A New Brunswick Road Trip Itinerary Full of Thrills & Chills [+ Maps]

When people talk about visiting Atlantic Canada or the Maritime Provinces, what quickly comes to mind are the scenic seaside villages in Nova Scotia or the bucolic farms and red sand beaches of Prince Edward Island.

To get to both of those, visitors often skip right over New Brunswick, the Picture Province, which got its nickname from its beautiful coastline. But I’m going to give you four powerful reasons NOT to skip New Brunswick, but rather plan a New Brunswick road trip to explore this beautiful province.

Flower Pot Rocks at low tide

4 Reasons to Visit New Brunswick, Canada

  • New Brunswick is affordable! I’m not sure if you have noticed but in the last year, hotel prices have skyrocketed in the U.S. as pent-up demand and a desire to recoup losses have led to some price gouging — and it isn’t like service has gotten any better either. But New Brunswick, Canada is a very budget-friendly destination. There are a wide range of accommodation options in the budget to mid-range and, if you are visiting from the U.S., the currency conversion also makes food and activities cheaper.
  • New Brunswick isn’t crowded . If you have traveled to outdoor destinations in the U.S. in the last two years, you have probably noticed a boom in tourism in National Parks, State Parks, and other public spaces as people have sought time in the great outdoors. While Canadians love their outdoor spaces too, you do not see the crowds that you will find south of the border. It is a joy to once again spend time in nature without jostling for space or navigating crowded trails and parking lots.
  • New Brunswick is closer than you think. If you live anywhere in the Northeastern U.S., New Brunswick is a great road trip destination. You can follow my Maine coast road trip itinerary (or my New York to Maine road trip itinerary) and pick a spot to stop along the way or drive straight through. Boston to St. Andrews near the U.S.A.-Canadian border is a less than six-hour drive. What a relief it is to not have to deal with the current state of air travel! Canadians can also drive in from Quebec City (maybe with a stop in Saguenay ) or Montreal . However, if you do want to fly, you can fly into Moncton, St. John, or Fredericton (the capital), but chances are you will need to connect in Toronto or Montreal.
  • There is so much to do! When I first met with the representatives from the New Brunswick tourism board, I was so impressed by the breadth and depth of fun activities in New Brunswick. Whether you are visiting as a family with young kids or teens, as a couple, with a friend, or just on a solo road trip like me, you are going to find something to love in New Brunswick. There are dramatic cliffs, the highest tides in the world, soft sand beaches with the warmest water on the East Coast north of the Carolinas, wineries, breweries, the Lobster Capital of the World, adventure sports, forested wilderness, beautiful national and provincial parks, and cool small cities. You will also find one-of-a-kind experiences like Ballet by the Ocean or tidal bore surfing.

So hopefully I have sold you on planning a trip to New Brunswick. Now I need to tell you how to do it. I recently spent 10 days exploring Southern New Brunswick as a guest of New Brunswick Tourism to research this article and I’ve learned a lot and have plenty to share (note: all opinions are my own.)

Road on the Fundy Trail Parkway

New Brunswick Road Trip Itinerary

New Brunswick is a fairly large province and it is really best explored by car. I would recommend that you take a week to explore Southern New Brunswick. I’ve organized this New Brunswick road trip itinerary assuming you are driving from the USA and doing a loop through Southern New Brunswick.

However, if you are flying in, you can easily use this itinerary as a guide and adjust it to meet your schedule. I would suggest flying into and out of Fredericton and still following this general road trip itinerary.

To give you an overview, I have created a map using Google My Maps that shows you the major stops along this New Brunswick road trip.

Day 1: St. Andrews

When you cross the border in Calais, Maine, your first stop on the New Brunswick road trip will be St. Andrews. If you have time, stop briefly in St. Stephens as you cross the border. Did you know that St. Stephens is Canada’s “Chocolate Town”?

At the Ganog Chocolate Shop in St. Stephens, you can sample old-fashioned chocolate varieties that have been made there since the mid-1800s. There is also a Chocolate Museum in the old Ganong candy factory.

Street and mural in St. Andrews

From St. Stephens, it is only a 30-minute drive down to St. Andrews by-the-sea. This charming holiday town on the coast is a lovely place to spend a night or two. I’d highly recommend spending at least one full day in St. Andrews.

St. Andrews is an excellent spot to go whale watching, with many options from fast Zodiac boats to larger catamarans. Pick one that best matches your schedule and style. For example, choose a Zodiac if you want the thrill of speed and the larger boats if you are prone to seasickness.

The whale watching season starts in late June and you will see the best sightings from late July through September. During my time in St. Andrews, I took a three-hour whale-watching cruise with Quoddy Link Marine. Even though it was early July, we still spotted multiple minke whales, seals, harbor porpoises, and even a finback whale during a beautiful day out on the water.

Whale fin in the water off St. Andrews

After the cruise, spend some time strolling through the charming town, poking into the cute boutiques, and grab lunch at one of the many seaside restaurants. I had a lovely lunch on the shaded patio at The Gables restaurant.

If you have more time in St. Andrews, during the low tide of the Passamaquoddy Bay, you can drive across the sea floor to Ministers Island. For many thousands of years, the island (Consquamcook) was the seasonal home of the Peskotomuhkati indigenous people. Later, it was settled by Loyalists seeking a new beginning and it was also the summer estate of the entrepreneurial industrialist, artist, and Canadian nation builder, Sir William Van Horne. Today, you can visit the estate and stroll or bike along the carriage lanes, just keep an eye on the tide schedule for your return.

The Algonquin Resort in St. Andrews by the Sea, New Brunswick

Where to stay in St. Andrews: The ideal place to stay is The Algonquin Resort, which is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. This historic hotel also offers modern conveniences like a golf course, fine dining, and even an indoor pool with a waterslide. It is the kind of place where you want to gather around the fire pit at night and watch the sunset or play lawn games before taking a dip in the outdoor pool.

Day 2: St. Martins

On the second day of your New Brunswick road trip, drive just under two hours to Saint Martins. You can always stop in Saint John on the way for lunch if you want. This seaside town is small, but still a must-see because of the St. Martin Sea Caves. This is another spot where you will want to check the tide charts because during low tide you can walk out on the beach and explore the sea caves.

Sea Caves in St Martins

During high tide, you can kayak around these same sea caves with Bay of Fundy Adventures . There are also two covered bridges and a small harbor where, during low tide, the boats sit on the ocean floor.

When you get hungry, grab a bowl of seafood chowder at Seaside Restaurant or enjoy some fried clams or other seafood at The Caves restaurant overlooking the beach. For fine dining, make a reservation at Periwinkles at the Beach Street Inn.

Moran room sitting area with couch and chairs at the Beach Street Inn

Where to stay in St. Martins: The Beach Street Inn in St. Martins is one of the nicest places that I stayed at during my time in New Brunswick. There are 14 ensuite rooms or suites in the main house and carriage house. Each is tastefully appointed to create a stylish retreat with modern amenities and comforts.

Day 3: Drive the Fundy Trail Parkway

Fundy Trail Parkway Martin Head Overlook

Start your next day early and pick up a picnic lunch to bring on your drive along the scenic Fundy Trail Parkway. Completed in mid-2020, the Fundy Trail Parkway is 19 miles long and encompasses 2,559 hectares (6,323 acres) of land from the West Gate in St. Martins to the eastern entrance in Sussex Corner. There are 21 scenic overlooks, four waterfalls, five beaches, and 22 miles of hiking and biking trails along the Fundy Trail Parkway. The Fundy Trail hiking path is also part of two UNESCO-designated sites: the Fundy Biosphere Reserve and Stonehammer Global Geopark. 

Long Beach Fundy Trail Parkway

I’ve written a separate blog post about some must-see places along the Fundy Trail Parkway including some short hikes to the “Grand Canyon of New Brunswick”, a swinging suspension bridge, a beautiful beach, a waterfall, and many gorgeous scenic overlooks.

After you finish driving the Fundy Trail Parkway, use the newly completed connector road through Fundy National Park to reach your destination for the evening in Alma. If you have time along the way, you can stop for a hike or to enjoy a scenic view.

Lobster boats in the Alma harbor

Alma is a very cute fishing and lobstering village with a handful of restaurants, a brewery, a few shops, and a couple of motels. If you are ready for a drink, stop into Holy Whale, one of New Brunswick’s 50 craft breweries, based in a former church building. I’m not sure you can go wrong with a dinner pick, but I had delicious mussels at Tipsy Tail’s on the water. It was a perfect spot for watching the lobster boats return to the harbor and unload and to watch the sunset. In the morning, stop into Kelly’s Bake Shop for her famous sticky buns.

Where to stay in Alma: the options in Alma are limited and basic budget motels, but fine for a short stay. I would recommend the Parkland Village Inn , which has a nice lawn out back and if you get an ocean view room, you can watch the boats come and go.

Day 4: Cape Enrage

If you are ready for an adventure, spend your fourth day in New Brunswick at Cape Enrage. I would recommend you call ahead to find out the times for the tides and see if you can book a fossil tour and other adventures. It is a scenic 20-30 minute drive from Alma to Cape Enrage and it is a beautiful drive on winding country roads lined with wildflowers.

Cape Enrage Lighthouse

Along the way, you can stop for a walk on Waterside Beach and Pebble Beach. It is $6.00 per adult to enter and Cape Enrage is closed on Wednesdays. I would highly recommend calling in advance to see opening hours and discuss available activities. Cape Enrage is home to the oldest lighthouse on mainland New Brunswick.

Your entrance fee also gives you access to the rocky beach, reached by climbing down a steep set of metal stairs. You need to watch the tides, but if the tide is low enough you can walk along the coast and be wowed by the dramatic cliffs. What you may not notice on your own is that the beach is littered with fossils.

Woman walking on the rocks near the cliff at Cape Enrage

To learn more, you can book one of two fossil tours. The 45-minute tour takes you onto the beach and gives you a nice education into the geological history of the area and the impact of the tides. The longer, two-hour tour also includes a hike along the coast and needs to be done during low tide.

Other optional activities are either ziplining or cliff rappeling. Since I’ve done ziplining in many locations, I wanted to try something new so I signed up to go rappeling. I’m not scared of heights but I’m also not a huge thrill seeker. Still, I thought that I would be fine but I was actually much more nervous than expected once I had to step off that platform. You need a decent level of fitness and courage, but it is something worth trying — at least once!

Cliff rappelling at Cape Enrage

There is a cafe on property that serves fish and chips, seafood chowder, and other dishes, making it easy to spend a full day at Cape Enrage.

Where to stay: you really have three options after your day at Cape Enrage, you can backtrack to Alma and stay two nights at the Parkland Village Inn (but you will need to drive past Cape Enrage to get up to Hopewell Rocks the next day), you can drive up to Moncton and stay two or three nights there to avoid too much moving around (but you will need to drive back to Hopewell Rocks the next day), or you can stay one night at the Hopewell Rocks Motel and Country Inn . It is a basic motel but it is clean and has a pool and restaurant and is the best choice if you prioritize convenience.

Day 5: Hopewell Rocks

People by Flower Pot rocks at Hopewell Rocks

Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park is one of the most famous sights in New Brunswick. Hopewell Rocks is only 30 minutes from Cape Enrage so you could technically do both of these attractions in one day, depending on what activities that you want to participate in at each. However, I do think it is really amazing to see Hopewell Rocks at both high tide and low tide, so you really need to plan on spending most of the day here.

Hopewell Rocks is one of the best places on the Bay of Fundy to experience the power of the tides. There are over twenty free-standing sea stacks along the two kilometers of shoreline, which you can easily walk along during low tide. Of course it is a very different experience at high tide.

Many people like to visit first at high tide and then either return later, or have lunch or a picnic and explore the interpretative center before then going back at low tide. This will give you a real wow moment to see the difference that a few hours make. But in reality, it doesn’t matter what order you visit in so just do what works best with your schedule and the tide calendar .

Elephant Rock at Hopewell Rocks

It is a 10-15 minute walk to the main entrance point to the coast down the metal stairs near the Flower Pot rocks, or you can pay a small fee to take a shuttle. The area around the famous Flower Pot Rocks can get crowded, but if you walk along the coast at low tide you can easily get away from people. Just be sure to wear sturdy footwear that you don’t mind getting dirty as the sea floor is quite rocky and slippery with mud. Don’t worry, they do provide a hose footbath to clean off after.

A walk along the coast will take you past sea stacks such as Elephant, Bear, Dinosaur, ET, and even Mother-in-Law. Another fun way to explore the coastline is by kayak with Baymount Outdoor Adventures. I was scheduled to take a night kayaking tour among the sea stacks but unfortunately, the wind and current was too strong that night so they had to cancel.

Kayaks in Bay of Fundy at Hopewell Rocks

Where to stay: unless you are staying for the late night kayaking tour, I’d recommend driving 30 minutes north to Moncton to stay overnight at either the Delta Beausejour or the Residence Inn , both of which are Marriott properties that are conveniently located in downtown Moncton. If you would prefer to relax at a beach for the next day, you can drive a bit further (about an hour from Hopewell Rocks) and stay at the Hotel Shediac . Hotel Shediac is a nice boutique, full-service hotel that is walking distance to restaurants in downtown Shediac and a short drive to Parlee Beach.

Day 6: Moncton or Shediac

Since you are reaching the end of your New Brunswick road trip, you will need a little time to relax and there are two options for you: 1) relax at the beach; or 2) enjoy the thrills and chills or Magnetic Hill. I would encourage you to spend an extra day and do both.

Shediac Giant Lobster sculpture

Moncton is called the Hub City because it is a great launching pad for day trips around the area, including the beach towns along the Northumberland Strait. The Northumberland Strait has the warmest waters north of the Carolinas and as a New Englander, I concur. There are a number of lovely beach towns along the Acadian Coast, each with a slightly different vibe but all are family friendly.

Parlee Beach is Shediac is lovely with full facilities, wide stretches of sand that aren’t overcrowded, plentiful parking, and calm, clear water. Plus, you are just a few minutes drive to downtown Shediac, the Lobster Capital of the World, and home of the Giant Lobster sculpture.

Parlee Beach in Shediac New Brunswick

While there I highly, highly recommend booking a Lobster Tales cruise with Shediac Bay Cruises. The two-hour cruise leaves out of Pointe-du-Chêne wharf (which is a cute place to visit on its own) and is an absolute delight. Unlike most sightseeing cruises, this trip is about the food — particularly, the lobster.

Captain Ron entertains guests with tales from his 40 years of fishing experience but also educates about conservation and, importantly, the best way to eat a whole lobster. Then, dinner is served and you put your newly-learned skills to the test. You will laugh a lot and not go home hungry!

Tamara and Captain Ron holding lobster on  the Lobster Tales boat cruise

If you are looking for something even more mellow, drive up the Acadian coast to the Irving Eco-Centre at La Dune de Bouchtouche. This center was established to preserve the 12 km sand dune that stretches across Bouctouche Bay. In addition to the education center, there is long, serpentine boardwalk that runs along the dunes, as well as a forest trail beside the salt marsh. This area is home to the Great Blue Heron, the Piping Plover and other wildlife.

La Dune du Bouctouche boardwalk

Cap-Pelé is another great choice for a beach day paired with beachside seafood. Plage Beach at Parc de L’Aboiteau is the first salt water beach in Canada to receive the Blue Flag Certification for its cleanliness and accessibility. Here you will find a gorgeous beach, full facilities, a spacious seafood restaurant overlooking the water and even a craft beer taproom!

Don’t worry if you aren’t visiting in the summer or you aren’t in the mood for a beach day, Moncton offers plenty to do for families or adults. Downtown Moncton is a fun place to explore with tons of great restaurants and craft breweries. You can also enjoy the city’s bike paths or check out the tidal bore wave that rolls through town at the turn of the tide.

However, most likely you will want to head 15-20 minutes out of town to Magnetic Hill. This area was so-named because of a natural phenonemon that makes it appear that a car can roll backwards up hill. That’s a fun thing to experience, and afterwards families can enjoy a day at either the Magic Mountain Water Park or the Magnetic Hill Zoo .

Magnetic Hill Winery

Those traveling without kids can also enjoy Magnetic Hill, followed by a visit to the Usva Spa Nordik . This Nordic spa offers a hot and cold thermal experience and plenty of space to relax. After a morning of relaxation, I would suggest booking a tasting or a tour at the Magnetic Hill Winery next door. Here you can sample everything from fruit wines to dry reds at New Brunswick’s largest winery.

Where to stay: you are in luck! You can stay in the same place you stayed last night and finally get a chance to settle in instead of moving every night.

Day 7: Glamping or Fredericton

As your time in New Brunswick draws to a close, it is time to start looping back towards the Maine border (or Fredericton if you flew in.) The drive from Moncton to Fredericton is about two hours and a stop here is another way to break up the trip home.

Fredericton seems like a cool little capital city but unfortunately I did not get to visit on this trip. Instead, I booked a two-night glamping stay at Glamp Camp, which is about 30 minutes from Fredericton. My initial plan was to take a day trip into Fredericton and spend the day either renting a kayak or aquabike on the river or exploring some of the city’s Taproom Trail, since it is known as Atlantic Canada’s Craft Beer Capital. However, I was too tired from my journey and took the day to relax and have a bit of a writing retreat.

Geodesic dome at Glamp Camp

New Brunswick offers an impressive range of glamping options and Glamp Camp in Waterborough opened in late 2019. There are 10 geodesic domes on property. Each dome is fully-equipped with a complete bathroom, small kitchen, a pellet stove, and even air conditioning! The domes truly have the comforts of a hotel room, but much more fun!

Outdoors, each dome has a propane grill, picnic table, fire ring, and a fire-heated hot tub. You can rent tandem bikes to explore the area or kayaks that the staff will deliver to the lake across the road for you. I found it a fun and memorable way to end my trip.

Where to stay: I absolutely loved glamping in the dome at Glamp Camp in Waterborough. However, if glamping isn’t your thing, you could stop over in Fredericton at the Delta Hotel Fredericton .

And that is it — one week in New Brunswick goes quickly and leaves you wanting more. Don’t let this destination pass you by as it is so rare to find a place that offers so much beauty and adventure that isn’t crowded with tourists.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cape Jourimain lighthouse

How long does it take to drive around New Brunswick?

It takes just under three hours to drive from the U.S.-Canadian border to the eastern coast of New Brunswick. You can drive from the Bay of Fundy in the south to the border with Quebec to the north in approximately four hours, however, this New Brunswick road trip itinerary focuses on travel in and around Southern New Brunswick.

What languages are spoken in New Brunswick?

New Brunswick is Canada’s only official bilingual province and all signs will be in both French and English. In addition to French, you will also hear the Acadian dialect, as New Brunswick is home to the largest Acadian community in Canada.

How many days do you need in New Brunswick?

How long you spend in New Brunswick depends on what you like to do and if you want to focus on just one region or travel around. For a proper New Brunswick road trip, I would suggest a minimum of five to seven days. If you just want to visit the Moncton area and take day trips from the Hub City, three to four days might suffice, but five would be best.

What is the best time of year to visit New Brunswick?

For a road trip through Coastal New Brunswick, it is best to visit in the late spring through the fall. You will find that some accommodations along the coast close after Canadian Thanksgiving in October. This is also the best time to participate in activities such as kayaking in the Bay of Fundy. Other attractions such as the Fundy Trail Parkway are not open year round.

However, there is plenty to do in New Brunswick in the winter including snowmobiling, dog sledding, hunting, ice skating, ice fishing, and even skiing.

Where are the best places to see the Bay of Fundy tides?

The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world, ranging about 50 feet from low tide to high tide. There are many places along the New Brunswick coast to observe this change of tides, but two places, in particular, are especially dramatic. Hopewell Rocks is the most famous place to see the Bay of Fundy tides and walk along the sea floor at low tide. The St. Martins Sea Caves also offer a dramatic backdrop for the change in tides.

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One-week New Brunswick road trip itinerary

Tamara Gruber is the Founder and Publisher of We3Travel. A former marketing executive and travel advisor, Tamara is an award-winning travel writer and recognized expert in family travel. Tamara is a member of SATW and the Adventure Travel Trade Association, and serves on the Board of the Family Travel Association. She is also the publisher of YourTimetoFly.com and the co-host of the Vacation Mavens travel podcast.

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Publish Date: July 29, 2022



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The Ultimate New Brunswick Road Trip Itinerary

This post is sponsored by Destination New Brunswick but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

There’s no doubt that the best way to really get a feel for many places in Canada is to hop in a car. That’s why taking a New Brunswick road trip was the best way for Daniel and I to get to see some of the amazing sights of the province. With so much to do, there’s only one way to really enjoy the area is by renting a car and hitting the road.

Everything you need to know about your New Brunswick road trip

Here’s a great itinerary so you hit up all the spots you want to on your New Brunswick road trip!

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Flying into New Brunswick

Unless you plan on driving from another area (which you easily can from Maine), you’re going to want to fly into New Brunswick to start your road trip. There are a few airports that you can fly into, but I recommend Moncton as your destination since it is the most trafficked. You’re likely to find slightly lower prices when you travel to New Brunswick and as the province’s largest city, it’s a good starting point.

Renting a car in New Brunswick

Since you’re starting in Moncton, this is also where you are going to want to think about renting a car. Canada’s highway system is well-paved and maintained, so unless you are planning on doing some off-roading, you should be fine with a sedan. There has been a car shortage in many parts of the world, so make sure you book your car several months in advance so you can ensure that you have it on the dates you need it.

Another fun way to explore driving through New Brunswick is to consider looking into an RV rental in Moncton . Depending on the type of RV or van you rent, this can help you save cash on accommodations. New Brunswick has a ton of camping options, so you shouldn’t have to worry about finding a place to park your home on wheels.

Map of New Brunswick

Day 1–Moncton

The largest city in New Brunswick, Moncton has come alive over the past few years as more people start to discover how amazing the province is. I highly recommend checking out downtown where there is active nightlife on the weekends and some delicious dining options.

new brunswick road trip

Also make sure to check out the other main attraction in that area at the Boardwalk. It’s the perfect place to grab a beer and contemplate how Magnetic Hill works. Kids also have access to a zoo, go karts, butterfly garden, and more.

Where to stay in Moncton

As the hub of New Brunswick, there are several hotel options perfect for those who want an easy trip to the main sights on your New Brunswick itinerary.

Delta Hotels by Marriott Beausejour

750 Main St

+1 506 854-4344

You can’t get any more downtown than this hotel with modern rooms, two restaurants, and a spa available. After you are full of good food from one of the local hotspots, head back and go for a swim in the large pool or snuggle into your comfy bed before another day of exploring.

Chateau Moncton Hotel & Suites

100 Main St

+1 506 870 4444

Another spot located on the main drag of Moncton, this modern hotel looks over the Petitcodiac River and is close to Bore Park, where you can see the river rise and fall with the tides during the day. WiFi, breakfast, and parking are all included in a stay here.

Where to eat in Moncton

As Moncton becomes more and more of a popular spot, there have been a number of awesome places to eat crop up. Whether you are looking for international cuisine or something more familiar, you can usually find it in Moncton’s downtown.

5 Orange Lane

+1 506 855 2337

Brews on brews on brews await you at the Pump House in the heart of downtown. Among a long list of craft beer available, this laidback pub has comfort food on the menu. You’ll find poutine, burgers, pasta, and pizza that will fill you up as you start out on your New Brunswick road trip.

Gusto Italian Grill & Bar

130 Westmorland St

+1 506 204 7177

Italian food in Canada? This is not what you’re expecting! Rustic decor and unique menu items make this spot on the river ideal for grabbing some delicious bites before you start out on your journey across the province. While the pizza and pasta are amazing, you’re definitely not going to want to skimp out on the dessert options available!

Day 2–Fundy Trail Parkway to St. Martins

Driving time from Moncton to St. Martins (without stops): 1 hour and 36 minutes

new brunswick road trip

This Fundy coastal drive is the main attraction, and you’re going to want to do a little bit of planning before you hit the road on what you want to make sure not to miss. The top spots? Fuller Falls, Walton Glen Gorge, and the Franklin Suspension Bridge. There’s a lot more to do here, but if you have a limited amount of time, you’re going to want to decide which trails to hit up in advance.

From there, you’ll have an easy drive to St. Martins where you will stay for the night. If you’re looking for a lobster dinner, you’ve got it here!

Where to stay in St. Martins

St. Martins is super small, so you only have a few options of where to stay while you’re there. However, where there is to stay is charming and offers easy access to the water-based activities available.

Beach Street Inn

16 Beach St

+1 506 833 4772

This adorable bed and breakfast incorporates the history of the building while also including new renovations. With a view of the Bay of Fundy from the restaurant (if you’re looking for a lobster broil, this is the place for it), this cozy accommodation has delightful touches and a few ghost stories too.

Day 3–St. Martins to Saint John

Drive time from St. Martins to Saint John: 42 minutes

Before you leave the hamlet of St. Martin for the larger city of Saint John, you’re going to want to do a bit of exploring! One of my favorite activities in New Brunswick was to go for a sea kayaking excursion with Red Rock Adventure . If you are looking to explore the Bay of Fundy and spot some wildlife like minke whales, harbor seals, and more, this is the best way to do it.

driving through new brunswick

From there you have a short drive to Saint John and you have the afternoon free to wander around this industrial city. Saint John has a bunch of fun restaurants, bars, and shops tucked away down narrow alleys and hidden on side streets, so take some time to just stroll around. You’ll also find some murals perfect for photos!

new brunswick itinerary

To end the night, grab a drink at Happinez , where you can find a large selection of wines and cocktail options before you head off to another part of the province.

Where to stay in Saint John

Saint John has a number of hotels downtown due to its popularity as a cruise port. You shouldn’t have trouble finding a spot that is walkable to the main area.

Hilton Saint John

1 Market Square

+1 506 693 8484

Located right on the water, the Hilton Saint John is one of the best options for hotels since it allows you to walk without problem to the Market, restaurants, and eventually the new “Container City” that will be opening on the harbor. For those looking for a little luxury on their New Brunswick trip, this is the hotel you’ll want to stay at.

Delta Hotels by Marriott Saint John

39 King Street

+1 506 648 1981

Having a downtown location makes all the difference when you are staying in Saint John! If you want a great place to crash on your New Brunswick road trip after a busy itinerary, this is a good option to do so. It includes a pool, gym, and modern touches for a pleasant stay.

Where to eat in Saint John

Narrowing down which restaurants to try in Saint John is tough and you can’t really go wrong with any of the options in the harbor. However, there are a few standouts that locals and cruise shippers both love and shouldn’t be missed.

Cask and Kettle

112 Prince William Street

+1 506 214 4391

New Brunswick is big into its maritime traditions, and you can find food that reflects that at the Cask and Kettle, an Irish gastropub that gets home cooking right. Along with local brews, you can find new favorites like the Irish L.C. Burger, the Luke Skywhopper, and more.

26 Germain St

+1 506 643 8401

Who says you can’t find great vegetarian and vegan food up north? Loved by non-meat-eaters and veggies alike, you can find a variety of delicious options at this spot downtown. You won’t want to miss favorites like the Veggie Donair and Vegan Mac and Peas before you head out to explore the rest of the town.

Day 4–Saint John to St. Andrews

Driving time from Saint John to St. Andrews: 1 hour and 4 minutes

new brunswick road trip

Along the way, the Irving Nature Park offers seven miles of hiking trails along the coast, as well as places where you can have a picnic with provided tables and grills. Keep an eye out for seals in the region, as well as a number of bird species that like to rest here on their migration.

