16 Fascinating Things to Do in New Brunswick.
Earlier this month Gabby and I had the pleasure of visiting New Brunswick. Along with a group of Canadian influencers, we jumped in a car and road-tripped through New Brunswick. From Moncton, New Brunswick to Saint John and mostly everywhere in between.
Along the way, not only did we learn a lot, we ate our way through the Maritimes and we saw some captivating and bewitching sights. I’ve compiled a list of 16 things that you must do when you visit New Brunswick, well because, you just simply must!
1. Magnetic Hill and Magnetic Hill Zoo.
Our first stop was the Magnetic Hill Zoo and let me tell you, the kids were very excited about getting to see animals. The zoo is smaller than most zoos but, it is no wonder since it first opened in 1953 as a game farm which housed orphaned and injured indigenous species such as bears, owls, and deer. Over the years, the City of Moncton took ownership and began acquiring more exotic species. But, I need to give credit where it’s due, it’s the largest zoo in Atlantic Canada.
Everyone enjoyed feeding the deer and alpacas. Other animals to see are an array of birds, fish, mammals and reptiles. It is great for an afternoon trip. They have pony-rides for an additional charge and the kids will definitely enjoy that! I especially loved seeing the cougars and the black bear.
While you are there, make sure you check out the alluring phenomenon that is Magnetic Hill. It is also known as mystery hill, mystery spot or gravity road. Just drive your car to the bottom of Magnetic Hill, take your foot off the brake and roll back uphill!
Stay and Play.
If you’re going to be in the Moncton area, be sure to stay at the Delta Beausejour in Downtown Moncton. The staff is superb and we had the pleasure of staying for two nights. It is clean, has an excellent restaurant, a pool and slide and best of all, comfy beds. We had missed our flight the night before and we arrived in the wee hours of the morning. We were greeted with a friendly voice and a smile by Edmond. He was excellent and made the checking-in process for us pain-free.
While due to the late arrival and early morning, we didn’t get to check out Resurgo Place, it is definitely worth checking out. It is a place to learn and discover. You will learn all about the history of transportation with fun exhibits. Also, don’t forget to take a walk through downtown Moncton. Check out the local eats and other shops! Moncton’s Best Restaurants list, HERE.
2. Hopewell Rocks.
If you are in the Moncton area, you absolutely must visit Hopewell Rocks. It is a natural wonder that you have to see to believe! They are rock formations caused by tidal erosion and stand at 40–70 feet tall.
One thing that you have to experience is the magic of the tide. When the tide is low, you can walk on the ocean floor and explore the sea life and sea caves. The rocks are covered by waters advancing and retreating from the Bay of Fundy twice a day. During high tide, you can rent a kayak and swim around the formations. I will be sharing more about Hopewell Rocks soon! On your way out and towards Shediac, be sure to take a selfie with the World’s Largest Lobster!
3. Shediac Bay Cruises – Lobster Tales.
Hop aboard the Ambassador and take a cruise in the open waters of Shediac Bay. If you love sea food (especially lobster) this cruise is for you. If you don’t, don’t worry, they have surf and turf my friends. We took a scenic drive to the Shediac Bay area and took a lobster-themed tour. The captain of the ship is amazing, he is charming, entertaining and very knowledgeable.
What to Expect.
You will be on the vessel for about 2 and a half hours of adventure on the bay, you will have an interactive presentation on lobster fishing, with tips on cooking lobster and tricks to eating it, Acadian style. The kids were able to fish out lobster from the bay and other surprises, it made for a fun experience. Gabby was inspired and she tried lobster for the first time and guess what? She LIKED it!
After all that work, you earned your lobster meal fit for a king, right? You get a succulent whole lobster, delicious Maritime potato salad and crisp coleslaw, served up with your favourite beverage. If you’re like me and prefer no surf with your turf, they have delicious BBQ Chicken or vegetarian lasagna.
Take It In.
