WAVES END RV & CAMPGROUND – Mountains Views, Ocean Sunsets & Cape Breton Hospitality

For over a decade, Jason Harder honed his keen eye for detail by creating software for scheduling healthcare workers. Then he turned that software into a business. But upon visiting Cape Breton with a friend, he became enamoured with the land, the ocean, and the people. From this love grew his second business, Waves End RV & Campground. We talked to Jason to learn more about Waves End, his inspiration, and his vision for the future paradise nestled between mountains and overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence.


Jason Harder, who is of Métis descent, spent several years studying and working in Texas before returning to Canada. He worked at the University of Alberta as a project manager for a machine learning research centre. Though spare time is rare for Jason, he enjoys spending time outdoors, working out, and travelling whenever possible.

He spent most of his working life in the healthcare industry working both on the operational and clinical side. So, tourism and hospitality were not top of mind for Jason when talking with a friend about visiting Cape Breton. In fact, it was that friend who first suggested looking for land to develop and use as a base for some cabins. Jason loved the idea, and his entrepreneurial spirit took over. Soon, the idea of a couple of cabins further developed into an RV park and campground.

Choosing the location was a meticulous process. For example, it was imperative to Jason that the grounds be located by the water. Ultimately, he found his perfect location in the Chéticamp area. Jason explains, “One, it’s right on the Cabot Trail.” That makes it easily accessible for potential visitors. “Secondly,” he continued, “you have the mountains, so the sun will come up over the top of the highlands, which is beautiful.” The view is summed up perfectly on the Waves End website: “Every morning the sun will rise behind you, and every evening set in front of you, melting into the ocean.” 

Acquiring land, however, was just the first step on a very long and challenging road. Since the property was just bare land, Jason had to learn about an industry that was completely new to him on the fly. “There’s no handbook,” he explained, “so you must find all the information.” Everything from determining lot sizes and how to organize them optimally, to finding contractors for electrical and plumbing. Everything from the bathrooms to the waste management systems had to be built from scratch, while also staying compliant with environmental and provincial regulations. So, Jason drafted an in-depth, comprehensive business plan, outlining every step that needed to be taken. From there, it was a matter of executing and managing projects. 

The Waves End Team gave its blood, sweat, and some tears to make this dream a reality.  The hard work and growing pains were all worth it to build a business that works well within the community. Jason says, “One of the most important goals was to be a good community neighbour to those around the property.” About fitting in and being considerate to residents around them Jason said, “I consider that to be one of our major accomplishments.” He repeatedly reiterates how important the local bond is to him and his team. Nearly everyone who works at Waves End is a local who is familiar with the life and history of Cape Breton and Nova Scotia. Guests get the benefit of locals who can give the best advice on what to do, where to eat, and hidden gems that others wouldn’t know about without lived experience. 

Jason and his team want to encourage visitors to support local businesses, restaurants, and attractions, this way they purchase products and services in Chéticamp rather than outside of the community. In return, the community supports Waves End. The front office, which Jason describes as more of an “information centre” for guests, has menus for every restaurant in town, as well as local maps and literature to help guests plan their stay.

Waves End itself is more than just a basic campground nestled between mountains and a beach with a beautiful view of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The nine-acre property has 98 RV sites in two different sizes. 68 of them have water and power hookups, and there are both back-in and pull-through sites available. BoonDockers, bikers, cyclists, and ATVers are welcome at Waves End as well. The property layout is welcoming to groups large and small.  There is an on-site dumping station that’s free for guests to use. There are 32 standard tent sites and three wilderness tents. The newest exciting addition to the property is a Geodome. 

A camping concept that has become popular in recent years, Jason wanted to give guests the Geodome experience at a rate that people could more easily afford. Sitting on a 400-square-foot deck, the Geodome has a 12-foot bay window that looks out at the water and a skylight for star watching at night. It’s beautifully furnished and includes a propane fire pit. Jason put a lot of work into making the Geodome special, with a meticulously planned parking lot, pathway, romantic lighting, and more. “I can tell you,” Jason explains, “it never gets old when you take someone down there.” The look on guests’ faces will always be a thrill for the team.

Every site includes free access to the washroom and shower facilities. They also all have a picnic table and fire pit. The hands-on service is one thing that sets Waves End apart from other places. Staff escort guests to their sites and guests can even call the front office to have ice and firewood delivered. There are laundry facilities, on-site propane filling services, and even an ice cream shop to enjoy a tasty summer treat. One particularly fun service is the outdoor cookout they provide. Guests can purchase lobster and crab from local fishermen, arranged through Waves End. The staff then cooks it for them outdoors, teaching guests how to cook it, no bands on these claws, and if necessary, how to properly eat it. 

There’s no shortage of activities for visitors to partake in. There are miles of beach for walking, swimming, and fishing right off the shore. Waves End has recently added fishing gear rentals and bait for guests. There are multiple hiking trails located near the park, and companies that rent mountain bikes, kayaks, paddle boards, and canoes. Several companies offer whale-watching boat tours, which is a must for anyone traveling to the area. Golfers will be thrilled to know that there are as many as four courses within a 40-minute drive of the grounds. And for those who need to stay connected, Waves End has Starlink Internet and is continuously installing additional gear to improve Wi-Fi connection for their guests.

Most important to Jason is the vision that he and the Waves End team are continually working towards. “We want to make our guests feel welcome, and we want to give them exceptional service as we showcase all Cape Breton has to offer.” Engaging with their guests and encouraging their guests to engage with the community is the ultimate goal. Continuing to provide an excellent experience and quality amenities for the guests of Waves End RV & Campground is the priority going into the 2024 season, and bookings are going fast. To secure your visit to Waves End, visit www.wavesendrv.ca.

by Amanda Stellisano