New Brunswick is a region defined by the tides. From the Bay of Fundy to the Northumberland Strait, the dramatic change from high to low tide influences the best things to do in New Brunswick.
The Bay of Fundy boasts the highest tides in the world. The sea level rises from 35 to 56 feet between high and low tide. Its peak represents a five-story building. The water coming into the Bay of Fundy for one tide change could fill the Grand Canyon twice. This amount of water also equals the amount that flows over Niagara Falls on both the Canadian and US sides in one year and nine months. The tide changes approximately every six hours and 12 minutes. The water rises one foot every five minutes.
In addition, you will find Canada’s warmest saltwater beaches in New Brunswick.
New Brunswick is known for its natural beauty, so any trip to the area must include exploring those ecological and geographical phenomena. The area is also known for its lobster industry. Some of the best lobster comes from New Brunswick. Newer to the scene is its burgeoning wine scene. Follow me as we discover the best things to do in New Brunswick.
My trip took me to Moncton, Shediac, Baie-Verte, Bouctouche, Richibuctou, Kouchibouguac, Cap-Pele, Saint Andre, Petit-Cap, Alma, Hopewell Rocks and Memramcook. These towns reside along the Bay of Fundy, with more dramatic tides and Northumberland Strait.
New Brunswick History
New Brunswick is one of Canada’s ten provinces, one of the three Maritimes, and one of four bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
The history of New Brunswick tells the story of the Acadians. Settlers came from France and settled in the New France colony of Acadia in 1604. Acadia means place of plenty, and New Brunswick can be described as a land of plenty in terms of fishing, forestry, and natural beauty. Over time, Acadia changed hands between the UK and France. From 1755 to 1764, during the Great Upheaval, the British deported the Acadians. Acadians went to the 13 Colonies and back to France. Later, they left for Louisiana, where their descendants became Cajuns.
The Acadians developed a unique, tightly-knit society characterized by their dyking technology, allowing them to cultivate the marshes left by the Bay of Fundy’s tides.
In 1784, New Brunswick was founded upon the partition of Nova Scotia. Under the New Brunswick Official Language Act, English and French became the official languages in 1969. Moncton, one of the largest cities in New Brunswick, is bilingual.
Many inventions came from this province, including the fog horn, snow blower, sardine can, thermos window pane, scuba tanks, scrabble, and the MacFlury.
Exploring Covered Bridges, Bridges, Lighthouses, and Waterfalls
New Brunswick is home to the longest covered bridge in the world, and exploring those bridges is among the best things to do in New Brunswick. The Hartland covered bridge is 1,282 ft long. There are 141 covered bridges in Canada, and 58 reside in New Brunswick. I visited several covered bridges and learned that back in the day, many young couples considered them kissing bridges because kissing in public was taboo, and the covered bridge provided privacy.
I visited three covered bridges:
Point Wolfe covered bridge built in 1992, located near Alma in the Fundy National Park
Sawmill Creekbridge was built in 1905 near Hopewell Hill
Magnetic Hill Bridge, circa 1982
Since bodies of water surround New Brunswick, lighthouses are common throughout the province. Visit the Cape Enrage Lighthouse, completed in 1840 as the first lighthouse built in the upper Bay of Fundi. Today, walk the shores along the lighthouse looking for fossils and have lunch at the Cape House Restaurant while taking pleasure in the magnificent views of the Bay of Fundy.
While strolling along the shores of the Northumberland Strait and viewing the Confederation Bridge at Cape Jourimain Nature Centre, you come upon the Cape Jourimain lighthouse. The lighthouse operated from 1869 until 1997 when the Confederation Bridge between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island opened. The lighthouse has moved three times to keep it from falling off the eroding cliffs.
The Confederation Bridge is Canada’s longest. It is the world’s longest bridge over ice-covered water.
While in Fundy National Park, visit Dixon Falls. Hike through the lush green Acadian forests to the picturesque falls. Along the way, you will discover the flora, including many fern species, and a meandering brook that leads to the falls.
Moncton’s Magnetic Hill
This natural phenomenon is a must. Magnetic Hill entails driving your car to the bottom of this mysterious hill, putting it in neutral, taking your foot off the brake, and watching something amazing happen as your car gets pulled uphill. Let gravity take hold as you ponder the moment. You have to wonder if the vehicle is dragged uphill or if this is an optical illusion.
Wow Moments in New Brunswick
Two places piqued my interest while in New Brunswick. There is always an unexpected moment that sets each destination apart from others. I always try to find that wow moment on any travel journey. Both the Akadi Lumina and the Hopewell Rocks mesmerized me with marvel.
The first inspiration came during a spur-of-the-moment visit to the Akadi Lumina. Lights illuminated the forest walk in a beautiful display telling the story of the Acadie people. It arouses the senses as you hear the lyrical stories of a time long ago. You engage in the beauty of the moment and partake in the videos, whether listening or stomping your feet to the beat of dancing in front of you. It is a walk through a forest of time.
A natural phenomenon caused by the tides, Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park allows you to take in the profound effect the tides have on nature. Because of the unique rock formations created by erosion caused by the tides, its distinctive rock shapes made me think of Canada’s version of Stonehenge. However, there is no comparison because Stonehenge is man-made, and Hopewell Rocks were created by the ebb and flow of tides for centuries.
Walking the ocean floor during low tide, you enjoy the sea stacks, also known as flowerpot rocks, with trees growing out of them and rock formations. Each rock has its own character. Think of the pillowy images our imagination creates while looking at clouds. In this case, the images are fashioned in the rocks and boulders.