Take in the sights while cruising. After dinner, we were given access to the top of the boat and we breathed in the at bay air, felt the breeze hit our cheeks and looked out towards the horizon. Our tour started at 7:00 PM and with the tour advancing, the sun started to set. One of my favorite moments of the trip was sitting on the ship and watching this sail boat go by. It is gorgeous!
4. Fundy National Park.
Driving through the woodlands in Fundy National Park was extraordinary. Being from Southwestern Ontario, I had never seen such dense woods. It is located on the Bay of Fundy, near the village of Alma, New Brunswick. The Park has a rugged coastline which rises up to the Acadian Highlands, the highest tides in the world, and more than 25 waterfalls.
There are 25 hiking trails and you will find a golf course, a heated saltwater swimming pool, three campgrounds and a network of over 100 km of hiking and biking trails.
FOODIE TIP: Stop by Saprano’s for a slice of pizza and great service or check out Alma’s Lobster Shop for you lobster loving travellers. Check out this list for Alma restaurants to check out if you’re there.
5. Town of Alma and Sticky Buns.
On our way to Saint John we stopped through the town of Alma, had lunch at Saprano’s and then we proceeded to Kelly’s Bake Shop to try their famous sticky buns. They were incredible and somehow very nostalgic. It’s as if I have tried their deliciousness before but, I couldn’t quite place it. If you are passing through, be sure to stop by and try them! There are lots of little eateries and bars on the Main St. of Alma and the town is very quaint!
6. Reversing Rapids.
Once you get to Saint John, make sure to stop by Fallsview Park and experience nature’s tug of war first hand. If you time it just right, you can watch the Bay of Fundy’s monstrously high tide reverse the flow of the mighty St. John River. What you witness is whirlpools and waves!
We were able to see it collide but, not at high tide! It is recommended to view the rapids twice; near low tide and near high tide. You can take in this wonder from 2 vantage points – from Bridge Road and Fallsview Park. One thing is for sure, it was a sight to see and the Reversing Rapids are a must on your itinerary.
7. New Brunswick Museum.
We had a great guide who made it an exciting experience for the kids at the New Brunswick Museum! There are a lot of artifacts from New Brunswick and around the world. Their Discovery Gallery is open 7 days a week and they have tons of activities to do for the kids.
More About the Museum:
Try your hand at sailor knot tying, read a book about science or history, or put together a 3-dimensional puzzle. Families often participate in the many game opportunities in the Gallery from marbles to checkers, hopscotch and more. Dance a jive around a 1950s juke box, slide down a mini chute on a model ship, and wee ones can rock in a historic reproduction rocking horse. Museum Interpreter staff are often on hand to offer storytelling about the rich cultural history, art, and science of New Brunswick and offer a chance for youth or adults to create a memory to take home. You could be crafting a whale sound maker or learning the fine paper filigree art of historic paper quilling.
8. Saint John City Market, Saint John Hilton.
If you are going to exploring Saint John, you just have to stay at the Hilton Saint John. It is only 25 minutes from the airport and you have access to the wharf with lots of restaurants and outdoor music. The rooms are clean and spacious and the windows are large and you get a great view of the harbour. Gabby loved to kick-back in this lounge chair and gaze at the harbour.
They have an indoor pool and a great restaurant on-site for guests to enjoy.
Best of all, it is steps away from the New Brunswick museum! We woke up and had breakfast in the hotel and headed across the street to the museum. You are also just a small walk away from the Saint John City Market where you can try amazing food, pick up unique trinkets or just take in the ambiance of the market. You’ll find house butchers, bakers, fruit peddlers, sausage makers, fishmongers, delicatessen and cheese vendors and more.
TIP: Try any of the fresh food provided by the many vendors at Saint Market. Yes, they have lobster rolls! Take a stroll through the wide array of restaurants for fresh mussels and lobster too. Plus, live entertainment–can’t go wrong! Here’s a list of Saint John’s Best Restaurants.
