Paddling your kayak out on shimmering waters, you gaze up at dramatic rock formations, their slender stems giving them the appearance of flowerpots. You make a few trips around them, getting some perspective on the greenery growing from the rocks’ tops, before heading back to shore. But a few hours later, something amazing happens: The tide recedes enough that you can step out onto the sea floor and walk right up to those same rocks.
This is just one of the magical experiences you can have in New Brunswick, the province attached to Maine’s northeastern border that stretches out along Canada’s southeastern Atlantic coast. It’s a land full of gorgeous natural treasures and unique culture, all just waiting to be explored.
Here’s why to go.
While the Acadian Coast offers stunning rock formations, over on the Bay of Fundy, it’s a very different scene, with sandy beaches stretching out along the water. So if your goal is simply to relax on the beach, this is where to find miles of pristine sand here, where you can look out over the endless sea. You’ll also find the warmest saltwater swimming in Canada, in places like family-friendly Parlee Beach, where the water temperatures can climb above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Uniquely Delicious Cuisine
New Brunswick’s distinctive array of culinary traditions, combined with Atlantic Canada’s iconic fresh seafood, makes the province a hotspot for gastronomes. If you’ve never tried Acadian food, now’s the time: Sample traditional dishes like poutine râpée (pork dumplings), fricot (a hearty chicken and potato stew), cipâte (a layered game-meat pie); and ployes (pillowy buckwheat pancakes). Of course, New Brunswick also boasts amazing seafood restaurants, which highlight exquisite salmon, lobster, scallops, mussels, clams, and prized Beausoleil oysters. Topping the list for many visiting foodies are Little Louis’ Oyster Bar in Moncton, Savour in the Garden in St. Andrews, and Port City Royal in St. John. For more casual fare, the St. John Ale House, whose whopping lobster roll has been featured on The Food Network, should not be missed.
Spectacular Geological Formations
With nearly 150 miles of coast edging the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick is home to some of the most dazzling shoreline scenery in Canada. Since the bay also has the highest tides on the planet—some 100 billion tons of water rush in and out, causing the seas to rise up to 46 feet within a matter of hours—visiting the beaches, cliffs, and rock formations here can be an especially dramatic experience. That changing tide has resulted in some beautiful natural formations, and when the tide goes out, you can head down to the sea floor and get up close to them. One place to do that is Hopewell Rocks—a series of dramatic sandstone spindles and arches shaped over centuries by erosion. Or head to the St. Martins Sea Caves, a set of swooping, deep, red-tinged sandstone hollows off St. Martins that are magical to kayak through during high tide—or walk inside when the tide is out.
Eastern Canada may not be the first destination that comes to mind when you think about wine—but this just makes discovering the award-winning vineyards here even more special. You’ll find nearly a dozen boutique family wineries scattered around the province, including Richibucto River Wine Estate, Magnetic Hill Winery, and Domaine Latitude 46 Estate Winery. In addition to producing delicious wines from varietals like Frontenac, Baco Noir, and Acadie Blanc, these wineries offer tastings and tours—and in some cases, dining and lodging. If your tastes veer more toward hops, New Brunswick has a bumper crop of hip craft beer breweries, especially in the hubs of Fredericton and Moncton. In fact, Fredericton—with a population of only about 60,000—boasts the highest concentration of breweries, meaderies, and cideries in Atlantic Canada. Some of these—like Picaroons Traditional Ales and Pump House Brewery—have been in business for decades; others, like CAVOK Brewing Co. and Tire Shack Brewing Co., are new on the scene.
Fabulous Festivals and Events
New Brunswick plays host to some of Canada’s most vibrant and popular festivals, which can offer some real cultural insights—in addition to being fun for the whole family. Le Grand Tintamarre, marking National Acadian Day on August 15, is the region’s largest and liveliest event. You’ll find festivities throughout the Acadian costal region on this day; one of the biggest hubs is Caraquet, which typically sees more than 20,000 Acadians marching in costume, riding atop flamboyant floats, brandishing the Acadian flag, and noisemaking with horns, instruments, and even cooking pots to celebrate their unique heritage. You can also take in the music scene at the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival, held in Fredericton over six days in September, which brings together more than 400 world-class blues, jazz, funk, folk, and world music artists. Or come for the Area 506 event in Saint John, on the waterfront at the end of July. Enjoy three nights of amazing concerts and experience a unique shipping container village, where you’ll find all sorts of local music and culture.
Discover even more fun things to do and start planning your trip to New Brunswick!