Helpful Hint: When visiting, bring an extra pair of shoes you do not mind getting wet and dirty.
Wine Tasting in New Brunswick
New Brunswick’s best-kept secret is its wineries. The region has an up-and-coming wine scene with ten wineries. I visited seven of those wineries. From the biggest producer to the small boutique grower, there is an eclectic mix of wines, from hybrids to fruit and maple wines. The commonality is vineyards and grapes grown by the sea. The salt air and sea breezes are essential to the viability of this wine region and define it.
Wineries to Visit in New Brunswick
As the largest producer of wines, Magnetic Hill Winery offers a large selection of wines and unbelievable views of Moncton. Magnetic Hill specializes in marguette, Osceola, maple, and fruit wines. A favorite is the marguette created in an appassimento style.
Winegarden Estate is the oldest family-owned winery in New Brunswick and the wine that helped this region come to life. A favorite wine, l’ acadie blanc, is similar to an unoaked chardonnay of the Maritimes.
Richebucto River Winery represents the largest vineyard property and winery in New Brunswick. A favorite, the Frontenac Reserve, is a port-like wine.
At Vinerie Des Fruits, don’t expect to find grapevines; their wine comes from other fruits, including red and white currants and honeyberries. A favorite Mistelle Honeyberry, an excellent aperitif or dessert wine.
Waterside Farms Cottage Winery lies across the road from the Bay of Fundy, producing fruit wines, including blueberry and rhubarb. A favorite is the dry blueberry wine.
Domaine Latitude 46 Estate Winery is the passion of Bill Fitch, who purchased a run-down existing vineyard and made it the sailboat-themed winery it is today. A favorite is the Regatta Red, with its intense aromas and big complex body created from a blend of frontenac, marquette, and sabervois.
Belliveau Orchard is one of Canada’s biggest apple growers. Expanding into the cider market, they create cider and wine from apples, pears, and blueberries. A favorite is the Scow, a cider made for four different types of apples.
During a visit, you will meet the warm, friendly people who produce cool-climate New Brunswick wine.
The best way to discover New Brunswick’s lobster scene is by taking a Lobster Tales Cruise in Shediac. You enjoy a two-and-a-half-hour tour where you will learn everything about lobster, especially conservation and sustainability in the lobster industry. Depending on whether you are on the Bay of Fundy or the Northumberland Strait, fishermen have two different timeframes to fish for lobster. The cruise includes the proper etiquette of eating lobster as you devour a whole lobster.
Visit the Irving Eco Centre at the Bouctouche Dunes
The beauty of New Brunswick is seen in walking its shorelines and visiting the Irving Eco Centre at Bouctouche Dunes; one appreciates its wonders. The dune stretches 7.5 miles into the bay and birds inhabit these dunes.
Along the coast, on your way to the Irving Eco Centre, take in the many New Brunswick oyster farms in the Northumberland Strait. New Brunswick is one of the largest suppliers of oysters both domestically and internationally. The oyster traps line the coastal waters for miles.
Marine Wildlife Safari
Travel on the Kouchibouguacis River and view the fauna and flora of the area with Phoca Boat Tours. From the bald eagle to terns and other birdlife, the river erupts with life. We must not forget the grey seals barking away, but boats must approach slowly to avoid disturbing the sunbathing seals, or you will watch an avalanche of seals splashing into the water to escape.
Helpful Hint: Bring layers of clothes as it gets cold. I could have used a parka and gloves. Camera buffs, bring along a telephoto or zoom lens.
Breakfast in New Brunswick
Shediac is a popular destination along the coast. Nearby in Dieppe, a French bistro, Atelier Tony is a great place to enjoy breakfast, brunch, or lunch.
Start your meal with a pastry from the bakery next door, but save room for the Strawberry Shortcake Brioche, which is a must. Find candied brioche with house-made strawberry mint mousse.
Lunch in New Brunswick
Stop for lunch at Bistro Le Chat Bleu, a charming French-inspired restaurant in Baie Verte, New Brunswick. Named after the owner’s cat, the restaurant owned by Gisele Landy took nine years to restore the building. Erected in the 1880s, it housed a general store. The restaurant opened its doors in 2015. Find a cozy dining room with an eclectic décor and menu.
Try the Karaage, a crispy Japanese marinated fried chicken with miso slaw and five-spice aioli.
Dinner in New Brunswick
Enjoy a dinner at the Shediac Pier at Captain Dans, a restaurant specializing in seafood. Dining on the patio, one gets a harbor view, watching the sunset and the ships coming into port.
The charm of L’Ancrage, a bed & breakfast in Saint-Louis-de-Kent, New Brunswick, permeates their Captains Resto & Lounge. Overlooking the Kouchibouguacsis River by relishing the setting and the cuisine by Chef Dick Sanders. Whether you enjoy dinner during a stay at L’ Ancrage or just come for dinner, owners Liane Greter and Kores Wouters make you feel right at home. The cuisine combines surf and turf with a French flair.
If you like charcuterie boards, try Seaside Grazing in Shediac. The restaurant is based on unique charcuterie boards, including fresh seafood and dessert boards.
Articles Related to Visiting New Brunswick
Visiting New Brunswick
The spirit of Acadia lives on today throughout New Brunswick. From the natural wonders to wine and the seafood cuisine, all your senses come alive as you touch upon the sights, smells, especially the sea, and the tastes of the New Brunswick lifestyle. We invite you to explore Wander With Wonder for more articles about what to see and do when you visit Canada.
Best Things to Do in New Brunswick