9. St. Martins Sea Caves.
This is absolutely one place that you must visit. The best thing to do is to arrive during high tide and make your way to Fundy Trail Parkway and then on you way back down from the trial on low tide, stop on by at St. Martins sea caves and see the difference 6 hours have made.
A place where the world’s highest tides sweep in and out and it is the heart of the Bay of Fundy.
St. Martins touched me, the smell of the air, the red sea cliffs and caves and watching the tide recede right at my feet. Then watching the exposed caves through a gentle downpour of rain. It was surreal and I will be sharing all about it more very soon.
FOODIE TIP: Dine at The Caves restaurant and sit out on the patio. They have lobster rolls, seafood platters and regular pub fare.
10. Fundy Trail Parkway.
We made our way up to the Fundy Trail Parkway, the roads were winding, some were high slopes, some were downward slopes but, they were all scenic and incredible to see. Fundy Trail Parkway is 16 km of hiking and biking trails and 16 km of parkway.
Since we were in a large group, we formed a caravan and explored the last of New Brunswick’s undeveloped coast. On a clear day, you could see to Nova Scotia. What was great about the trail is that there were stops along the way with outlooks to incredible views.
One stop in particular was Fuller Falls and our entire group got out and we climbed down a cable stairway to an escarpment to see the beautiful falls. The picture above will be a beach come next year and it is the last part of undeveloped coast.
FOODIE TIP: Pick up fresh maple sugar candy at the gift shop.
11. Algonquin Resort in St. Andrews.
There are few places that I’ve been that have really made a deep impression in my soul and St. Andrews is one of them. The small town is everything you would expect it to be, it’s booming with life and community. The Algonquin Resort is minutes from the downtown area and it is magnificent.
My only complaint is that I didn’t get to spend more time there and truly take in the resort. Alas, it is a reason for me to return. The food was great and the rooms were beautiful. The Algonquin Resort has rich history, it has been in service for two centuries. Overlooking the picturesque Passamaquoddy Bay in St. Andrews by the Sea, New Brunswick, the 233-room, Tudor-style “Castle-by-the-Sea” is spectacular. It has a spa, golfing courses, indoor and outdoor pool, fitness studio and a tennis court.
FUN FACT: Most modern hotels have less than 10 room types, but because it was built-in stages, The Algonquin had 117 different room sizes and configurations, a charming quirk that was retained during the renovation in 2012.
One thing is for certain, I will return to the Algonquin Resort and lavish in its beauty and history as soon as I can with my entire family.
FOODIE TIP: You MUST try the Cinnamon Bun french toast in the early morning whilst out looking the front of the property. To die for! Also try the mixed drink, Katie’s Cove or ask the server to surprise you!
12. Fundy Discovery Aquarium.
The Fundy Discovery Aquarium is perfect for spending an exciting afternoon with the family. You will learn all about the creatures of the Bay and you’ll be able to get your hands on them too! You’ll get a chance to see the harbour seals, Loki and Snorkel splash around and even watch them get fed and do tricks!
You can head to the lower level and watch the sea-horse feedings or salmon feeding and watch them enjoy their food! The salmon feeding was really a sight to be seen and the sea horses ate the tiniest of shrimps. After you’ve enjoyed the lower part of the aquarium and you’ve gotten your hands on sea stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and more, head upstairs to enjoy even more hands-on fun!
On the main floor you will find educational interpretative pylons focusing on Canada’s east coast marine ecology, marine based economy and history of the Bay of Fundy and a gift shop. But, best of all, you’ll find a whole floor where you can touch and explore sea life. You’ll be able to pick up crabs, sea stars, scallops and even rub the belly of a skate. They were my absolute favorite and Gabby and I enjoyed rubbing their bellies as they swam about and gave us a smile.
13. Kingsbrae Gardens.
As you all know, I fell in love with St. Andrews and the Kingsbrae Gardens is one reason why I did. It’s beauty cannot be expressed in words rather you simply have to visit to experience the scents, breezes and sights that you will see in these gardens. The gardens are home to over 50,000 perennials in themed gardens, ponds, streams, and old-growth Acadian forest featuring 27 acres of horticultural excellence.