Once you reach the small town of St. Andrews, you’re going to get an entirely different feel than you had in Saint John. St. Andrews is a seaside town and wants you to know it, but I recommend checking out some of the activities on land before heading to the water.

new brunswick road trip

After your time on the water, walk downtown and check out some of the charming shops and restaurants. You’ll understand why St. Andrew’s full name is St. Andrews-by-the-Sea!

Where to stay in St. Andrews

Because it is such a popular vacation spot for locals, you’re going to want to book your hotel in advance. Expect super cute bed and breakfasts and locally-owned accommodations.

The Algonquin Resort

184 Adolphus

+1 506 529 8823

This historic resort has a chateau-type feel to it, as well as a restaurant, pool, and spa. For those who want to relax in style, this is the best place to take a moment and rest on your New Brunswick road trip.

The New Brunswick Bed & Breakfast

138 Champlain Avenue

+1 506 404 0100

This adorable bed and breakfast is located right by the beach and offers the perfect location for sightseeing. It’s also budget-friendly for those looking not to break the bank while on their trip to New Brunswick.

Where to eat in St. Andrews

Narrowing down which adorable place to sit down and have a meal in St. Andrews can be a challenge, but you can’t go wrong with almost any restaurant on the water. Can’t beat dinner and a view of the Bay of Fundy!

Char and Chowder

182 Water Street

+1 506 529 3509

Chowder? Yes, please! This restaurant takes its maritime theme to the max with its menu items. With a large outdoor patio and portion sizes, there’s plenty to love here like the Charlie’s Burger with signature pickled onion sauce or the Meatloaf with Mushroom Sauce.

Lumberjacks Cafe

246 Water Street

+1 506 529 6243

Honoring the history of New Brunswick’s lumber heritage, this is the ideal spot for delicious sandwiches and soups. Whether you are looking to sit down and admire some of the lumberjack tools used as decorations or grabbing something to go, you’ve got plenty of sub options and even shepherd’s pie!

Day 5–Fredericton

Driving time from St. Andrews to Fredericton: 1 hour and 40 minutes

new brunswick road trip

Featuring over 70,000 artifacts from the 19th century, Kings Landing is a working village with employees dressed in period-accurate costumes. At 300 acres, you could spend an entire day wandering through the farms, restored buildings and workshops, or attending events like Christmas dinner or maple sugar harvesting. If you ever wondered what it might be like during this time period, you can experience it through this living history museum. Personally, this was one of my favorite things to do in New Brunswick !

While you could hang out all day in Kings Landing, there’s a lot more to see in Fredericton. The area is super bike-friendly, and known for its multiple breweries along its Taproom Trail . I highly recommend grabbing an electric scooter from Mint Rentals in order to get to those drinks faster–just make sure to scooter responsibly!

To end the day, you can enjoy something a bit more cultural at Beaverbrook Art Gallery , where renovations will be finished in 2022 and will feature works by Dali, Christopher Pratt, Joshua Reynolds, and more. It also has an extensive collection of works from local Acadian, Maliseet, and Mi’kmaq artists.

Where to stay in Fredericton

As a college town, most of the action is located downtown. You’ll find a number of hotels that offer a short walk from the restaurants and shops, as well as a modern feel and food options right inside the lobbies.

Hilton Garden Inn Fredericton

620 Queen St

+1 506 999 1551

You can’t get any more central than this hotel right on the St. John River! Providing a short walk to the main sights like the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and restaurants, you also have free WiFi, fitness center, and option for a balcony overlooking the water below.

Crowne Plaza Fredericton

659 Queen St

+1 506 455 3371

Named after famous resident Lord Beaverbrook, this hotel boasts a pool, bar, and breakfast. For those who want to spend the night out, you can’t get any better than this location near the pubs and bars that make up this lively college town.

Where to eat in Fredericton

Along with a young population comes some innovative restaurants throughout Fredericton. One of the things I enjoyed the most about spending time here was learning how many former attendees of the colleges here found their way back after living in Toronto or Montreal. As a result, there are plenty of delicious restaurants that you’re going to want to make time for out of your New Brunswick road trip!

+1 506 443 1187

The husband and wife team behind this restaurant has made it the spot to sit down after a long day of exploring by sharing a unique meal. Delivering shareable plates with local ingredients, the names of the dishes might provoke thoughts of a five-star dining establishment, but the interior and vibe is all hometown chic.

Isaac’s Way

649 Queen St

+1 506 474 7222

Farm-to-table is the name of the game here, and with items on the menu like Smoked Tofu Carbonara and Bacon Scallop Penne, you have a taste of both familiar and unfamiliar flavors–all delicious! They also sell local artwork within the restaurant to donate the proceeds to charity, so you’ll be eating there for a good cause.

Day 6–Cape Enrage, Hopewell Rocks, and back to Moncton

Drive time from Fredericton to Cape Enrage: 2 hours and 20 minutes

Drive time from Cape Enrage to Hopewell Rocks: 34 minutes

Drive time from Hopewell Rocks to Moncton: 30 minutes

new brunswick road trip

After some adventure, it’s time to head to New Brunswick’s most-visited attraction, Hopewell Rocks . There might be no better place in the Bay of Fundy to see the daily drama of the tides coming in and out. Before you go, I recommend checking out their tide table online so you know when to go. For this itinerary, you will probably be visiting in the evening when the tides are on their second way out.

new brunswick itinerary

A shuttle service is available, as well as a restaurant during the main summer season, and rangers are ready and available to answer any of your questions while exploring the park. If you have a little extra time, you might also want to stop by the interpretive center featuring a life-size replica of a juvenile Atlantic right whale.

After a long day, it’s time to head back to Moncton where you’ll catch your flight out or continue on your New Brunswick road trip to another locale.

Have extra time?

Of course, this itinerary doesn’t cover everything when it comes to what there is to see in New Brunswick. You would need a lot more time than six days, and there are a ton of sights that are located north and away from the coast. If you do have a bit of time before you have to return home, here are some of the places I would recommend adding to your New Brunswick road trip itinerary,

Fundy National Park and Alma

One of two national parks in the province, Fundy National Park has some of the best New Brunswick hiking trails that shouldn’t be missed if you can help it. Home to gorgeous waterfalls, camping, and coastal views, this 80-square-mile park is an outdoor lover’s paradise.

Many visitors choose to stay in the gateway to the park at Alma. Along with a number of quaint restaurants and shops, this spot is also famous for its sticky buns at Kelly’s Bake Shop . I recommend checking it out during the afternoon because it will be swamped in the morning!

Kouchibouguac National Park

The lesser-known but equally beautiful national park in New Brunswick has eight hiking trails within its 92 square miles of area. This is a spot where marshes meet forest while also offering some protected beaches to boot. You’ll find a number of wildlife species here including black bear, bobcat, moose, timber wolf, and more.

new brunswick road trip

Shediac is also famous for its giant lobster. New Brunswick is famous for its lobster harvesting, and the town honors that with this statue. Take a quick break from your trip and grab a photo with this big guy!

Campobello Island

As the largest and only inhabited island in the parish of Campobello, this spot is also the location of former United States’ president Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s summer cottage. Now an International Park looked after by both the National Park Service and Parks Canada, you can visit from either country. Just make sure to bring your passport so you can see the cottage itself.

Campobello is also a tourist haven where you can take pictures of a number of lighthouses, go whale watching, and hiking as a day trip. Grab the ferry from Deer Island for an extra adventure!

Do you have any places you would add to your New Brunswick road trip itinerary? Let me know in the comments!

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new brunswick road trip

Want more information on Canada? Check out these articles:

  • 18 New Brunswick Beaches You Have to Visit on Your Canada Trip

18 Amazing New Brunswick Hiking Trails You Can’t Miss

21 amazing new brunswick waterfalls that will take your breath away, 20 of the best things to do in new brunswick you can’t miss.

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Alex is the founder of Alex on the Map, a site devoted to national park guides, hiking, climbing, and enjoying your outdoor adventures. After growing up near Glacier National Park in Montana, Alex now spends summers in the American West hitting up the trail with her husband and dog.

Her work has been featured in Fodor's, the Huffington Post, Bustle, and many more. She has also been featured in publications such as The Washington Post, CNN, and USA Today.

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Brogan Abroad

Fundy Coastal Drive: The Most Scenic Road Trip In New Brunswick, Canada

Posted on Last updated: 26/12/2023

Categories CANADA

A comprehensive Fundy Coastal Drive itinerary for anyone wanting to see highlights of this stunning stretch of Atlantic Canada coast. This itinerary for this epic road trip in New Brunswick will provide you with everything you need to help you make the most of your adventure.

View from the top of the edge of the Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park featuring people on the black sandy shore with a view of the waters meeting the orange hues changing to blue of the skies and the edges thin trees can be seen in the foreground nearby the Fundy Coastal Drive.

The Bay of Fundy is a bay between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia . It is famous for having the world’s highest tides, but it is also famous for being an incredible natural treasure.

The Fundy Coastal Drive in New Brunswick is one of the most spectacular stretches of coast in Canada. With this tried and tested itinerary, I’ll take you through the twists and turns of this scenic road trip, highlighting the places you must not miss. 

Me crossing a hanging wooden bridge with a view of the trees at the background along the Fundy Coastal Drive.

From the iconic Hopewell Rocks to the serene Fundy National Park, every stop offers a glimpse into the maritime heritage of Atlantic Canada.

So here are my top recommendations for the Fundy Coastal Drive, the most scenic road trip in New Brunswick, to help you plan the perfect adventure in this stunning Canadian province.

Table of Contents

  • 1.1 Day 1 – Moncton, Shediac and Hopewell Rocks
  • 1.2 Day 2 – Fundy National Park and Fundy Trail Parkway
  • 1.3 Day 3 – Saint John
  • 1.4 Day 4 – Saint Andrews
  • 2 Fundy Coastal Drive, New Brunswick – FAQs
  • 3 How to Get to New Brunswick

Fundy Coastal Drive Itinerary: A Scenic Odyssey through New Brunswick

Embark on a road trip of a lifetime as you traverse the stunning landscapes of the Fundy Coast in New Brunswick, Canada. From charming towns to awe-inspiring natural wonders, the Fundy Coastal Drive promises an adventure filled with history, culture, and breathtaking scenery.

Day 1 – Moncton, Shediac and Hopewell Rocks

Located in the geographical centre of the Canadian Maritime Provinces, Moncton is the largest town in New Brunswick and the perfect place to start this itinerary.

The blue barn house building of the Giant Lobster restaurant under bright blue skies with some clouds with a red, white, and blue boat, a yellow statues sitting, and some chairs in front of the building along the Fundy Coastal Drive.

Spend the first day exploring the city and the surrounding area before setting off on your adventure along the Fundy Coastal Drive.

Here are some of the highlights in Moncton and surroundings you must not miss in this itinerary.

Moncton street art

Take a leisurely stroll through downtown, immersing yourself in the vibrant street art that covers some of the town’s walls.

An office building with the Moncton Mural Rain painted on the wall featuring people walking across the road under night city lights while dark clouds and blue skies can be seen above the building along the Fundy Coastal Drive.

Each mural tells a story, adding an artistic flair to Moncton’s streets. Look out for the work of world-famous street artist Dan Kitchener.

Watch this unique phenomenon from Bore Park. The tidal bore happens twice a day and it is caused when the extreme tides in the Bay of Fundy begin to make their way up Petitcodiac River.

Tall green grass in the foreground with the view of the waters entering the shore of the Petitcodiac River along the Fundy Coastal Drive. Cloudy skies can be seen at the back.

The best spot to view the tidal bore is on the amphitheatre at 10 Bendview Court in downtown Moncton.

Shediac, Lobster Capital of the World

Drive to Shediac, proudly known as the Lobster Capital of the World and indulge in the freshest seafood by joining a food tour . > Book your food tour of Shediac here

Me in front of the purple barn house building of The Big Lobster Hut with a door and two small white windows with bushes in front under bright blue skies with some clouds along the Fundy Coastal Drive.

You can also join a lobster boat tour for a firsthand look at the lobstering process, and to learn about the local fishing culture.

World’s largest lobster

While in Shediac, don’t miss the opportunity to capture a memory with the world’s largest lobster statue. This colossal crustacean serves as a quirky and fun photo backdrop.

Me in a happy pose in front of the large lobster statues with the flags of Canada and Flag of Acadia waving under bright blue skies with some clouds while a garden with yellow and red flowers can be seen at the back along the Fundy Coastal Drive.

Go to the beach at Parlee Beach Provincial Park

Unwind at Parlee Beach Provincial Park, renowned for its golden sands and warm waters (a lot warmer than I expected!). Whether you choose to swim or simply bask in the sun, the tranquil beauty of Parlee Beach makes for a perfect pitstop.

Portrait view of the sandy shore of the Parlee Beach Provincial Park with people cycling, sunbathing, and walking towards the blue waters under clear blue skies with some clouds in the back along the Fundy Coastal Drive.

TOP TIP: Don’t miss the most delicious lobster roll from Euston Park Social at Parlee Beach.

A lobster roll sandwich served with fries and some red drinks on a wooden table.

Magnetic Hill

Located on the northwestern edge of the Moncton, Magnetic Hill is a gravity hill that produces an optical illusion that makes a slight downhill slope appear like it’s uphill.

A road going up a hill of the Magnetic Hill surrounded by trees and lush vegetation under cloudy skies nearby the Fundy Coastal Drive.

Drive up to Magnetic Hill, put the car out of gear, and it will look like it rolls uphill against gravity. Very confusing!

Hopewell Rocks

The tides in the Bay of Fundy can reach a water level of up to 16 metres high, making it the highest tide in the world. Hopewell Rocks, in Hopewell Cape, is the best place to experience this extreme phenomenon.

View of the brown waters from the top of a rock formation of the Hopewell Rocks while some small rock formations can be seen nearby under bright blue cloudy skies with some clouds in the background along the Fundy Coastal Drive.

During low tide, you can walk on the ocean floor around the enormous Hopewell Rocks. The iconic flowerpot formations, sculpted by the relentless tidal forces over centuries are surrounded by fossil-filled mudflats and are an incredible sight.

Me looking at he rock formation with some vegetation growing on top of it on a dirt road while more rock formations can be seen at the right under bright blue skies while some people walk near the beach nearby the Fundy Coastal Drive.

For an adrenaline-pumping adventure, return during high tide to kayak around the towering Hopewell Rocks . Paddle through arches and witness the landscape transform as the tides change. This was probably the highlight of my Fundy Coastal Drive trip.

Me rowing a red kayak on the waters with the view of other people on kayaks in the back nearby the rock formations under bright blue skies with some clouds at the back along the Fundy Coastal Drive.

TOP TIP: Always check the tide timetables. If you are not able to see Hopewell Rocks at both high and low tide on the same day, you can do it over two days. I visited at low tide during sunset on my first day, and kayaked around them the next morning, while en route to Fundy National Park. > Book your admission ticket to Hopewell Rocks here

Best tours in Moncton

Where to stay in moncton.

Moncton has so many options for accommodation that it would be hard to pick just one. I stayed at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Beausejour , which is conveniently located in the heart of the town and has an ample parking lot.

> Book the Delta Hotel by Marriott Beausejour in Moncton here

A hotel room at Delta Hotels featuring a white double bed with two pairs of white pillows, a wide bed frame, and two lamps attached at the end of the bed. Hanging artwork decorates the wall above the bed frames. There is a window on one side, nearby a small pale orange sofa.

These are other highly recommended places to stay in Moncton.

  • Crowne Plaza Hotel Moncton Downtown – Located in Downtown Monton, this is an LGTBQ+ friendly hotel with high sustainability credentials. Relax in the large indoor pool, Jacuzzi or Steam Room after a long day of exploring. Book it here
  • Jardin Suites Highfield – A stylish one bedroom apartment centrally located and fully equipped with all amenities. It has private parking. Book it here

Day 2 – Fundy National Park and Fundy Trail Parkway

Day two of this Fundy Coastal Drive itinerary takes you through a coastal paradise filled with pristine Acadian forest, an excellent network of trails, and plenty of stunning viewpoints.

Aerial view of the green waters with some white sandy shores under cloudy skies with tree-covered mountains in the background while trees and lush vegetation can be seen in the foreground along the Fundy Coastal Drive.

Today you will immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, the vast ocean, and the wide-open sky.

Cape Enrage

Cape Enrage offers one of the most spectacular views of the high tide phenomenon from the top of the cliffs. It is part of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve and the Fundy Coastal Drive Experience.

A white and red lighthouse at the edge of a land formation nearby the blue waters under clear blue skies along the Fundy Coastal Drive.

It’s the perfect stop for anyone seeking a bit of adventure, with a 183-metre zip line and a 46-metre rappel wall.

Alma Lobster Shop

Before entering the breathtaking Fundy National Park, stop at Alma Lobster Shop, in the village of Alma, and indulge in delicious fresh lobster rolls, a local delicacy.

new brunswick canada road trip

They also have freshly cooked whole lobster, scallops, fried clams and seafood chowder.

Walton Glen Gorge Falls

Within Fundy National Park, marvel at the spectacular view of Walton Glen Gorge Falls. Park at the visitor centre and take a short walk to the observation deck.

Aerial view of a basin-like land formation filled with trees and a small waterfall of the Walton Glen Gorge Falls under bright blue skies with some clouds along the Fundy Coastal Drive.

The waterfall didn’t have much water when I visited, but the lush greenery and the dramatic view of the coastal river ravine are truly breathtaking.

Fundy Trail Parkway

The Fundy Park Trailway is a 19-mile drive that follows the coastline and surprises you with stunning views at every turn. It’s one of the last stretches of coastal wilderness along North America’s Eastern Seaboard.

A slope with trees and lush vegetation leading down the Fundy Trail Parkway to a black sandy shore while blue waters can be seen at the back under cloudy skies along the Fundy Coastal Drive.

Be sure to stop and explore the many trails, waterfalls, beaches, and observation decks along the Fundy Trail Parkway. Here are a few that I recommend:

  • Cranberry Brook Lookout: Incredible view of Big Salmon River and its delta.
  • Big Salmon River Suspension Bridge: This wobbly but fun bridge is on the site of the original covered bridge that was washed out by Spring meltwater.
  • Pangburn Beach Lookout: Great view of Pangburn Beach, the most pristine beach in the park.
  • Fuller Falls: This was my favourite stop along the Parkway. Walk down the cable ladder to the lookout landing to get close to the waterfall.

Water flowing on a rocky slope with some moss and lush vegetation at the top along the Fundy Coastal Drive.

Sea Caves of St Martins

The small town of St Martins is known for the stunning sea caves that have been carved out by the tides over the years. At low tide you can go inside the caves.

The muddy shores with a few people walking and the Sea Caves of St Martins at the back, while trees are on top of it under cloudy skies along the Fundy Coastal Drive.

Or you can admire them from the deck of the The Caves Restaurant, while you enjoy a delicious lunch. The restaurant is known for its fresh seafood dishes and stunning views over the sea caves.

Vaughan Creek Covered Bridge

Drive through the charming Vaughan Creek Covered Bridge, an iconic wooden structure that adds a touch of nostalgia to your journey. 

A road with a car passing through a wooden barn-like structure under cloudy skies nearby the Fundy Coastal Drive.

Once an integral part of life in New Brunswick communities, covered bridges are living records of times past. New Brunswick has 58 covered bridges, but Vaughan Creek Covered Bridge is the only two-lane covered bridge in the province.

Best tours along Fundy National Park and Fundy Trail Parkway

Where to stay in saint john.

You’ll likely end day two of this Fundy Coastal Drive itinerary in Saint John, which has plenty of accommodation options. I stayed at the Hilton Saint John , located on the waterfront with great views over the harbour.

> Book the Hilton Saint John here

A quay with a red boat beside it, while raised lanes surrounded by buildings under cloudy skies with hues of orange can be seen in the background.

These are other highly recommended places to stay in Saint John:

  • Chipman Hill Suites (Sydney Street) – An elegant hotel housed in a historic building in Downtown Saint John. Book it here
  • Chateau Saint John Trademark Collection by Wyndham – A hotel that looks like a faux castle with all the comfort you need. Book it here

Day 3 – Saint John

Spend day three strolling through streets steeped in history. Saint John is Canada’s oldest incorporated city and the only city in New Brunswick.

A multi-storied red-bricked building on a street in Canada under dark cloudy skies with some thin trees in the front and sides.

It’s the ideal size to be explored on foot or watch the world go by while you relax in a café or a microbrewery.

Saint John’s 19th Century architecture

Discover the charm of Saint John with its well-preserved historic architecture.

A corner of an intersection featuring old multilevel buildings painted in red, while some are made of red bricks with several glass windows and a visible fire exit black stairs, and a footpath below.

Saint John has some of the best examples of 19th century commercial facades in Canada. They were built after the Great Fire of 1877 .

Historic walking tour of Saint John

Participate in a historic walking tour of Canada’s first incorporated city to uncover the fascinating history of Saint John.

A street between red-bricked buildings with some business signs, while the road is paved in the middle and the sides are covered with red bricks under dark cloudy skies.

Explore landmarks that tell tales of a bygone era, enriching your understanding of this coastal gem. > Book your historic walking tour of Saint John here

Reverse Falls

Don’t miss the awe-inspiring natural phenomenon of the Reverse Falls, where the tides create a mesmerising backward flow making it look like they are reversing rapids on the Saint John River. This unique spectacle is a must-see during your visit to Saint John.

Crystal-clear river water, with one path featuring raging currents and the other path with calm waters.

Saint John City Market

Indulge in a shopping spree at Saint John City Market. Support local vendors and discover unique crafts and delicious treats, adding a touch of local flair to your road trip.

The Saint John City Market featuring its white vaulted ceilings and markets selling bottled and packed goods in boxes and red-painted counters, while flags of different countries hang on each store. People can be seen walking and shopping.

From wild blueberries (when in season) to all sorts of locally produced maple syrup products, this is the place to get a true local taste of New Brunswick.

Area 506 Container Village

Extend your shopping experience to Area 506, a marketplace built with more than 60 containers that showcase the best of New Brunswick’s craftsmanship and products. It’s possibly the coolest space in the city, reinforcing Saint John’s identity as a Port City.

Me beside a cargo container turned store painted with colorful murals of shapes and faces based in black paint, while people walk in the back under skies with some turned-off light bulbs.

Here you’ll find handmade souvenirs, food trucks selling local delicacies, an outdoor performance space, a waterfront container lounge, and lots of fun public art.

Two stacks of cargo containers with a UFO mural while I pretend to get lifted towards the spaceship.

Take an artistic journey through the streets of Saint John and explore the city’s vibrant street art scene. Admire the murals that add a modern and dynamic touch to the city’s historic backdrop.

A portrait view of a red-bricked building, while the middle wall features a mural of sea creatures like the octopus, types of fish, ship anchors, and bottles with a letter in them.

Best tours in Saint John

St John has plenty of accommodation options. I stayed at the Hilton Saint John , located on the waterfront with great views over the harbour.

A room with a white queen-sized bed between two side tables and lamps. Nearby the window is a rectangular framed artwork beside a lamp, a small two-person orange couch, and a small wooden table on a gray carpeted floor.

Day 4 – Saint Andrews

Drive along the coast to the historical town of St Andrews, a charming seaside resort typical of an 18th century British Colonial Settlement.

A small outdoor space with brick-tiled flooring of a house, three flags in the foreground, and a view of a blue crystal-clear river with boats in the background under bright blue cloudy skies.

Often referred to as Saint-Andrews-by-the-Sea, it is one of New Brunswick’s top holiday destinations, and was named the best place to visit in Canada by USA Today .

Explore the cute streets of St Andrews

Stroll through the charming streets of St Andrews, known for its picturesque beauty, historic buildings, and quaint shops. Immerse yourself in the relaxed atmosphere of this coastal town.

A white old barn-style house beside a road with some temporary walls under bright blue skies, beside other barn-type buildings in pale yellow and pale gray, while cars are parked in the background.

Don’t miss wandering down historic Water Street, Saint Andrews main road, awarded the prestigious ‘Great Place in Canada’ designation by the Canadian Institute of Planners.

Whale watching

Whale watching is probably one of the top things to do in St Andrews.

Me and another person posing for photos in red and gray jumpsuits on a boardwalk, with a view of the dark skies and crystal waters in the background.

In fact, the Bay of Fundy, together with Husavik in Iceland , is one of the best places in the world to see whales, and St Andrews has plenty of ethical whale watching outfitters to help you realise your dream of seeing these gentle giants in the wild.

View of the back of the whale on the water's surface under dark skies.

Whale-watching excursions are the best way to witness the majestic minke, humpback, and finback whales that visit the Bay of Fundy every year. I went with Jolly Breeze on a jet boat and spotted over 12 (I eventually lost count!) minke whales despite it being a foggy day.

A red and white lighthouse beside buildings in the same colors on a misty day under dark skies, with rippling waters in the foreground.

It was an incredible experience that added a touch of the wild to this road trip. And as a bonus, we sailed around the coastal islands, including Campobello Island, with the stunning Head Harbour Lightstation, the second most photographed lighthouse in Canada.

Kingsbrae Garden

Kingsbrae Garden is a multi-award winning horticultural masterpiece that expands 27 acres. 

A small garden with hedges forming square and U shapes colored in green, violet, and a mix of both, while white houses can be seen in the back with some trees under clear blue skies.

With over 2,500 species of perennials, as well as a wide variety of trees, and a great collection of rhododendrons, roses, and daylilies, it has been named one of the Top Ten Public Gardens in Canada.

There’s also a labyrinth, a cedar maze, ponds, and a genuine Dutch windmill (1/3-scale). 

Ministers Island

Drive across the ocean floor to get to Ministers Island, the historic summer home of Sir William Van Horne, who was responsible for completing the transcontinental railway line in Canada.

The small bathhouse tower made of red stone bricks in St. Andrews Island, New Brunswick, with people walking towards it. The background is filled with trees in hues of orange, yellow, and green under cloudy skies.

It’s a National Historic Site of Canada with a great network of nature trails and stunning ocean views. If you visit on a Sunday you will be able to enjoy a live music concert too.

Stay at The Algonquin Resort

You may think that staying at a hotel doesn’t count as one of the top things to do in St Andrews, but The Algonquin Resort is a Canadian institution and a world-famous resort with a history spanning over 100 years.

The front view of The Algonquin Resort featuring its red roof with two cones. The white walls have multiple glass windows, and cars are parked in front of it. A green grass field can be seen in the foreground under cloudy skies.

Staying at the iconic Algonquin Resort is the perfect way to wrap up the most scenic road trip in New Brunswick. Enjoy the luxurious comfort and historic charm of this renowned establishment. > Check availability for The Algonquin Resort here

Where to stay in St Andrews

Despite being New Brunswick’s top holiday destination, St. Andrews has limited options for accommodation, and as mentioned above, one hotel stands out in particular. The Algonquin Resort , a historic hotel and Canadian institution, where I was lucky to stay.

> Book The Algonquin Resort here

Hotel room with patterned carpeted floor, white bed, red ottoman, work table with mirror, and a one-person pale orange sofa near glass French windows.

However, here are other highly recommended places to stay in St. Andrews.

