New Brunswick’s Top Road Trips
Known for its abundant seafood, exhilarating whale watching, and vast white-sand beaches, New Brunswick is also home to the Bay of Fundy, which boasts the highest tides on the planet. Flanked by Maine and the Atlantic Ocean, it’s a small province you can easily crisscross by car, meaning lots of sights with little stress. It’s also a bilingual Maritime community deeply influenced by the sea with Acadian roots. Here are the best road trips — from city tours to outdoor adventuring — to get to know this friendly place of lighthouses, lobster, and lively festivals.
1. Fundy Wonders & Whales Route
This well-rounded vacation in the south covers both outdoor adventure and Acadian coastal culture. The tour delves into history — visiting Canada’s oldest city, charming Saint John with its Old World port architecture — and marine biology, with time to explore the Bay of Fundy’s fossil-filled tidal pools, red sandstone cliffs, and dramatic beaches. Then it’s onto some laidback Atlantic isles via ferry for whale watching and relaxation, hiking, biking, and savoring fresh-caught lobster, concluding with a bit of heritage, culture, and… chocolate!
Starting point: Saint John
Length: 186 miles
Time: 5-6 days
Essential stops: New River Beach, the Fundy Isles, Saint Andrews, St. Stephen. Discover more about these stops.
2. Fundy Treasures & Tides Ride
With tides rising and falling 48 feet twice a day, the Bay of Fundy is mind boggling, so it’s understandable if you want to make it the focus of your trip. If you’re an outdoor adventurer, this eastern tour is for you. Surf the monster tides on kayaks and tuck into sea caves; look for creatures on the red-sand ocean floor along the towering sandstone Hopewell Rocks nicknamed “Flowerpot Rocks” for their distinctive silhouette; checkout a cliffside lighthouse; hike and camp at a national park; and sample local clam chowder, lobster, and pickerel in bilingual, museum- and gallery-filled Moncton.
Starting point: Moncton
Length: 158 miles
Time: 4-5 days
Essential stops: Hopewell Rocks, Cape Enrage, Fundy National Park, St. Martins. Discover more about these stops.
3. The River Valley Ride
Foodie? Culture-vulture? Try this gastro tour starting at the Quebec-Maine border, covering arts and crafts, entertainment, nature, and cuisine in the Saint John River Valley. Spend a night in a forest “dream dome,” too, if you like. Dine, go wine tasting, stroll a farmers market, take in a concert or festival, add an excursion to see — or zipline across — New Brunswick’s largest waterfall and gorge, paddle or go boating — all while enjoying the pretty farmland scenery along the way.
Starting point: Edmundston
Length: 311 miles
Time: 3-4 days
Essential stops: Grand Falls, Florenceville-Bristol, Fredericton, Downriver. Discover more about these stops.
4. The Sun & Sand Trail
Looking for relaxation? Hit Canada’s warmest salt-water beaches (in the 60s and 70s in summer). And if a lot of driving is not on your agenda, make it an easy-going two-day journey to Bathurst and the Acadian Peninsula Beaches. This route skirts the Gulf of St. Lawrence in New Brunswick’s north, combining lounging in quaint seaside towns, golfing, and spa rejuvenation with beach recreation. Add national park camping, hiking or biking, wildlife viewing in and around white sand dunes, then tuck into fresh seafood like a local and learn about Acadian culture.
Starting point: Bathurst
Length: 329 miles
Time: 5-7 days (or 2-day option)
Essential stops: Acadian Peninsula Beaches, Kouchibouguac National Park, Shediac, Murray Beach Provincial Park. Discover more about these stops.
5. The Acadian Joyride
Acadians know how to enjoy life. And you too will catch joie de vivre after rubbing elbows with the French-speaking locals on this leisurely east-to-northwest drive along the scenic coast of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Learn about history the fun way — by strolling pretty, flower-filled towns, staying in cozy B&Bs and chatting with the owners, sampling local fare, and picnicking on the shore. Be sure to take in some theater, join a festival, and try some New Brunswick cider with fresh smelt. Santé!
Starting point: Memramcook
Length: 311 miles
Time: 3-5 days
Essential stops: Dieppe and Moncton, Bouctouche and Shediac, Acadian Peninsula, Acadian Isles. Discover more about these stops.
6. Mighty Miramichi River Run
If you love fly-fishing, or want to learn how, the 150-mile-long Miramichi River has some of the best salmon angling in the world. Heading south to north, warm up your skills in lumberjack country, perhaps catching a timbersports competition. Move on to rustic-luxe lodge-based fly-casting, canoeing, and kayaking. Then hire a guide to take you to the pools that make this river legendary and celebrate your catch of the day with a shore lunch. Wrap with a taste of Aboriginal culture, look into the area’s ship building history, and explore on a city tour.
Starting point: Boiestown & McNamee
Length: 124 miles
Time: 3-5 days
Essential stops: Doaktown, Blackville, Sillikers & Red Bank, Miramichi. Discover more about these stops.
To learn more about New Brunswick’s driving routes, visit the Tourism New Brunswick website.