck, NS, B0E 1B0. 902/929–2628. www.paddledog.ca.
Iona, 77 km (48 miles) south of Baddeck, is admittedly off the beaten path. To reach Iona from Baddeck, follow Highway 105 to Exit 6, which leads to Little Narrows, then board a cable ferry for the two-minute ride to the Iona Peninsula (C$5; 24 hours a day, year-round). If you’re big on Gaelic culture, a visit to the living history museum there will be ample reward.
The 40-acre "village" is set high on a mountainside with a spectacular view of Bras d'Or Lake and narrow Barra Strait. Its 11 historical buildings (among them a forge, a school, a church, and a barn filled with heritage breeds of livestock) were assembled from all over the province to depict the Highland Scots' way of life, from their origins in the Hebrides to the present day. Costumed animators who tackle daily chores lend the village a further touch of authenticity and are always on the ready to give an impromptu Gaelic lesson. Interactive programs include games and activities for children. There's a gift shop on-site as well as a Genealogy and Family History Center (open by appointment) that may be of interest to anyone with Cape Breton blood in their veins.