  • St Andrews Inn & Suites – A modern hotel centrally located on historic Water Street, with stunning views over the Bay. The indoor swimming pool is worth trying just for the views. Book it here
  • Kennedy House – A charming historic hotel located in a 19th Century building in the heart of St Andrews that’s been welcoming guests since 1881. Book it here

Fundy Coastal Drive, New Brunswick – FAQs

The Fundy Coastal Drive is a scenic route along the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, offering breathtaking views, charming towns, and unique natural wonders. It is a stunning drive and it should be on everyone’s road trip bucket list .

Me in front of the muddy and rocky shore of the Bay of Fundy, in front of a rock formation with a small mini entrance at the bottom, under blue skies with hues of yellow and orange in the background.

The Fundy Coastal Drive has an incredible amount of things to discover, so the longer you have the better.  The absolute minimum would be to spend at least four days on this road trip. This allows you to get a taste of the various attractions along this beautiful stretch of coast, and to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Red kayak bow with muddy waters, kayakers, rock formations, lush vegetation, clear blue skies, and clouds in the background.

Bear in mind that areas like the Fundy Trail Parkway are closed in the winter, so the best time to experience the Fundy Coastal Drive is during the summer and early fall. These months offer pleasant weather, vibrant landscapes, and the opportunity to take part in outdoor activities.

While public transport options are limited, it is recommended to explore the Fundy Coastal Drive by car for the flexibility to stop at various attractions and viewpoints. > Compare deals for car hire options here However, if you don’t want to drive, you can explore the highlights of the Fundy Coast by bus on a tour from Saint John. > Book your Fundy Coast by bus tour here

Person in front of pale yellow Whale Watching cabin with red roof. Terrace has bottles in various flag colors and a parked white bicycle.

How to Get to New Brunswick

To begin your adventure, you can fly into Greater Moncton International Airport (YQM) or Saint John Airport (YSJ). However, you may have more options for direct flights to Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ).

> Compare flight deals and options with Skyscanner here

Do you have any questions about this Fundy Coastal Drive itinerary? Let me know in the comments!

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Fundy Coastal Drive: The Most Scenic Road Trip In New Brunswick, Canada

Disclosure: This post has been created as a partnership with Tourism New Brunswick . As always, all views are my own. 

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Teresa is an award-winning travel blogger based in London. She’s on a mission to explore the world through responsible cultural and adventure travel , and through deeper, more meaningful local experiences. She’s a lover of adventure, the outdoors and everything food related, and she’s always looking for ways to make a positive impact through sustainable travel .

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New brunswick road trip guide to the bay of fundy.

A New Brunswick road trip is one for the bucket list—one that will tease the senses, mystify the mind, sooth the soul and embolden the explorer in you.

New Brunswick is located in Canada’s Maritime region, which also makes up Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (PEI). Bordering the state of Maine to the west and Quebec to the North, New Brunswick is flanked by water on the other two sides of the province, most notably the Bay of Fundy.

With only a week to explore, I decided to limit my New Brunswick road trip to the Bay of Fundy area. Unlike the rather petite size of Nova Scotia and PEI, New Brunswick it quite large, making it difficult to explore the entire province in just the week I had.

I was already in Nova Scotia, so my New Brunswick road trip started by driving to Digby, NS where I boarded a ferry and sailed across the Bay of Fundy. If you are not already in Maritime Canada, you could fly into the Moncton International Airport or Saint John Airport.

The ferry crossing is around 2.5 hours and is quite comfortable, with many areas on the ship to relax in an array of different seating configurations. From theater-style seats to watch a movie on a big screen, or at a desk-style seat to get some work done using the on-board wi-fi, there is something for everyone. Outdoor seating and viewing areas to search for whales and other sea life is also an option.

I have put together the following guide to the perfect Bay of Fundy New Brunswick road trip. Be sure to watch the video and check out the interactive map at the end.


From the ferry terminal in New Brunswick, make your way to Saint John, the only city on the Bay of Fundy. Here are some of the things not to miss while in Saint John.

Staint John New Brunswick road trip sunset by MikesRoadTrip.com

  • Take a harbor cruise – You’ll see the Reversing Rapids , an amazing natural phenomenon where the Bay of Fundy collides with the Saint John River. Lots of sea life and cityscape scenery to enjoy.
  • Skywalk Saint John – Brand new attraction where you can walk out onto a platform cantilevered over the Reversing Rapids and look down through a glass floor to see the power of the water below.
  • Stroll downtown – You’ll often see live music, festivals and other activities going on. There is public art and historic buildings to peruse, including the Saint John City Market, Canada’s oldest continuous farmers market.

Fresh Scallops and Shrimp in NB by MikesRoadTrip.com

Recommended Saint John Restaurants:

  • John Ale House – Like a hip pub, but their pub-style food is much more refined, using local ingredients from the land and sea.
  • East Coast Bistro – The husband and wife owners focus on making refined maritime cuisine in an elegant setting in the heart of downtown Saint John.

Recommended Hotel:

  • Downtown Saint John Hilton – The location is superb, overlooking the Bay of Fundy and within walking distance to everything.


Drive to St. Martins, about 40 minutes from Saint John. This is a wonderful area to explore sea caves at low tide, and also provides an opportunity to go kayaking as the tide rises. While in St. Martins, don’t miss:

St. Martain Covered Bridge aeiral photo by MikesroadTrip.com

  • Exploring the sea caves at low tide. Warning: the parking lot is not well defined, so don’t drive past any car toward the beach as you could get stuck in the sandy rocks like I did.
  • Have lunch at Caves Restaurant while you wait for the tide to come in.
  • Just up the hill from St. Martins you’ll see a dirt road to the right. Turn there and drive just a bit until you come to a large clearing. Park the car and set off on foot down the trail to explore the sea cliffs. Amazing views from here.
  • At this point the tide should be heading in and you can get set up for a kayaking adventure with the folks at Red Rock Adventures . Kayaking the sea caves that you just walked a few hours earlier is a thrill.
  • Head back to Saint John for the evening.

Kayaking in Bay of Fundy aerial photo by MikesRoadTrip.com


The next morning head toward St. Andrews by the Sea and don’t miss:

St. Andrew by the sea on bay of fundy road trp - aerial photo by MikesRoadTrip.com

  • En route to St. Andrews, stop by New River Beach Park for a hike down the Barnaby Head coastal trail. This fantastic hike is met with bends in the trail, curvy boardwalks and covered bridges. Oh, and the expansive beach is pretty cool too.
  • Check the tide chart for this next excision. Just before reaching St. Andrews there is a road that will take you to Ministers Island . You can only cross at low tide when the road is revealed. This is a very cool road trip excursion to explore the opulent vacation home of a 19 th century railroad tycoon.
  • Whale Watching with Fundy Tide Runners . Getting up-close to the massive mammals of the sea is quite a treat and the folks at Fundy Tide Runners are pros at spotting and predicting the breach spots.
  • Check into the Algonquin Resort for a relaxing evening. This is a stupendous historical property known the world over. The service, accommodations and fine-dining experience are second to none.

The Algonquin Resort in St. Andrews by the Sea by MikesRoadTrip.com


Spend the day exploring the utterly charming town of St. Andrews. There is often music being played in the park, a farmers market or other events going on.

  • If you’re a golfer, don’t miss a chance to play the Algonquin course, many of the holes are alongside the bay, or have views of the water.
  • Simply stroll the streets. Lots of restaurants and quaint shops to explore. Check out Station on King for lunch.
  • If you missed Ministers Island the day before, have a look before heading off to the next destination.
  • Head to Black’s Harbor to catch a ferry to Grand Manan Island .
  • Check into the urban chic Island Home Bed and Breakfast (right in front of the ferry terminal) or the Inn at Whale Cove is another great option.
  • Whichever B&B you pick, have dinner at the Whale Cove Inn…lovely place.

Ferry from Grand Manan Island - aerial photo by MikesRoadTrip.com

Spend the next two days exploring and relaxing on the utterly charming island of Grand Manan. The island is not that large, so you’ll have time to see at least four corners of it. Don’t miss the following:


  • Long Eddy Point Lighthouse – Great spot to watch the sunset after having dinner at the Whale Cove Inn.
  • Hole-in-the-Wall Park and campground – Some fantastic hikes in this park, including one to its namesake where you will see a large rock formation with a giant hole in the middle. If you’re into camping, there are some spots right on a sea cliff with stupendous views. If not occupied, makes a great place for a picnic too.
  • Swallowtail Lightstation – My favorite lighthouse on all of New Brunswick. Great place to explore, take in the sights and just relax on a nice day.
  • Bleu Marie – Wonderful little French bistro, a great place for lunch.

Picnic Table at Hole in the Wall park on Grand Manan in New Brunswick bay of fundy road trip


There are several ferries a day from Grand Manan, you may want to take an early one so you can continue the Bay of Fundy road trip to the Fundy National Park. There is so much to explore, here are some of the can’t miss highlights:

  • Dickson Falls – There are many hikes in the park, but this was one of my favorites. It’s just a 1-mile loop that might take a half hour or so.
  • The trail heads straight down and then follows along a little creek where many boardwalks are provided to navigate over some of the terrain, crisscrossing the creek several times along the way. There are many vantage points to view the falls and the rushing mountain creek.
  • Village of Alma – After a couple of hikes, head to this small community for lunch. There are many options, but one not to miss is the Buddha Bear with outdoor wood-fired oven preparing some amazing food, along with a number of local brews to try.
  • Hopewell Rocks – Probably the signature attraction for all of New Brunswick. Through erosion over thousands of years, unique formations have been carved to create coves and distinctive sandstone formations that have trees on top. Get a tide chart and time it so you can visit during low tide. Time permitting, go back and kayak during high tide. This is the place where the lowest and highest tides in the world take place.
  • Head to Moncton – Moncton is the largest city in New Brunswick and a great place to call it a night. I stayed downtown at the Marriott Residence Inn. Just a block down the street is a fantastic restaurant for dinner, Tide & Boar Gastropub . Voted as one of Canada’s top-50 restaurant by Mclean’s Magazine, Tide & Boar is a casual, yet sophisticated establishment serving seasonally inspired dishes.
  • To enjoy this scenery to the fullest, make sure you bring a camping tent with yourself. If you are traveling with family, we recommend a larger tent, so make sure you check out this best large tents guide that will provide all the information you need.

Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick road trip by MikesRoadTrip.com


Moncton is one of the coolest cities in all of Atlantic Canada, with a hip vibe that embraces its heritage through art, music, food and friendliness. Some of the things not to miss in Moncton include:

Magnetic Hill in New Brunswick by MikesRoadtrip.com

  • Tidal Bore – There are only a few places in the world where you can see a tidal bore occur, and downtown Moncton is one of them. This phenomenon is when the leading edge of an incoming tide forms a wave of water that travels up a river or narrow bay against the direction of the river or bay’s current. Occasionally, the wave is large enough to surf!
  • Magnetic Hill – This experience will mystify the mind. Drivers wait in line to drive to the bottom of this world-famous hill. Once at the bottom of the hill, you put your car in neutral and take your foot off the brake. Then, the amazement begins…the car simply starts rolling backwards, up the hill you just drove down! It seems to defy natural law, but of course is just an optical illusion. There are a number of other activities in the park, from a zoo, swim/slide, amusement park and more.

Bay of Fundy New Brunswick Road Trip Interactive Map (Enlarge the map and click the yellow icons for more information)

I hope you find this New Brunswick road trip guide helpful. If you have any questions at all, please leave a comment below. If you’ve done a Bay of Fundy road trip and have some additional suggestions, please leave them below as well. If you have the time and want to explore the other two Maritime Canada Provinces, click the following links: Nova Scotia Road Trip or PEI Road Trip .

Bay of Fundy Road Trip guide

Where is the best place for a road trip in Canada?

Rugged and vast, Canada is a road-trippers dream. Road trips have forever been a favorite pastime in US and Canada and will continue to do so. Consider road trip destinations as The Trans-Canada Highway. Go big, or go home, Sea to Sky Country, British Columbia, Ice-fields Parkway, Alberta, Country Routes, Quebec, The Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia, Coastal Drives, Prince Edward Island and The Dempster Highway, Yukon and Northwest Territories.

What foods should I try on my vacation in New Brunswick?

Food is the first thing any road trip traveler will think of. On your road trip to Canada, New Brunswick, one of the main dishes is fiddle-head greens. If you see it on the menu, order it. Another traditional dish in this area is Poutine. You can find this snack of french fries, gravy and cheese curds along the coast of the province. The most defining New Brunswick dish is planked salmon with maple glaze and fiddle-heads.

Where are great places to stay in New Brunswick?

The best and Coolest Places to Stay in New Brunswick on your road trip should include Teardrop, Fundy National Park. Inn at Whale Cove Cottages, Grand Manan. Hotel Paulin, near Grande-Anse. Maison Tait House, Shediac. Algonquin Resort, St. Andrews-By-The-Sea. Treehouse camping, Miramichi.

Mike Shubic

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Tags: Bay of Fundy , Bay of Fundy road trip , Maritime Canada , Maritime Canada Road Trip , New Brunswick , New Brunswick Road Trip

You missed out on Cape Enrage if you are ever back this way it’s a must see! Zip lining Kayaking Rock repelling Restaurant onsite Beaches Breath taking views

Hi Debbie…thank you so much for the suggestion, I really appreciate it. Yes, I did indeed miss quite a few places, but only so much you can do in a week, ya know. 😉 All the best, Mike

Thanks Mike!…I’m headed off for a spontaneous trip and I’m going to take many of your suggestions…and I’m buying a drone just for the trip. You got some beautiful shots….

Hey Scott…very cool. I’m so glad you found it helpful. What drone are you buying?

Hey, Mike, OK, You convinced me. Booking a trip for September ’19. So, for the trip you did, to not blow through it, how much time would you ultimately suggest? We are combining it with a 10-day trip to Cape Breton Island and Halifax area. Thanks!!

Hey Julie…oh, that’s great! Love hearing this stuff. New Brunswick is a huge province, but if you do something similar that I did and stay near the Bay of Fundy, I would say 6-10 days would be a good amount. If you have the freedom/flexibility, longer is always better. 😉 Hope you have a wonderful time. I’m envious of your Cape Breton trip…next time I go to Nova Scotia, I want to do that area. All the best, Mike

Hi Mike, Thanks for all your suggestions. Planning a trip from NJ to Acadia National Park and then possibly staying in Saint Andrews, passing through Saint John, visiting Fundy National Park, maybe Moncton, from your input, on to Halifax and nearby towns. Very confused about how much time to spend in each area, as well as planning a return trip that is interesting. We have about 2 weeks. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Your perfect 5-day road trip itinerary in coastal New Brunswick!

August 14, 2019 by Steve Ertrachter Leave a Comment

Have you ever planned a trip by looking at a map and thought if I had more time, I would love to get there?  Well, I missed New Brunswick on two previous trips while driving to Nova Scotia. Sorry that it took so long but I’m really happy that I finally made it. 

New Brunswick is one of the largest Canadian provinces. This blog will only cover the coastal communities along the Bay of Fundy with a five road trip itinerary for seeing the best of New Brunswick.  As a lover of nature and finding unique spots, New Brunswick is the destination to visit. New Brunswick has the Tidal Bore with the highest tides in the world.  

new brunswick canada road trip

  • 1 Day 1: Saint John
  • 2 Day 2-3: Alma & Fundy National Park
  • 3 Day 4: Moncton 
  • 4 Day 5: Grand Manan Island  
  • 5 Getting to New Brunswick independently
  • 6 Have you been to the coast of New Brunswick on a road trip? Let us know what else you enjoyed!

Day 1: Saint John

Towers of church towers in Saint John in New Brunswick, Canada

Saint John is one of the largest cities in New Brunswick. This city has a historic downtown district located by the harbor. It is very hilly, so be prepared for challenging walks.  Perhaps the best restaurant of the entire trip was Vegolution on Germain Street. Whether you are vegan or a steak lover, this place must be visited for its food and staff. The curry tofu was incredible.  In the summertime, there are free shows and performances on Thursday nights by the Pier.   

A great hotel is the Chateau Saint John that is an excellent hotel and close to downtown. This hotel was surprisingly inexpensive given the quality and had a great breakfast. Highly recommended. 

Irving Nature Park offers many opportunities to get into nature despite being located in the middle of the city. Walk the boardwalk until you reach the seal observation deck. Also, the lookout tower provides views above the trees to the land and the Saint John River.  It is an excellent place to spend several hours. 

To many beer lovers, Saint John is known as the source of Moosehead Beer. Whether you try a cold one at a restaurant or choose to tour their factory, we definitely recommend that you try one! The brewery tours are offered Monday- Friday during the day, however, you should reserve ahead.  You will be able to sample several varieties. We recommend to take a taxi or have a designated driver if you intend to drink! 

Day 2-3: Alma & Fundy National Park

Beautiful boat and dock with cliffs behind seen in Alma, New Brunswick, Canada.

Alma is located next to Fundy National Park . It is however known as the Tides Capital of the world as every six hours the water rises as high as 50 feet. Alma is also known as the lobster capital of the world. Between both titles, you know that the food and sights are going to be terrific. 

I recommend eating at Octopus’s Garden Café. I learned that lobsters taste different depending upon the location where they live thanks to our knowledgeable server. 

Beautiful waterfall in Fundy National Park in Canada, one of the highlights of a road trip through coastal New Brunswick

Nature lovers cannot miss the Fundy National Park, which is home to Hopewell Rocks and other beautiful Canadian nature. Here, you’ll find spectacular hiking as well as kayaking! It’s easy to spend several days exploring Fundy National Park’s beautiful waterfalls and beaches.

You can stay in Alma for convenience or choose to camp. You’ll find hiking for every level, including advanced hikers. An easier hike is Dickson Falls with its many stairs while those seeking a challenge might prefer Third Vault Falls, a beautiful waterfall worth the high.

Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick, one of the most beautiful stop offs on a New Brunswick road trip!

Hopewell Rocks is the one place that I wanted to see.  The rock formations were shaped by the Bay of Fundy tides. It is extremely popular, so be prepared for the crowds. Before you visit, check the high tide and low tide for the days which you plan to visit. During low tides, you will be able to walk around the shore and during high tides, a kayak is required. The cycle occurs every six hours.

By luck, I arrived two hours before high tide. Most of the shore was open for walking but quickly became inaccessible within two hours. The rocks where I had been standing became the entry point for the kayakers entering the Bay. This is a great experience and will remember it for a long time.  If you love kayaking and you’re a strong paddler, you should consider renting a kayak!

Day 4: Moncton 

Man surfing along the tidal bore in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Moncton is the largest city in New Brunswick and known from its’ Tidal Bore. It occurs every twelve hours. It naturally occurs to the Petitcodiac River by the surging waters from the Bay of Fundy. The effect is changing a calm river into a current.  I saw a surfer riding the waves.

The daily schedule is available, but often the tide arrives 15 minutes before or after the predicted time. Bore View Park has a balcony where the tidal bore is best seen. The park is next to a great hotel, Chateau Moncton , that I recommend staying at.

Day 5: Grand Manan Island  

Beautiful view of Grand Manan Island seen from the Swallowtail Lighthouse.

Grand Manan Island is located in the middle of the Bay of Fundy between the coastline of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It is the largest island in the bay. It has a dark past as a smuggling capital as late of the 1980s. Today, it is a relaxed island that draws thousands of North Americans each year.

Getting to Grand Manan Island is not difficult as the ferry has numerous daily departures from Blacks Harbour.  Visitors will need a bicycle or car to explore the island. I was a “day tripper” without a car or bike and returned the same day. Next time, I will not make the same mistake again. Make reservations on the ferry if you are bringing a car as the ferry is in high demand during the peak season. If you simply coming over with a bike or on foot, reservations are not required. The ferry ride is worth the trip alone as whales and other marine life were spotted on the 90-minute trip. Passengers with binoculars spotted many of the sea life. Next time, I know better. 

If you do not have a car or bike, there are still things worth visiting on Grand Manan Island that make the trip worthwhile. Close to the ferry is the Swallowtail Lighthouse that is a half-hour uphill walk uphill from the ferry. The lighthouse is a must for any visitor to Grand Manan Island. It is idyllic even in the middle of the tourist season.

Beautiful lighthouse with ferry in distance on Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick, Canada!

On top of the lighthouse, you can view the cliffs and marine life from above.  I even spotted porpoises and seals. I met individuals who spotted whales earlier in the day. This is an expensive area to stay, however, volunteers with the Swallowtail Lighthouse organization are able to stay overnight at the lighthouse and it might be worth looking into this possibility!  When you leave the lighthouse and near the ferry, there are two nearby restaurants worth visiting.  The old post office has been converted into a café serving pizza. The Old Well House Café was excellent with a wide menu that we enjoyed immensely.  Be sure to try the hummus.  

If you are planning to visit, all the locals rave about the Rotary Festival that is held in July/August. There are numerous parades, firework displays, live performances which adds to an amazing place. It is an extremely popular time to visit the island, so be sure to plan ahead carefully! 

Getting to New Brunswick independently

Peaceful high tide in the Tidal Bore in New Brunswick

Getting to Saint John from North America generally requires a stopover in Toronto or other larger airport. I found the flights from NYC to be expensive and also time-consuming due to stopovers. I met several Americans who flew into Maine and rented cars and drove to Canada.  There are airports in Northern Maine so be sure to check which airport works best for you. Rental cars can be driven into Canada providing the rental companies are notified in advance. Be sure to make advance arrangements.

I drove up from Maine. The drive was pleasant. Compared to the United States gasoline prices, Canadian gasoline price costs 25% more than American gasoline (2019). Before entering Canada, fill your car up.  At the moment, the currency difference otherwise works in favor of Americans, so we recommend eating on the Canadian side. 

Have you been to the coast of New Brunswick on a road trip? Let us know what else you enjoyed!

  • Tips for visiting Nova Scotia
  • Nova Scotia Road Trip
  • Tips for visiting Prince Edward Island

Looking to explore Eastern Canada? Read your perfect one week road trip itinerary through New Brunswick for seeing the best of Coastal New Brunswick to experience Canadian food and culture!

About Steve Ertrachter

New Yorker–born and raised. Lover of tennis. Curious. Frugal and independent traveler who believes that travel yields an understanding of different cultures. 10% of the magic behind Wanderlustingk.

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New brunswick & the bay of fundy road trip in 2024.

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Let’s start with a big statement; I absolutely love Canada. I just feel at home here, and I’ve only been to 3 out of 10 provinces (I recently added Nova Scotia to that list).

It’s a combination of factors; the people, mountains, nature and the great open roads. And I couldn’t help myself with this New Brunswick & the Bay of Fundy.

It’s the feeling that I could spend my whole life exploring Canada and still barely scratch the surface. I also make it no secret that I love a road trip. I’ve been driving since I was 15 (on private land, not illegally!). I owned a VW campervan and I plan to buy another one. And I can’t think of many better ways to travel than great music, good company and country roads.

I’ve realised that over the past few years I’ve been compiling a list of Canadian Bucket List Road trips . Edmonton to Calgary (via Jasper and Banff) is one I’ve completed, twice actually. Calgary to Vancouver is another which I am yet to do. New Brunswick and the Bay of Fundy is now one I’ve just completed, and Cape Breton was recently ticket off.

This article is a guide to doing it yourself. It’s your day-by-day itinerary .

For me, there were two main reasons I wanted to do this road trip, two jaw-dropping photos in a magazine that made me say “I’ve got to go there”. The first was Hopewell Rocks , on day one. The second was the Fundy Trail Parkway, which we did on day three. But as I researched and planned it, I couldn’t believe how many other stops I would need!

This road trip needed to be at least 7 days long. So, sit back, make a cuppa, and start planning. Just be ready to want to book your flight to New Brunswick right away.

Planning the New Brunswick Road Trip

First time around we flew into Moncton via Toronto with Air Canada and stayed one night here. It’s the closest town to our first stop Hopewell Rocks and enables you to do an ‘A to B’ road trip, flying out of Saint John a week later.

However, another way to do this road trip is to combine Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into one trip. Flying in and out of Halifax, driving from Nova Scotia and getting the Saint John to Digby Ferry back.

A week is just about enough time to do it all if you plan it carefully, but like many trips, the more time you have the better. I found there were 3 places I could have stayed a day longer, so if you have 10 days then you won’t regret it.

Car Rental For the New Brunswick Itinerary

Most car hire companies allow you to pick your car up and drop it off at a different location. This usually incurs a fee, but for this trip that is well worth doing. Most cars are automatic in Canada, which is handy if like me you’re used to driving on the other side of the road.

It’s a good idea to check all the timings of the main attractions, as the opening times and availability change depending on the season. Most of the links you need are in this article.

Best Time for a New Brunswick & the Bay of Fundy Road Trip

We travelled at the start of June; which was a brilliant time to travel.

It’s before high season and still pleasantly warm, and fewer people meant lower prices (and better photos). However, there were a handful off things yet to open, and opening times were shorter in certain places.

In addition, there is a chance the whales haven’t made it to the Bay of Fundy yet, so there’s a higher probability of seeing them in July/August. That was when I visited second time around, and we did see whales!

New Brunswick & the Bay of Fundy Itinerary

I hope the information above was useful and that you get a better idea to start your New Brunswick itinerary. Now, let’s get into the main topic and cover each day of this Bay of Fundy NB road trip.

Day 1 – Hopewell Rocks & Broadleaf Ranch

Hopewell Rocks is one of those iconic places you just must visit in your lifetime. It’s around a 40-minute drive from Moncton. The tide at Hopewell Rocks is out first thing in the morning and late afternoon. This is when you can walk along the beach and get up close and personal with the rock formations.

I came in the morning and the afternoon. In fact, I loved it so much look out for my next article all about the Hopewell Rocks.

If you want to kayak it at high tide, you can do that early afternoon. The tides here are fascinating, you really can’t appreciate how much they change without seeing it for yourself.

I could have spent the whole day here, saw it a low tide, kayaked it at high tide and then photographed it at night with Kevin Snair , a former park guide. The photos speak for themselves.

Note : There’s an entry ticket to get to Hopewell Rocks, and I recommend booking it ahead of time not to waste any time on the road trip.

Next up we headed to Broadleaf Ranch , only 20 minutes up the road from Hopewell Rocks. The ranch has a great restaurant to get your first taste of the abundance of fresh lobster you can find in New Brunswick.

The ranch has some fantastic horse-riding and hiking trails, and you can also canoe to one of the iconic covered bridges. You can also stay here overnight (although we didn’t), with a choice of chalets, glamping and camping. They have electrical and waste hook-ups for campervan and RV’s too.

Horse-riding at Broadleaf Ranch starts at $30 for 30-minutes, and a country cabin costs $180 per night. They also have dormitory cabins, please check for availability.

Eat : Lobster or steak at Broadleaf Ranch restaurant. Sleep : I recommend the Residence Inn in Moncton , which is one of the best properties around! Drink : Tide & Boar Gastropub (Moncton), fantastic local craft beers and amazing food too. Try the wild boar poutine and the ‘Maybe’ craft beer by Schwars (from Fredericton).

Day 2 – Cape Enrage & the Fundy National Park

From Riverside-Albert and Broadleaf Ranch, Cape Enrage is only a short 30-minute scenic drive along the 915. You might want to allow a little longer though for photos!

Unfortunately for us the weather came in during the morning, so we didn’t get the best views of Cape Enrage, or a chance to try the zip-line. However, it was clear to see how beautiful this spot is.

