When looking for the best things to do in New Brunswick, look no further, because this guide has you covered. Home to the world’s highest tides, known for its amazing whale watching excursions, gorgeous rugged coastal scenery, and historic city centres, New Brunswick has everything a traveler could want.
When planning a road trip to the East Coast of Canada this gorgeous province should not be missed. New Brunswickers have a reputation of being friendly and welcoming and we felt the hospitality wherever we went. It’s not only the people that make New Brunswick special, we could not believe the number of amazing attractions scattered throughout the province.
Things to Do in New Brunswick
There is a lot more to New Brunswick than just the Hopewell Rocks. From the hip city of Saint John to the wonders of the Fundy Trail, there are natural wonders and maritime history to explore making it a top destination in Canada.
Let us take you on a photographic journey through New Brunswick. By the time you finish, we hope you will fall in love with this amazing East Coast province as we did.
1. Hopewell Rocks
The Hopewell Rocks may be the most famous tourist attraction in all of Eastern Canada and it is definitely one fo the best things to do in New Brunswick.
This set of flowerpot rock formations located on the Bay of Fundy is a natural wonder of the world where visitors can walk on the ocean floor for three hours on either side of low tide to witness the immense movement of these legendary waters. We have experienced the high tides of the Bay of Fundy on several adventures, watch our video here.
2. Bay of Fundy
The Bay of Fundy is massive and there are plenty more places to experience it than the Hopewell Rocks. Home to the highest tides in the world, it is an amazing wonder of the world to see it at both high and low tides. The tides move twice daily shifting 100 billion tons of water 15 meters (52 feet) in and out of the bay.
At low tide, visitors can walk for miles exploring the rock formations, sea caves, and arches up close. When visiting New Brunswick, it is up there as the number one thing to do.
3. St. Martins Sea Caves
While the Hopewell Rocks may be the most famous place to experience the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, our favourite place to walk on the ocean floor was at the Sea Caves at St. Martins. When the tides are high, the St. Martins sea caves are filled with water and nearly disappear under the sea. But when the tide is low, visitors can walk right into the caves and explore the massive caverns from the inside out.
Make sure to go at both high tide and low tides. The town and the caves take on a completely different view. The St. Martin’s Sea Caves are truly an incredible sight and not to be missed.
4. St. Martins
St. Martins itself is worth spending a day or two to explore. You can book kayak tours to paddle on the Bay of Fundy and explore the sea caves at high tide. Trust me, kayaking the Bay of Fundy is one of the coolest things to do. It is here that you can see the famous fishing boats sitting on the ocean floor at low tide while they wait for high tide to come in.
You really see the power of the tides when spending a full day in St. Martins. Plus it has not one but two historic covered bridges. It is truly a hidden gem of Canada.
- Check out the Salmon River BnB for an overnight stay in this historic town.
Hot Tip – Split Rock
Split Rock at Duck Pond is a local’s place to experience the Bay of Fundy. This deserted beach leads to a massive sea cliff split in two that you can walk to at low tide. Check it out in this post: 24 Fantastic Things to do in Saint John New Brunswick
5. Historic Covered Bridges
New Brunswick has 58 covered bridges in the province. It can take weeks to see them all, and it is a lot of fun to set out for a day to find them. As we mentioned above, two bridges can be found in Saint Martin located just 45 minutes north of Saint John.
Dating back to the 1800s, the land was once filled with these covered bridges, known as Kissing Bridges. Today, the remaining 58 have been designated heritage buildings. We explored many of the covered bridges of New Brunswick while working with the BBC. Read our BBC StoryWorks at The Bridges and Small Town Gems of New Brunswick
6. World’s Longest Covered Bridge
The star of all the covered bridges of New Brunswick is the World’s longest covered bridge in Hartland. Located 90 minutes north of Fredericton, the Hartland covered bridge dates back to 1901. It was covered in 1021 and holds the record as the longest covered bridge in the world at 391 m (1,282 feet) long.
