5 Amazing Things We Did in New Brunswick.

During our East Coast Canadian Road Trip this year, we visited the provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia.  We were fortunate to have had amazing weather that allowed us the freedom to explore and do some pretty amazing things in all the places we visited.

New Brunswick was a fun place for us and we had some great experiences there and I thought I’d take you through the top 5 things we loved about New Brunswick.

5. World’s Longest Covered Bridge

Our drive into New Brunswick was very nice.  Warm weather, beautiful blue sky and traffic was moving exceptionally well on Hwy-2.  We were due for a restroom stop when we passed a large sign showing Hartland, New Brunswick – Home of the World’s Longest Covered Bridge.  

Not only did we not know the longest covered bridge was in New Brunswick, we had no idea such things were even tracked.  It peaked our interest enough to make it our next rest stop.

As we exited the highway, we followed small signs taking us to “The Bridge”.  We noticed several cars had taken the same exit and following the same path which clearly showed that advertising works!

We arrived at the bridge and it felt like an old cowboy movie.  It was a pretty cool looking, as far as bridges go.   Built in 1921, it is 391m (1282 ft) long and spans the St. John river. It is a single-laned covered bridge that without any guidance, you wait until oncoming traffic clears before driving through.  Luckily we didn’t have any issues with any crazy drivers coming in the opposite direction.

Hartland-Worlds-Longest-Covered-Bridge

On the other side of the bridge, there is a small gift shop with restrooms and a large grassy area that would make a nice, scenic spot for a picnic.  We took some great family pics and overall, it was a fun stop for us.  I’m glad we found this neat little place.

Hartland-Worlds-Longest-Covered-Bridge

4. Shediac

Also known as the Lobster Capital of the World, Shediac is a quaint little coastal town in New Brunswick, about a 20 min drive from Moncton.  You know you’ve entered the town because there is an 11m (33ft) long by 5m (16ft) high, 90-ton sculpture of a lobster, which makes a great addition to your Instagram feed.

Shediac-Largest-Lobster-New-Brunswick

We spent some time at the Shediac Harbor.  It’s not very big, and there is a $3 entrance fee (That goes towards preserving the historic harbor).  We hung out for a few hours and there were several families and kids jumping off the pier into the cold-ish water. 

Our son decided, after watching for a bit, that he was going to give it a try.  Off came the shoes and t-shirt and he jumped in.  He repeated the jump several times.  There was no way I was jumping in.  I’m not a great swimmer to begin with, but I hate cold water.  We spent time walking around and taking some very nice pictures.  

Shortly before sundown, we drove over to Parlee beach.  There is usually an entrance fee of $13, but they offer free entrance at the end of the day (I think it’s after 5 pm, but it could’ve been 6 pm).  Parlee beach is a beautiful large sandy beach and they boast having the warmest water north of Virginia.   Sunsets at the Parlee beach are beautiful.  Despite being on the east coast, the angle of Parlee beach allows for a great vantage point for watching the setting sun.

Parlee-Beach-Shediac-New-Brunswick

There are several restaurants in town, most of which, not surprisingly, serve great seafood.  We decided on The Lobster Deck on Main St. for dinner.  We ordered the Lobster Club, Fish & Chips, Coconut Shrimp and the Shrimp Plate.  Everything was very tasty and plentiful.  

All-in-all, Shediac was a fun outing and recommended.

3. Monton & Saint John

We really enjoyed the staying in Moncton for a couple of nights.  It was quite central to some very nice attractions.  We stayed at the Hampton Inn Moncton and it was very clean and comfortable.  It is located off the highway, and a car is needed since it’s not a walkable area.  The city is not very large, however, so nothing is an overly long drive.

For one of the nights, we ate at Catch 22 Lobster Bar.  We had heard about this restaurant on You Gotta Eat Here!, the Canadian TV show that showcases cool spots to eat across Canada.  They spoke highly of the restaurant and it didn’t disappoint us.  We ordered the Cajun Shrimp Jambalaya, Lobster Roll, Lobster Chowder and Calamari.  We also tried the local beer called Fire Chief.  Everything was tasty and we enjoyed it.

Catch22-Lobster-Bar-Moncton-New_Brunswick

We also stayed a couple of nights in Saint John.  We stayed at the Delta Saint John.  This hotel was also very clean and comfortable.  The hotel shares a parking garage with a downtown mall, which made it a long and kind of annoying walk when parking the car.  Saint John is a pretty simple city and unfortunately, we didn’t find it overly clean.  So why was it a favorite thing of ours, you may ask?  We happened to have been visiting at the beginning of Pride week.  We went down to the pier for dinner and we were in the middle of the festivities. 

We discovered that this blue-collared town not only had a Pride week, but it was also home to the world’s largest Pride flag, painted on the pier road.

That was so special to see.  We loved to see the diversity of people enjoying the music and the evening.  Lots of Love and enjoyment was in the air.  It was truly amazing to see and we had a really amazing time!

2. Magnetic Hill

Nestled in the hills north of Moncton, there is a magical place, Magnetic Hill.  Well, it’s not exactly magical, but it is pretty cool.  If you haven’t heard of this before, let me explain.  You drive down a road, put your vehicle in neutral and amazingly, it will begin rolling up the hill.  I’m not talking about a gentle roll, but you literally pick up considerable speed, UP the hill.