There’s also no shortage of things to do here when the park is fully open. You can abseil (or rappel) down to the beach, try the zip-line, walk along the beach looking for fossils, visit the lighthouse and even try a moonshine experience! We also stayed here for lunch, another delicious meal I can recommend.

These are the prices you can expect:

  • Zipline: $53.90 + tax
  • Rappel: $99.95 + tax
  • Rappel and Zipline: $139.95 + tax

After that, from Cape Enrage we drove to Alma and the Fundy National Park , another short 25-minute drive. Youneed to stop by the visitor centre to buy your pass and quiz the guides about the best places to visit.

My first tip; try to allow plenty of time here. The park is massive, and if you like your hiking then you could spend weeks without repeating a trail.

We didn’t have all that much time, but the good news was the weather had improved! Our first stop, which is a quick and easy one was the Dickson Falls . Dickson Falls is a short trail of 45 minutes, and the falls are pretty.

We then headed to the Point Wolfe Covered Bridge, there’s a beautiful estuary here and some stunning birdlife. My next tip is Bennett Lake, but we made the mistake of leaving that to the next morning (as you drive right past it on the way to St Martins). Unfortunately, the weather was once again terrible, with fog and rain preventing us getting a nice photo. That’s just one of many lakes here.

The next highly recommended trail is Matthew’s Head, which takes 1-2 hours and has stunning coastal views. You could definitely squeeze in both Matthew’s Head and Dickson Falls in half a day. Finally, there’s a variety of fantastic hikes along the Upper Salmon river, passing some stunning waterfalls. For this you’d need a bit longer here.

Entry to Fundy national Park is $8.50 for adults, or if you’re spending more time in Canada check out the Discovery Pass which includes 12 months entry to over 80 parks from $72.25.

Eat : We loved the Tides Restaurant at the Parkland Village Inn and Tipsy Tails .

Sleep : For fantastic views, stay at the Cliffside Suites . The rooms were beautiful, but the only downside is the view means a bit of a walk back from town if you want a few beers!

Drink : Fantastic craft beer at the Holy Whale , go and get a flight here! I mean, I bought the hoodie that’s how much I loved it.

Day 3 – St Martins Sea Caves & the Fundy Trail Parkway

Whilst the next drive to St Martins Sea Caves doesn’t look that far on the map, it takes around 1.5 hours, and more if you allow some time to stop.

Today we have kayaking booked for around lunchtime, as the tide starts to come in. If you have time, head to the restaurants on the beach (we went to Caves Restaurant) to see it when the tide is out. It puts the tide change into perspective, as you can see the caves and even walk out to them at low tide.

Allow some time to walk around St Martins too, the covered bridge and harbour are beautiful. Even if you saw the caves on foot, nothing beats seeing them from a kayak.

Our excursion with Red Rock Adventure took around 2.5 hours, kayaking out from the harbour to the caves, and stopping for a salmon lunch on a private beach. Red Rock also offer boat trips and shuttles and hiking gear for the Fundy Trail, below.

The Fundy Trail Parkway is incredible. When they say it’s a Bucket List road trip, they weren’t lying. If you like your driving as I do, you must add this to your list.

Therefore, if you have the time, please allow at least a whole day to explore the Parkway. It’s an 18-mile drive (30km) with 20 lookouts, beaches and 4 waterfalls. If you like your hiking there is also a 10km hike. It’s another great way to experience the tides.

On my second visit, I decided to focus on hiking and picked 3 waterfall hikes. We entered the part at the new entrance closer to Alma, and started with the Eye of the Needle trail. This one is 1.2km and a there and back hike with some steep climes. But look at the waterfall halfway down.

From there we went straight into the Mcloed Brook Falls loop (3.8km), before driving to the Long Beach Brook Falls (2.2km). All three were great and I even had a swim at the last one.

The kayaking starts at $65. Entrance to the parkway is only $11.50 per adult and it’s usually open from 9am-5pm, apart from in peak season when it’s open 8am-8pm.

Eat : We ate at Fiori’s restaurant at Salmon River B&B. They have a mix of seafood and Mexican! Just beware at the start of the season most restaurants are only open from 5-7pm. Sleep : We stayed at St Martins Country Inn (nicknamed by locals as the Castle!), there are a mix of rooms including a two-bedroom apartment like we had. Drink : There really aren’t any bars in St Martins, so we popped into the off-license (liquor store) and had beers in our apartment!

Day 4 – Whale Watching at St Martin

Today is the longest drive on the journey as we decided to head to St Andrews.

Allow 1 hour 45 mins to get from St Martins to St Andrews, and even more time to stop for a break at the local’s favourite Ossie’s Lunch (just off Route 1). It offers amazing fish and chips (that means a lot coming from a Brit) and fried clams.

St Andrews is a pretty town, and on day 5 we explore it a little more. However, day 4 was all about going whale watching with Fundy Tide Runners . There are regular sightings of Minke Whales, Finbacks, Humpbacks and even the North Atlantic Right Whale, the rarest whale in the world.

After being kitted out with our flotation suit and given a briefing, we boarded a Zodiac Hurricane high-speed rib boat. In addition to the nature, we also get lots of information about the area, the tides, fishing history and even the amazing whirlpools (some of the largest in the world).

On my first visit we didn’t see any whales. But we did spot harbour seals, harbour porpoises, bald eagles and other birds. It was a calm day at sea and a great way to see the area and appreciate the Bay of Fundy. But on my second visit we saw a Minke Whale and there was even a humpback further out in the bay!

Day 5 – Ministers Island & St Andrews

As we are already in St Andrews, there is very little driving required today! But you do get to drive across a sandbar only exposed at low tide. Sounds cool right?

That’s how you get across to Ministers Island . There’s a 1-kilometre sandbar that you can only pass at low-tide, and it’s only passable for around 5 hours.

This is the gateway to Ministers Island, a 500-acre island which was the former summer home of Sir William Cornelius van Horne. And if you don’t know who he is then you need to pay a visit to the Covenhoven to learn all about his legacy.

Most impressively in my opinion was his work in the creation of Canada’s National Parks, thank you Sir William! The island itself is beautiful and you can walk around it in only 1-2 hours, I highly recommend that.

The rest of the day you must explore St Andrews. It’s a small town with a lovely vibe to it, so just walking along the marina or the High Street is a great way to pass the time. We headed to the Kingsbrae Gardens for the afternoon and a late lunch.

The gardens are stunning, 27-acres of new and old themes with forests, ponds and wildlife. It also hosts several events and festivals and supports the local art scene. If you have time, drop by the Huntsman Marine Centre Aquarium to meet Snorkel and Loki (two resident harbour seals), and the national historic site of St Andrews Blockhouse.

Entry to Ministers Island is $17 per adult. The aquarium is $14.25 and Kingsbrae Gardens is $16 (although entry to the shop and café only is free).

Eat : Try chef Alex Haun’s fantastic menu with lunch at Kingsbrae Gardens and Honeybeans Café. Sleep : We stayed at the Algonquin Resort which is definitely at the higher end of the budget spectrum but does have a stunning golf course and a fantastic restaurant. Drink : Head to Something’s brewing during the day (great food too), and most evenings there’s live music and a vibrant atmosphere at the Red Herring Pub.

Day 6 – Campobello Island

Today we checked out of our hotel, as later we’ll travel to Saint John. But first the last recommendation from St Andrews is to head to Campobello Island.

We took the 30-minute water taxi from the marina first thing in the morning, interestingly you can only gain access by car from the US state of Maine. You need a few hours to explore the island, including its viewpoints and lighthouses. My favourite spot must be the Head Harbour Lightstation (pictured below).

Campobello Island was also a summer playground for the Roosevelt family, and you can visit their cottage and learn about the time Franklin Roosevelt spent here. I mentioned its proximity to the USA, it was supposed to be part of the United States.

Apparently, when the border was being marked, they missed it out due to bad weather! However, for me if you want a real treat, come back during the whale watching season, where they say to the north of the island, you can literally watch whales pass by while you eat your breakfast. Amazing.

We didn’t stay the night on the island so there are no sleep or drink recommendations. However, the food at The Prince Café (right next door to the Roosevelt Cottage) was amazing, and if they still have the Berry Salad on the menu, have it!

Day 7 – Saint John & the Reversing Falls Rapids

Later that evening we headed to Saint John to spend our final night and day here before flying home. After so much time in the countryside it felt refreshing to be in a buzzing city, and Saint John is just that.

It had one of those vibes that hits you immediately, like a trendy up-and-coming arty scene. In truth, I wish I had more time here, perhaps to spend a few days at a slower pace after all the driving and take my time exploring the city.

On our first night it was all about exploring the craft beer and food scene, and what better way to do it than a tour with Gill from Uncorked NB .

Tours like this are a great way to get your bearings in a city, and when you don’t have much time you can learn from the experts. We did just that, from sipping our first flight of beer in the sun at Market Wharf to hearing stories from the Brewmaster at Big Tide Brewing. It was fantastic and all the pubs and bars are listed below under ‘Drink’.

If you have more time available, I recommend booking a tour of Saint John, which is the best way to discover the city, and I’m sure you’ll love it here.

After wandering the town and checking out the market, the final thing we did on this epic New Brunswick Road Trip was visiting the Reversing Falls Rapids . In the Hopewell Rocks section I talked about the unique tides they have here, well never are they more apparent than at the falls at Stonehammer Geopark.

I’m planning to talk more about this in my next article but let me just say your mind will be blown whether you are into geology or not. The short version is the falls are created from huge Bay of Fundy tides; when the tide is out the river flows over the rapids, when the tide is in the river is forced upstream over the rapids. Then twice a day there is a 20-minute calm period when it’s safe for boats to pass. Honestly this is a must visit if you’re in New Brunswick!

Eat : There are plenty of lunch choices at the Saint John City Market and a number of curry houses, and the food we had at Saint John Ale House was great. Sleep : We stayed at the Hilton in Saint John , it’s in the perfect location for the pubs and restaurants with amazing views over the Saint John River. Drink : Our tour included Saint John Ale House, the BunkHaus Hostel, Picaroons and Big Tide Brewing. Go to all of them!

Bonus Day: Fredericton

New Brunswick’s capital Fredericton is a place I’ve wanted to go for a long time, and I urge you to find time to include it in your trip. I’d just heard so many great things about the place. On my second visit I managed to squeeze it in alongside all the other great outdoor adventures in New Brunswick.

The main two things I wanted to do were the Freddy Taproom Trail on bikes, and Stand-Up Paddle-boarding on the Wolastoq river. We were due to do that with Second Nature Outdoors, who also provide kayaks and experienced guides. Sadly the weather was terrible and our trip was cancelled.

It almost put a stop to the Freddy Tap Trail too, but we decided to do it anyway and just get wet! It was brilliant fun, but a lot quieter than a nice summer’s day. I’m always looking for an excuse to come back to New Brunswick, and now I’ve found it; The Freddy Taproom Trail in summer.

Fredericton is best shown in the video below, enjoy!

And just like that our roller-coaster 7-day road trip around New Brunswick and the Bay of Fundy came to and end. Now I don’t use the term Bucket List lightly, but this truly is a Bucket List Road trip. I cannot begin to tell you how many amazing things there are to see in New Brunswick.

As I mentioned there are three places where I wish I had more time, Hopewell Rocks, Fundy National Park and Saint John/Fredericton. So if you can make this longer than 7 days you won’t regret it.

And finally, if you do end up doing this trip, please let me know in the comments below or on social media. Thanks for reading.

*My trip to New Brunswick was sponsored by New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada. Nonetheless, the photos, video and opinions are all my own (as always). And honestly, as I mentioned at the start, I love Canada and the best way to travel is a road trip!

*Please note all prices quoted are not inclusive of Tax & true at the time of writing

Founder & Editor of Intrepid Escape, a huge lover of adventure, adrenaline, sport & fitness. After travelling extensively for the last 12 years, Scott started to document his travels before fulfilling an important lifelong goal by starting Intrepid Escape. He has since become a full-time Travel Writer, Videographer, Presenter and Producer.

0 thoughts on “ New Brunswick & the Bay of Fundy Road Trip In 2024 ”

What an amazing place I would love to do this trip I love the video.

Thank you, it really was. I’d totally recommend it, you would love New Brunswick 🙂

good for projects about hope well rocks and the bay of fundy !

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new brunswick canada road trip

The Great Acadian Road Trip: Itinerary, Tips and Lots of Pics

Janice Waugh

September 28, 2016 by Janice Waugh


Follow this sign for the Acadian Coastal Route.

I don't think I've ever met a culture so fiercely determined to celebrate its history and so modern in how they do it.

The Acadians of New Brunswick are fully present and not to be missed. This New Brunswick road trip is your perfect introduction to Les Acadiens.

Despite the British attempt to remove them from British North America in 1755 a few remained and eventually gathered in Caraquet, the unofficial capital of Acadia. Their population grew and now spreads along the New Brunswick's east coast. You can feel the Acadian presence in the French you hear (with an accent that I didn't find difficult), the food you eat, the music you listen to and the activities you enjoy.

The road trip along New Brunswick's Acadian Coastal Drive offers:

  • The Acadian Village (animated historic village)
  • Le Pays de la Sagouine (animated village inspired by the novels of Antonine Maillet)
  • Traditional Acadian food and fine cuisine often featuring incredible seafood
  • Beaches, both managed and wild.
  • A beautiful National Park
  • Coves to explore
  • Fishers to meet
  • Fly fishing to try
  • Birds to watch
  • And the amazing amount of noise they make at Tentamare, the annual event on August 15th where, for one hour, people make as much noise as they can as a declaration that “We are Still Here!!!”.

As I continue to travel this year I find myself telling the stories from this August trip again and again. For a trip through a seemingly quiet rural countryside, it has certainly left me with many stories and anecdotes to pass along to you. Here I want to share my road trip itinerary with tips and photos.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined the festivities for the Tentamare in Caraquet on August 15th.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined the festivities for the Tentamare in Caraquet on August 15th.

New Brunswick Road Trip along the Acadian Coast – Itinerary

This is a five-day itinerary for the Acadian Coastal Route. I flew into Moncton and spent one day on either end on the Bay of Fundy. So I'll start with Day 2 of my trip, Day 1 of the Acadian Coastal Route.

Acadian Coastal Drive Day 1, Drive to Miramichi

Get away from Moncton early so that you have time to:

  • S pend the morning at Le Pays de la Sagouine in Bouctouche. The name means the country of the washerwoman. This is a fictional community based on the novels of the renowned Acadian novelist Antonine Maillet. From the welcome center you take a boardwalk to this community where characters from the novels bring Acadia of the Prohibition Era to life. When you get there you'll find live theatre, music, comedy, dance and cuisine. It's very clever how they designed their main performance area. There are two stages with seating in between that can be flipped in the direction of the stage with the performance. I could have eaten there but I moved on to go to a restaurant in town.
  • Have lunch in Bouctouche at Restaurant la Sagouine for real Acadian food and other options as well. After a brief wait in line I was offered a table for one. The couple behind me spoke up and asked me to join them. I had lunch with Mike and Cheryl from Nova Scotia, both Acadian – she from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and he from Bathurst, New Brunswick. I had Acadian Clam Pie, Cheryl had Rappe, a potato pancake, and Mike had a lobster roll. It was a wonderful lunch and, wouldn't you know, I met them again at the Tentamare in Caraquet a few days later.
  • Stop in at Irving Eco-Centre on the north side of Bouctouche . You can spend a while and walk the 12km boardwalk along the dune or climb the tower for the view and move on.
  • Watch the coastline for fishers in action as you drive north . If you're lucky you'll see fishing boats going into harbour. Make a detour to the harbour to see how they bring in their catch. I spent an hour at Cap Lumiere watching the goings-on and talking with the people there.
  • Arrive Miramichi and check into Rodd Miramichi . The Rodd, as it's known locally, is the premier hotel in the area. Positioned perfectly on the river it's recently undergone a full renovation which makes for a very pleasant stay.
  • Have dinner at O'Donaghue's Pub in Miramichi . I saved the Rodd’s restaurant for my second night. On this first night, I had dinner at O’Donaghue’s Pub which is a 5-minute walk from the Rodd. It’s a popular spot and they often have live music on the weekend.

Le Pays de la Sangouine. They have entertainment many times during the day and there are characters from the novels in many of the homes.

Le Pays de la Sagouine. They have entertainment many times during the day and there are characters from the novels in many of the homes. It's a lot of fun! From top left clockwise: an Acadian band playing great traditional tunes, the fictional niece of la Sagouine (the washerwoman) who was teaching traditional cooking that day, a view of the island from the boardwalk and a fisher explaing, with great drama and humor, the various shellfish to be found in the area, how to catch them and how to eat them.

Le Restaurant La Sangouine in Bouctouche.

Le Restaurant la Sagouine in Bouctouche. From top left and clockwise, my Acadian Clam Pie, Cheryl and Mike, Cheryl's potato pancake and finally Mike's lobster roll.

The Irving Eco-Centre just north of Bouctouche.

The Irving Eco-Centre just north of Bouctouche. It happened to rain when I was there otherwise it would have been a beautiful walk along the boardwalk.

Acadian Coastal Route Day 2 – Spend the day in and around Miramichi

The Miramichi River looms large in my mind. My late husband's family lived mostly in New Brunswick and this river was always referred to as the Mighty Miramichi. It's a grand river and the focus of leisure activities for locals and visitors alike.

  • Spend the morning standing in the river learning how to flyfish on the Little Southwest Miramichi at Upper Oxbow Outdoor Adventures . The half-day adventure includes lunch which was delicious but the best part is being on the river and learning the technique involved in casting a fly just so. It takes time to learn but eventually I got it – kind-of – at least most of the time. Sometimes I'd cast too far back and snap the water behind me which would result in the line bunching up in a pile in the river in front of me rather than touching down lightly. Fly fishing is an art form that, I'm guessing, isn't ever actually perfected. And if you have can do so on one river, you won’t necessarily be able to on another. Regardless, it’s a wonderful way to spend the day.
  • Drive south of Mramichi to explore Kouchibouguac National Park .  Thanks to the Gulf Stream, the Acadian Coast has the warmest beaches north of Virginia. Take the long walk along the boardwalk to Kelly’s beach, swim or just lie on the beach and bask in the sun. There are also fishing harbors in the park. I never got tired of talking to the fishers about their lifestyle. By the way, while the names of the boats suggest that women are out fishing as well, I didn’t actually meet any.
  • Return to the Rodd Miramichi for the night.  Treat yourself to dinner at the 1809 Restaurant and Bar  where chef, Jesse MacDonald, delivers local flavors with wonderful flare.

The Mirimichi

Upper Oxbow Outdoor Adventures is located on The Little Southwest Miramichi not far from the town.

Flyfishing on the Miramichi.

Fly fishing on the Miramichi. Upper Oxbow Outdoor Adventures provide gear, the guide and the skills.

Kouchibouguac National Park on the east coast of New Brunswick.

Kouchibouguac National Park on the east coast of New Brunswick. From top left and clockwise: sand dunes and marshes that go on for miles, the warmest ocean beaches north of Virginia, my feet in the sand and me!

The Rodd Mirimichi at sunset. Have dinner in their restaurant

The Rodd Miramichi at sunset. Have dinner in their restaurant which has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the river (seen in photo) for the best views of the sunset.

Acadian Coastal Route Day 3 – Driving to the end of the road and Caraquet's historic village.

  • Drive north from Miramichi to Miscou . Miscou is an island at the very northern tip of New Brunswick. It's quite remote. There's a lighthouse at the end and bird watching stations along the peat marsh which turns a bright red in the fall. I love driving to the end of a road and that's exactly what you can do on the Ile Miscou. As you enter the island stop in at the local visitor information center to get an overview of the island. One of the tidbits of information I loved learning there was about the emergency crash landing of a Russian monoplane on the island. Vladimir Kokkinaki and his co-pilot Mikhail Gordienko were attempting a non-stop, cross-Atlantic flight over a northerly route but fell short. The people of Miscou helped out. From Miscou the pilots made it to Moncton and from there they flew to New York. The attempt was later known as the “Moscow-Miscou” flight.
  • Go to the  Village Historique Acadien.  After Miscou head to Caraquet, the heart of Acadian country. Just east of Caraquet is the Village Historique Acadien, unique in that it covers two periods of time, the 1770s and the 1940s. You start in the earlier period and after crossing a covered bridge you enter the 1940s. There are over 40 buildings and all the characters speak both French and English. At minimum, a half day is recommended.
  • Check into Gîte “Le Poirier” B&B where Alain Boisvert is your host. The B&B is very sweet and immaculately kept. Alain, as you can see below, serves wonderful, amazing, delicious breakfasts! He's also a wonderful source of advice on exploring Caraquet and the history of the area if that's your interest.
  • Explore Caraquet.  Alain's B&B is on the main street of Caraquet. I was there during the Festival Acadien de Caraquet so there was lots going on. I went to a free concert at their community centre featuring Ten Strings and a Goat. The hall is such that everyone gets a great seat. The band was fantastic!
  • Another lobster roll. Yum!  After the concert it was late for dinner so I wanted something light. I stopped into a Dixie Lee, a fast food chain, and had a great lobster roll. I don't generally go to fast food restaurants but I've found that fast food outlets in New Brunswick do a lobster roll well. It's my go-to if I don't have much time.

The Miscou

The Acadian Village

The breakfasts made by are nothing short of spectacular.

The breakfasts made by Alain Boisvert of Gîte “Le Poirier” B&B are nothing short of spectacular.

Acadian Coastal Route Day 4 – High Spirits and the Festival Acadien de Caraquet

For me, day 4 was August 15th, the big day for the Festival Acadien de Caraquet. However, there was much I could see before the festivities started.

  • Explore Sainte-Anne-du-Bocage . Sainte-Anne-du-Bocage is a sanctuary in Caraquet than includes the original church with an addition on the back for outdoor services. Through the woods there is a Stations of the Cross walk and a Rosary walk. The Sainte-Anne Chapel was built on the site of the first church in Caraquet and has been an important pilgrimage site for more than a century and a half.
  • Visit Distillerie Fils du Roy . I still have much to write about this trip but I was inspired to write about this distillery right away. The story of Sébastien Roy, its founder, and how he interweaves his spirits with Acadian culture and history is amazing. Please read  Learning from Travel: A Lesson in Following Dreams .
  • Attending the Festival Acadien de Caraquet. If you are so lucky as to go to Caraquet during the Festival you are in for a big, big treat. There are concerts throughout the day. At the official ceremonies Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke as previous prime ministers have done. And at 6pm sharp the famous  Tintamarre  begins. The town people and visitors walk up and down the mains street making as much noise as possible as evidence that the Acadians are still here! Make sure that you buy an Acadian flag, paint your face appropriately and get a noisemaker to join the fun. What a fantastic evening.
  • Got to the Méchants Party . Méchants means nasty, naughty or mean. The Méchants Party runs on the last night of the festival. It offers even more music and dancing.
  • Drop into bed at Gîte “Le Poirier” B&B. Sleep well with the knowledge that Alain will have one of his wonderful breakfasts for you in the morning.

Sainte-Anne-du-Bocage was built in 1840 on the site of the first church in Caraquet.

Sainte-Anne-du-Bocage was built in 1840 on the site of the first church in Caraquet.

I went to the Fils du Roy Distillerie in the morning. You can read about this amazing distillery and the most passionate man I've every met here.

I went to the Fils du Roy Distillerie in the morning. You can read about this amazing distillery and the most passionate man I've ever met in  Learning from Travel: A Lesson in Following Dreams .

There were live, outdoor concerts all day on August 15th for the Festival Acadien du Caraquet.

There were live, outdoor concerts all day on August 15th for the Festival Acadien de Caraquet.

Everyone dresses up for the Tentamare.

Everyone dresses up for the Tentamare.

Acadian Coastal Route Day 5 – Drive to Shediac and a lobster cruise!

I was concerned that after the festival the road back to Moncton/Shediac would be busy but it wasn't bad. I arrived in time for to check into my hotel and get to the lobster cruise in time.

  • Leave for Shediac. Driving south to Shediac take the coastal route as much as you can because it's very pretty. As I was not certain about traffic I drove the coast for a while but the main road for much of it.
  • Check into the Hotel Shediac . The Hotel Shediac is a fairly new hotel located near the centre of Shediac.
  • Take a Lobster Tales cruise . Ron was our captain and host for the two-hour Lobster Tales cruise. And could Ron tell a tale. He was great fun, entertaining children and adults as he educated us about lobster, the fishery and the best way to cook and eat this delicacy. I learned that I have been cooking it the wrong way all these years and discovered that I could love lobster even more cooked Ron’s way.

From top left and clockwise: Ron showing us the proper way to eat a lobster, me eating one, the Shediac harbor and a pic from the upper deck of the boat.

From top left and clockwise: Ron showing us the proper way to eat a lobster, me eating one, the Shediac harbor and a pic from the upper deck of the boat.

Five Days on a New Brunswick Road Trip

So there you have it, my five-day New Brunswick road trip itinerary. It truly was a fantastic time. It will be on my recommended solo road trips post I'm planning for our series of 2017 trip planning posts.

This week-long road trip was supported by  Tourism New Brunswick . It was fantastic! I have so much to tell you. As always the opinions and experiences are my own. 

Sharing is caring!

Publisher Janice: info @ solotravelerworld.com

Editor Tracey: tracey @ solotravelerworld.com

Sales Simon: simon @ solotravelerworld.com

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Unforgettable Road Trips in New Brunswick

Head out into the wilds of New Brunswick on a river canoe

One of Canada’s last true hidden gems, New Brunswick is a province of extraordinary diversity. Discover delicious food, friendly villages, vibrant cities and diverse landscapes all at your own pace.

From the wilds of the Appalachian Mountains to the dramatic tides of the Fundy coast, New Brunswick is a province that feels like it was built for road trips. As well as being a place of outstanding natural beauty, its official bilingual status makes it a destination of particular cultural richness. The following road trips offer very different ways to experience the fascinating province from food and art-focused city hops to the open roads of the Fundy and Acadian coast.

Fundy Coast

From the Hopewell Rocks in the west to the seaside resort town of St. Andrews in the east, this seven-day road trip takes you along the shore of the Bay of Fundy , best known for its incredible high tides. Your starting point of Hopewell Rocks is the perfect place to experience them: at low tide the vast sea stack monoliths can be explored on foot before 160bn tonnes of water rushes into the bay and the sea rises to the equivalent height of a four-story building. From Hopewell, head east to Fundy National Park, a vast pristine forest with glamping sites and excellent hiking and biking trails that run deep into woodland stalked by moose and snowshoe hares.

Next up is one of the great stretches of North American road: the 19mi (30km) Fundy Trail Parkway, which has epic views and stopping points for trails, beaches and waterfalls. From here, you pass through the pretty fishing village of St Martins before heading to Fundy’s only city, Saint John , where the handsome 19th-century center is home to a vibrant restaurant scene (be sure to pick up a lobster roll for lunch from the lively Saint John City Market). The final leg of the trip takes you first to the Fundy Isles – the archipelago that includes Campobello Island, home to Franklin D Roosevelt’s one-time home, Roosevelt Cottage – and then on to bustling Saint Andrews, which makes a great base for whale-watching excursions.

