Fun things to do in Province of New Brunswick

  • Irving Nature Park in Saint John, NB
    Irving Nature Park in Saint John, NB
    by Jefie
  • Inside the beautiful Trinity Church
    Inside the beautiful Trinity Church
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  • Mactaquac Park beach
    Mactaquac Park beach
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Province of New Brunswick

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    Tides the height of a 4 storey building

    by Suzze Written May 22, 2008

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    We spent a while at Hopewell Rocks this day as it was quite near to where my sister lives, and she wanted to take us to see some sights of and around the area of Moncton. We had a lovely drive out along the coast this day, and we saw the signs for Hopewell Rocks. I had seen it on VT so as it was not too far away I suggested we go there. It was a shame because when we got there nothing was open yet, we could see the rocks that was no problem, and we even went down onto the sea bed. I could imagine this place would be bursting later on in the month. Apparently nothing starts or opens until the third week of May. It was still nice to go there though and I took some great shots of the place. There is also a park there, but we couldn't go into it as it was closed, and would not be open for another couple of weeks. Really fustrating! There is also a Interpretive Centre where you can see exhibits, displays and video's of the Bay of Fundy exploration, if your really into this kind of thing. Also a cafe and seating areas to eat.
    The park entrance fee is for 24 hours too, but do not know how much they are.
    We just went out to the look out decks and walked down the steps onto the seabed, just to say we'd done it. It was done at our own risk as there was no supervision. The tide was out a way so we were ok, and we were only there a very short while.
    You can walk on the ocean floor from three hours before low tide to three hours after.
    It's well worth a visit and would imagine it would be a nice way to spend a day or afternoon there, once it's all open to the public.

    Hopewell Rocks The grounds to Hopewell Rocks Hopewell Rocks

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    Trail walking in Fredericton

    by easterntrekker Updated Aug 8, 2007

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    Fredericton has some lovely trails all over the city. IN winter they are ussed for cross country sking . There is a lovely walk we took from the Delta to downtown . It goes along the river and is quite lovely . There are lots of boats and its a wonderful easy walk.

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  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    Hiking trails along unspoiled coastlines

    by Bwana_Brown Updated May 13, 2007

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    If you want exercise while exploring the south coast, get out of your car and try hiking! My wife and I decided to take a short walk along part of the Fundy Walking Trail that takes you from Big Salmon River (east of St. Martins area) to Martin Head and then onward to Fundy National Park. This is a serious hiking trail that, in some places, requires the Bay of Fundy tides to be "out" before you can continue across streams flowing into the Bay. There is no easy way in or out once you start along this rugged section of coastline (without cell phone contact in some areas) and it can take 3-4 days to complete. We only went a short distance before descending to the shoreline for a short stay before calling it a day. This photo of tidal-carved rocks was taken along the trail close to its start at Big Salmon River.

    Another great spot is Grand Manan Island, with its rugged shoreline making for very impressive hiking where a network of trails has been marked out along the coastline (2nd and 3rd photos). On one of our trips there, we spent the morning and early afternoon enjoying easy hikes along two sections of the coastal trail. The first of these was close to the scenic Swallowtail Light House on the point near North Head. It was near there, in Whale Cove, that we came across the impressive 'Hole in the Wall' rock formation. The stroll through the woods trail along the top of the cliffs is very enjoyable and there is also abundant bird-life to enjoy. On the western side of the island is another small bay called Dark Harbour. It is nearly sealed off from the ocean by a sandbar between the two headlands. Dark Harbour is famous for its 'dulse', an edible seaweed that can be picked from the rocks at low tide and then sun-dried before eating. My wife's sister enjoyed the coastal walking trail above the harbour with the coastline of Maine, USA visible on the horizon 9 miles distant. It was along this stretch that we stopped at one of the strategically placed picnic tables and enjoyed our packed lunch in the sunshine!

