Best Coastal Towns To Visit On A New Brunswick Road Trip
From the world’s highest tides to unique cultural attractions, New Brunswick is a delightful province to visit. Located south of Quebec’s Gaspé region, New Brunswick is the first Atlantic province visitors encounter when driving to the Maritimes from mainland Canada. What they find is a beautiful blend of cultures, stunning natural beauty and a warm welcome. The province is home to the Mi’kmaq, the Wolastoqiyik and the Peskotomuhkatiyik First Nations, who together are part of the Wabanaki Confederacy. For authentic Indigenous experiences, please visit the Indigenous Tourism Association of New Brunswick.
Central to life in New Brunswick is water — the province is, after all, bordered by the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Bay of Fundy and the Altantic Ocean — and no trip here is complete without a visit to at least one of the province’s picturesque coastal towns, villages or cities. Here we’ve rounded up five of our favourites, but of course there are many more to explore.
This pretty coastal city has an interesting claim to fame: it is the oldest incorporated city in Canada. History abounds throughout the city and history buffs will delight in the numerous notable buildings and museums. Be sure to check out the Saint John City Market — the oldest continuing farmers’ market in Canada is a National Historic Site and the beating heart of this vibrant community. Set as it is on the famous Bay of Fundy, Saint John is a great place from which to explore the region that is home to the highest tides in the world. Nature and water adventures are all part of the fun in Saint John. Don’t forget to check out the famous Reversing Falls — a natural phenomenon where the force of the tides reverses the flow of the Saint John River, creating rapids in the otherwise steady waters.
Often called St-Andrews-by-the-sea, this beguiling seaside town dazzles visitors with its stunning Bay of Fundy scenery and historic charm. The core of this town is filled with artisan boutiques and delighful restaurants — don’t leave without trying fresh seafood — as well as art galleries and museums. On warm days, enjoy the fresh salty air as you meander through the pretty streets or head out on the water. If seeing whales is your dream, Saint Andrews is the place to make it happen.
A coastal village with a rich maritime history, Saint Martins is the quintessential New Brunswick seaside spot you’ve been dreaming about. Climb up the replica lighthouse and you’ll find yourself with unobstructed views over the Bay of Fundy. At low tide, stroll along the harbour to see fishing boats sitting on the muddy ocean floor, only to be pushed back up by the incoming tides a few hours later. There are lots of lovely little spots to eat in this village and the local area is great to explore. Perhaps most famous in this town are the sea caves, which become accessible to foot traffic at low tide. Saint Martins is also the starting point for the Fundy Trail that links up to Fundy National Park, a stunning coastal route that deserves to be explored.
If you enjoy eating lobster and swimming in warm ocean waters, you’ll love Shediac. Located on New Brunswick’s spectacular eastern shore, Shediac is known as the Lobster Capital of the World and is said to have some of the warmest waters north of Virginia. But while you may come to Shediac for lobster and warm saltwaters, you’ll fall in love with the seaside charm of this pretty town. Enjoy lunch or just a stroll and some ice cream on the famous Quai Pointe-du-Chêne Wharf. And if you look beyond the tourist parts (we’re looking at you, world’s largest lobster), you’ll find an introduction to the fascinating history and culture of the Acadian people, descendents of French settlers. If you want to learn more about Acadian history, drive north from Shediac along the scenic coast towards New Brunswick’s lively Acadian Peninsula.
The city of Bathurst sits on the warm waters of Chaleur Bay and is a wonderful spot from which to explore New Brunswick’s north shore. Nearby is the stunning and popular Beresford Beach, a long stretch of sandy shoreline that offers locals and visitors a place to swim and relax in the sun during the warm summer months. Drive about 40 km east from Bathurst and you’ll come to Pokeshaw Rock, a cool rock formation that houses a cormorant colony, making it a great spot for birdwatching. A bit further inland from Bathurst you’ll find the Pabineau Falls, also worth a visit. In the town itself, you can enjoy great restaurants, some unique artisan shops and a few good local breweries. Lovely beaches, gorgeous views over the bay and fresh seafood round out the charming seaside experience in Bathurst.