We were given a guided tour through the gardens and we were able to see the incredible beauty of all of the flowers, pines and herbs that grew there. There is a petting zoo on the grounds as well as alpacas that the kids will enjoy to see and touch. A great experience for the kids is being able to meet Lucy the Ladybug and releasing handfuls of ladybugs into the gardens. Since Kingsbrae Gardens do not use pesticides, the ladybugs are a natural way to keep pests at bay. The creepy crawlies gave me, well, the creepy crawlies but the kids LOVED it and the did their part in keeping the gardens beautiful.
FOODIE TIP: Try the Garden cafe that serves light bistro fare or book Savour in the Garden (limited seating) for fine dining. Book a Pinot & Palette session that gets you wine, nibbles and art! Toast while you paint!
14. Downtown Saint Andrews – Historical Water Street.
During some down time, Gabby and I had the chance to explore Saint Andrews little downtown area. We walked the length of Water St. both ways and explored all the little shops and boutiques. We had lunch and dinner on Water St. and it was delicious. Since I am not really a seafood person, I was excited to try some fresh fish and chips at the Red Herring Pub & Eatery. They certainly did not disappoint! I
t was awesome hearing the live entertainment right outside the windows. The downtown area is very busy during the day and at night, there is a more quiet and relaxed feel. We had dinner at the Lobster Bay Eatery and we had a great performance by a local artist, bag pipes and all. It was a great experience!
FOODIE TIP: Try the fish and chips or lobster rolls anywhere on Water St. Check out the best restaurants in Saint Andrews.
15. Jolly Breeze Tall Ship Whale Watching.
Hop aboard the Jolly Breeze and go on a tour of whale watching. It ports in the historical port of St. Andrews of course and it is a beautiful ship, she is. The tour will take you past sunning seals, lighthouses and beautiful landscapes to the playground of the porpoise and majestic whales of the Bay of Fundy.
Gabby loved the interactive aspect of the tour and they were able to touch a lot of sea life and even take the helm of the ship. That is an experience in itself!
We were able to see plenty of seals and porpoises and two whales during our voyage but, they move so quickly! This was by far, my most favorite thing to do in St. Andrews and I would do it again in a heart beat. I will share our entire day “at sea” in an upcoming post really soon!
FOODIE TIP: Grab breakfast at your hotel or on Water St. if you are used to heavier fare!
16. St. Stephen – Chocolate Museum.
Our road trip through New Brunswick ended in a sweet way. We drove to Canada’s Chocolate Town, St. Stephen, (which is a border city that is linked to Maine in the US) and we took a tour of the chocolate museum. One thing that is absolutely amazing is that they give you unlimited samples of hand dipped chocolates and boy, did we ever have our fill.
The tour was very informative and they show you the process of making chocolate from a cocoa bean. They also show you the process of hand dipping which I thought is what makes Ganong’s Chocolates extremely unique. The designs of each type of chocolate is interesting and did you know that you get more chocolate from hand-dipped then the ones made by a machine? You can also see the chocolate hand dippers in action! Crafting hand-dipped chocolates the way they have done for over 100 years.
What was so interesting was learning the history of the Ganong family and the wonder of chocolate with the hands-on exhibits, vintage chocolate boxes, and antique candy-making equipment and machines. Of course, you know that I had to bring a couple of boxes home for the family.
FOODIE TIP: Try the caramel squares and maraschino chocolates.
Start Your Tour!
Now that you’re armed with 16 Fascinating and Tasty Things to Do in New Brunswick, you are ready to set on your journey. Plus, I’ve done all the leg work for you, now you can just enjoy your journey through New Brunswick. Stay tuned for more about these gorgeous places! I can’t wait to share them with you!
What would you most like to do in New Brunswick?
Let me know, til then–cheers m’deres!
Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela, and wife to Darasak. Having worked as part of a health care team for almost a decade, Nancy is happy to be back to her passion. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.