Rest and relaxation are on the agenda when you stay in these luxury glamping domes near Judique - a fantastic jumping off point for exploring Cape Breton Island and the Cabot Trail.
Good to Know
Location: Judique, Cape Breton
Distance from causeway: 35 kilometers (25 minute drive)
Family friendly? No - adults only.
Pet friendly? No.
Amenities: Each dome contains a full washroom (sink, toilet, shower), a kitchenette, a queen size bed and a heat pump. There is a barbecue outside each dome for personal use.
Best Time To Go: Open from June - October
Cost: $550/2 night stay (minimum booking is 2 nights) (Cost for 2021)
To Book: Contact Archer's Edge directly.
Getting to Archer's Edge Luxury Camping
- From the Causeway: After crossing the causeway, enter the roundabout. Take the third exit (pointing to the far left-hand side of the island), onto Ceilidh Trail/ NS Trunk 19 toward Inverness. Drive for just over 20 minutes and you will see Shore Road on the left. Turn down and drive 2 minutes until you see the sign for Archer's Edge on your left.
- If travelling down the west coast from northern Cape Breton: After Port Hood, continue driving down the Ceilidh Trail/NS Trunk 19 toward Judique/Port Hawkesbury for around 5 minutes. Turn right onto Shore Road and drive for about 2 minutes. There will be a sign for Archer's Edge on your right.
What to Bring
Breakfast: The folks at Archer's Edge were kind enough to start us off with a few coffee pods for the morning, but I don't like to go too long with an empty stomach. Bringing a simple breakfast (cinnamon loaf and some bananas) meant we could lounge around a little more in the morning, instead of getting up and leaving right away.
Tip: Sandeannie's is a lovely little cafe and bakery just 8 minutes up the road, in Port Hood. We've tried a bunch of their baked goods and they are DELICIOUS. They make a homemade strawberry flakie that is worth a special trip! It's open 7:30 am - 3:00 pm, 7 days a week (and they offer all-day breakfast).
Bug spray: I didn't really notice any bugs during the day, but at dusk, the mosquitoes come out in full force. If you want to sit out and enjoy the sunset (and trust me, you will!), you should probably have some bug spray.
Entertainment: There is no TV and no wi-fi at Archer's Edge. If you're looking for a place to unplug and reconnect, this is it. It's very peaceful and quiet. We brought books, crossword puzzles, a deck of cards and crib board. It was lovely just to hang out and talk together!
The star-gazing after dark is wonderful, and there is usually a communal bonfire at night (see benches in above photo). I know it sometimes turns into a bit of fun with guitars and singing too!
If disconnecting is not your cup of tea, this is still a lovely place to stay! You'll just want to make sure you bring some kind of entertainment with you (like downloaded movies on a tablet, etc) and use your dome as a place to unwind at the end of a day of sightseeing.
Groceries/Alcohol: If you want to arrive at Archer's Edge and relax, you may want to stop for groceries and any alcohol before you get there. We opted to have wine, cheese and charcuterie back at the dome for one of our evening meals and were able to pick up everything we were looking for in Port Hood.
Tip: The nearest NSLC (where alcohol, wine and beer can be purchased) is in Port Hood, a 10-minute drive north. There is also a small co-op grocery store in Port Hood, where you can pick up basics.
Dome Camping in Cape Breton: FAQ
A mash-up of the words "glamorous" and "camping", glamping usually refers to comfortable, sometimes luxury accommodations closer to nature than traditional hotels.
Every situation is different and you should definitely contact the owners directly to discuss. However, if you have moderate mobility issues, you could request the first dome in the row, so that you don't have to walk as far down the gravel path. There are luggage carts to help relay your bags (see photo below). The photo below is taken from the parking area, so it is necessary to walk up the path before turning to the right to approach the domes (along a gravel path).
The most important thing you need to understand is that there is NO BATHROOM DOOR. So you don't want to go on a trip like this with someone you're not really comfortable with.
In a pinch, you could give each other privacy by sitting outside and while the other person uses the bathroom, but it's important to know and expect this in advance (and these plans might be affected by the weather).