Spanning the Saint John River, visitors can not only drive across the bridge, there is a walkway along its side as well. The town of Hartland has made a tourist industry around the bridge with souvenir shops, The W.W. Craig Gallery, walking trails, and a golf course.
7. Fundy National Park
The Fundy National Park is a spectacular drive along the coast of the Bay of Fundy. Located between Moncton and Saint John, this is an excellent route to take when driving from one city to another. Read more at Canada’s Most Beautiful National Parks.
It is one of Canada’s smallest national parks, spanning only 12 km along the coast, but there is a lot to see and do. There are hiking trails through the Acadian forest, waterfalls, and high lookouts over the Bay of Fundy. The scenery is spectacular through rolling hills and green forests. It is truly a highlight of traveling through the province.
We entered Fundy NPfrom the north after spending the night at the Hopewell Rocks. Alma is a great place to make a base to spend a couple of days in the park. There are four campgrounds in the park, but if you want hotels and BnBs, you can get them in this fishing village. There are also restaurants, and kayaking and hiking. And this is another place to see the fishing boats sitting on the ocean floor at low tide.
Check out these rustic pine cottages at Captains Lookout Cottages in Alma for accommodation.
9. Fundy Trail Parkway
We highly recommend visiting the Fundy Trail Parkway. The Alma connector road linking Sussex to Alma is now open! Fundy Trail Parkway now connects the eastern entrance of Fundy National Park to the village of Alma. When we went, we drove in from the south near St. Martins by the Sea and had to turn around when we got to the end but now tourists and locals can drive straight on through.
This 30km stretch of road has some of the most dramatic views in Canada with high sea cliffs, hiking trails, old-growth forests, and secluded beaches. One of the best places to experience the Bay of Fundy at low tide here is at Seely Beach where you can walk for miles along the ocean floor.
10. Fundy Footpath
One of the best things to do in New Brunswick is to hike the famous Fundy Footpath. This challenging multi-day hike has been rated as one of the top 50 hikes in the world. But don’t worry you don’t have to the entire Fundy Footpath, there are plenty of hiking trails in the Fundy Trail Parkway to give you a taste of the outdoors and where you can experience the low tides of New Brunswick.
11. Cape Enrage
Cape Enrage is another wonder of the world located in New Brunswick. Located just south of the Hopewell Rocks, Cape Enrage is a towering cliff looking over the Bay of Fundy. It’s mantlepiece is a lighthouse dating back to 1838.
Adventure at Cape Enrage
If you want to add some excitement to your stop at Cape Enrage, you can rappel down the 43m (142 ft) cliff of Cape Enrage or you can ride the 600-foot long zipline. But you don’t have to do adventures to enjoy the views, there are a restaurant and viewpoints at Cape Enrage. We stopped here for some takeaway coffee before hitting the beach below.
12. Chill out in Saint John
Saint John New Brunswick is probably one of the most underrated cities in Canada. But this city is turning into one of the hippest in the country. With old warehouses being restored and turned into microbrew pubs, chic bistros, and artisan workshops, Saint John is a place to spend a few days exploring.
There are so many things to see and do in Saint John it requires its own post that you can read here. But before you go, here are a few not to miss favorites:
- Explore Grannan and St. Germain streets for nightlife fine dining and artist shops.
- Irving Nature Park
- tour the Imperial Theatre – with Hollywood connections to Louis B. Mayer
- Watch the sunset at Fort Howe
- New Brunswick Museum – The New Brunswick Museum is Canada’s oldest continuous museum
- Take a drive to the Cape Spencer Lighthouse
- Read more about things to do in Saint John here.
Where to Stay in Saint John
- The Hilton Saint John is a good central location on the water that is within walking distance to all the downtown attractions. Plus, you can never go wrong with a Hilton. Check out rates and Availability on TripAdvisor / Booking.com
- Delta Hotels by Marriott is another great location downtown. Just 25 minutes from Saint John Airport in the heart of downtown. The indoor pedway system connects it to Saint John City Market, Brunswick Square Shopping Complex, City Hall, the Canada Games Aquatic Centre, and Harbour Station. View it on TripAdvisor / Booking.com
13. Reversing Falls
The most famous place in Saint John is the Reversing Falls. Even though it doesn’t seem like much, visiting the Reversing falls are really one of the top things to do in New Brunswick. They truly are a natural phenomenon where the St. John river collides with the Bay of Fundy tides as it recedes. The tides overpower the St. John river reversing the flow twice a day thus creating a bouncing display of reversing waterfalls.