    'Flowerpot' sandstone rocks on the Fundy Trail A trailside view of Dark Harbour 'Bwana' perched on Hole-in-the-Wall cliff
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    The warm beaches of the Gulf-side

    by Bwana_Brown Updated May 12, 2007

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    The beautiful but cold Fundy waters are not good for swimming. For that, you are better off in the inland lakes and streams or along either the other two coasts of NB. This 2005 view is along the east coast at Kouchibouguac National Park, where the Northumberland Strait and Gulf of St. Lawrence meet. We arrived on Kelly's Beach before noon and found a quiet spot, to the left of the boardwalk over the coastal dunes. It was a hot almost 30 C day so we just sat with our feet in the cool waters. I had my bird book and binoculars so had a great time just watching the wildlife activities. I spotted two Great Blue Herons passing overhead with their 4-foot wingspans and couple of Northern Harrier (Marsh Hawks) being harried themselves by Terns. The sea birds seemed to be saying that this is our territory out over the water!

    The 2nd and 3rd photos give a better overview of the 25-km (16-mi) of narrow sandy dunes at Kouchibouguac. Sheltered by the Gulf of St. Lawrence from the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean, these are some of the warmest waters north of Virginia. The average temperature of the estuarine waters quickly warms up from winter: 7.5 C in mid-June, 24.5 C in early-August and declining to 20 C by September. Positively tropical by our standards! The area of beach in the background of the 3rd photo is the small section where lifeguards are on duty, keeping an eye on the several groups of people who were enjoying a refreshing swim. Off-shore, we could see other park visitors paddling their rented canoes and kayaks.

    Finally, the 4th photo is of a long-ago frolic in the north, on the shore of the Bay of Chaleur at the little beach beside Pokeshaw Rock. The bay was named ('Bay of Warmth' in English) in 1534 by French explorer Jacques Cartier after he sailed into it on a hot July day! That is me on the right, with two of the technicians who were working with me on electric power facilities in this part of the province. It was a hot 30 C day, so after work we grabbed some cold beers and headed for the water!

    Liquid air-conditioning! A pleasant change from mountain-biking Summer temps bring out the crowds and plovers! Pokeshaw beach, east of Bathurst in June, 1976
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    Fredericton Farmer's Market

    by Bwana_Brown Updated May 12, 2007

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    Every Saturday morning from early until noon , the Boyce Farmer's Market takes place in the core of downtown Fredericton. This is a great spot to mingle with the crowds and you can enjoy all manner of foods and goods for sale. Both inside the market building and outside along 'food alley' there are vendors selling BBQ sausages, chicken kebabs, samosas, drinks, and all sorts of things (there is even a restaurant inside where you can order breakfast). There are booths set-up in the outside courtyard selling all sorts of home-made goods, fish, meat, fresh vegetables, furniture, crafts and so on. It really is worth a free visit if you happen to be in town on a Saturday!

    Part of main market building & outside vendors More vendors and 'food alley' on right side Food alley is hopping on a cold Autumn day Inside the market building - always vendors there!
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    Impressive Victorian-era mansions

    by Bwana_Brown Updated May 12, 2007

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    New Brunswick is known as a 'Loyalist' province since its formation was based on the arrival of British subjects who rejected the revolution of the Thirteen American colonies. As a result, the strong ties to Britain resulted in quite an economic boom in the 1800s as lumbering and shipbuilding prospered. It is no surprise then to find many large and ornate Victorian-era mansions in almost every town or city of the province as their wealthy owners made life comfortable for themselves.

    Waterloo Row is the most picturesque street in Fredericton, with this scene showing one of its recently restored mansions, formerly used as the residence of the province's Lieutenant-Governor. Located along the south bank of the wide Saint John River, one side of this street is lined with stately mansions and mature trees with the river-side of the street sporting a large open green that leads down to the water (2nd photo). During the summer, this area is alive with soccer matches and other activities along its hiking and biking trails.

    The small town of Sussex has its examples too, with the 3rd photo showing a very nice example downtown beside the present-day Town Hall, although most of these Victorian-era houses were located on the hillside street of Church Avenue (4th photo) - quite a bit further away from the rumbling railway tracks! Even today, this nicely treed street with its 1860s-era (and later) mansions perched above the town has an air of elegance to it.

