The Fundy Coast of New Brunswick is one of the highlights of New Brunswick, and indeed of the entire Maritime region of Canada. Follow this itinerary and you will experience the tidal waves that leaves the sea shores sprinkled with sea urchins and periwinkles, travel to most southernly of Fundy Isles, and cover three of New Brunswick’s most populous cities.
Depending on where you are coming from, you can start and end the road trip at any of the main cities – Moncton, Saint John or Fredericton. Or start at Moncton and end the trip at Fredericton. While you could make this a seven-day journey, you can also do it in lesser days, by skipping Grand Manan Island or Fredericton as stops along the way.
Day 1: Moncton
Beginning your trip in Moncton, New Brunswick, one of the province’s largest cities, you should consider spending time in Centennial Park, a large outdoor park built right in the city. The park has various hiking, walking and biking trails and is the perfect escape into nature from the hustle and bustle of the city.
If you are interested in history, make sure you download iTour to your phone to experience Moncton’s history in 1 hour that follows Moncton’s historic sites and interesting landmarks. If travelling with kids, get to Magnetic Hill where the car will magically drive itself up the hill.
If you want colourful pictures for instagram do not miss the murals around Moncton which are created during Festival inspire. (festival is held every year). The Pump House Brewery, an award winning brewery makes a great stop for dinner.
Day 2: Moncton to Alma
Next on the itinerary is Hopewell Rocks Ocean Tidal Visitor Centre, which is just forty minutes outside of Moncton. Visit the famous flowerpots (Hopewell Rocks). You will need about 6 hours and 13 minutes to see both the high tide and the low tide. It is important that you know the time of the tides on the day of your visit and so that you can plan the rest of the day accordingly. You have about 3 hours to walk on the ocean floor. To enhance your experience, join for a Kayak trip and paddle around Hopewell Rocks.
From Hopewell Rocks, you’ll head south towards Fundy National Park. If you are driving without stopping at any interesting waypoints you find on the way (like Cape Enrage), it will take approximately half an hour to reach Alma.
If you have time (or travelling with teens), Cape Enrage is another stop you should consider visiting. Enjoy a spectacular view of Bay of Fundy from towering cliffs and explore the 140 years old light house. You can go zip lining enjoying the glorious views of the ocean or rappel down the cliffs.
Have dinner at the highly-acclaimed lobster shop in Alma and taste some glorious Atlantic Canadian lobster. Thankfully, Alma’s lobster shop is located right on the outskirts of Fundy National Park. Stay the night at Fundy National Park or at Alma. Fundy National Park is perhaps one of the finest stops along your route down the Fundy Coast. It’s also home to plethora of campgrounds and is the perfect place to end your second day of the road trip down New Brunswick’s famous coastline.
Day 3: Fundy National Park to Saint John
Dedicate around 2 hours to explore the National Park. It’s packed with things to do — from hiking and biking trails, to nature walks, to information centres and watersports like kayaking and swimming.
After enjoying a taste of Fundy National Park, you’ll hit the road again, to St. Martin. Have lunch at St Martin. If you are visiting during low tides, explore the Sea Caves or drive straight to the stunning 19-km Fundy Trail dotted with spectacular lookouts. Drive back on the trail to one of New Brunswick’s bustling shoreline cities of Saint John. Home to shipping lanes and it’s historic ‘uptown’, where older buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries remain standing, Prince William and Germain Streets should be on your must walk Streets lists. Adding to the vibe of the city — none more so than the Imperial Theatre, built in 1913 which still shows stage plays to this day. It’s a must-do on your third night on the Fundy Coast.
Saint John is also home to great natural attractions, with Rockwood Park in the heart of the city and Irving’s Nature Park sitting on the outskirts. Make a stop at either or both the New Brunswick Museum and Loyalist House — both offer unique experiences and history lessons for all about the rich history of the Saint John area.
Eating in the Saint John area leaves one spoiled for choice. There are all sorts of restaurants uptown, from popup fish and chip shops on the harbour, to vegan/vegetarian options like East Coast Bistro. You can wind down the day by walking along the many paths around Saint John’s Harbour and admiring the vessels as they enter and leave the Harbour. The harbourfront itself is picturesque, so be sure to bring your photography gear with you!
Winding down the day in Saint John, you can find accommodation at any one of the myriad motels and hotels dotted around the city.
Day 4: Saint John to Saint Andrews
From Saint to Saint and from city to sea!
Today’s leg of your trip down the Fundy Coast will bring you from the harbourside of Saint John, to the seaside of Saint Andrews.
Leaving from Saint John in the morning, you have a long drive down the coast ahead of you — while it should take you no more than a couple of hours, if you wanted to extend it, you could take pit stops along the way at places like Black’s Harbour, one of several small fishing villages along this section of your drive or Saint George. Have lunch here.
Moving on from Saint George — which incidentally, is about the halfway point of your 100-kilometre drive, you’ll continue down the Fundy Coast, cutting inland slightly before reaching your destination of Saint Andrews, a vibrant seafaring community with plenty of history, including Minister’s Island, a popular tourist attraction for cyclists and hikers — so, if that fits into your itinerary, you should most definitely spend a few hours on Minister’s Island.
The must visit attraction in Saint Andrews is Kingsbrae Garden, a horticultural masterpiece spread over 27 glorious acres featuring Dutch windmill, peacocks, and over 50,000 perennials in many themed gardens.
Depending on the time you reach Saint Andrews, you can also consider going on a Whale watching Cruise/tour. There are tours that start afternoon or as late as 5:00 PM.
Saint Andrews is also home to the Algonquin Resort and the Algonquin Golf Course, if you’re looking to spend a night in luxury, then be sure to check out the Algonquin Resort. That aside, Saint Andrews is packed with motels and inns for a cheaper night’s sleep.
Day 5: Saint Andrews to Grand Manan Island
Grand Manan is a firm favourite among wildlife photographers and birdwatchers, famous for its seafaring puffin birds, which attract many thousands of people to it’s primary tourist areas of North Head and Seal Cove. Other attractions on the island are The Anchorage Provinicial Park and the Grand Manan Bird Sanctuary. One could drive around the island in a day, however, if you’re hoping to take the ferry back in the same day, then you should head straight to your preferred destination on the island, but remember to be wary of the ferry times back to the mainland.
Day 6: Grand Manan Island to Fredericton
If however, you’ve elected to stay overnight, then you’ll begin your final days on the Fundy Coast back on the ferry to the mainland. From there, it’s a four-hour drive to Fredericton, the provincial capital of New Brunswick.
Visit Officer’s Square in Historic Garrison District — a harkening back to when the British Army was garrisoned in Fredericton from 1785 to 1869, and then transferred the garrison to the Canadian Army, who were stationed there from 1883 to 1914. There’s frequent musical performances by soldiers in ceremonial red-tunic dress at the Garrison , and also the home of the historic British tradition of Changing of the Guard.
Enjoy an evening walk in Odell Park which boasts of an arboretum that holds every tree species of the province.
Day 7: Fredericton to Moncton
If you have time, visit Christ Church Cathedral built between 1845 and 1853, to tour the National Historic Site grounds and the grandiose cathedral built in Gothic Revival Architecture.
Heading out from Fredericton down Highway 2 will bring you back to where you started, the city of Moncton. It’s a two-hour drive between the two cities, which is just enough time for you to reflect on a wonderful trip around the Fundy Coast and the sights you’ve seen, having seen more of the south of New Brunswick in a week, than many will in a lifetime.