Make sure to go up to the observation deck and restaurant to see the reversing falls rapids from above. We missed this on our first trip to St John and were glad we saw it on our second. We didn’t know what we were missing! If you want to try something cool, visit Saint John Adventures to try a zip line over the reversing falls.
14. Tidal Bore Wave in Moncton
Something similar to the reversing walls of Saint John is the Tidal Bore Wave in Moncton. When the waters of the Bay of Fundy make their way up the Petitcodiac River at low tide it reverses the flow of the river creating a tidal bore rapid in the centre of the river.
15. Magnetic Hill
One of the most unique tourist attractions in New Brunswick is Magnetic Hill located in Moncton. Magnetic Hill is a natural phenomenon where your vehicle will roll uphill when you take your foot off the brake. In fact, Magnetic hill is an optical illusion, (so they say) but trust us, it truly feels as if you are rolling uphill!
There are plenty of things to do around Magnetic hill as it’s become a popular attraction with a vineyard, waterpark, casino, and golf course nearby.
Where to Stay in Moncton
- Delta Marriott Moncton – Located downtown on the Petitcodiac River Check it out on TripAdvisor / Booking.com
- Hyatt Place Moncton – Another great location close to Main Street and theatres in the heart of Downtown. See it on TripAdvisor
16. Kouchibouguac National Park
The Fundy National Park and the Hopewell Rocks tend to overshadow the rest of New Brunswick, but there are other amazing places to visit in the province. Kouchibouguac National Park is located on New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast north of Moncton. Pronounced (Coo-Chee-Boo-Goo-Whack)
This 238 square km national park is a gem to visit. With vast marshlands leading out to sand dunes and beaches, Kouchibouguac National Park is a must visit. Kouchibouguac means River of Long Tides in the Mi’kmaq language. Make sure to walk up the top of the high lookout over the bog trail to see the endless views and take a walk along the boardwalk to Kelly’s Beach.
17. Mount Carleton Provincial Park
Another must stop on your New Brunswick itinerary is Mount Carleton Provincial Park. Taking you off the beaten path just a little bit it’s a great way to get out to nature. Located 4 hours north of Moncton and 3 hours north of Fredericton this is truly a place to get out in nature.
Bird watchers will love spying more that 100 species. It is a hiker’s paradise with 11 trails waiting to be explored, and there is even a wheelchair-accessible trail at Williams Falls. But the star attraction here is the night skies. Mount Carleton Provincial Park is a designated dark sky preserve that makes it perfect for star gazing.
18. St. Andrews by the Sea
Visiting St. Andrews by the Sea is one of the most popular places to visit in New Brunswick. Probably because it is located close to the border of Maine, USA. When people enter Canada from Maine this is their first stop. The national historic district has been the heart and soul of the town for more than 200 years with many of the original buildings still standing.
Spend a day or two here at The Algonquin Resort located just outside of St. Andrews to experience the history and culture of the Maritimes. St. Andrews played a large part in the War of 1812 and the St. Andrews blockhouse is a national historic site that served as the Royal artillery. It is also by the sea is a popular spot for whale watching in New Brunswick. It has a lovely downtown with fine dining, luxury accommodation, galleries and boutique shopping.
19. Kingsbrae Garden
One of the star attractions is Kingsbrae Garden is home to 50,000 perennials and rated as one of Canada’s top gardens . There is a sculpture garden, a tea room, ponds, and streams sprawling through different themed gardens spanning 27 acres of the old-growth Acadian forest. You’ll also see some local wildlife as well. Kingsbrawe Garden is considered one of the top
20. Go Whale Watching
One of the main attractions in New Brunswick is definitely having the chance to go whale watching. The East Coast of Canda sees a population of migrating whales through its waters. If you book a tour here you’ll have a good chance of seeing Minke whales, humpback whales, fin whales, and the northern right whale.