    Sommerville House on Waterloo Row Waterloo Row as Spring leaves break forth A Victorian mansion in downtown Sussex Sussex mansion on tree-lined Church Avenue
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    All sorts of Lighthouses

    by Bwana_Brown Updated May 11, 2007

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    With its miles of coastline, NB has its share of (mostly wooden) lighthouses to guide mariners. Many of them are located in very picturesque locations and make great places to have a little picnic if you have a sunny day. This is a view of Head Harbour lighthouse on Campobello Island in the Bay of Fundy, reported to be the most photographed in the province. Built in 1829, this 51-ft (15-m) lighthouse was the second to be erected in NB and was also the second to be erected along this part of the coastline, following the stone West Quoddy Head lighthouse erected in Lubec, Maine in 1808. The red cross painted on the light tower is meant to represent the Cross of St. George, the symbol of England (after all, Canada did not become a country until 1867).

    The 2nd & 3rd photos show views of 53-ft. Swallowtail lighthouse, built in 1860 on nearby Grand Manan Island. Perched on this most scenic of all the Grand Manan points are both the Swallowtail lighthouse and the Swallowtail Inn, formerly the lighthouse keeper's cottage. We had a great view of the port of North Head from there as well as the 'Grand Manan V' ferry as it pulled out of the harbour, rounded the point and headed back to the mainland. This spot is practically in North Head and is an easy and beautiful walk from the harbour area if you happen to be on foot. On that same trip, Russ and I also stopped at the smaller (31-ft, 1966) Long Eddy Point lighthouse (4th photo) where a large group of American tourists from Pennsylvania were sitting on a whale watching platform. We heard them shout that they had seen whales off the coast so, after some careful watching, we also spotted Minke whales surfacing and diving!

    The 5th photo shows the Miscou Island lighthouse at the northeast tip on the Bay of Chaleur taken on a misty 2003 bike trip. This 64-foot structure was built in 1856 and then was extended to its present 80-foot height in 1903. There are picnic tables for public use and a nice beach to wander along if it takes your fancy.

    Head Harbour Lighthouse (East Quoddy Head) Swallowtail lighthouse & old keeper's house Closer view of Swallowtail lighthouse Long Eddy Point lighthouse A misty Miscou Island lighthouse
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    The 'Reversing Falls' rapids

    by Bwana_Brown Updated May 11, 2007

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    Another phenomena arising from the high tides is the Reversing Falls futher east along the coast in the major city of Saint John. The 'Reversing Falls' is actually a rapids caused by the 350-mile long Saint John River meeting the world's highest tides in the Bay of Fundy. These tides cause the water level in the Bay to vary by more than 50-feet at its eastern reaches, but only by about 29-feet at Saint John, closer to the mouth of the Bay.

    The Reversing Falls is the result of a rock formation narrowing the mouth of the Saint John River as it reaches the Bay, compounded by the fact that there is a rocky ledge 36 feet underwater. This compresses the full flow of this mighty river into a very narrow and shallow passage where it twice daily does battle with the ocean. This tremendous fight between the river and ocean has gouged out a pool that is almost 200 feet deep where the old steel railway and highway bridges span the falls. It also means that huge eddies and whirlpools are formed and the current is so strong and unpredicable that it is only safe to navigate by boat for two brief periods each day. Once when the rising tide equals the river level and again about 12 hours later when the falling tide drops to the river level. When in full opposition to each other, either the river or the Bay of Fundy is 14 feet higher than the other - causing the most spectacular rapids in one direction or the other!

    Here, a Jet Boat tourist excursion is easing up to the 'wall of water' in the river as it plunges over the underwater ledge near low tide. There is a nice viewing area called Falls View Park in the Lancaster area of the city.

    Part of the rapids at the 'Reversing Falls'
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  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    Check the coast for the world's highest tides

    by Bwana_Brown Updated May 11, 2007

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    The Bay of Fundy, with its 50-foot (15-m) range, has the highest tides in the world (you can see how far up the rocks the seaweed clings in a coastal scene near St. Martins - as one of our party climbs over it while the seaweed waits for the tide to come back in!). The action of the waves produces many unique shapes along the red sandstone cliffs of southern NB, including the Provincial Park at the famous Hopewell Cape 'flower pots' just south of Moncton. Try the Fundy coastal trail for either hiking or driving (for only a part of it!). This is the last totally undeveloped section of Atlantic coastline north of Florida!