Make sure you see Hopewell Rocks at both high and low tides to really experience what’s so special and unique about this natural phenomenon

Hub City Road

This four-day road trip is the ideal little excursion for those who want a snapshot of the rich variety of New Brunswick life without having to do too much driving. You’ll start in Moncton , the Hub City of the Maritimes, which is both the perfect base for exploring many of the best spots in the provinces – Hopewell Rocks and Parlee Beach are both a short drive away – and a great destination in and of itself. You’ll want at least a couple of days to explore the many diversions in the city: the tigers and lemurs at Magnetic Hill Zoo, the wine tastings at Magnetic Hill Winery, the gorgeous thermotherapy treatments at the Nordic-style Usva spa. Moncton has a food scene to more than justify the days spent here. Don’t miss Atelier Tony , widely touted as one of the best new restaurants in Canada.

After living it up in the city for a few days, it’s time to head into the country. First stop is Memramcook, a stunning valley of birdlife-rich marshlands and orchards teeming with apples. From here, it’s on to lovely Sackville, with its 55-acre (22ha) waterfowl park, tea rooms and ruined 18th-century forts. Finish your trip at the Winegarden Estate for a taste of the German-style fruit wines.

You can literally walk on the ocean floor around Hopewell Rocks at low tide

Appalachian Outpost

Those looking to escape the hurly-burly will be entranced by this five-day road trip through New Brunswick’s 400m-year-old Appalachian Mountains, which offer ample opportunities to reconnect with nature. You start right on the border with Quebec in the charming town of Campbellton, which has a gorgeous waterfront esplanade. From here, head to Sugarloaf Park, where the high peak on the mountain bike trail is lift-serviced and the campground has handsome wooden cabins for stopovers.

From here, drive to the rural community of Kedgwick, known for its incredible fall colors. It’s a brilliant base for guided fly-fishing tours and canoe trips along the Kedgwick River. After stocking up in Saint-Quentin, your road trip concludes in Mount Carleton Provincial Park, home to the 2,690ft (820m) peak that gives the park its name. It’s a birdwatcher’s paradise – abundant species include American redstarts, black-capped chickadees and all manner of warblers. Night time in the park is an incredible experience which has you staring up awestruck at the blanket of stars, and the view from the summit is astonishing: on a clear day you can see 10m trees.

Take a canoe trip down the Kedgewick River and meander through the mist between soaring pine trees

Hops and Harvest

Foodies and art-lovers will delight in this four-day road trip, which takes you from New Brunswick’s charming capital city, Fredericton , north to the farmlands of the province, where you can sample some of the finest food and drink in the region. If craft beer is your calling, then you’re going to have fun in Fredericton: its Taproom Trail brings together 10 taprooms, including local favorites Maybee Brewing and York County Cider.

The food scene is terrific too; Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market is recognized as one of the best in Canada, and there are great restaurants everywhere you look, not least 11th Mile, with its inventive small plates. The town is also home to a New Brunswick cultural treasure: the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, funded by local boy Lord Beaverbrook in 1959 and home to works by Turner and Dali.

After a couple of days exploring the city, it’s time to head west to Mactaquac Provincial Park with its freshwater beaches and gorgeous trails that take you deep into the heart of beaver territory. From here, you follow the Saint John River up to New Brunswick’s first town, Woodstock. The farmer’s market here is a brilliant place to pick up some of the incredible food grown in the lush farmlands nearby, and the town’s Victorian architecture is charming. If you haven’t eaten enough already, drive on to Florenceville-Bristol, in Canada’s potato belt, for gourmet french fries at the Harvest Café.

The bike lanes and routes throughout Fredericton make the capital a safe place to explore on two wheels

Acadian Shores

The Acadian shoreline road trip hugs the eastern seaboard from the bustle of the province’s southeast quarter along great empty roads to Chaleur and its unspoilt beaches. Start at Shediac, the lobster capital, just 20 minutes from downtown Moncton. Once you’ve filled up on some of the best seafood in North America, it’s time to strike out for the Acadian peninsula , home to gorgeous beaches and pretty villages. The peninsula has many highlights including a fascinating aquarium in Shippagan and the Miscou peat bogs which, come fall, are a carpet of blazing red. But the star is the Village Historique Acadien , an open-air living museum of 40 historic buildings populated by bilingual actors recreating the long and storied history of the area.

From here it’s on to the Chaleur region, which has incredible beaches – don’t miss Pokeshaw for the spectacular sunsets – and phenomenal hiking. Daly Point Nature Reserve has great trails perfect for birders on the lookout for eagles and woodpeckers.

Your trip ends in a charming town called Bathurst famous for its microbreweries and farmers market. Anglers shouldn’t miss Youghall Beach, a great spot for striped bass and mackerel fishing.

The Miscou peat bogs in fall provide a breathtaking vista of scarlet red wetlands

Ready to start booking your trip to this wonderful part of Canada? Check out our bookable experiences , request a custom itinerary , and explore more about New Brunswick .

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

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Road Trip Itinerary for Seeing the Best of New Brunswick

new brunswick canada road trip

A friend from New Brunswick once revealed to me the secret of his native province. “We have everything that all the other provinces have,” he said, “but we have it all in one place.” Indeed, New Brunswick does seem to have it all: beaches, mountains, islands, colorful cliffs, high tides, and charming towns and cities with local music scenes and fresh seafood. And it’s all contained in the tidy package that is Canada’s third-smallest — and only officially bilingual — province.

To put the size of New Brunswick in perspective, driving from the most southerly city of Saint John to the northern town of Campbellton takes about four and a half hours. Driving from west to east, say from the border at Houlton, Maine, to the beautiful, remote island of Miscou in the far northeast, takes five. Put simply, you can imagine New Brunswick as “five-by-five” in terms of driving size.

A week isn’t long enough to experience everything New Brunswick has to offer, but it’s a sufficient window in which to undertake an introductory road trip, so…motors ready! Stretch it, shorten it, or tweak it — here’s your itinerary for seeing the best of New Brunswick.

Day 1: Campobello Island and St. Andrews

Road trip itinerary for seeing the best of New Brunswick

Photo: Roosevelt Campobello International Park

Begin your journey in Lubec, Maine, and cross over the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge — and the international border — to Campobello Island. It might seem unusual to begin your Canadian road trip with a slice of American history, but the Roosevelt Campobello International Park is well worth a visit: This bucolic, rocky isle is where Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt spent their summers. You can even have “Tea with Eleanor” at their summer cottage — one of the most impactful and highly rated experiences at the park.

Full of homemade cookies and tea, continue to the seaside resort town of St. Andrews, either by ferry (check the ferry schedule first!) or road (you’ll need to reenter Maine and cross at Calais). Check in at the Algonquin Resort , a grand old hotel filled with luxury and a few friendly ghosts — ask your concierge for a ghost tour if that’s your thing. For dinner, consider the elegant Rossmount Inn, whose restaurant was voted one of Canada’s Best in 2019.

Note : Don’t forget to set your clocks one hour ahead when you cross into Canada!

Day 2: Saint John and the Bay of Fundy

Road trip itinerary for seeing the best of New Brunswick

Photo: Tourism New Brunswick

New Brunswick is famous for having the highest tides in the world. Twice a day, enough water to fill the Grand Canyon — twice — swishes in and out of the Bay of Fundy, a bathtub-shaped crevice separating the province from Nova Scotia. The Saint John River is one of the waterways that feeds into the bay, and at high tide the influx of seawater is so powerful that it actually counters the river’s flow, creating the famous Reversing Falls Rapids in Stonehammer UNESCO Global Geopark . The Skywalk in the city of Saint John is a great place to view the phenomenon.

Once you’ve witnessed the power of the tides, check out Irving Nature Park , a jam-packed spot where New Brunswick’s marshes, beaches, and forests all converge. There are plenty of hiking trails, seven miles of bay coastline, and a lookout tower with excellent views.

For some great eating, there’s at least a week’s worth of restaurants in Saint John that serve seafood chowder — including the Reversing Falls Restaurant — and that’s exactly what you should order. When you’re ready to turn in, spend the night at Chipman Hill Suites , a collection of nine Victorian-era mansions right in the Uptown District.

Days 3 and 4: Fundy Trail Parkway and Hopewell Rocks

Road trip itinerary for seeing the best of New Brunswick

Photo: Shutterstock/Vagabond54

Head up the coast from Saint John and set off slowly along the Fundy Trail Parkway . Emphasis on the slowly — the 19-mile parkway winds through the longest stretch of wilderness coastline on the Eastern Seaboard and leads to the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. Leave plenty of time to enjoy the lookouts, short trails, and beaches along your way.

Once you come to the end of the 19-mile drive, retrace your route and then set the GPS for the charming village of Alma, gateway to Fundy National Park . This is Canada’s first national park, and it holds 75 miles of trails, waterfalls, mountains…the entirety of any national park bingo card. There’s so much to explore, you’ll likely want to spend the night in Alma or at one of the park’s campgrounds to maximize your time.

When you’re ready, your next stop is Cape Enrage. Along with its stellar name, it might be Canada’s most stellar view. Towering cliffs, a light tower, and several beaches make for some incomparable travel photos. But the jaw-dropping landscapes don’t stop there — just wait till you get to The Hopewell Rocks . Depending on the tide, these magnificent, enormous flowerpot rocks will either be halfway underwater or completely exposed — to the point that you can walk around them right on the ocean floor.

Finally, it’s off to the USVA Nordic spa on the outskirts of Moncton . You can’t hit the hay just yet — they’ve got a hot/cold Thermal Experience you’ve got to try. In the morning, fuel up at one of Moncton’s cute cafes before stopping to see the strange tidal-bore effect on the Petitcodiac River, aka the Chocolate River.

Days 5 and 6: Glamping on the Acadian Coast

Road trip itinerary for seeing the best of New Brunswick

Photo: Samuel Daigle/ Nepisiguit Adventures

The next segment of your drive takes you along the Acadian Coast, home to the warmest saltwater beaches north of Virginia. Your destination: two nights of wilderness luxury at Cielo Glamping Maritime , a small complex of geodesic domes, aka “pearls,” set on St-Simon Bay in Shippagan.

Each quarter-translucent pearl — so you can see out while staying in — has a private, outdoor, wood-fired hot tub. If you’re feeling social, join fellow campers at the central meeting place, The Hub, for bespoke charcuterie boards with local cheeses, smoked herring, and paté, along with local beers (six on tap), spirits, or wine.

There are several attractions around Shippagan you’ll want to check out during your stay:

  • Half an hour away is the wild island of Miscou, which has a historic lighthouse, beautiful beaches, and a peat bog that turns an intense shade of crimson in the fall, due to the combination of peat moss and ericaceous shrubs like huckleberry, cranberry, and sheep laurel.
  • In Petite-Rivière-de-l’Ile, on Lamèque Island, Église Sainte-Cécile is a small church painted in cheerful pinks, yellows, and blues. A point of contention with parishioners decades ago, the interior paintwork of this “candy church” is now considered a treasure of Atlantic Canadian folk art.
  • Near Bathurst — about an hour away — Nepisiguit Adventures offers a “Paddles and Eagles” tour that includes lunch, waterfalls, and a swim in a salmon pool (besides paddling the Nepisiguit River and watching for eagles, of course). For dinner afterward, standing out in terms of fine dining in the region are Origines in Caraquet and Fresco Kitchen in Bathurst.

But whatever you do, be sure to while away an hour or two at Fils du Roy Distillery . Their London Dry Gin has got to be one of the best in the world (note the gold medals if you need proof).

Day 7: Exploring Fredericton

Road trip itinerary for seeing the best of New Brunswick

Your final day on the road takes you to the riverfront capital city of Fredericton , the province’s capital, on your way back towards the US. Your first stop should be Odell Park, a 333-acre section of old-growth forest in the heart of town. Join Cecelia Brooks and her son Anthony on the Wabanaki Tree Spirit Tour, a two-hour “medicine walk” through the park that explores the plants and mushrooms the Wabanaki have used for centuries.

Depending on what day of the week you visit, you’ll also find some of the province’s best markets in Fredericton. Stand-outs include the historic Boyce Farmers Market and the brand-new ECO Market , where you can peruse environmentally conscious arts and crafts, fresh produce, and zero-plastic products. A couple blocks away from Boyce, Beaverbrook Art Gallery has a different kind of art — a 3,000-strong collection of British, Canadian, and international masterworks. After your gallery tour, wander around the city center and its many cafés, bars, and small shops.

On your final evening in New Brunswick, head to York Street for an out-of-this-world cocktail and dining experience at 11th Mile. Co-owners Peter Tompkins and Jennie Wilson have been at the forefront of the culinary revolution here, and they love to talk about — and listen to — stories from their home province.

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Road Trip New Brunswick: Exploring the Acadian Peninsula

Are you looking for a unique road trip in New Brunswick where you’ll experience the ocean vibe, the Acadian cultures and eat delicious seafood?

Then, you should plan a road trip to New Brunswick’s Acadian Peninsula.

New Brunswick’s Acadian Peninsula is a destination that blends culture, history, and natural beauty , making it an appealing spot for families with young children. 

P.S. This article is made in collaboration with Toursime Péninsule Acadienne . We are incredibly grateful they hosted us for our stay. It allowed me to write a deeper and more quality review. Note that all opinions are our own.

In this blog post, you’ll explore through a detailed family itinerary three central regions of the Acadian Peninsula:

  • Caraquet (and the Acadian Historical Village ), 
  • Shippagan (and the New Brunswick Aquarium ), and 
  • Miscou Island.

And as soon as you arrive on the Peninsula, you’ll understand why its slogan is “ Kick back to a new beat . ”

Let’s dive in!

road trip to new brunswick

Disclaimer: Just a heads up, this free article contains affiliate links . If you purchase after clicking one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost . Also, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Your support helps me continue to provide helpful and free content for you .


✈️ BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS: The nearest airport to the Acadian Peninsula is the Bathurst Airport (ZBF) in Bathurst, New Brunswick. Another option is the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport (YQM) in Moncton . It’s a bit farther away but offers more flight options. Find cheap flights using Google Flights or Skyscanner , where you can compare airline tickets.

🚗 RENT YOUR CAR : You can rent a car directly from Bathurst Airport or rent it from Moncton Airport .

🛏️ BOOK YOUR HOTEL: Booking.com  is an excellent search engine for hotels and guesthouses in Caraquet and the Acadian Peninsula. You can look at the Maison Touristique Dugas or Super 8 Caraquet . It’s right by the waterfront, near the Carrefour de la Mer.

The Perfect Road Trip in New Brunswick: 3 Days in the Acadian Peninsula

Day 1: settle and explore caraquet.

Arrive in Caraquet. 

On your way to downtown Caraquet, stop at the local cheese factory Les Blancs d’Arcadie . They make delicious curds cheese and other fresh cheddar cheeses. When you enter the factory, you can look at our the cheese is made.

If time allows, you could also make a slight detour to Paquetville to visit the locale distillery Les Fils du Roy .

Once in Caraquet, check in to your hotel or campground and head downtown to Carrefour de la Mer for a casual dinner and an evening walk by the sea.

carrefour de la mer caraquet

Carrefour de la Mer – Gateway to the Sea

Carrefour de la Mer, translating to “Gateway of the Sea,” is a focal point in Caraquet, a town renowned for its maritime heritage . This complex is located near the water, part shopping center, part tourist information center, and part cultural hub. 

It’s a perfect starting point for anyone exploring Caraquet and the surrounding areas.

The Carrefour de la Mer hosts a variety of retail shops and dining options :

  • Shops: From clothing and accessories to unique maritime-themed gifts, the shopping area offers a diverse selection.
  • Restaurants and Cafés : Whether you’re in the mood for a fine dining experience or a quick snack, various dining options cater to different tastes and budgets.

We grab a to-go dinner from Bobby Comptoir Lunch. We had fancy nachos, shrimp guédilles and chocolate mousse. It was DELICIOUS. We ate our meal by the kids’ playground. We also stopped for ice cream at the Crèmerie Marie Belle, a few steps from the playground.

Nachos and shrimp guédille at Carrefour de la Mer

With filled bellies, you can walk along the shore. There are nice walking trails and access to a small beach to catch a breathtaking sunrise.

Return to your hotel (or campground) and get a good night’s sleep to be well-rested for the next day.

Day 2: Acadian Historic Village – The Heart of Acadian Culture

Wake up slowly, grab a good breakfast and pack a lunch. Today, you’ll discover the heart of the Acadian Culture at the Acadian Historical Village.

If you’re looking for a coffee shop to grab a quick breakfast and latte, try the Grains de Folie , a French bakery and coffee shop between downtown Caraquet and the Acadian Village. Otherwise, you can also stop at the Acadian Village café .

costumed guide at the Acadian Village

Acadian Historical Village

The Acadian Historical Village spans over 40 acres and offers interactive displays and activities that can keep children engaged. Allow a full day to explore the village, as there are 40 original buildings and demonstrations .

It presents an authentic and immersive experience that highlights the rich heritage and lifestyle of the Acadians from 1770 to 1949. It’s a living museum showcasing original buildings, period-accurate artifacts, and engaging costumed interpreters.

Try to arrive when it opens, at 10:00 a.m. You can start your visit with a short movie presentation about the Acadian deportation.

The Acadian Historical Village is not merely a place to observe; it invites interaction. You can enter each home and learn from the different costumed interpreters. From humble fishermen’s cottages to grand farmhouses, each building offers a glimpse into daily life during different periods.

The knowledgeable guides are dressed in period-appropriate attire and stay in character, providing lively insights into Acadian culture and history. They engage visitors with storytelling, demonstrations, and hands-on activities, making history come alive.

We loved seeing them prepare their lunch recreating how they would have cooked meals back in the day. It’s one of the reasons you want to arrive at the museum’s opening. Before lunchtime you’ll see the guides preparing meals they will eat for lunch. It smells so good but is also a unique way to learn about the past.

walking on the path at the Acadian Village in Caraquet

NOTE: The Acadian Historical Village is a big living museum. Kids will have to walk for at least 2-3 kilometers. You’ll ideally want to bring a stroller, lots of water and snacks. There are many places to stop along the way with picnic tables to grab lunch. You’ll also find a few restaurants and snack bars. Also, plan a few hours to explore the museum. It’s a (almost) full-day activity.

The Acadian Historical Village is more than a collection of old buildings; it’s a vibrant and living expression of Acadian history and culture. It offers a journey into a world that celebrates resilience, tradition, and community.

Our visit to the village is one of the highlights of our road trip in New Brunswick. We stayed most of the day and still didn’t see all the buildings (the kids were getting a little tired).

When you’re ready to leave the Acadian Historical Village, head back to Caraquet for beach time.

Plage Foley in downtown Caraquet

Plage Foley

Drive to downtown Caraquet and stop at Plage Foley.

Plage Foley is a great little beach for families. The kids had a lot of fun playing in the water. You can also go for a small paddleboard or kayak adventure. You can rent a kayak nearby if you don’t have your equipment.

There is also the Pointe à Brideau Range Rear Lighthouse that sits on the beach. Every Thursday evening in the summertime, you can enjoy an outdoor live show by the lighthouse. It’s pretty magical.

If you and the kids still have energy before dinner, you can use the bikes from Plage Foley to the kids’ playground and waterfront . There’s a little incline (going up on the way back to the beach), but it’s relatively easy and short.

Seafood casserole at Le Caraquette restaurant

Seafood Dinner

End your day in one of the seafood restaurants of Caraquet. We ate at Le Carquette restaurant and it was really good. I ordered the seafood casserole. They have a beautiful patio overlooking the marina and the bay. If the weather is great, I highly recommend eating outside.

Day 3: Shippagan, the New Brunswick Aquarium & Miscou

On your third day, y ou’ll drive to Shippagan and Miscou Island . I recommend starting the day early. Also, you can still stay overnight in Caraquet or you can find a campground or cabin near Shippagan or Miscou . 

For our road trip to New Brunswick, we’ve decided to base ourselves out of Caraquet and make it a day trip, but it’s really up to you and your family.

I t’s a 30-minute drive from Caraquet to Shippagan and about an hour to the Miscou Lighthouse .

Miscou Island Lighthouse in the Acadian Peninsula 1

Miscou Island Lighthouse

Start this busy day by driving to Miscou Island Lighthouse. As mentioned before, it’s a one-hour drive from Caraquet. You’ll be driving down to the island to reach the lighthouse.

On your way, you’ll drive through Lamèque Island.

​​The Miscou Island Lighthouse is an iconic landmark on Miscou Island at the northeastern tip of New Brunswick, Canada. It provides a glimpse into the maritime history of the region. The Miscou Island Lighthouse was constructed in 1856, making it one of the oldest standing lighthouses in the province .

For many years, it guided fishermen, sailors, and shipping vessels safely through the region’s potentially treacherous waters.

Once at Miscou Island Lighthouse, you can climb up the lighthouse, which I highly recommend. The view from the top of the lighthouse is breathtaking. You can enjoy panoramic views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Chaleur Bay, and the picturesque coastline from the top of the lighthouse .

Note that there’s a minimal fee to enter the lighthouse. 

Beach time by Miscou Island Lighthoouse

Miscou Island Beach Time

After you visit the lighthouse, spend some time at a nearby beach. We enjoyed the water right by the lighthouse, both on the left and right sides. 

We played in the water and searched for crabs and lobster shells. We found a few cool ones. You could also drive to the Miscou public beach (but we didn’t have time to stop).

When you’re ready, start driving back to Shippagan with a stop at Peat Bog Boardwalk.

Peat Bog Boardwalk in Miscou Island

Peat Bog Boardwalk

The Peat Bog Boardwalk trail is a short, sweet walking trail through the peat bog. It’s only a 0.8 km loop, stroller and wheelchair accessible .

You’ll also find a picnic table if you’re up for a picnic lunch…. But I would highly suggest waiting a little longer and grabbing lunch at …

Terrasse à Steve seafood snack bar

La Terrasse à Steve

Before leaving the beautiful Miscou Island, you must stop at La Terrasse à Steve for a late lunch. It’s the perfect place to eat fresh seafood.

The restaurant is a snack bar-style restaurant located right by the water. While waiting for your fun, you can watch the fish boats. 

We ordered the crab burgers and they were delicious. 

If there are some empty tables, make sure to eat on the patio section overlooking the marina. We didn’t have this luck (it was crowded! But we understand why now!)

Now that you’re fueled up, it’s time to visit the New Brunswick Aquarium back in Shippagan.

Visiting the Aquarium NB

New Brunswick Aquarium

Shippagan is home to the New Brunswick Aquarium , a must-visit for families. Here, you can discover the marine life that inhabits the Gulf of St. Lawrence waters.

There are 4 main sections to the aquarium:

  • Fish Exhibits : 

The aquarium has over 100 species of local fish. From colorful tropical fish to imposing sharks, the exhibits offer a glimpse into the diversity of aquatic life in the area. The fish exhibits is located inside the main building.

The kids’ highlight was seeing the blue lobster tank.

  • Education Center (Hydrosphere Room):

Next to the fish exhibits (and the lobster tank) is an education center where you can learn more about marine life. There are interactive information stations and also coloring sheets and crayons.

It’s a good stop before heading to the outside section of the aquarium.

  • Touch Pools: 

Touch tanks allow children to get up close and personal with creatures like sea stars, sea urchins, and crabs under the guidance of trained staff.

The kids LOVED touching the different sea creatures.

  • Harbor Seal Tank: 

Next to the touch pools is the harbor seals’ tank. You can see the seals swimming around. But the main highlight really is the harbor seal meal time.

Every day at 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m, you can watch the Aquarium NB staff feeding the harbor seals .

You’ll want to coordinate your visit with the harbor seal meals. For this New Brunswick road trip itinerary, you’ll want to stay at the aquarium for the 4:00 p.m. feeding.

Having fun at the Aquarium NB

The New Brunswick Aquarium in Shippagan is an educational hub inviting families to engage meaningfully with marine life . The touch pools provide an interactive experience, and the harbor seals’ feedings are a favorite among children.

You can end your visit at the Shippagan Lighthouse beside the aquarium.

The town preparing for the Festival Acadien in Caraquet

Bonus Day: The Festival Acadien

If your visit to the Acadian Peninsula is timed with the Festival Acadien , you should spend a day joining the festivities. We were there on the festival’s first day but wished we could have visited in August 15th (the Acadian National Day).

The Festival Acadien is a significant cultural event in the Acadian Peninsula, one of the most vibrant expressions of Acadian culture and heritage . 

The Festival Acadien began in 1963, making it one of the oldest Acadian festivals in the world. It is primarily celebrated in Caraquet, New Brunswick, known as the “Capital of the Acadians.”

The festival typically takes place around National Acadian Day, which falls on August 15th. It’s a multi-day celebration, usually lasting around two weeks, with various activities and events.

You’ll find music performances, dances, children’s activities and the Tintamarre, a loud and colorful parade where people make noise with horns, pots, pans, and more. It’s a joyful way to express Acadian pride.

View of the beach from Miscou Island Lighthouse

A Few Things to Know Before Planning Your New Brunswick Road Trip

Here are a few things to know when planning a road trip to New Brunswick and the Acadian Peninsula:

Where is the Acadian Peninsula

The Acadian Peninsula (also known as the Acadian Coastal Drive ) is located in northeastern New Brunswick, Canada. It is part of the larger region known as Acadia, a center of Acadian culture and history.

The Gulf of St. Lawrence surrounds the peninsula to the east, Chaleur Bay to the south, and the Northumberland Strait to the west . Some prominent towns on the Acadian Peninsula include Caraquet, Shippagan, and Tracadie-Sheila .

How to Get to the Acadian Peninsula

The nearest airport to the Acadian Peninsula is the Bathurst Airport (ZBF) in Bathurst, New Brunswick. From here, you can rent a car to drive to the peninsula . Alternatively, another option is the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport (YQM) in Moncton . It’s a bit farther away but offers more flight options. You can also rent a car directly from the airport .

For our road trip, we drove from Quebec City. It’s a 640-km drive from Quebec City to Caraquet.

When is the Best Time to Visit the Acadian Peninsula

The best time to visit the Acadian Peninsula in New Brunswick, Canada, depends on what you want to experience, but the summer remains the best time to visit.

In the summertime, you’ll get warm and pleasant temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C (60°F to 77°F). It’s ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, beach-going, and exploring the vibrant Acadian culture.

There are many festivals, including the National Acadian Day on August 15th and the two-week Festival Acadien.  

It’s important to note that summer is the peak tourist season so accommodations might be more expensive, and popular spots may be more crowded.

Maison touristique Dugas in Caraquet

Where to Stay in the Acadian Peninsula

There are different options for lodging in the Acadian Peninsula. For this trip, we based ourselves out of Caraquet. We spend a couple of nights at the Maison Touristique Dugas and a couple of nights at Le Colibri campground .

Both were a little outside the town center. If you’re looking for a more central hotel, the Super 8 Caraquet is a great option. It’s right by the waterfront, near the Carrefour de la Mer.

»» Check rates and availabilities for hotels in Caraquet. ««

F.A.Q Road Trip to New Brunswick & the Acadian Peninsula

What is the history of acadia and the acadians.

Acadia, located in Canada’s Maritime provinces, was once the home of the Acadians, an early French-speaking colony. Established in 1604, this settlement thrived, cultivating the marshlands with its unique system of dykes. 