21. St. Stephen’s
Not too far from St. Andrew’s is the town of St. Stephen. It is where the border to the US is located and it has built up a bit of a tourist reputation unto itself. St Stephen is home to Canada’s oldest candy company, Ganong Bros. Ltd. It has branded itself as Canada’s chocolate town and you must pick up some chocolatey goodness when you are there. There’s a lovely waterfront walk along the river too.
22. Saint George Gorge
A lesser known place to visit in New Brunswick is the Saint George Gorge. We crossed covered bridges crisscrossing their way to the picturesque Saint George Gorge. There’s a lovely photo stop the mill and waterfall. It is such a popular place for photographs, there is a spot cut out along the bridge for people to duck out of the away from traffic
23. Roosevelt Summer Estate at Roosevelt Campobello International Park
Did you know that American president Franklin Roosevelt spent his summers in New Brunswick? The Roosevelt family owned a plot of land on Campobello Island located between New Brunswick and Maine on the Bay of Funday. It was the summer home to his family and then again for Franklin and Eleanor. Since then, it has been turned into an international Park.
The Roosevelt Campobello International Park is rated as one of the top attractions in New Brunswick. Campobello Island can be reached by bridge from Main and ferry in New Brunswick from the mainland to deer Island and then onward.. This International Park is operated, funded, and administered by both the United States and Canada. Pretty cool eh?
24. Grand Manan Island
Another popular island to visit in New Brunswick is Grand Manan Island. Take a boat tour of the Bay of Fundy in search of puffins, whales, and other migrating seabirds and marine life. It is one of the best places in Canada for bird watching. With sea cliffs plunging into the Bay of Fundy, unspoiled fishing villages and scenic lighthouses, Grand Manan Island is one of the best places to visit in New Brunswick.
25. Village Historique Acadien
Acadian history is strong on the East Coast. Acadians are descendants of the French who settled in the region. When driving from Moncton to the Village, you’ll go through one of the most important Acadian towns of Shediac. It is a good compliment to the Village Historique located another 2 hours north along the Acadian Coast. The Village Historique Acadien houses 40 preserved buildings from the 1600 and 1700s.
Consider booking a lobster tour in Shediac, the lobster capital of the world. Shediac is located on the Acadian Coast. It’s a good complement to the Village Historique Acadien and is a wonderful stop on an NB trip. It is also home to the world’s largest lobster!
27. Confederation Bridge
Chances are, if you are on a road trip through the East Coast, you’ll be crossing the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island from New Brunswick. Confederation Bridge is an engineering marvel linking PEI to New Brunswick. At 12.9 kilometres in length (8 miles) this is the longest bridge in Canada and holds the distinction of being the longest bridge in the world to span over ice covered water. Even if you don’t cross into Prince Edward Island, it’s worth stopping to take a look at this bridge.
We can’t wait to go back to the East Coast of Canada to see more of New Brunswick. We haven’t even stepped foot in Fredricton yet! We love road side attractions and we want to get up to see the world’s largest ax in Nackawic. That must change soon.
And these are the best things to we did in New Brunswick. Have you been to New Brunswick? What should we add to our next trip?
Read More about Travels in Eastern Canada
- 24 Fantastic Things to do in Saint John New Brunswick
- Read our New Brunswick Road Trip – Covered Bridges and Small Towns
- Things to do in Lunenburg Nova Scotia – Top Activities
- Things to do in Halifax, Nova Scotia
- Best Things to do in Nova Scotia – The Ultimate Travel Guide
A big thanks to Tourism New Brunswick for helping us plan our first trip to New Brunswick and offering superb suggestions. We also want to shout out to Ingrid of Pivotsj.ca who helped us for more unique places in New Brunswick. Without the help of locals, we would never have explored so much of the province.