Where Canadian lands meet Atlantic seas, we find New Brunswick, the nation’s largest Maritime province. Coastal towns in this rugged region of mountains and water have strong influences from First Nations, French, British, Irish, and Scottish cultures.
Today, a tour of New Brunswick offers each of these flavors in the lively foods, arts, and traditions—alongside stellar natural beauty and opportunities to practice your French, as it is one of the province’s official languages. Start in the capital city of Fredericton and venture in a circular loop to experience the landscapes, cultures, and attractions of New Brunswick’s coastal towns.
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Offering delicious food, biking trails, and kayaking on the St. John River, New Brunswick’s capital city is booming. To work off some of that food, try one of the city’s many biking trails, or take it to the water by kayaking on the St. John. For a historical perspective, visit Historic Garrison to see the recreated British regiment and soldier life—the epicenter of the city, Historic Garrison also offers jazz music, summer concerts and festivals, and historic walking tours.
World’s Largest Axe
Representing the importance of the foresting industry in New Brunswick, the World’s Largest Axe was built in 1991. The chrome head is 7 meters long and made of more than 50 tons of steel—it also contains a time capsule waiting to be revealed to future generations. But the axe is more than just a marvel to gaze upon; you’ll often find outdoor performances here to enjoy as well.
New Brunswick Botanical Garden
Located in Edmundston, New Brunswick Botanical Garden is home to more than 80,000 plants. With 12 themed gardens and two arboretums, you’ll cover about 20 acres exploring—and smelling—the gardens, which comprise 100 species of therapeutic, cosmetic, and culinary plants to enjoy, as well as a Butterflies of the World exhibit.
No matter your level of hiking experience, Mount Carleton Provincial Park is the perfect spot to get back to nature, offering everything from accessible trails to challenging mountain peaks. Walk through Acadian woods on one of 11 trails, or make it to the top of Mount Carleton for a panorama that includes more than 10 million trees. Stay overnight in the campgrounds to gaze upon the night sky; The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada has designated the area a Dark Sky Preserve, which aims to reduce light pollution for the best stargazing experience.
In northern New Brunswick, the small village of Charlo is the perfect seaside escape, with family-friendly beaches, lagoons, and plenty of green space. Take a dip in rejuvenating saltwater at Charlo Beach for a day of sun during the summer months or camp out at Blue Heron Camping, which offers two outdoor pools, inflatable water slides, volleyball courts, quadricycle rentals, and windsurfing.
Le Village Historique Acadien
Take a trip back to the 17th century at Le Village Historique Acadien. The small village recreates the life of the first French North American settlers with more than 40 historical buildings and costumed guides to help paint the picture of early life in the area. In the summer, take a historical cooking class and learn to make the traditional foods of the early French inhabitants. If you’d rather be served, there are several restaurants on site, including La Table des Ancêtres, which offers traditional Acadian meals.
From shipbuilding to salmon fishing, with a strong Irish heritage, Miramichi is full of entertainment and folklore. The Ritchie Wharf Park is the perfect spot to learn about the shipbuilding history of this community, complete with a nautically-themed playground, boardwalk, and plenty of restaurants. To truly understand the sailor’s story, head to Beaubears Island Shipbuilding National Historic Site, an undisturbed 19th-century wooden shipbuilding archeological site. For a more natural setting, head to French Fort Cove at the corner of Cove Road and Highway 8. This park has several walking trails with scenic overlooks and is known for its beaver colonies.
Parlee Beach Provincial Park
Home to Canada’s warmest salt water beach, Parlee Beach Provincial Park is a must-stop on your New Brunswick tour for a day in the sand and sea. Think swimming, beach volleyball, sand sculptures, and more—all with charming shops and cafes nearby. More than 190 campsites are located on-site. The town of Shediac is known as the “Lobster Capital of the World,” so make sure to stop by the World’s Largest Lobster for a photo op and then snag a lobster roll or plate for a fresh taste of the region. The seasonal Sunday Market offers a lovely selection of local fruits, vegetables, and crafts, as well.
The landscape around the massive sea stacks known as the Hopewell Rocks changes immensely through the day, as the highest tides in the world transform the setting from sandy shores to deep seas. The Bay of Fundy rises more than 40 feet over the course of a day, gaining as much as 4 to 6 feet per hour. You can walk on the ocean floor when the tide is out and then kayak around the flowerpot rocks when the tide is in. For more seaside adventures, head west to Fundy National Park to find trails, beaches, and waterfalls. Stop by the St. Martin’s Sea Caves and visit the nearby village to find accommodations.
Roosevelt Campobello International Park
Continue your road trip with a stop in the village of St. Andrews by-the-Sea, along the shores of Passamaquoddy Bay. Many of the buildings are more than a century old and line historic streets. Then, continue to far southern New Brunswick to find Roosevelt Campobello International Park, once a retreat for Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt. Today, the site is co-maintained by both Canada and the U.S. Tour a historic cottage and walk the grounds.
This tour of New Brunswick allows you to sample Acadian history and culture, a riverfront capital city, delightful beaches, quaint small towns, and natural wonders. Fishing, shipbuilding, and forestry helped build these communities, but the welcoming spirit and natural beauty bring visitors back again and again to Canada’s largest Maritime province.