However, in 1755, tensions between the French and British empires led to the Great Expulsion, where over 10,000 Acadians were forcibly removed by the British. This event, known as “Le Grand Dérangement,” scattered the Acadian people throughout North America, notably to Louisiana where they became known as “Cajuns”. 

Despite this tragic displacement, the Acadian culture survived. Today, it’s celebrated in the Maritime provinces through music, festivals, and the distinctive Acadian flag. The resilient spirit of the Acadians serves as a testament to their enduring cultural identity amidst historical challenges.

The Acadian flag has a star, which helps them remember their history and always find their way home, just like a guiding star in the sky.

What are the culinary traditions of the Acadian Peninsula

The culinary traditions of the Acadian Peninsula are rich and diverse, reflecting the region’s history, culture, and natural resources. Here’s a look at some of the culinary specialties that you can enjoy in the Acadian Peninsula:

Fricot is a comforting stew typically made with chicken, potatoes, onions, and dumplings. It’s seasoned with savory, a popular herb in Acadian cooking, and often enjoyed with family and friends, especially during cold weather.

  • Poutines Râpées

Poutines râpées are unique potato dumplings stuffed with a savory meat filling, usually pork. The grated potatoes create a chewy texture, and the dumplings are often served with a rich, flavorful broth.

Chiard is a traditional Acadian pork meat dish cooked with onions and potatoes. It’s a simple and hearty meal often enjoyed during community gatherings.

  • Seafood Dishes

Being near the ocean, the Acadian Peninsula offers an abundance of fresh seafood. From succulent lobsters and clams to tasty mussels and scallops, seafood plays a vital role in the local diet. Dishes like seafood chowder and lobster rolls are beloved favorites.

  • Râpure (Rappie Pie)

Râpure, (or rappie pie), is made from grated potatoes and meat (often chicken or clams). The potato mixture is pressed to remove the liquid and then reconstituted with broth, creating a dense, satisfying casserole.

Where is the Acadian coast located?

The Acadian Coast, or “Côte Acadienne” in French, is located in the eastern part of New Brunswick, Canada. Stretching along the southern shore of the Chaleur Bay and the Northumberland Strait, the Acadian Coast is known for its sandy beaches, warm waters, and vibrant Acadian culture. Towns like Caraquet, Shippagan, and Tracadie-Sheila, among others, dot the coastline and are recognized for their rich Acadian heritage, festivals, and traditions.

How long is the Acadian Coastal Drive?

The Acadian Coastal Drive is 750 km

What is the Acadian Coastal Drive?

The Acadian Coastal Scenic Drive is a collection of provincial roads hugging the shoreline of the Northumberland Strait on the eastern coast of New Brunswick, passing small fishing villages, salt marshes and beaches.

Are Acadians in New Brunswick?

Maritime Acadia comprises many francophone communities scattered throughout Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick regions. For the last 40 years, the Acadian population in New Brunswick has maintained the greatest vitality, both demographically and on an institutional level.

What province do most Acadians live now?

Today, the largest Acadian community lives in New Brunswick, the only Canadian province that is officially bilingual. Some 233,000 people whose mother tongue is French—the great majority of whom are Acadians—represent one-third of the province’s population

What is Caraquet known for?

Caraquet’s economy is primarily marine resource-based, with a fishing wharf and seaport. Several beaches and other tourist attractions, such as the Village Historique Acadien, are located in the area.

Is Caraquet worth a visit?

Yes, Caraquet is wirth a visit. Caraquet has an impressive selection of attractions and experiences, making it well worth a visit. 

What is the meaning of the word “caraquet”?

Caraquet became a town on November 15, 1961. “Caraquet” comes from the Micmac and means “the meeting of two rivers.”

What is the Festival Acadien de Caraquet?

The Festival Acadien de Caraquet has been celebrating Acadian culture since 1963. In the first two weeks of August, Caraquet celebrates song, music and poetry.

The Acadian Peninsula is a haven for cultural exploration. The locals are fiercely proud of their Acadian roots, and this history can be felt throughout the area. From lively festivals to scenic landscapes, the Peninsula offers an adventure that can be both educational and entertaining for families.

Final Thoughts: A Road Trip in New Brunswick Exploring the Acadian Peninsula

The Acadian Peninsula, focusing on Caraquet, Shippagan, and Miscou, offers a diverse and enriching experience tailored for families . Whether indulging in cultural festivities, exploring marine life, or enjoying the natural beauty of beaches and bogs, there’s something to captivate every family member.

I hope this 3-day itinerary inspired you to plan your next family vacation to New Brunswick and the Acadian Peninsula. During your stay, you don’t want to miss the Acadian Historical Village, the Aquarium NB and the beaches.

Emilie Brillon

Emilie is the founder of Love Life Abroad. She helps moms plan epic road trips and outdoor adventures with their families. Because who said adventuring had to stop once we have kids? She’s based in the Canadian Rockies and shares her love for the region as well as other unique places in Canada & USA. She works with tourism boards and outdoor brands to inspire families to experience new unique destinations and outdoor activities.

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May 12, 2023 | 6 min read.

Janna Graber

As we walk single file on a narrow path on Machias Seal Island, my husband, Benjamin, and I follow our guide’s example, each carrying a tall stick pointed to the sky. Overhead, thousands of Arctic terns swoop and swirl. The birds are protective of this tiny uninhabited island in the lower Bay of Fundy and have been known to dive-bomb unsuspecting visitors. If that happens, our guide says, they’ll aim for the stick, rather than our heads.

At the end of the trail, we tuck inside a gray duck blind and open small rectangle viewing holes. Within minutes, I hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet on the roof.

Atlantic puffins in Machias Seal Island

The birds have no idea how delightful they are, but they’re why we’ve come. Some 1,800 pairs of razorbill auks and 500 pairs of common murres also call the island home, making it a paradise for birders like us.  

coastline of Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy

One of the best ways to experience the picturesque bay is by a road trip in New Brunswick, with its enviable location revealing the dramatic Bay of Fundy to the southeast and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the northeast. It neighbors Québec to the north and Nova Scotia to the east. With only 800,000 residents in 28,143 square miles, there is plenty of room to roam.

It’s the perfect summer trip for those who like seaside villages, small towns and unspoiled nature.

SHEDIAC Benjamin and I start our trip by flying into Moncton, New Brunswick’s largest city. After renting a car, our first stop is Shediac, a small Acadian community on the sea where Hôtel Shediac will be our home away from home. From there, the town is easy to explore on foot

Shediac New Brunswick lobster sculpture

The Acadians are descendants of early settlers who arrived from France in 1604. When the British ordered all Acadians to leave in 1755, more than 10,000 did so. Some settled in the American colonies—many became the Cajuns of Louisiana—while others were sent to the Caribbean, France or England.

Eventually, some Acadians returned to what is now New Brunswick (which has a population of more than 25,000 Acadians), Nova Scotia and other parts of Canada, where Acadian culture and customs endure. Acadian French is a dialect with some characteristics of the French spoken in the 16th and 17th centuries. Today, French and English are the official languages of New Brunswick.

GRAND MANAN ISLAND From Shediac, we make our way to the small town of Sussex. We get up early the next morning for the 90-minute drive, navigating through fogbound dips and curves, to Blacks Harbour. There, we catch the ferry to Grand Manan Island, where we stay at the lovely Compass Rose Inn.

New Brunswick’s 1829 Head Harbour Light Station | East Quoddy Lighthouse | Bay of Fundy

Grand Manan is known for its historic lighthouses, some of which are still active and others of which have been restored by locals. The oldest, established in 1860, is Swallowtail Head Lighthouse, where interpretive signage tells its unique story. We also visit Southwest Head Lighthouse and, in the evening, Long Eddy Lighthouse, where we listen to the waves and look out over the sea as the sun sets. ST. ANDREWS BY-THE-SEA The next day, we head to St. Andrews, a charming resort town on the water. Our base is The Algonquin Resort, a New Brunswick icon that has been welcoming guests, including heads of state, royalty and everyday travelers, since 1889. It’s a destination all its own, with pools, a three-story waterslide, beach access, dining, a spa and more.

The Bay of Fundy is renowned for its whale-watching opportunities

FUNDY TRAIL PARKWAY We start off early the next morning to drive Fundy Trail Parkway, which follows the forested coastline for 19 miles, dishing up breathtaking views of the bay around every curve, with occasional glimpses of waterfalls.

Long Beach Brook Falls is a 3/4-mile hike from Fundy Trail Parkway

Stopping several times to take photos and soak in the views, we also make a few longer stops to walk the Suspension Bridge Trail, which crosses a 275-foot suspension footbridge, and hike to Walton Glen Gorge, which is more than 525 feet deep and 1,000 feet across.

From the parkway, it’s a 45-minute drive to the tiny town of Alma, the perfect launching pad for exploring Hopewell Rocks. HOPEWELL ROCKS PROVINCIAL PARK The Bay of Fundy’s tides have sculpted the coastline into a fascinating geological mosaic of sea caves, arches and other rock formations. Exploring them during low tide and watching the water rise rapidly during high tide is an experience that can be had only in this part of the world.

At Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park, we explore the sandy shorelines and towering rock formations with park interpreter Heather Allen. As we walk, she tells us about the area’s 46-foot tides.

“If you get here at low tide,” Allen says, “you can walk out almost a mile on the coast. A few hours later, you can go kayaking over the top of these same beaches.”

Kayaking around carved rocks is a popular excursion at Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park

Sure enough, we do just that. While walking with Allen, we stroll through the massive Lover’s Arch and other towering sea stacks. Then in the afternoon, we sign up with Baymount Outdoor Adventures, which gives us a quick lesson before we head out on the water for a guided tour. We discover even more about the Bay of Fundy, designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Every 24 hours, we learn, there are two high tides and two low tides; the time between high tide and low tide is approximately 6 hours and 13 minutes. As we paddle, the water is already receding from the bay, and within hours, the gigantic rocks at my eye level will be more than 40 feet in the air. I feel the tide ever moving beneath us, and I am once again awed by nature

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New Brunswick’s top road trips and tourist attractions

New Brunswick’s Top Road Trips

Things to do

Check the most up-to-date travel restrictions, including border closures, before planning your trip and be sure to contact businesses prior to travel to book reservations and confirm availability.

Known for its abundant seafood, exhilarating whale watching, and vast white-sand beaches,  New Brunswick  is also home to the  Bay of Fundy , which boasts the highest tides on the planet. Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean, it's a small province you can easily crisscross by car, meaning lots of sights with little stress. It's also a bilingual Maritime community deeply influenced by the sea with Acadian roots. Here are the best New Brunswick attractions and road trips -- from city tours to outdoor adventuring -- to get to know this friendly place of lighthouses, lobster, and lively festivals.

1. Fundy Wonders & Whales Route

Historic Saint John – credit: Tourism New Brunswick

This well-rounded holiday in the southern part of the province covers both outdoor adventure and Acadian coastal culture, including our favourite Bay of Fundy whale watching adventures. The  tour delves into history External Link Title  -- visiting Canada's oldest city, charming  Saint John External Link Title , with its Old World port architecture -- and marine biology, with time to explore the  Bay of Fundy External Link Title 's fossil-filled tidal pools, red sandstone cliffs, and dramatic beaches. Then it's onto some laidback Atlantic isles via ferry for  whale watching  and  relaxation, hiking, and biking External Link Title . Hungry after all of those activities? Savour fresh-caught lobster, before concluding your trip with a taste of heritage, culture, and... chocolate External Link Title !

Starting point : Saint John Distance : 300 kilometres Time : 5-6 days Essential stops :  New River Beach External Link Title , the  Fundy Isles External Link Title ,  Saint Andrews External Link Title ,  St. Stephen External Link Title

2. Fundy Treasures & Tides Ride

Hopewell Rocks – credit: Tourism New Brunswick

With tides rising and falling as much as 16 metres twice a day, the  Bay of Fundy External Link Title  is mind boggling, so it's understandable if you want to make it the focus of your New Brunswick road trip. If you're an outdoor adventurer, this eastern tour is for you. Surf the monster tides on kayaks and tuck into sea caves; look for creatures on the red-sand ocean floor along the towering sandstone  Hopewell Rocks External Link Title  -- nicknamed the "Flowerpot Rocks" for their distinctive silhouette; checkout a cliffside  lighthouse External Link Title ; hike and  camp at a national park External Link Title ; and sample local clam chowder, lobster, and pickerel in bilingual, museum- and gallery-filled  Moncton External Link Title .

Starting point : Moncton Distance : 225 kilometres Time : 4-5 days Essential stops :  Hopewell Rocks External Link Title ,  Cape Enrage External Link Title ,  Fundy National Park External Link Title ,  St. Martins External Link Title

3. The River Valley Ride

The Capital Complex – credit: Fredericton Tourism

Foodie? Culture-vulture? Try this gastronomic tour starting at the Quebec-Maine border and enjoy the arts and crafts, entertainment, nature, and cuisine of the Saint John River Valley - home to some of our favourite New Brunswick attractions. Spend a night in a forest  "dream dome" External Link Title . Then satiate your taste buds as you dine, go wine tasting, or stroll a  farmers market External Link Title . Throw in an excursion to see -- or  zipline across External Link Title  -- New Brunswick's  largest waterfall and gorge External Link Title . Finally, find a nice spot to  paddle or go boating External Link Title , all while enjoying the pretty farmland scenery along the way.

Starting point : Edmundston Distance : 500 kilometres Time : 3-4 days Essential stops :  Grand Falls External Link Title ,  Florenceville-Bristol External Link Title ,  Fredericton External Link Title .

4. The Sun & Sand Trail

Parlee Beach Provincial Park, Pointe-du-Chêne – credit: Tourism New Brunswick

Looking for relaxation? Visit Canada's warmest salt-water beaches. You can stretch this journey out over a week or make it an easy-going  two-day journey to Bathurst External Link Title  and the Acadian Peninsula Beaches. This route skirts the Gulf of St. Lawrence in New Brunswick's north, and combines lounging in quaint seaside towns, golfing, and spa rejuvenation with beach recreation.  Camp, hike or bike in a National Park External Link Title , go wildlife viewing in and around white  sand dunes External Link Title , tuck into  fresh seafood External Link Title  like a local, and learn about  Acadian culture .

Starting point : Bathurst Distance : 530 kilometres Time : 5-7 days (or 2-day option) Essential stops : Acadian Peninsula Beaches,  Kouchibouguac National Park External Link Title ,  Shediac External Link Title ,  Murray Beach Provincial Park External Link Title

5. The Acadian Joyride

Hopewell Rocks and the Bay of Fundy Coastal Tour, Alma (Harbour View Market)

Acadians know how to enjoy life. And you too will catch joie de vivre after rubbing elbows with the French-speaking locals on this leisurely east-to-northwest New Brunswick scenic drive along the coast of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Learn about history the fun way -- by strolling pretty, flower-filled towns, staying in  cozy bed and breakfasts External Link Title , sampling local fare, and picnicking on the shore. Be sure to take in some  theatre External Link Title , join a  festival External Link Title , and try some  New Brunswick cider External Link Title . Sant?!

Starting point : Memramcook Distance : 500 kilometres Time : 3-5 days Essential stops :  Dieppe External Link Title  and  Moncton External Link Title ,  Bouctouche External Link Title  and  Shediac External Link Title , Acadian Peninsula, Acadian Isles

6. Mighty Miramichi River Run

Miramichi River Boat Tours – credit: New Brunswick Department of Tourism and Parks

If you love fly-fishing, or want to learn how, the 250-kilometre-long Miramichi River has some of the  best salmon angling in the world External Link Title . Heading south to north, warm up your skills in lumberjack country, perhaps catching a  timbersports competition External Link Title . Move on to  rustic-luxe lodge-based External Link Title  fly-casting, canoeing, and kayaking. Wrap up with a  taste of Aboriginal culture External Link Title , look into the area's  ship building history External Link Title , and  explore more of the city External Link Title .

Starting point : Boiestown & McNamee Distance : 200 kilometres Time : 3-5 days Essential stops :  Doaktown External Link Title ,  Blackville External Link Title , Sillikers & Red Bank,  Miramichi External Link Title

To learn more about New Brunswick's road trips, visit the Tourism New Brunswick website.

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Explore With Lora

How to Plan an Epic East Coast Canada Road Trip

By: Author Lora Pope

Posted on March 7, 2024

This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking and making a purchase through the links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my disclaimer for more information. This and display ads allow me to keep the site up to date and give back .

Planning an east coast Canada road trip? Let me help! I grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and lived in New Brunswick for years. I’ve road-tripped the East Coast more times than I can count !

It’s one of my favorite parts of the world, so I created this guide to share all my favorite hidden gems with you.

While not as popular to visit as the Canadian Rockies, an East Coast Canada road trip should not be overlooked.

Humpback whales dancing below towering cliffs, fresh seafood, epic hiking trails, and the friendliest people you’ll ever meet are just some of the reasons to plan an eastern Canada road trip.

This guide will share all the best places to visit on an East Coast of Canada road trip to help you maximize your time.

It’s made for outdoor lovers and packed with incredible nature and wildlife experiences such as coastal hiking trails, boat tours, and wildlife watching.

The truth is, there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ itinerary – It entirely depends on the time you have available and the activities that interest you most.

You would need at least two months to road trip around all the places I’ve suggested below. But don’t fret if you don’t have that much time – simply choose the ones that interest you most.

I’ve also included some sample routes at the end to help you create a perfect Canadian East Coast road trip itinerary.

Having a car is the best way to explore Eastern Canada! I use and love Rentalcars.com to find the best deals on car rentals in Canada.

New Brunswick Road Trip

An aerial view of an east coast Canada highway in the fall.

Hooray, you’ve made it to your first Maritime province! Many people call New Brunswick a ‘drive-through’ province, but after living here for 18 months, I couldn’t disagree more.

New Brunswick has plenty to see, and it should be part of your East Coast Canada itinerary.

Québec City to Fredericton (593 KM)

A bridge over a body of water along the east coast Canada road trip.

Coming from Quebec, your first destination will be the capital of New Brunswick and my favorite city in the province, Fredericton.

Driving from Québec City to Fredericton takes an entire day, so plan to spend a night or two here to enjoy the city’s offerings.

🏠 Staying overnight in Fredericton? The Carriage House Inn is a super cozy, beautiful, and authentic old Victorian Downtown House to retreat after a day of exploring the city.

Visit the Garrison District, which hosts summer outdoor concerts, movie nights, and guided history tours. Then, walk across the Fredericton Railway Bridge.

No longer a train route, the bridge has become a sanctuary for pedestrians and cyclists. You can get spectacular views of the city and Saint John River below from it.

In the evening, enjoy a cold brew at one of the city’s craft breweries.

🚶‍♀️If you’re short on time, this two-hour historical tour of Fredericton is a great way to get acquainted with the city.

Fredericton to Saint John (112 KM)

saint john new brunswick

After a night in Fredericton, head to Saint John ( not to be confused with St. John’s, Newfoundland ).

It’s just an hour’s drive to reach this charming coastal town. You can either stop in for lunch or spend the night in town.

The Chateau Saint John offers tastefully appointed rooms in a primate location for exploring the city’s historic landmarks.

One fun thing to do in Saint John is to take a boat cruise to see the reversing falls, a unique natural phenomenon where the Bay of Fundy collides with the Saint John River. 

Or you can join this walking tour of Saint Johns to discover the city’s most interesting streets and central market – the oldest continuing farmers market in Canada!

Saint John to Fundy National Park of Canada (111 km)

lora by a waterfall in fundy national park

From Saint John, it’s an easy hour’s drive to my favorite place in New Brunswick, Fundy National Park .

You’ll want to spend at least two days here, camping or in a hotel near the park. It’s a paradise for hikers and waterfall chasers – I love hiking here during the summer time.

Fundy National Park to Hopewell Rocks (45km)

Kayaking at Bay of Fundy

One of New Brunswick’s most famous attractions is Hopewell Rocks , home to the world’s highest tides . The tide rises and falls 40 feet or so – twice daily!

To fully appreciate this phenomenon, visit Hopewell Rocks at low tide to walk around on the ocean floor and see the unique rock formations up close. At high tide, take an ocean kayak tour. It was incredible to see the difference in just one day!

🎟️ Save time and get skip-the-line tickets to Hopewell Rocks here

Hopewell Rocks to Moncton (31 km)

A wooden walkway next to a river on an East Coast Canada road trip.

After leaving Hopewell Rocks, take a half-hour drive to Moncton, New Brunswick’s most populous city.

You can spend the night here or stop for a few hours. An excellent spot for lunch is the Tide and Boar Gastropub, one of my favorite restaurants in New Brunswick.

Sray in the middle of Moncton’s entertainment district at this gorgeous boutique hotel. You’ll be steps away from the city’s best restaurants, entertainment, and bars.

While in Moncton, be sure to take a drive up Magnetic Hill. Park at the bottom of the hill, put your car in neutral, and it will start reversing up the hill on its own. It’s magic! Okay, really, it’s just an illusion caused by the landscape, but it’s a cool thing to experience, and kids will love it. There is also a water park near Magnetic Hill.

parlee beach shediac new brunswick

A great day trip or alternative destination to Moncton is Shediac; it’s just 20 minutes away. Shediac is home to Parlee Beach, which has the warmest salt water in Canada.

It’s known as the “lobster capital of the world”; this is the best place to get your first taste of fresh lobster.

For a taste of the local cuisine, check out this this small-group food tour in Shediac. You’ll sample everything from scallops to chocolates!

After you’ve filled up on seafood, head to Parlee Beach to watch the sunset.

Optional Route: Acadian Coastal Drive

If you have extra time on your east coast road trip in Canada and want to see an alternative side of New Brunswick, keep heading North.

New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province in Canada, and the northern part of the province is where you can fully experience French Acadian culture.

Moncton to Kouchibouguac National Park (101 km)

seal in kouchibouguac national park

From Moncton or Shediac, head North towards Kouchibouguac National Park. Spend a night or two here camping to soak in the pristine wilderness. The park has beautiful beaches, canoeing, hiking trails, and wildlife, including an adorable seal colony.

I had so much fun spending the night here camping with friends – we saw a huge colony of seals!

Kouchibouguac National Park to Miramichi (51 km)

A sunset over a body of water with a boat in it, captured during an east coast Canada road trip.

Just half an hour from Kouchibouguac National Park is the town of Miramichi, which was my home for a year and a half. Miramichi is most famous for its fly fishing opportunities on the river.

Another fun thing to do in the summertime is to go on a tubing adventure down the river. In the evening, be sure to soak in the incredible sunsets.

One of the best places to stay in Miramichi is The Rodd. It’s set right on the river, where you can soak in the breathtaking river sunset. Plus, it’s a 5-minute walk from O’Donaghue’s Irish Pub – one of the best pubs in the city!

Miramichi to Miscou (138 km)

Keep heading North from Miramichi to Miscou, a beautiful island at the northern tip of New Brunswick. There, you can visit a picturesque white lighthouse.

Miscou Lighthouse, New Brunswick

Miscou to Caraquet (60 km)

caraquet new brunswick

Make your way to Caraquet, the heart of Acadian country. If your visit coincides with August 15th, you’ll be able to take part in some of the National Acadian Day festivities, which are sure to be fun .

There are several quaint B&Bs in Caraquet where you can spend the night. While there, be sure to visit the Acadian Historic Village just outside of Caraquet, where you can learn what life used to be like there.

🏨 Conveniently located off Route 145, this Caraquet property boasts quant rooms with a shared terrace. Acadian Historical Village is just 5 minutes’ drive away.

If you opt for the Acadian Coastal Drive, you’ll have to return south to Moncton/Shediac, which takes about three hours from Caraquet.

From there, continue your east coast trip to Prince Edward Island.

Prince Edward Island (PEI) Road Trip

A lighthouse on an east coast beach, Canada.

At just 224 km long and 64 KM wide, Prince Edward Island (PEI) is Canada’s smallest province. But don’t be fooled by the size; PEI has some of Canada’s most beautiful landscapes.

Red cliffs along the blue Atlantic Ocean, golden sand dunes, and picture-perfect white lighthouses are just some of the gorgeous scenes you will find here.

PEI connects to New Brunswick via the Confederation Bridge. It’s a 45-minute drive from Shediac to the start of the bridge, and it takes about 20 minutes to cross over which is a really unique experience.

While driving over the ocean, be sure to appreciate the undertaking it took to build this bridge. It’s an impressive example of architecture and engineering.

confederation bridge pei

PEI is a small island; you could see the main highlights in one day if you really wanted to. But I suggest staying at least a couple of nights as there are some wonderful things to do here.

The province is roughly divided into three sections, with three coastal routes you can make: North Cape Coastal Drive, Central Coastal Drive, and Points East Coastal Drive.

You’ll enter the province from New Brunswick at Boredon-Carleton, which is smack dab in the middle of the province, so you could do these scenic routes in any order.

red cliffs in prince edward island

Borden-Carleton to North Cape (121 km)

The North Cape coastal drive is 350 km and features a Canadian potato museum you can visit in O’Leary. PEI is very serious about potatoes! Cedar Dunes Provincial Park is another place worth checking out and a good option for camping overnight.

If you prefer to stay indoors, the West Point Lighthouse Inn and Museum is a unique place to spend the night in the North Cape.

PEI has 63 different Lighthouses, each one with a unique history. You could fill your whole time in PEI just searching for lighthouses; at least a few should be on your itinerary.

pei lighthouse

North Cape to Cavendish (129 KM)

After exploring the North Cape, head over to Cavendish, home of Anne of Green Gables. While that has never been an interest of mine, I know it’s a big attraction of PEI, so I can’t write this guide without mentioning it!

See the Green Gables House on this highly-rated tour, followed by a stop at a riverside restaurant with artisan preserves, fine teas, local pottery, and more.

Cavendish is home to Green Gables Heritage Place, which inspired the setting of the beloved tales.

Cavendish is also famous for its beautiful sandy beaches and red stone cliffs. The cliffs here are the best place to take in these stunning landscapes.

girl sitting on red clilffs cavendish pei

Afterward, head over to Cavendish Beach to soak in the sun along a 37-mile stretch of red sand. The red color comes from the high amount of iron in the island’s sandstone, which oxidizes and rusts when it comes in contact with air.

Cavendish to Charlottetown (38 KM)

After taking in the stunning natural landscapes of PEI, head to the capital of the province, Charlottetown.

Don’t expect big city lights; the population of Charlottetown is under 40,000. But that’s all part of its charm! There are several accommodation options in Charlottetown for spending the night.

Staying overnight in Charlottetown? Just two blocks from downtown, The Habour Inn features charming guest rooms , shaded patios, breakfast, and friendly staff to help you with anything you need.

Start your day in Charlottetown with an ice cream cone from Cows Creamery. It was voted Canada’s best ice cream spot and is one of my most treasured childhood memories.

In the afternoon, explore the local farmers market (it runs on Saturdays all year plus Wednesdays in the summer) or take a bike ride by the sea.

Later that evening, head out to Victoria Row. This pedestrian-only street is lined with a mix of bars, shops, and restaurants.

prince edward island views

Charlottetown to Greenwich (58 KM)

Spend your last day in PEI exploring the Points East Coastal Drive. Be sure to stop in Greenwich, which is part of the PEI National Park.

This section is home to some incredible dunes and an extensive floating boardwalk that leads to a white-sand beach.

pedestian walking bridge in greenwich pei

After a few days in Prince Edward Island, it’s time to visit Nova Scotia!

