12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New Brunswick
From the world's highest tides on the Bay of Fundy to warm swimming waters on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the sightseeing pleasures of New Brunswick may come as a surprise. The province is virtually rectangular in shape, bordering Québec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and the U.S. State of Maine.
The largest cities are Saint John, Moncton, and the provincial capital, Fredericton. But among the dense forests (which cover more than three-quarters of the province), rivers divide the land into shallow valleys with good farmland. Along the coast, New Brunswick has a relatively mild maritime climate. Inland, on the other hand, there are mostly continental extremes of temperature with hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters.
1 Bay of Fundy
This vast bay in the Atlantic Ocean is shaped like a funnel, creating the highest tides in the world that can measure up to 19 meters (10 fathoms). The best sightseeing in New Brunswick is along the bay's coastline, where beaches, lighthouses, sea stacks, cliffs, caves, scenic drives, and parks create a picturesque landscape. Catching the tidal bore in Moncton or Saint John is an impressive sight, when river flows reverse with the rising tide.
Accommodation: Where to Stay near the Bay of Fundy
2 Hopewell Rocks
The Hopewell Rocks are a top sightseeing draw at both high and low tides. At high tide, the Flowerpot Rocks look like tiny islands and kayakers paddle between them. When the tide level drops, visitors can walk on the ocean floor and look up at the heavily eroded pillars. The Hopewell Cape attraction has an informative interpretive center, an on-site café, and coastal walking trails.
Address: 131 Discovery Road, Hopewell Cape
3 Garrison District
In Fredericton, a British garrison was stationed at this site from 1784 to 1869. Today, two blocks of heritage buildings and grassy lawns lie between Queen Street and the river, becoming the center of summer festivals, walking tours, and historical reenactments. There's also the city's changing of the guard when guards in period costume perform a drill ceremony.
A number of small museums are clustered in the district, including the Fredericton Region Museum (with its focus on area history) and the back-in-time classroom at the School Days Museum. The NB Sports Hall of Fame and the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design Gallery are also located in the complex.
Address: Queen Street, Fredericton
4 St. Martins - Fundy Trail Parkway
The Fundy Trail Parkway is a scenic coastal drive that lies northeast of Saint John. It starts near St. Martins, once a bustling shipbuilding community, and continues along the coast. It's a slow-paced route, where lookouts and picnic areas provide views of coastal cliffs, isolated beaches, marine wildlife, and a Flowerpot Rock. A pedestrian and bicycle trail parallels the drive.
There's an interpretive center at Big Salmon River with background on the one-time logging community. Kids will like the nearby suspension bridge.
Address: 229 Main St, St. Martins
5 Village Historique Acadien
On the northern coast of New Brunswick, Caraquet is a proudly Acadian community where most residents speak French. Just outside of town, Village Historique Acadien is an open-air museum that demonstrates life between 1780 and 1890. Costumed interpreters recreate a busy working village by spinning wool, making clothes, forging iron, printing books, and drying fish. Small wooden buildings, farmlands, and a quaint main street (complete with a hotel) make up the large complex.
Address: 14311 Road 11, Riviere du Nord
6 Saint John City Market
Canada's oldest continuing farmers' market is located in Saint John. A block-long building houses local vendors who display a variety of edibles, crafts, and souvenirs. The city had long been home to popular open-air markets when this building was completed in 1876. Luckily, the Great Fire in 1877 left the building (with its impressive, curved-beam ceiling) unscathed. A ringing bell marks the start and end of the shopping day, and the market is closed on Sundays.
Address: 47 Charlotte Street, Saint John
7 Fundy National Park
The New Brunswick forest meets the Bay of Fundy tides in this national park, where a stretch of undeveloped coastline sits roughly mid-way between Moncton and Saint John. Visitors can take in the wilderness year-round. Coastal and inland hiking trails are good places for wildlife watching. In spring and autumn, bird watchers come to see migratory species feeding on the tidal mudflats. Park facilities include campgrounds, an outdoor swimming pool and golf course.
8 Reversing Falls Rapids
When the rising tide pushes against the flow of the St. John River in Saint John, it reverses the river's direction and creates the Reversing Falls. The Bay of Fundy has such an extreme tidal range that sea level is four meters below the river at low tide, but four meters above the river at high tide.
The best tidal bore watching is at Reversing Falls Bridge, where the river narrows through a deep gorge. Visit at different states of the tide to see how the river flows downstream, slackens as the water rises, and finally reverses with the rush of high tide.
Address: Reversing Falls Bridge, Saint John
9 Grand Manan Island
Accessible only by ferry, the island of Grand Manan is a tiny fishing community near the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. The island, which measures about 35 kilometers long and no more than ten kilometers across, has a year-round population. Visitors come to spot whales, birds, and other marine life during the warmer seasons, and viewing tours operate from Grand Manan. More than 300 species of birds have been spotted on the island.
Address: Grand Manan Island
10 Cape Enrage
A tiny lighthouse dating to 1838 sits atop rugged cliffs at Cape Enrage, providing a panoramic view over the Bay of Fundy. Though light stations are fairly typical on the Atlantic Coast, Cape Enrage also has an outdoor activity center where enthusiasts can learn to rappel, zip-line, rock climb, and kayak. A teacher started the operation in 1993 with six students, and it is now a mainstay tourist attraction.
Address: 650 Cape Enrage Road, Waterside
11 Roosevelt Campobello International Park
Modest Campobello Island requires a ferry trip from New Brunswick, but is accessible from Maine by bridge. Though part of Canada, it has strong cross-border connections, including a historic Roosevelt country estate now maintained as Roosevelt Campobello International Park. The property's main structure is a 34-room cottage where the Roosevelts often visited from 1905 to 1921. Many of the furnishings are original to the family.
When on Campobello, it's also worth the drive to East Quoddy Lighthouse, at the northern tip of the island.
Address: 459 Route 774, Welshpool
12 Parlee Beach Provincial Park
Fine sands and warm waters that can reach 20°C make Parlee Beach Provincial Park, near Shediac, one of the finest on the Atlantic coast. The park has a campground and changing facilities, catering to the many families that visit in summer.
The Acadian community of Shediac is known as the lobster capital of the world, and displays its pride with a bus-sized lobster statue near the visitor information center. Seafood is the specialty at most local restaurants.
Address: 45 Parlee Beach Rd., Pointe-du-Chêne