As one of Canada's Maritime Provinces, it's no surprise that New Brunswick is home to some pretty stellar beach towns. The distinctly Irish settlement of Miramichi had previously been known for fishing and shipbuilding, but today it's known for being a quirky gem at the mouth of the Miramichi River before it empties into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Come for the fishing, handcrafted arts scene, and hiking, and stay for the festivals, outdoor activities, and distinctive culture. As you cruise from the NB capital city of Fredericton to Miramichi, you'll hit some other awesome coastal communities (like Charlo) along the way!
Offering delicious food, biking trails, and kayaking on the St. John River, New Brunswick's capital city is booming. To work off some of that food, try one of the city's many biking trails, or take it to the water by kayaking on the St. John. For a historical perspective, visit Historic Garrison to see the recreated British regiment and soldier life. Historic Garrison is the epicentre of the city and offers jazz music, summer concerts and festivals, along with historic walking tours.
Representing the importance of the foresting industry in New Brunswick, the World's Largest Axe was built in 1991. The chrome head of the axe is 23 feet in length and is made of 50 tons of steel (take that Paul Bunyan!). But it's more than just a marvel to gaze upon; you'll often find outdoor performances to enjoy as well. Within the axe there is also a time capsule waiting to be revealed to future generations-- what it holds, no one knows.
Located in Edmundston, New Brunswick Botanical Gardens is home to over 80,000 plants. With 11 themed gardens and two arboretums, you'll cover about 20 acres exploring, and smelling the gardens. There are 100 species of therapeutic, cosmetic and culinary plants to enjoy, as well as a Butterflies of the World exhibit.
No matter your level of hiking experience, Mount Carleton is the perfect spot to get back to nature. With handicapped-accessible trails to challenging mountain peaks, the provincial park is a nature lover’s dream. Walk through Acadian woods on 11 trails, or make it to the top of Mount Carleton to view over 10 million trees. A notable experience when visiting is to stay overnight on the campgrounds to gaze upon the night sky. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada has designated the area a 'Dark Sky Preserve,' which aims to reduce light pollution for the best stargazing experience.
The small village of Charlo is the perfect seaside escape, with family-friendly beaches, lagoons, and plenty of green spaces. Take a dip in rejuvenating saltwater at Charlo Beach for a day of sun and swim during the summer months. Camp out at Blue Heron Camping, which is more than just camping. Here you'll find two outdoor pools, inflatable water slides, volleyball courts, quadricycle rentals, and windsurfing.
Take a trip back to the 17th century at Le Village Historique Acadien. The small village recreates the life of the first French North American settlers. Complementing over 40 historical buildings, costumed guides help paint the picture of early life in the area. In the summertime, take a historical cooking class and learn to make traditional foods of the early French inhabitants. If you'd rather be served, there are several restaurants on site, like La Table des Ancêtres which offers traditional Acadian meals.
From shipbuilding roots to salmon fishing, with a strong Irish heritage, Miramichi is full of entertainment and folklore. The Ritchie Wharf Park is the perfect spot to learn about the shipbuilding history of this community, complete with a nautically-themed playground, boardwalk, and plenty of restaurants to try. To truly understand the sailor's story, head to Beaubears Island Shipbuilding National Historic Site, which is the only undisturbed 19th-century wooden shipbuilding archeological site. For a more natural setting, head to French Fort Cove at the corner of Cove Road and Highway 8. This park has several walking trails with scenic overlooks and is known for its beaver colonies.
New Brunswick’s history may go back to the 17th century, but there are plenty of new traditions to enjoy. Stepping back in time is not a choice when visiting, however. Understanding the history of the people that shaped the landscape, industry, and culture will help you find entertainment in NB’s seaside communities. Whether you want to enjoy the water, stop and smell the flowers at the Botanical Gardens, or live like a French settler, New Brunswick is waiting.
In the Canadian Dream, it's our experiences that make us richer. That's why we're encouraging all Canadians to get out and experience everything that Canada has to offer. You don't have to go far. Incredible, engaging experiences are all around us, all you have to do is start exploring.