There are two ways to get to Nova Scotia from PEI. You can either go back via the Confederation Bridge through New Brunswick or take a 75-minute ferry from Wood Islands to Caribou, Nova Scotia.

I’ve always taken the Confederation Bridge because I find it more convenient, but the choice is up to you!

Nova Scotia Road Trip Itinerary

new brunswick canada road trip

Nova Scotia, known as ‘Canada’s ocean playground,’ is a paradise for outdoor activities. Kayaking, hiking, and rafting are just some of the ways you can enjoy the natural beauty of this stunning province.

Charlottetown To Halifax (325 KM, via Confederation Bridge)

new brunswick canada road trip

Start your journey in Halifax, the capital city of Nova Scotia. Spend at least a night or two exploring this vibrant city using this Halifax itinerary.

Staying overnight in Halifax? I loved my time at The Westin. It’s centrally located, across the street from the Halifax farmers market, where you can grab a delicious breakfast to go.

You can soak in the views of the harbor from the second floor of the Halifax farmers market and then head outside to walk along the pier.

The harbourfront comes to life during the summer with street performers, public art displays, and restaurants with outdoor seating.

harbourfront halifax nova scotia

Enjoy lunch here, and head up the hill to Citadel National Historic Site. From the top, you’ll get gorgeous views of the harbor below.

Rather than wandering around alone, get the most out of your visit to Halifax by joining a small-group tour and exploring the city in the company of a guide who can fill you in on the fascinating history.

In the evening, head out to Argyle Street for some live music and rest your head at one of these wonderful places to stay in Halifax.

Halifax to Peggy Cove’s (75 km)

peggys cove at sunset

The first stop after Halifax is just 45 minutes away. Peggy’s Cove is a quaint fishing village with a stunning white lighthouse.

It’s a paradise for photography, with the lighthouse that often reflects in the pools of water. The best time to visit Peggy’s Cove is during sunrise to avoid the crowds. Plus, the light is incredible during the golden hour. Some of my favorite photos from my time in Nova Scotia was my visit to Peggy’s cove at sunset!

If you’re tired of driving, join this Peggy’s Cove sunset tour from Halifax instead! Get a fully guided experience, with hotel pick-up and drop-off included.

Peggy’s Cove to Lunenberg (100 km)

lunenberg nova scotia

Next up is Lunenberg, a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the most colorful towns in Nova Scotia.

Dating back to the 18th century, this historic town is full of charming architecture and gigantic tall ships docked in the harbor. Head over to the golf course across the harbor for the best views and photo ops of this picturesque town.

Lunenberg is the perfect place to spend the night relaxing by the sea. I loved my stay at the the Sail Inn – a turn-of-the-century bed and breakfast just 35m from the waterfront.

A more off-the-beaten-path place to explore nearby is Blue Rocks, a small fishing village just outside of the Lunenberg. Head there for sunrise – you won’t be disappointed.

lora standing at blue rocks nova scotia

Lunenberg to Kejimkujik National Park (90 KM)

Next up, make your way to Kejimkujik National Park for some of the most pristine kayaking opportunities in eastern Canada. Kejimkujik is also a great place to go camping and stargazing if you want to spend the night.

Kejimkujik National Park to The Shubenacadie River (308 km)

Tidal Bore Rafting in New Brunswick

If you love adventure, you must try Tidal Bore rafting on the Shubenacadie River. I’ve been river rafting all over the world, but this is one of the most unique rafting experiences I’ve tried!

Twice a day, when the tide changes, the tidal bore temporarily reverses the flow of the river, creating incredible high-speed rapids. It’s the only place in the world where you can experience this! There’s even a Tidal Bore Rafting Resort where you can spend the night.

Shubenacadie River to Cape Breton Island (338km)

Although Cape Breton Island is part of Nova Scotia, it’s so unique that it almost feels like its own province.

After leaving the Shubenacadie River, head 338 km east (approx four hours of driving) to Cape Breton Highlands National Park of Canada.

cabot trail drive

Cape Breton Highlands National Park is home to the Cabot Trail, which is continuously named one of the most beautiful drives in the world.

It’s only 298km in length, but you’ll want at least a couple of days to take it all in. Thankfully, there are plenty of unique places to stay along the Cabot Trail.

🏩 One of the most beautiful places to stay on the Cabot Trail is  the Keltic Lodge at the Highlands . It’s got stunning views from the property and is right next to Ingonish Beach.

One of the most beautiful places to stay on the Cabot Trail is the Keltic Lodge at the Highlands . It’s got stunning views from the property and is right next to Ingonish Beach.

With such incredible views along the Cabot Trail, you’ll be stopping every five minutes for photos. Plus, there are a ton of hiking opportunities along the way. Be sure to hike the Skyline Trail for sunset – it was my favorite hike on the island!

Skyline Trail Sunset, Cape Breton National Park of Canada

Cape Breton Highlands National Park to North Sydney (114 km)

After a few beautiful days in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, drive to the North Sydney ferry terminal.

This is where you’ll say goodbye to the mainland of Canada and catch an overnight ferry to the island of Newfoundland.

Newfoundland Road Trip

girl on signal hill in st. johns newfoundland

Many people don’t include Newfoundland on their trip t Eastern Canada, but it absolutely should be. I may be biased, but I truly believe Newfoundland has its own identity, unlike anywhere else in Canada.

While out of the way, it will be worth making the trip there. Here’s everything you need to know about planning a road trip through Newfoundland.

There are two ferry options for getting to Newfoundland from the mainland. Both depart from North Sydney, Nova Scotia. One goes to Argentia on the East Coast of Newfoundland, and the other goes to Port aux Basques on the West Coast.

I recommend taking the Port Aux Basque ferry because it’s shorter, cheaper, and more reliable. The other ferry only runs during the summer months and is often canceled due to weather.

Port Aux Basque – Corner brook (219 km)

You’ll arrive in Port Aux Basque early in the morning, around 7 am (assuming the ferry is on time). Drive two hours East to Corner Brook, the largest city on the West Coast.

The next few days will be camping in Gros Morne National Park , so stock up on supplies at a grocery store in Corner Brook. Sobeys or Dominion are the best options. There are some small stores in Gros Morne national park, but they are limited in supplies and more expensive.

Corner Brook to Gros Morne national park (85KM)

waterfall gros morne national park

From Corner Brook, it’s just an hour’s drive to Gros Morne National Park , one of the main highlights of Newfoundland. Spend at least two nights here either camping in the park or at lodging nearby.

Rocky Harbour is the most convenient place to stay in the park if you aren’t camping. I recommend Bambury’s Hillside Chalets, cute saltbox homes with a 9.5+ rating.

With over 100 kilometers of pristine trails, Gros Morne is the perfect place to take a hike. Challenge yourself to go 800 meters up to the summit of Gros Morne mountain!

This hike is no easy feat, as the last two hours involve climbing up steep rocks. The views at the top are worth it – this is one of my favorite hikes in Newfoundland. It’s an all-day hike (16 km) that will take you between 6-8 hours.

hiking in gros morne national park

If you want a real adventure, try backpacking the long-range traverse. This epic hike takes four nights but will take you to one of the most sought-after photos in Newfoundland. This trek is not for beginners – you must attend a backcountry briefing to receive a backcountry hiking permit for this trek.

For a less strenuous activity, take a boat tour through the fjord s  and marvel at the beauty carved out by the work of glaciers over thousands of years.

fjords in gros morne national park

Optional route: Viking Trail

l'anse aux meadows national historic site

Another option is to continue your journey on a scenic drive down the Northern Peninsula, also known as the Viking trail , to the UNESCO world heritage site of L’anse Aux Meadows . Here you’ll find remains of an 11th-century Viking settlement.

I’ve done this route before, and it’s stunning, but you’ll need an extra couple of days. It’s about a three-hour drive from Gros Morne each way.

I recommend spending the night in St. Anthony, the largest town on the peninsula. It’s one of the best places to see icebergs in the spring!

Grenfell Heritage Hotel & Suites is a historic hotel in St. Anthony, centrally located in town. It offers fully equipped kitchens in the apartment rooms – we stayed here for a week and loved it!

Gros Morne National Park to Bonavista Peninsula (406 km)

After a few glorious days on the West Coast, you’ll continue your journey towards Newfoundland’s east coast through the Trans-Canada Highway (Route 1).

It’s an easy drive as there is only one main highway across Newfoundland – just look out for moose along the way.

moose in newfoundland

If you’re craving more adventure along the way, stop along the way in Grand-Falls, where you can go whitewater rafting on the exploits river. This is a great place to stop for lunch or spend the night to break up the journey.

Optional route: Central Newfoundland and Fogo Island

fogo island newfoundland

While driving across the province, you could take an optional detour to Twillingate and Fogo Island, home to some of the cutest small towns in Newfoundland. Fogo island has become a popular spot in recent years with the addition of the 5-star Fogo Island Inn.

We all wish we could stay at the Fogo Inn, but it’s not in most people’s budget. Instead, stay at one of The Old Salt Box Co. locations and enjoy sunsets over the ocean from your room.

There’s so much adventure in Central Newfoundland you could easily spend another week exploring this region!

Bonavista Peninsula

The Bonavista Peninsula is one of my favorite parts of Newfoundland.

With endless picturesque fishing villages, a lively arts scene, fantastic puffing spotting opportunities , and gorgeous hiking trails , you’ll be sure to love it here. Check out this video of some friendly puffins I met there last summer!

@explorewithlora Found in Elliston, Newfoundland #puffins #explorenl #newfiecheck #nlwx #newfoundlandersoftiktok #newfoundlandandlabrador #wildlifelover ♬ Fantasy – Alina Baraz / Galimatias

Trinity is a perfect place to spend your first night here, with several homey guesthouses to stay.

The Eriksen Premises is one of Trinity’s historic homes and a great place to spend the night. Antique wood décor is featured in all individually decorated rooms, and it’s next to restaurants and shops.

After a good night’s rest, take a harbor kayak tour where you can come up close with whales and icebergs, depending on the season.

Trinity is also home to some great hiking trails. Try the Skerwink trail, a 4.7-kilometer loop with beautiful coastal views.

cliffs by the sea on the skerwink trail newfoundland

Trinity to Bonavista (50 km)

cliffs at Dungeon Provincial Park, Bonavista

Take a day to drive around the Bonavista peninsula or spend another night. Along the way, opt to visit Port Rexon Brewing for a delicious craft beer.

In Bonavista, take a hike in the stunning Dungeon provincial park, grab a cone at Sweet Rock Ice Cream, or head to nearby Elliston to spot puffins .

puffins in newfoundlands

In the evening, enjoy a locally-sourced dinner at the Bonavista Social Club.

Trinity to St. John’s (258 km)

Continue driving east to St. John’s, the capital city of Newfoundland, and my hometown. It’s one of the oldest cities in North America!

Celebrate the end of your east coast Canada road trip by driving to Cape Spear and soaking in the ocean views. Congratulations, You’ve made it to the most easterly point in North America!

One of the most beautiful places to stay in downtown St. John’s is Blue on Water. This 4-star accommodation features beautiful interior designs and is steps away from top attractions.

Another option is the Cabot Guest House i n Georgetown, a charming neighborhood I used to live in. If you stay here, be sure to grab your morning coffee and bagel at the Georgetown Bakery.

St. John’s is a great city with tons of fun things to do. Hike up to historic Signal Hill, where you can get sweeping views of the St. John’s narrows.

Take a walk around downtown St. John’s, or visit the picturesque fishing village of Quidi Vidi, which has a brewery that you can tour.

visiting quidi vidi on an east coast canada road trip

In the evening, head to The Duke for the best fish and chips in the city, then George Street for a night on the town. With the most bars per capita in Canada, St. John’s has a lively nightlife and a great local music scene.

As a visitor, you must get screeched in to become an honourary Newfoundland. Christians Bar on George Street is a perfect place to do that.

The next day (assuming you’re not too hungover), take a stroll along a section of the East Coast trai l – there are over 336 kilometers of trail to explore that will take you through breathtaking towering cliffs with beautiful views.

During the summer months, the world’s largest population of humpback whales makes their way to Newfoundland’s coast to feed. It’s one of the best places to go whale watching in the world !

whale watching in newfoundland

Whales can often be spotted while hiking on the East Coast Trail but for a closer look, join a whale-watching tour.

Want to see whales? I loved this boat tour that takes you to Witless Bay ecological reserve to see the world’s largest population of humpback whales, icebergs that are over 10,000 years old, and the charismatic Atlantic puffin.

If you’re a diver, you can also join a diving tour to see  WWII shipwrecks, reefs, wall dives, and more! Diving is a unique way to explore Newfoundland from the ocean floor.

Toronto to East Coast Road Trip

The focus of this post is on the Maritime provinces and Newfoundland. But since I know many of you will be planning an east coast canada road trip itinerary from Toronto, I’ve made a few suggestions for places to stop on the way below through Ontario/Québec before reaching New Brunswick.

There are MANY more amazing places to visit than outlined here, but they need a post of their own (and it’s coming).

If you’re starting from Toronto , make your first stop in Ottawa (a four-hour drive) or Montreal (a six-hour drive). Opt to stop at Thousand Islands National Park along the way.

Spanning across the border between Canada and the U.S., this park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Ontario .

You can either spend the night in the park or just stop on the way to see the islands.

There’s no better view of the thousand islands than from the sky! This 5-star rated tour takes you on a scenic twenty-minute helicopter ride over the islands. Perfect if you’re short on time!

After touring the thousand islands, continue on to either Ottawa or Montreal. They are just two hours apart, so either make a great place to spend the night if you’re coming from Toronto. It just depends on how much driving you want to do in one day!

I love Montreal because of its exciting nightlife and overall atmosphere. However, if you prefer a quieter city with beautiful parks and historic sites, Ottawa is a great option.

Staying overnight in Ottawa? Don’t miss the chance to stay at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier – it’s one of Canada’s most iconic hotels, adjacent to the Parliament Buildings and Rideau Canal. Reserve early, as it does book up!

Leaving Ottawa or Montreal, continue your drive towards the province of New Brunswick.

Fredericton (capital of New Brunswick) is about 8 hours East of Montreal, so you could get there in a day if you drove all day. But if you prefer to do more sightseeing along the way, a great option is to spend the night in Québec City.

With its picturesque cobblestone streets lined with bistros and boutiques, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Europe.

Quebec city streets

If you didn’t get the chance to stay at the Fairmont in Ottawa, there’s another opportunity in Quebec City! The Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac is situated in Old Quebec, boasting gorgeous views of the St. Lawrence river in a fairytale setting.

Itineraries for Best Road Trips to Canada’s East Coast

With two months, you would be able to road trip all of this Eastern Canada itinerary, including the optional routes I mentioned.

You could visit the main highlights in a month, but the trip would be very fast-paced with a lot of driving.

14-Day East Canada Road Trip Itinerary

  • Days 1-3: New Brunswick – Start your journey in the picturesque province of New Brunswick. Spend your nights exploring the charming cities and natural wonders, including the Bay of Fundy, known for the world’s highest tides.
  • Days 4-6: Prince Edward Island (PEI) – Cross the Confederation Bridge to PEI. Enjoy the island’s red sand beaches, visit the Anne of Green Gables house, and indulge in fresh seafood.
  • Days 7-9: Halifax and Nova Scotia’s South Shore – Head to Nova Scotia, starting with its vibrant capital, Halifax, then explore the scenic South Shore, including Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Days 10-13: Cape Breton – Venture to Cape Breton Island, where the Cabot Trail awaits with its stunning coastal views. Enjoy hiking, local culture, and the Gaelic heritage of this unique region.
  • Day 14: Return to Halifax – Conclude your trip with a leisurely drive back to Halifax, perhaps stopping at any spots you missed on your way to Cape Breton.

Alternatively, you could do Cape Breton (4 nights) and Newfoundland (8 nights).

If you just wanted to visit Newfoundland, you could fly into the province to save time. St. John’s has an international airport where you can rent a car .

new brunswick canada road trip

Ten Days: Nova Scotia and Beyond

10-Day East Coast Canada Road Trip

  • Days 1-3: Halifax and Surroundings – Explore Halifax’s rich history and vibrant culture before heading to the picturesque towns along the South Shore.
  • Days 4-6: Cape Breton Island – Drive the Cabot Trail, immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty, and experience the local music scene.
  • Days 7-8: Prince Edward Island – Discover PEI’s lighthouses, beaches, and culinary delights.
  • Days 9-10: New Brunswick – Visit the Hopewell Rocks and enjoy the coastal beauty before heading back.

Seven Days: A Province-Specific Journey

7-Day East Coast Canada Road Trip Itinerary

  • Option 1: Nova Scotia – Dedicate your week to exploring Nova Scotia, from Halifax to the South Shore, and up to Cape Breton.
  • Option 2: Newfoundland – Fly into St. John’s, rent a car , and explore the Avalon Peninsula, Bonavista, and perhaps a day trip to Terra Nova National Park.

Five Days: Quick Escapes

5-Day East Coast Canada Road Trip

  • Nova Scotia Focus – Spend your days exploring Halifax, the Annapolis Valley, and part of the South Shore for a quick taste of Nova Scotia’s charm.
  • PEI and New Brunswick – Combine these two provinces for a whirlwind tour of the Maritimes, focusing on the highlights like the Bay of Fundy and PEI’s central coast.

east coast road trip canada

What is the best time of year to visit the East Coast of Canada?

While it’s possible to visit the East Coast year-round, I would not advise planning a Canada east coast itinerary around the winter months in Canada (November-April – yes, it can really go that long!), simply because the road conditions could be dangerous.

The Atlantic provinces are famous for their horrible winter storms making a maritime road trip unpleasant. Plus, the ferry to Newfoundland often gets delayed in the winter.

Summertime is the ideal time for a road trip, but it is also the most popular. The shoulder seasons are also great options. During the springtime, you will have fewer tourists and the possibility to see icebergs in Newfoundland.

During autumn, you can see beautiful fall colors, which will make the drive breathtaking, especially on the Cabot Trail. That said, you can expect some cold nights, and even days, if you are visiting the East coast during October.

fall colors on the east coast of canada

Booking A Car Rental for an East Coast Canada Road Trip

If you’re booking a car rental for your road trip around the east coast, make sure you do early. Car rentals do book up in the summertime (especially if you’re picking it up in Newfoundland)!

I use and love Rentalcars.com , which searches local and international providers to find you the best deal. Plus, you can buy insurance directly through them, so you’re fully protected!

new brunswick canada road trip


When booking your Canada car rental online, I recommend using Rentalcars.com. They search both international and local Canadian companies to find the best price.

Essential Items For an East Canada Road Trip

For your Eastern Canada trip, don’t forget to bring these items with you.

  • Parks Canada Discovery Pass  – This will get you unlimited admission for 12 months at over 80 parks across Canada. This may be worth it if you plan to visit a lot of the national parks.
  • Insect Repellant – they are fierce in the summertime!
  • Road trip snacks
  • Canadian cash  – Most places accept major credit cards and debit but in smaller communities, you may find places that only accept cash. Bring Canadian dollars as these places will probably not exchange American money.
  • Roadside emergency kit
  • Canada Road Map
  • First Aid Kit
  • Blankets and Pillows – it gets cold in Canada, even in the summertime! You never know when those will come in handy.
  • Audiobooks for the road. I love  Audible   for this.
  • A  car charger   for charging your devices
  • A GPS  or download Google offline maps for your phone. Many rural places you will be driving through in Canada do not have cell phone reception.

FAQ: East Coast Canada Road Trip

Where should i go on the east coast of canada.

There are so many places to visit on Canada’s east coast! Some of the best places are Halifax, Peggy’s Cove, Gros Morne National Park, and Fundy National Park – check this guide for more information.

What is East Coast Canada known for?

It’s known for its friendly locals, fantastic seafood, incredible whale watching, the Atlantic Ocean, and beautiful landscapes.

Is Eastern Canada worth visiting?

Absolutely! While many people overlook the east coast for the Rockies, they are two completely different experiences. The east coast of Canada has some of the most breathtaking scenery in Canada, along with fantastic cuisine, friendly people, and endless outdoor adventure.

How long do you need to travel the East Coast Canada?

The duration of the East Coast Canada trip depends on your itinerary and interests. A minimum of 1-2 weeks is recommended to cover key highlights, but longer trips allow for a more immersive experience.

How to plan an East Coast Canada road trip?

To plan an Atlantic road trip, start by deciding on your must-visit destinations (read this post), create a flexible itinerary, book accommodations in advance during peak seasons, and ensure your vehicle is in good condition for the journey.

Where is the best place in East Coast of Canada?

The East Coast of Canada is filled with amazing places, but Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia is often considered among the best destinations due to its stunning landscapes.

Is it worth going to Nova Scotia?

Yes, Nova Scotia is definitely worth visiting. It boasts a beautiful coastline, rich maritime heritage, charming towns, and numerous outdoor activities that make it a captivating destination.

How long should you spend on PEI?

To fully experience Prince Edward Island, it’s recommended to spend at least 2-3 days. This allows time to explore the island’s beautiful beaches, scenic drives, and cultural attractions.

What is the largest city on East Coast of Canada?

The largest city on the East Coast of Canada is Halifax, which is the capital of Nova Scotia.

What cities are in East Coast Canada?

The East Coast of Canada includes cities such as Halifax (Nova Scotia), St. John’s (Newfoundland and Labrador), Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island), Fredericton (New Brunswick), and others, each offering its own unique charm and attractions.

Final thoughts: Road Trip East Coast of Canada

Embarking on a road trip along Canada’s East Coast is an adventure filled with awe-inspiring natural beauty, captivating history, and warm hospitality.

From the vibrant city life of Halifax to the rugged coastline of Newfoundland, this journey promises to be an unforgettable experience for any traveler.

As you traverse the scenic highways, immerse yourself in the rich maritime culture, savor the freshest seafood, and engage with the welcoming locals who make this region truly special.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or a foodie looking for culinary delights, the East Coast of Canada has something to offer everyone.

Allow the beauty of the coastal vistas, the charm of the small towns, and the tranquility of the Atlantic waves to leave a lasting impression on your heart. Happy travels!

Planning a trip to the east coast of Canada? Check out these posts!

The Best Things to Do in Bonavista Newfoundland

The Best Things to Do in Bonavista Newfoundland

landscape photo of the town of witless bay with the ecological reserve in the distance

11 Stunning Places on the Irish Loop Newfoundland

How to Plan a Newfoundland Road Trip Itinerary in 2023

How to Plan a Newfoundland Road Trip Itinerary in 2023

Unique Places To Stay In Newfoundland

Unique Places To Stay In Newfoundland

A Perfect Cabot Trail Itinerary in Cape Breton Nova Scotia

A Perfect Cabot Trail Itinerary in Cape Breton Nova Scotia

Where To Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia

Where To Stay In Halifax Nova Scotia

The Best Places to Stay on the Cabot Trail

The Best Places to Stay on the Cabot Trail

5 Best Places for Sea Kayaking in Newfoundland

5 Best Places for Sea Kayaking in Newfoundland

A Perfect One to Three Day Halifax Itinerary

A Perfect One to Three Day Halifax Itinerary

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Lora is a full-time digital nomad on a quest to visit every country in the world and pet as many dogs as she can along the way. Over the last 15 years, she has traveled to 70+ countries and six continents solo. She currently calls Puerto Vallarta, Mexico home and enjoys ending each day with sunset and tacos on the beach.

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Thankyou for this detailed itinerary! My sisters and I are planning an east coast road trip (around 19 days) next fall and the information you’ve provided is awesome.

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Hi, How long did this trip take you? Thanks for all the intel!

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Thank you for all of your excellent suggestions. We are planning an Eastern Canada road trip for September 2024. We are looking forward to the scenery, food and activities. We will be driving up from Louisiana and plan two weeks. Will there be plenty of options for decent hotel accommodations? Thank you!

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Yes, there are many great hotels along this route that I have suggested.

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Hi Lora, My 2 friends and myself would like to take a road trip for about 2 weeks next year (2023) to the East Coast and visit all four(4) lovely provinces. We all work together in the hospital and after the last couple years (with the COVID Pandemic) we all decided we REALLY need a break and a nice vacation. This road trip has been on our bucket list for quite a while now. We are hoping to save enough money by next year to do this amazing trip. A trip to be remembered!!!! Questions: (1) to visit all those wonderful places you mentioned and stay in nice B&B’s in all 4 provinces and really spend time with all the wonderful folks out East. Approx $$ for each person with our own single rooms. Just an approx $$. We will not hold you to that $$, just wondering and hoping we can make the trip re: our budget. (2) Approx in gas? (3) Do we stay in a motel/hotel/B&B along the way? Would you be able to plan our trip for us and do the bookings at the B&B or hotels? (4) We are thinking in May/June? Would you recommend those months? Oh … I should mention, we all live in the GTA area in Ontario and will be leaving from there. We are planning to rent a vehicle. Please help us make this trip a “dream come true” Thank You Lora!! :-))

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Thanks for this info Lora! I am going to use this when I cycle and driveEast in a few days. All the best to you!

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travelling in an RV, my main concern is heading over to NL, will the ferry take an RV, and any good parks in NL stay? And is the ferry wheel chair accessable?

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Hello! And thank you for such detailed info for the East Coast .My husband and I are planning a short 9-10 day road trip to east coast. this coming week. We were planning to drive straight to New Brunswick. Any suggestions on where to go for camping that I don’t have to make reservation? possibly in the Saint John, we’re planning to go all the way to Nova Scotia with this 9 days trip. Please let me know just the important places that we should see. Hope you can help. Thanks in advance……..

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Hi Lora, Thanks for such a wonderful travel guide. I am planning a road trip from Toronto to St. Johns or NFL by end of June. I will be traveling with family including Kids. I will leave the city on Thursday evening and so far I am planning the following Thursday | Home->Montreal Friday | Montreal->New Brunswick Saturday |New Brunswick->North Sydney, NS Sunday 7 AM | Channel-Port aux Basques, New FoudnLand Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday (11 AM Ferry) | Channel-Port aux Basques->North Sydney, NS B2A 3V2 Friday | North Sydney, NS-> Moncton, New Brunswick Saturday | Qubic City Sunday | Home (Pickering)

So I will have a total of 5 days in NFL and I need your help to plan these 5 days (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday). We both can drive so driving is not an issue. We are interested in Whale watching and icebergs if still, we can see them.

Please guide me how I should plan these 5 days.

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Hi Lora, I’m curious about your quoted time of 2 hours from Hopewell Rocks to Moncton? Google maps says it is a 30 minute drive, and now I’m worried I’m missing something? Thank you

Hi Lisa! Thanks so much for your comment. You are right, it’s just over half an hour to get between them so that was just an error on my part. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, it’s been fixed!

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Do you have any other whale watching recommendations? We will only have a week with our 3 kids and are thinking of flying in to NB from Toronto to save time on the drive through Ontario & Quebec. We will likely just end up doing NB and PEI…maybe NS…think we’ll have time?

There is good whale-watching in New Brunswick by Saint Andrews by-the-sea! One week is enough to visit them but it will be rushed. I would spend at least half the week in Nova Scotia!

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This is great – I may have missed this and will re-read your post, but how long did it take you to road trip across the east coast and as woman would you safe it is safe if I do it alone? Thanks for sharing this post and it is really very intresting east coast Canada road trip.