Cape Breton Glamping Review
Let's say you like the idea of camping somewhere peaceful, somewhere you can fall asleep to the sound of the waves, or peek out of your tent at a million twinkling stars overhead. But you'd like to stay somewhere more comfortable than an air mattress, and indoor plumbing wouldn't hurt.
Welcome to glamping.
The domes at Archer's Edge are heavy duty, weatherproof, fully enclosed with large (plastic) windows overlooking the ocean view and sunset. Each dome has a heat pump, which was fantastic - we used the air conditioning during the day and a bit of heat at night.
The bed was extremely comfortable and the bedding was really nice. The whole dome was decorated very tastefully, with canvas photos of Cape Breton, lovely textiles and other small touches.
There is a kitchenette, with a mini-fridge, kettle, single cup coffee maker (with several pods), sink, toaster and microwave, as well as basic dishes and wine glasses.
Each dome has a barbecue for your own use, and a nice little wooden bench facing the ocean view. There is lots of privacy, since there are only five domes and they are nicely spaced out. The path between the domes runs behind them, and we were (I was, haha) excited to see little rabbits near the path in the mornings.
The owners are on-site and were super friendly and accommodating.
Overall, it is a really unique place to stay in Cape Breton, and we would highly recommend it. In fact, we'd love to go back!
Things to do near Archer's Edge
Archer's Edge is a great jumping off point for visiting the west side of Cape Breton! From beaches, hikes, and golfing, to Celtic music, museums and restaurants, you'll have plenty to do during your stay!
Where to Eat
Just a 10-minute drive away, The Clove Hitch in Port Hood is the nearest pub/restaurant and I've heard great things about it. We're looking forward to trying it out when we're over on that side of the island again.
Also in Port Hood, Sandeannie's has all day breakfast, delicious baked goods and grab-and-go meal items.
A 40-minute drive up the coast is Route 19 Brewing (and restaurant). They have a nice patio overlooking the ocean in the distance, the food is delicious, and the beer (made onsite) is cold and refreshing. They also offer tasting flights, which I enjoy as a way of trying a few kinds of beer. Read our full review of our meal!
If you're exploring farther afield, The Dancing Goat is about an hour away, in Margaree Valley. We had a fantastic lunch there. Look for our full review soon!
We are so incredibly spoiled in Cape Breton. There are gorgeous beaches in almost every community and you're never far from the ocean!
Port Hood is home to at least five beaches, and it's an area often suggested as having the warmest ocean water in Nova Scotia (some even say Eastern Canada!). We've had spectacular visits to these beaches with our kiddos, and the water was just as calm and warm as promised! (Watch for an upcoming post on these beaches.)
Inverness Beach is about a 40-minute drive up the coast, an is another warm, sandy beach. It's more than 4 kilometers long, has a wonderful boardwalk, and recently made headlines when they introduced sand chairs, water chairs and sand mats to make the beach more accessible to people with mobility challenges.
Cape Breton is famous for its Celtic music traditions and the west side of the island is a great place to see Celtic music in person.
The Celtic Music Interpretive Centre is only a 5-minute drive up the road from Archer's Edge! They have an exhibit room, musical walking tours, workshops and more. They also host lunchtime ceilidhs (a Celtic musical event, gathering or concert - pronounced "kay-lee") almost every afternoon in the summer (check their schedule for dates and times) and Sunday ceilidhs year-round. The Centre also has a lovely little pub and restaurant.
The Red Shoe Pub in Mabou is owned by two sisters from the musically famous Rankin family. It offers live entertainment almost daily (check their schedule for details) and a great looking menu. I haven't eaten there but I hope to be back up that way soon and I'll come back with a full review!
The Celtic Shores Coastal Trail is a spectacular, 92-kilometer (!!!) trail, stretching from Port Hastings (near the Canso Causeway) all the way up to Inverness. Open to hikers, bikers, ATVers, horseback riders, snowmobilers, skiiers and more, it's an amazing way to explore the west coast of Cape Breton. There is an entrance point less than 1 kilometer away.
Just outside Cheticamp (1.5 hours north) is a short and easy hike to a spectacular turquoise lake on an old gypsum quarry. Read our full review and guide for this family friendly hike to the Gypsum Mine Lake.