Magnetic-Hill-Moncton-New-Brunswick

The hill’s schtick is that, somehow, perhaps using some magnetic force,  it is able to pull your vehicle up the hill.  This isn’t the case of course, but it is hard to imagine what’s going on.  <SPOILER ALERT> The “trick”, is that the hill is actually an optical illusion.  Although it looks like the vehicle is moving uphill, it is actually moving downhill.  The road’s landscape is such that it tricks the eye into thinking the downhill slope is actually uphill.  It is so well disguised, that even if you know how it works, it’s still a wonderful thing to see in action.

We knew that it was an optical illusion before visiting, but we didn’t tell the kids how it worked.  Their faces were priceless as we rolled up the hill.  We also walked the hill and poured water onto the road.  In an apparent feat of anti-gravity, the water awkwardly trickled up the hill.

I thought they would be disappointed when they found out the secret, but to the contrary, they were actually in disbelief of how it actually worked.  The optical illusion was that convincing.

There is a $6 entrance fee, and it doesn’t take long to get through the experience, but it’s well worth it.  There is also a small village with shops other attractions around the hill. 

1. Hopewell Rocks

Our favorite thing in New Brunswick, by far, was visiting Hopewell Rocks.  Hopewell Rocks (Hopewell Cape) is situated on the eastern side of the Bay of Fundy.

The Bay of Fundy is the large body of water that separates New Brunswick from the majority of Nova Scotia.  It has a unique shape and formation that gives it some pretty amazing properties.  It is one of the 7 Wonders of North America and rightly so.

Here are just some of the amazing things the Bay offers:
– Has the highest tidal range in the world.
– An impressive geological environment showing fossils and formation of the earliest forms of life on the planet.
– An immensity of whale and marine life that make the Bay their home
– Incredibly scenic cliffs and beautiful landscapes.

I’ll explain the highest tides.  Through a combination of factors, including the unique shape of the sea-floor, the tidal effects of the moon and sun and a rocking motion of the water in the Bay, an extreme tidal phenomenon can be experienced.  Every 6 hours(ish), the water level rises and falls as much as 56 feet (16m)!  That means there are areas where the sea-floor is completely exposed (allowing you to walk on it) and then would be under up to 56 feet of water only 6 hours later. Hopewell Rocks (Hopewell Cape) is one of those places you can experience this unique show.

 The high and low tides are not exactly 6 hours, and the times for high and low tide change daily, as do the tide levels/depth.   As a result, depending on the day you intend on visiting, it may be difficult to catch both high and low tides at reasonable hours.  We checked the online schedule for the day we were visiting and it showed low tide was at 8:57 am, high tide was at 2:36 pm, with a tide height of 11.5m (37.7 feet),  Luckily, those times worked out brilliantly and made it easy to experience the full tidal experience.

We arrived and paid our entrance fee of $25.50 for the family (2 adults + 2 children under 18), and made our way to the trail that took us to the Flower Pot rocks (where you can walk down onto the ocean floor).  It was a relatively easy/moderate 15-20 minute walk on the trail.  There is a shuttle for $2 per person, but we decided to walk it.  It’s mostly downhill to the rocks.  The walk back is a bit more strenuous.

We arrived at the Flower Pot rocks and walked down to the sandy ground.  For well over an hour, we walked around the ‘ocean floor’.  It was very cool.  Even my daughter who is not normally impressed by such things found it incredibly interesting.  We took many pictures and explored the area, which is quite large.  Although it was muddy in certain spots, most of it was surprisingly dry. 

The geology and stratification of the rocks were impressive to look at.  As we explored, we found several fascinating areas like exposed rock arches and underwater caves, that for a few hours per day, are dry and navigable by foot.  Again, lots of great picture opportunities.

Hopewell-Rocks-New-Brunswick

We made our way back up the trail and found a spot to have a nice picnic and relax for a bit.  The kids actually slept under a tree for an hour – something they haven’t done since they were toddlers. 

As it approached time for high tide, we again walked back to the Flower Pot rocks.  The area was quite different this time.  We knew this would happen, but it was pretty impressive to actually see it.  The water had risen and the places that we were exploring, just a few hours before, were under almost 38 feet of water!

You couldn’t help but feel like the earth is truly an amazing place. In an introspective way, you realize that humans are a historical blip on the earth’s timeline. This is an area that has been forming for over 600 million years and now provides a crazy water show that would be impossible for us to recreate.   Most of all, it reminds us that we should respect this magnificent planet.

Hopewell-Rocks-New-Brunswick

We had a great time at the park and so did the kids, so it goes without saying that I would highly recommend planning Hopewell Rocks into your New Brunswick trip.  It’s a must do.

On a more humorous note, I must share something from the park.  We were there for over 6 hours, so it goes without saying that we needed to use the restrooms.  As I entered the stall, I saw something that made me laugh and scratch my head.  I know how that sounds – LOL.   There was the following sign in the stall.  Some words came to my mind – What?, How?, Why?  LOL.

Hopewell-Rocks-New-Brunswick

There you have it, the top 5 favorite things we did in New Brunswick.  This was our first trip to this Canadian province, but it offered many fun things to do, not to mention the people were all very nice.  This definitely won’t be our last trip there.    

I hope you will visit New Brunswick one day as well.  I’d love to hear about your experiences as well!

Hugs,
V

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