    The second photo shows and old sardine fishery dock in Seal Cove on Grand Manan Island, with the water marks on the supports also giving some idea of the tidal range in this westerly mouth of the Bay, only about 23-feet. The shape and orientation of the Bay of Fundy causes the greatest tidal range at its eastern end, as the effects of the moon and ocean cycles slosh cold Atlantic Ocean waters in and out twice per day.

    For an interesting 360-degree view of the Hopewell Rocks while the tide is out, check out the website below.

    Tidal action on sandstone cliffs A foggy low tide at Seal Cove
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    Whale-watching opportunities

    by Bwana_Brown Updated May 11, 2007

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    The south coast of NB is famous for its whale-watching, so on a 1995 trip to Grand Manan Island, my wife and I had to get out on the water to try it! Over a 4 hour period we experienced some amazing sights - the first time we had tried this anywhere! The Bay of Fundy is home to the world's most endangered whale (the Right) with only about 1000 remaining. There are also huge Finbacks (2nd largest whale species in the world at 60-80 feet long) as well as Humpback and Minke whales and we had several sightings of all these types. Lack of a telephoto lens on my camera at that time limited my photographic opportunities but this photo shows a distant pod of 3 Finbacks with their backs briefly exposed as they begin a dive - with one of them spouting air. Recently, the shipping channel through the mouth of the Bay of Fundy leading toward the major port of Saint John has been altered and increased in length to keep ships further away from the known whale feeding grounds. This was done to help avoid collisions with the huge 300,000 ton oil tankers and other vessels passing through this shipping lane.

    Eleven years later, my biking buddy Russ and I were back on the Island, when we spotted a whale-watching schooner (2nd pic) that is owned and operated by Sea-Land Adventures. There, it is close to the ferry dock, from whence it sails for its usual 10 AM - 5 PM voyages. That day, they were fully booked so we just had to watch them head out. Built in 1970 of ferro-cement with British Columbia sitka spruce masts, this vessel is also used for whale research on its cruises. As well as whale watching activities, passengers can listen to the underwater sounds of the whales as well have an on-board lunch. The price of a trip is C$78 (US$70) and reservations are recommended. Later, as we sat topside on the ferry while headed back to the mainland, we spotted the schooner with whale spouts nearby!

    There are several outfits that can be looked up on the web for whale-watching opportunities in this southwestern part of New Brunswick.

    Pod of Finback whales blowing Schooner 'D'Sonoqua'
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    Hiking the hills

    by Bwana_Brown Updated May 11, 2007

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    NB also has plenty of inland hiking trails to keep you busy. I recently (2006) tried the Cochrane Lane Cliffs, a 700-800 foot (210-240 m) high sheer rock wall in the Nerepis River valley near Saint John. Here, our small group started out from a farmers field before passing through thick forest to reach the cliffs. It was a bit hazy at 10:45 AM, but the sun finally did burn through the mist this close to the cold waters of the Bay of Fundy, turning into a 24C day while we were up on the cliffs. We had some great views from a ledge part-way up, shown in the 2nd pic while Russ is taking a shot of his own!

    In 2002, Sue and I decided to climb the highest peak in NB - the 2700 ft (823-m) Mount Carleton in northern New Brunswick. Located in Mt. Carleton Provincial Park, we began our climb in mid-morning, hiking up the Western side of the trail loop beside a very nice brook roaring down off the slopes over moss-covered stones. After breaking out of the forest and climbing over a rough jumble of rock skree, we made it to the summit almost exactly at noon. There was not another soul there and we had not met anyone else on the trail in 2.5 hours. The apex of the mountain is crowned with an old forest fire watch tower (3rd pic), built in 1923 and finally retired in 1968 when aircraft spotting took over. The 4th pic shows the view toward the east from the top, with distant lakes visible. On the easy eastern trail down, we met an ascending couple from Maine, USA who said they had been canoeing in the lakes the day before and had seen 6 moose!