I’ve done it many times as short as 3 days to as long as 3 weeks, it just depends on how much you want to see! Yes, the east coast is extremely safe to travel I’ve done it solo many times.

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Great article! I am planning about a 2 1/2 month trip for next summer and hoping to hit most of what you suggested. We will be traveling with a truck and trailer from about mid June to early September. Based on weather and crowds, I have two questions for you. Any idea for camping if reservations will be needed for National or provincial parks? And what would be your suggested order for the provinces coming from Maine? Was thinking of NB, NF, NS then PEI? Thanks, great article!

Hi Darlene, if you’re planning to visit the parks over the long weekends (Canada day, the first weekend of August, and labor day), I would make reservations as they can get really busy then. Otherwise, a few days in advance should be fine and the provincial parks usually have walk-in space (national ones can get busier in the summer). The order you suggested sounds perfect to me!

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In the middle of October, are leaves still on trees on the east coast in NB and NS?

Yes they should be!

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Hello and thank you for sharing your experiences. I’m planning a last minute roadtrip the first three weeks of Sept 2021.

I’m looking at starting from TORONTO and making my way out EAST and then driving back of course. Will be using personal vehicle and travelling with my spouse ( no kids )

Any recommendations itinerary wise ? I believe 3 weeks should be enough time to see and do a fair amount.

Thank you in advance for your time

3 weeks is enough time to see all four provinces! I would spend a week in Newfoundland, one in Nova Scotia and the other split between PEI and New Brunswick.

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Hi Lora, thanks a lot for this information – it already helps me a lot 🙂 I will go to Canada in October and will spend there 4 weeks. I would have more time, but I think, it would get cold in November. What would you think? Yes it really depends on mother nature … 🙂

As the temperature is getting low during my trip from beginning October till end of October, could you recommend me a good starting point? Is it better to start in Toronto or in Newfoundland? Or doesn´t it make a difference?

I will come from a one-month-trip in Iceland, so I would get used somehow to colder weather, but maybe you have some advice for me ? 🙂

Hi! So glad you found the post helpful. It can definitely be cold in Atlantic Canada by November – even in October! It stays warmer in Ontario longer (I’ve experienced 20+ degree at end of October in Toronto), so I would actually start in Newfoundland and end in Toronto to make the most of the weather 🙂

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Thanks so much for this perfect article, I’m planning for a small group 17 people 1st time ever driving from Toronto to Atlantic. This article perfectly giving me all ideas we can explore. Thanks

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Thanks so much for your nice comment! I’m so glad you found it helpful.

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Hi Lora, great article. We are thinking of taking a 2 week family road trip this summer from Toronto, do you think that’s enough time to explore the east coast? Thx

Thanks! Two weeks is absolutely enough time – there’s an example two week itinerary in the guide 🙂

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Hi Lora, Excellent presentation and very nicely explained all relevant issues for travelling. I have sent you an email also seperately for guidance but I know you are very busy. In fact I want to visit Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI with a friend from Brampton. We will fly from Toronto to Sydney and back from Halifax. We will get a car rental for visiting other provinces. My preference is Cabot trail and other areas to be covered in 8 days. Kindly guide.

Hi, I would spend at least 2-3 days to drive the Cabot Trail – it’s so scenic you’ll want time to stop and soak it in. PEI is a very small province, you could see a lot in just two days. If you take the bridge from New Brunswick you’ll be close to Moncton, although I personally prefer Fredericton. It’s worth spending a day or two in Halifax as well, but that’s about all you could fit in!

Hi Lora, we are planning to visit Atlantic from Aug 14-Aug22(must be back to Toronto Aug 22), we are planning to stay 1 night in Quebec for example leaving Toronto to Quebec city on Saturday Aug 14 morning, stay a night in Quebec, then leave Quebec around afternoon Sunday, please advise the next beautiful stop we should stay for 1 or 2 nights? group of 20 people 8 kids ranging from 3-11 years old. Thanks so much

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Thanks for so much great info! We are planning an -unfortunately- fairly rushed road trip in our camper van next month. Leaving from Muskoka on the 19th and we have to be home on the 29th. Staying near Quebec City the first night, somewhere close-ish to Fredericton the second night, then the weekend visiting friends in PEI. Monday morning we will board the ferry to NS and do a couple days on Cape Breton Island. We pretty much have to start heading towards Ontario on Thursday, or at the very latest, Friday. Two questions: 1) Is it fairly easy to “free camp” in PEI and Nova Scotia, or do we really need to book campsites? We are self-sufficient with a solar fridge, stove and composting toilet in a 19′ van. 2) If we do Cape Breton (Cabot Trail) over Monday-Tuesday, what’s the #1 thing you’d suggest for Wednesday/Thursday? Do we go west to Halifax/Lunenberg area? My concern is we might be burnt out from driving so much, but we also want to make the most of our time out there. Leaving from Halifax instead of closer to NB means a few extra hours of driving overall. I have been to Halifax/Peggy’s Cove/Lunenberg but my partner has not. Thanks in advance!

Hi Ashley, I have only camped at campsites but if you are a resident of Canada and self-sufficient you could camp on crown land for up to 21 days. I’m sure there is lots of it there, but I’m not an expert in this area.

If you have been to Halifax/Lunenberg and don’t want to add on the extra driving I would just stay on Cape Breton Island. Two days isn’t a lot of time there, the cabot trail is so beautiful I spent a week on it! Inverness or Baddeck are two nice spots on either side of where it starts. I am not super familiar with the part of Nova Scotia between Halifax and Cape Breton Island so can’t make specific recommendations for there, but I think you could easily spend more than two days in Cape Breton and enjoy yourself!

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Hi Lora, thank you for all the information you have provided. We are from Alberta and have planned to visit the East Coast Aug 26 – Sept 7th and hoping to see highlights in all provinces. Will check out your article on vaccination status for all provinces. Quick question – is it worth the long drive from Montreal to New Brunswick or should we fly? Thanks for any info you can provide.

If you are flying anyway I would just go to New Brunswick. Montreal is a great city and Quebec City is a nice stop along the way but if you are limited on time and want to see all four provinces it’s better to just fly.

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Hi Lora, Thank you so much for this great article. I would love to start planning a short east coast trip to Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and PEI at the end of august (August 19-29). I live in Ontario. Do you maybe have any more specific information about the border restrictions for people from other provinces? Thank you!

Hi Cloe, I just updated the article with the latest information. Border restrictions depend on your vaccination status – fully vaccinated travelers can visit all four provinces, but you will have to apply for a PEI Pass for PEI.

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This is great – I may have missed this and will re-read your post, but how long did it take you to road trip across the east coast and as woman would you safe it is safe if I do it alone? Thanks.

I’ve done it in as little as 3 days and as long as a month! It really depends on how much you want to see but I’d recommend at least one to two weeks. It is safe to travel there as a woman alone – I did last summer! Atlantic Canadians are extremely friendly and helpful 🙂

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Hi, thank you for all of the info. Ten of us rented an RV and have booked our trip for Sept 3-10. We want to eat fish, do a lot of water activities and sightseeing. Since we have only a week and have no wish to see Montreal. Can you help me choose best places. We are from Toronto and are so tired of being on lockdown.

Hi! Without stopping somewhere in Quebec it will be a long drive to New Brunswick (14 hours) but doable if you guys don’t mind a long day of driving. I would recommend spending most of your time in Nova Scotia by the coast, they have tons of water activities and delicious seafood.

Hello Lora! Your blog is so informative and what beautiful pictures! I want to plan an East Coast trip this summer but I’m waiting (and hoping) for some travel restrictions to loosen up so we can visit from Ontario. If not, then I will save this information for 2022! I have a question for you. I know you said that Newfoundland shouldn’t be missed but we only have 3 weeks and when I followed most of your itinerary that didn’t leave me much time for Newfoundland. Is there a place for whale watching in the other 3 provinces?

Thanks so much! Yes for sure, there are lots of places to go whale watching on the East Coast. You can go in St. Andrews by-the-sea in New Brunswick, as well as Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. I do think Newfoundland is the best place for it though! Really hope you can make it out to the east coast this summer!

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This is very informative.

Was just wondering if you could suggest a perfect Canada East Coast road trip itinerary with RV Camper that last up to 16 days (3 adults)? I have seen and read many but l just don’t know how to manage that. The idea is to do a road trip from Montréal – Nova Scotia (16 days) or just Nova Scotia (16 days) suggesting probably “must see” places and camping possibilities. The road trip is planned for next year 2021 summer (hopefully by then the pandemic is under control). Wouldn’t mind if you can email me your ideas also per email.

Thanks for your time.

Cheers Mitch

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Hi Mitch. You can definitely plan a great road trip from Montreal to Nova Scotia with 16 days. You’ll have to drive through New Brunswick anyway so I suggest spending a night or two there on the way and back. Fundy national park is a great place to visit! That should still leave you with 10 or more full days in Nova Scotia, so for the rest of your itinerary, it depends on what you are interested in seeing. I love Cape Breton island for the Cabot Trail, I’d recommend 3-5 days to do that. The Halifax area is great too, and there are a lot of fun day trips to small towns you can take from there.

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Hi Lora, Thank you for such an informative post! You’ve helped me narrow down most of the places I wanted to go as I’m currently planning an Eastern road trip! I wanted to know what your estimated budget was for the entire trip, if you don’t mind my asking. Thank you again 🙂

That’s awesome, glad to hear! That’s so variable depending on how long your trip is, if you’re renting a car, camping or staying in hotels, solo etc. If you give me more details I can try and help!

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I live in Vancouver and have never been to the east coast so this is all high on my bucketlist! Looks beautiful 🙂

Vancouver is a beautiful spot too!! Hope you can visit the East Coast sometime 🙂

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I love all those rugged coastal views with the reflections in the waters and the lighthouses. I already love the West side of Canada, but I do really like the idea of exploring the Eastern coast as well. It looks like SUCH a fantastic area to hike, and then eat icecream.

p.s. My mum loves Anne of Green Gables…I wonder if telling her that would be a good way to lure her to Canada!? 😉

I love the West coast of Canada too, but the East coast is a completely different experience! Haha I think that would definitely get her there if PEI is on the itinerary!

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This is a very informative guide. Definitely will refer to it in future when I go.

Glad you found it helpful! 🙂

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Yay for road tripping! I haven’t had a chance to explore too much of Canada but would love to someday! I wanna visit the national parks!

Hope you can someday! We are lucky to have so many beautiful national parks 🙂

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Your photos alone make me want to pack a bag and hit the road! I’d love to do a coastal drive of Eastern Canada and PEI has always been on my radar!

Happy to hear that!! PEI is gorgeous, hope you can visit sometime!

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The gateway to the Maritimes, New Brunswick differs from Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island as it's largely sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean. 

It's also the only constitutionally bilingual province in all of canada, with many of the locals speaking french instead of english. , the landscape here is largely forested, cut through by fast flowing rivers and deep valleys. , new brunswick introduction.

At Fundy National Park you'll find the highest tides in the world, plus swirling nutrient-rich waters that attract an unrivalled population of whales. Whale watching season runs from June to October, and it's easy to integrate a boat tour as part of your Eastern Canada rail vacation to see Fin, Humpback and Minke whales. While you're here, you can also enjoy delicious seafood and the warmest saltwater beaches in all of Canada.

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An Epic Canadian Maritimes Road Trip Itinerary And Map

If you’ve ever glanced at a map in your life, you’ll see Canada is a big place. Stretching 7,800kms from coast to coast (and we have a third coast too!), we’ve got a lot of landscape all fit into this beautiful country of ours. Each one is unique in its own way, allowing cultures to grow around the landscape. In the Canadian Maritimes, it’s no different. The Maritimes, or Canada’s east coast, has developed its own way of life, and if you visit, you’ll see that it’s a vibrant and hardy way to live.

The Canadian Maritimes is made up of four (or five) provinces: Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Sometimes, parts of Quebec, especially the eastern portions can be included in the broad term of “Maritimes.”

In this epic Canadian Maritimes road trip itinerary, I’ll focus on New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. I should note, again, Canada is a FREAKING LARGE country. Coming from Toronto, we stretched the road trip for 10 days, but there is so much more to see and do in each region.

Road Trip Essentials

I’ve said it twice, so why not a third time, Canada is significant. Not only does this have a role in the amount of time you have to explore, but also you should also take it into account when planning your trip. There are stretches of roadways that don’t have gas stations, rest stops, or places to find food. And there are places along the way that you may lose cell phone signal. On the flip side, there will be many picture-perfect stops to pull over and have a pit stop picnic.

Here are some tips to make your Canada road trip go smoothly:

Tip one: bring along a cooler to keep some fresh food cold. It will be a nice change to make a fresh sandwich or bite into a crisp apple rather than buy junk from a gas station.

Tip two: keep any roadside assistance numbers handy, written down in the front console or glove box. You never know if your phone will run out of juice when you need it.

Tip three: if you get below half a tank of gas, plan to see how far until the next gas station. Not only will this give you relief, but running out of gas is the worst. I once chugged into a Manitoba gas station with a “9 km” gas range left on my car – basically fumes. It caused a lot of anxiety not knowing where the next station was and if we were even going to make it.

Tip Four: have a good selection of music, podcasts, audiobooks, or whatever suits your ears. As I mentioned above, cell signal disappears in parts of the Canadian Maritimes, so you won’t have access to streaming services, and even radio stations are silent.  

Now onto the fun stuff. Here are the best stops for an epic road trip through the Canadian Maritimes.

Canadian Maritimes Map and Road Trip Itinerary

New brunswick.

New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province in Canada, and its landscape blew me away. It is a very underrated province, but it is more and more available for visitors to sink their teeth into. The province has embraced its Acadian heritage and the fact that it is situated on two of the most incredible waterways – Gulf of the Saint Lawrence and Bay of Fundy – definitely helps its cause.

New Brunswick isn’t a large province, especially in comparison to its neighbor Quebec, but it has a range of landscapes like the northern edge of the Appalachian Mountains, the rugged and hardy coastline of the Bay of Fundy, and the fertile arable land of the east.

There are many treasures to discover here.

1. Kouchibouguc National Park

new brunswick canada road trip

Try saying Kouchibouguac five times fast. While you may not be able to pronounce this place correctly, you’re sure to enjoy its soft white sand. The national park is situated along New Brunswick’s eastern Acadian Coast and is home to a range of ecosystems, including a beautiful beach-ready for lounging.

2. Saint Andrews by the sea

If the quaint name doesn’t make you want to jet set all the way here, then the charming village will. It was voted top destination in Canada in 2017 by USA Today and has ranked high in many top 10 lists.

Saint Andrews by the Sea is not only a picturesque town but a jumping-off point for many whale watching and scuba diving tours. The best way to experience the town is to sit in one of the many restaurants along the water and feast in local, fresh-caught seafood.

3. Saint John

Not to be confused with St. John’s, Newfoundland, Saint John is Canada’s oldest incorporated city. It’s situated strategically in the Bay of Fundy, and Saint John has become a place that soldiers mustered many times over the history of the New World.

It’s full of rich Canadian and American history, as many loyalists fled to this city during the American Revolution. The history means there are many old buildings to discover. Walk through the loyalist cemetery, become a soldier at Carleton Martello Tower, and enjoy fresh finds at Saint John city market, the oldest continuing farmers’ market in Canada.

4. Fundy National Park

new brunswick canada road trip

Fundy National Park is the crown jewel of New Brunswick. Here you can experience some of Canada’s largest tides in the Bay of Fundy or go inland to see the thick forests.

New Brunswick is known for its covered bridges, so Fundy National Park is the perfect spot to find some Instagram-worthy locations. It’s also a great place to get out and take a hike. There are plenty of waterfalls within the park and trails ranging from easy to demanding lead to these amazing places. The more accessible one is Dickson Falls Trail – a moderate 1.5-kilometre loop that takes you to the most photographed waterfall in the park.

5. Hopewell Rocks

If you’ve ever wanted to walk on the ocean floor, then this is the place to do it. The Bay of Fundy sees the world’s largest tides, measuring a difference of 15 feet. Hopewell Rocks are rock formations that have been etched away by the tide.

During low tide, you can walk along the ocean floor and explore a world beneath the water. During high tide, you can rent a kayak and take in the formations from above.

Prince Edward Island

new brunswick canada road trip

There’s no doubt that Prince Edward Island – known as PEI for short – is an iconic Canadian location. This little island province is known for its red sandy beaches, delicious seafood, and its relaxed way of life.

Prince Edward Island is the birthplace of Canada, although the province didn’t join confederation until a few years after its independence. Until the 90s, PEI was only accessible by ferry or plane. Then engineers decided to build the longest (13 kilometers) bridge that spans over ice-covered water, connecting PEI to the mainland.

When in PEI, remember to live on island time and take it easy, because there’s so much to explore!

6. Argyle Provincial Park

If you want to experience the red shores that makes PEI famous, then Argyle Provincial Park is just for you. The day use park is located along the red sands shore drive, about 30 minutes from Charlottetown. You can also walk along the ocean floor here when the tide is low.

7. Cows Creamery

There’s no better place to enjoy a tasty treat on a warm summer day than Cows Creamery. There are many locations around PEI (and the Maritimes), but the origins of all that delicious ice cream come from Cows Creamery in Charlottetown, PEI.

You can take a factory tour to see how their ice cream, butter, and cheese are made. All their ice cream is made with local milk and high-quality ingredients. Go hyper-local and get yourself the PEI strawberry – you won’t be disappointed.

8. Charlottetown

The capital city of PEI, Charlottetown, isn’t very large in terms of city size, but it offers so much history. Explore the Province House National Historic Site, where the idea of Canada was formed, take a stroll in the beautiful Victoria Row, enjoy the sunshine at one of Charlottetown’s many waterfront parks, and take a dive into some delicious fresh seafood.

During the summer months, the Chip Shack in Charlottetown is the place to go for a delicious lobster roll and local Cavendish potatoes. PEI is known for its potatoes that are grown right in the hardy red soil that covers the province.

9. Prince Edward Island National Park

Not only is Prince Edward Island National Park a beautiful place to take a hike or enjoy a beach, but you can camp right on the shore. At the Cavendish campground you can wake up with stunning ocean views, and it’s a perfect way to spend your nights. Don’t forget to take in the towering sand dunes and red cliffs that make up this park.

Look for the red and white lighthouses that dot the northern landscape.

10. Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables is an iconic Canadian literary tale from the early 1900s. The author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, grew up on the island and created a beautiful story about her experiences.

Today, you can explore Montgomery’s home and the Green Gables, which is a national historic site. You can even find Anne herself wandering through the little farm.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has a lot going for it. Not only does it have an incredible landscape, but it also has an incredible food scene. It’s rich in cultural history and has so many places to explore on an epic road trip of the Canadian Maritimes. Have a look at how stunning this Maritimes province is in the following video:

In Nova Scotia, Halifax especially, you’ll notice many places that pay homage to the past – like Pier 21, where thousands of immigrants landed for the first time in a new country, or the Titanic museum – where you can learn about the incredible story of the Titanic, or Grand Pre – a UNESCO World Heritage site that shed light on the diaspora of the Acadians. In Nova Scotia, you’ll find it all, including the heart and soul of the Canadian Maritimes.

It takes a particular person to be able to live and survive in the Canadian Maritimes, and Nova Scotians are a hardy bunch. Here are some places to explore in this Canadian province.

11. Halifax

new brunswick canada road trip

There’s no doubt that Halifax is a stunning coastal city. From its delicious eats to the waterfront and buildings, there is so much to see and do in the city. Since you’re on an epic road trip of the Canadian Maritimes, it’s time to park your car and stretch your legs.

In the city, you need to check out the masterpiece that is the Halifax Public Gardens, the historical citadel that protects the city, the historic properties along the harbor, the lively waterfront, and, of course, the Alexander Keith’s brewery, which opened over 200 years ago.

12. Peggy’s Cove

It’s easy to see why thousands of tourists flock to Peggy’s Cove each year. The lighthouse is one of the most famous in Canada and the town surrounding it is equally as impressive.

Peggy’s Cove has a striking landscape that has been worn rough by the wind and sea. It can also be very dangerous. You’ll see many signs here warning people away from the shore. One sign reads “Injury and death have rewarded careless sight-seers here. The ocean and rocks are treacherous. Savor the sea from a distance.

13. Lunenburg

new brunswick canada road trip

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia is a quintessential Canadian Maritimes experience. The old town was built around fishing and sailing. It is also the home of another Canadian icon – The Bluenose II. Due to its colorful architecture and historic settlement, the town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

14. Grand Pre

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site is Grand Pre, a monument to the Acadian people who settled here and were eventually deported in the 18th century. The Acadians settled in the area, using dykes and sluice systems to farm the land. But a war between the French and English meant the New World was up for grabs. Thousands of Acadians were deported, and many died. Grand Pre tells their story.

An epic Road trip through the Canadian Maritimes

new brunswick canada road trip

Whether you want to see the cities, the history, the ocean, or the landscape, the Canadian Maritimes has it all. From the red soil island of PEI to the historic Nova Scotia, to the breathtaking New Brunswick , you’ll find yourself wishing to stay here forever.

Keep reading: Newfoundland to The Yukon Road Trip Itinerary

new brunswick canada road trip

There is 1 comment

Amazing write-up! I feel glad to have found this article. Thanks for sharing such a useful piece of knowledge. Always a fan of your work.

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Rides & Welcomes Road Trip


Trade in four wheels for two and get ready to experience top trails and warm hospitality along the Rides & Welcomes Road Trip.

4-5 days, 155 km (96 mi.)

From the city of Edmundston to the community of Grand Falls/Grand-Sault, you’re in for a delectable mix of outdoor adventure, fresh local flavours and distinct Francophone culture. You’ll be delighted by the wonderfully warm welcome of this border region, which you’ll likely hear as both hello  and bonjour !

Rides & Welcomes Road Trip

Days 1 - 3: City of Edmundston and Region

~90 km (56 mi.)

Welcome to Edmundston, New Brunswick’s most westerly city. Bordering Quebec, Canada, and Maine, USA, the area known as Madawaska (Edmundston, Lac Baker, Rivière-Verte and Haut-Madawaska) is the entry point to New Brunswick and the gateway to the Atlantic provinces.

City of Edmundston

If you’ve been driving for a while,  Edmundston  is the perfect place to pause and kick off your stay in New Brunswick. Begin by wandering the downtown streets, punctuated by the distinct pedestrian bridge over the Madawaska River. The area is at its loveliest during dusk when sun begins to set over the city and locals stroll riverfront trails. As you wander, keep your eyes peeled for local art and Brayon culture . (For some extra insight, check out the free downtown walking tour ).

If you want to uncover the region’s history, there are many historical sites to choose from within an hour’s drive of the city centre. Head to the Saint-Basile District and  Haut-Madawaska (Baker-Brook, Clair, Saint-François and Saint-Hilaire). A few can’t-miss options include  Ledges Pioneers Place  and the 150 th Anniversary Heritage Room Museum in the Village of Saint-François , and the Museum of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph in Saint-Basile.

If you’re in the mood for exploring further, head to Rivière-Verte and hike all the way up to the lookoff at Mont Pointu . Then take a drive around to find two historic covered bridges in the area ( Boniface in Rivière-Verte, and Quisibis in Sainte-Anne-du-Madawaska).

Back in the city, be sure you set aside plenty of time to try out the delicious cafes and restaurants , Petit-Sault Brewery , and other fantastic local flavours such as ployes and cretons (buckwheat pancakes and pork pate) which can be found on Saturday mornings at the Edmundston Market , or on the menu at L'Écluse restaurant and at Frank's Bar & Grill .

République Provincial Park

When you’re ready for awesome outdoor adventure, it’s time to hop on two wheels and hit the trails. Edmundston and its surrounding areas are a biking enthusiast’s dream. If you’re looking for a casual ride, the Petit-Témis Cycling Trail is an ideal place for an afternoon outdoors. For those looking for mountain biking thrills, you’ll definitely want to hit up the Madawaska Trails .

If you like to walk in nature, make sure to explore Le Prospecteur trails network , or consider walking a section of the 50-km Méruimticook Trail .

After all your exploring, dining, and adventuring, setting up camp at République Provincial Park is the perfect change of pace. This park offers camping spots with electricity, along with rustic shelters and Ch-A-Lets . While you’re here, make sure to take a dip in the heated pool, hike the trails along the Madawaska River, and adventure through the impressive New Brunswick Botanical Garden . There’s so much to do at République Provincial Park, you might want to stay for a few extra days!

New Brunswick Botanical Garden, Edmundston

Prefer the comforts of a hotel or inn over camping? Take your pick of spots to rest up before you continue on your Rides & Welcomes adventure. And for a bit of fun and games, head out to Grey Rock Casino . Enjoy dinner at one of the casino’s two restaurants, and make a weekend of it by staying at the hotel on site.

Festival watchlist:  Arts, music, outdoors, pumkins and gardens; Edmundston has many ways to celebrate. Check out the city and region's  festivals and events  to find out!

Road Trip Eats

  • 🥞 Enjoy a delish lobster risotto or try  ployes , the famous local specialty, at  L'Écluse - halte gourmande
  • 🍕 Order an authentic firewood pizza and sit on the terrace at Le Patrimoine
  • 🍽️ Unwind with a drink and a delicious dinner at Moonshin’hers Cafe Bistro

Visit Edmundston Tourism for even more ideas!

Edmundston Tourism

Plan Your Route: You’re getting close to the Farms & Ferries Road Trip - it’s about 30 minutes from Salisbury via NB-1 W. Keep heading in that direction for a river valley experience, or circle back to Moncton to continue the rest of the Hub City Road Trip.

Days 4 - 5: Grand Falls

~65 km (40 mi.)

When you arrive in Grand Falls , the first thing you'll want to do is visit the Grand Falls Gorge . Located in the centre of town, this is one of New Brunswick’s most spectacular views. Stroll through the walking trail alongside the gorge to take in all its wonder, or enjoy the thrill of ziplining across the rocky gorge and falls.

Everywhere you go in Grand Falls, you’ll be immersed in its rich bilingual culture. While you’re exploring the town, be sure to walk along the widest main street in eastern Canada; Broadway Boulevard! Here, you’ll discover many shops, restaurants, and more. For any art lovers, the Galerie d’Art Acanthus is nearby, and features the work of many local artists and has a tearoom. If craft beer is more your style, stop in at the Grand Falls Brewing Company , a local artisanal micro-brewery with a wide selection of refreshing cold drinks.

Grand Falls Gorge

If you’re visiting Grand Falls on a Saturday, be sure to stop by the Grand Falls Farmers Market to pick up some local creations or eats! This is a must when visiting the area, and is the best way to really get immersed in the local culture.

  • 🍝 Enjoy pasta and pizza at Le Grand Saut Ristorante , a local favourite since 1969
  • 🧁 Stop by Sweet Treats by Meredith  for a coffee and a homemade treat (the cupcakes and mini pies are to die for)
  • 🍔 Grab a burger or a poutine at  Jack Fries , a fun place with a truly local take on fast food.

Plan Your Route


Acadian Shores  • Appalachian Outpost  • Ferries & Farms  • Fundy Coast  •  Hops & Harvest  •  Hub City  • Miramichi River  •   Rides & Welcomes  

Share Your Rides & Welcomes Road Trip Shots

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Hi everyone,

I couldn’t find this info yet at least not going back to 2022.

I’m planning a short 5 day road trip by flying into Moncton

Thanks all!

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