    The cliffs loom as we enter the forest Half-way up the cliff - Russ takes a shot Old forest fire watchtower on Mt. Carleton Rain threatens our view of distant lakes
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    King's Landing Historical Settlement

    by Bwana_Brown Updated May 10, 2007

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    King's Landing Historical settlement is located outside Fredericton about 20 minutes to the west. This is a collection of period homes, the King's Inn pub, a water-driven sawmill and a sailboat from the 1700's, staffed through the summer with volunteers who re-inact life as it was at the time. This attraction was recently voted as the best in Canada, even in competition with the Calgary Stampede.

    A water-driven sawmill
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    The Highland Games

    by Bwana_Brown Updated May 10, 2007

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    Another annual event in Fredericton is the Highland Games, held at Government House on the south bank of the Saint John River. This event commemorates the large influx of Scots immigrants to the Maritimes (eg. Nova Scotia is "New Scotland" where Gaelic is still spoken in some areas). Contestants from all across the Maritimes converge for Highland dancing, marching bag-pipe bands and 'heavy lift' contests of strength such as the 'tossing of the caber'. Various food and pub stalls are available as well as small booths selling various artifacts. The Games were selected as a winner of the 2002 Attractions Canada Provincial Award, and they are usually held at the end of July each year. The photo shows of some of the dance expositions with Government House (built 1826-28 as the original seat of British colonial government) in the background. Full details can be found at "www.nbhighlandgames.com".

    Scottish dancing on Government House grounds
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    Stroll around Fredericton

    by Bwana_Brown Updated May 10, 2007

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    Being a government and university city rather than an industrial-based one, as well as its beautiful location in the Saint John River valley makes Fredericton one of the most pleasant places to explore in New Brunswick. This view from the north side through a Weeping Willow shows the spire of the Provincial Legislature building at the left, the dark box of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery next to it and some downtown 'skyscrapers'. The city has made a real effort over the past few decades to make its downtown area a mecca for tourists to enjoy and there are quite a few attractions available, such as the regular changing of guard ceremony between City Hall and Officer's Square (2nd pic).

    A major Agricultural research farm is located on the edge of the city and they have some very impressive plants growing there (3rd pic) if you want to take a stroll around or have a picnic on the hillside above the River. If you really want some exercise, there is a fantastic system of biking and walking trails throughout the city (part of the Trans-Canada Trail system) using now retired railway paths in many cases (4th pic). There are various cultural events held through the summer months, such as the Chinese Dragon boat races and food fair (5th pic).

    Downtown Fredericton and the Saint John R. A carry-over from British garrison days Rhododendrons at the Agricultural Farm Retired train bridge now part of walking trails Dragon boat races on the Saint John River
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    The Autumn leaf colours

    by Bwana_Brown Updated May 10, 2007

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    New Brunswick is no different than the rest of the country from Nova Scotia to eastern Manitoba - the deciduous trees put on quite a show in the late-September/early-October time frame, depending on the temperatures leading up to this period. This is quite a tourist attraction, with special cruise ship voyages and bus tours timed to catch the trees at their peak colour phase.

    The prime factor in the changing of leaves is actually the shorter days and long cooler nights - with less sunlight and warmth affecting processes within the trees. Even after living here almost all my life, it is still a spectacular sight to see whole hillsides alive with colour, especially if you catch the light just right. This photo shows a typical street scene in downtown Fredericton, taken from the power company office where I worked for many years, showing the red, orange and yellow of the decorative Maple trees. Those smaller green trees in the foreground are Lindens, and it is normal for them to be very late changing colours.

    The 2nd pic was taken in August, showing one Maple already beginning to change colour as it sensed the 'end' was near! The 3rd pic was taken in late Autumn, with some leaves completely gone while others will soon follow. Deciduous trees are everywhere in NB, with the 4th pic showing a scene just up the street from where I live outside Fredericton.

    Autumn view of downtown Fredericton A Maple begins to 'turn colour' - winter is coming Old farm at Magaguadavic Lake Up the street from my house
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