Since the launch of East Coast Mermaid three summers ago, it’s been a tradition every June to do a summer bucket list of all of the places I want to explore in New Brunswick that summer. It’s always wild and totally ambitious, because that’s just how I roll.
This year, knowing my summer is going to consist of adventures and road trips to all of my favorite places (and unfortunately, not as much time for new locales) — I thought I would share my list of must-visit New Brunswick destinations in the summer. Straight from the mermaid.
Whether you’re looking to plan a day trip, long weekend, or week long island hopping adventure — I am confident this list will keep your Instagram looking mighty fine and have you in tourist mode all summer long.
STROLL THE HOPEWELL ROCKS
Does it get any cooler than walking on the ocean floor? Nope. The Hopewell Rocks are one of those local attractions within an hour drive of Moncton that always leave me a little breathless. And I love visiting them and hearing tourists in awe at how beautiful the flowerpot rocks are and how wild the tides are and it just makes me stop and think — we are SO lucky to live here.
Mermaid Tip: Plan your visit around the low tide but also try to catch them high tide too if you can. That’s the best way to REALLY see the magic that happens at Hopewell Rocks.
ISLAND HOP TO GRAND MANAN ISLAND
When talking about my love for Grand Manan, where do I even begin? You can read about past adventures here, but trust me when I say — Grand Manan is arguably one of my favorite places on earth. Island hop for a day or stay for a week – I promise you will leave a piece of your heart behind.
Mermaid Tip: Want to see whales from the island? Hangout at Swallowtail Lighthouse in the early morning and catch the sunset + whales at the Whistle in the evening.
TAKE A HIKE IN FUNDY NATIONAL PARK
Have I mentioned yet just HOW lucky we are to live where we live? Fundy National Park is only an hour and fifteen minutes away from our home and words can’t describe how excited I get when we’re planning a day trip. It’s the perfect place to hike coastal cliffs, chase waterfalls, and have Insta worthy picnics.
Mermaid Tip: Plan to visit the sweet little town of Alma on your way into the park, pick up the world famous sticky buns at Kelly’s Bake Shop, and treat yourself to a fresh lobster dinner at the Alma Lobster Shop at the end of the day.
ISLAND HOP TO THE MISCOU LIGHTHOUSE
OK so I haven’t quite been to Miscou Lighthouse in the summer but I have been in the fall and we’re totally planning to make a trip up to Miscou Island again this summer. This lighthouse and beach is at the land’s end of Miscou Island and is totally worth the drive.
Mermaid Tip: Dress warmly! She’s a bit windy on this coastline.
EXPERIENCE WALTON GLEN GORGE
Hiking to the Eye of the Needle in the Walton Glen Gorge two summers ago continues to be one of those stories I love to tell. It pushed me in ways I had never been pushed before and it truly was one of the most beautiful and mysterious destinations I’ve experienced in New Brunswick. If you love to hike and haven’t made the trek – what are you waiting for?
Mermaid Tip: Refer to Hiking NB for up to date details on where and how to hike to Walton Glen Gorge. If you’re hiking it in the summer, bring plenty of water and snacks!
ISLAND HOP TO MINISTERS ISLAND AT LOW TIDE
Ministers Island is incredibly unique in that you can only access it at low tide by driving across the ocean floor. Yes — you read that right. You take YOUR car and drive it across the OCEAN FLOOR at low tide. Where else in the world do you get that kind of cool, VIP island hopping experience? And once you’re on the island, you can explore the impressive Van Horne Estate.
Read all about our visit last summer here.
Mermaid Tip: Check the tides. Don’t get stuck on the island 😉
WHALE WATCHING IN ST. ANDREWS
One of the BEST parts about living in New Brunswick is the fact that on any given day, if you’re in the right place — you can hangout with whales. Whether you go whale watching in St. Andrews by the Sea or take the awesome tour off Grand Manan Island – you’re in for a treat and some of the most majestic creatures you will ever see.
Read all about our 2019 Whale Watching here.
Mermaid Tip: Book your tour in advance to guarantee your spot. Personally, I loved Fundy Tide Runner’s tour!
ISLAND HOP TO CAMPOBELLO ISLAND
Oh, Campobello. I can’t say enough about this magical Fundy isle. Accessible by ferry (when the ferry is running) via Deer Island or by land by driving through Maine to Lubec and crossing the bridge — Campobello Island is just one of those places you’ve got to experience in New Brunswick. From whales, whales, whales to amazing coastal views and lighthouse – it’s the perfect place to hit refresh.
Read all about last year’s visit here.
Mermaid Tip: Visit Head Harbour Lighthouse (pictured above) at low tide (the only time of day you can access it via the ocean floor) or hangout there at high tide and watch for whales.
SAIL TO SEA AT SUNSET
New Brunswick is home to some pretty spectacular sunsets in the summer and what better way to catch a sunset than at sea? Wherever your destination in New Brunswick this summer, there are plenty of tour companies along our coastlines that offer sunset cruises. Want to enjoy the sunset AND a lobster dinner simultaneously locally? Try Shediac Bay Cruises!
Mermaid Tip: If you want to combine sunsets and whale watching, many New Brunswick boat tours offer a sunset whale watching option!
ISLAND HOP TO DEER ISLAND
You may be noticing a trend – I really, really love island hopping. And crossing over on the totally FREE ferry to Deer Island every summer is a new favorite thing. While the island is small, there is PLENTY to discover when visiting. You also get fantastic views of East Port, Maine, Campobello Island and the Old Sow Whirlpool, one of the largest in the world.
Read about last summer’s visit here.
Mermaid Tip: Deer Island is accessible from Letete, New Brunswick (about 15 minutes from Saint George and 55 minutes from Saint John). The totally absolutely FREE ferry departs the island and mainland almost every 30 minutes.
CRUISE THE FUNDY TRAIL
The Fundy Trail may be a newer attraction to New Brunswick, but oh my goodness it’s a GEM. This coastal parkway is 30km one way and on it, you will see some of the most gorgeous Bay of Fundy scenic lookouts in the province. Want to see the Walton Glen Gorge but don’t want to hike to the Eye of the Needle? You can access the gorge lookout from the end of the Fundy Trail.
Read all about the trail here.
Mermaid Tip: Leave early in the morning and make a day trip out of the Fundy Trail and St. Martins Sea Caves. I promise you won’t regret it.
WALK THE DUNES
The beautiful Bouctouche Dunes are only about 45-50 minutes from Moncton and the perfect destination on a hot summer day when you want to avoid overcrowded beaches. Did I mention it’s FREE to visit?
Read about visiting the dune here.
Mermaid Tip: Want to walk BEYOND the boardwalk? You can take the beach all 12km one-way to the end of the dune if you’re feeling extra adventurous. Just be sure to stay on the beach and out of the dune grasses where various migratory birds and creatures nest.
ISLAND HOP TO MACHIAS ISLAND
Oh how I puffin love Machias Island. If you’re unfamiliar, Machias Island is a remote island off the coast of Grand Manan and Maine that during the summer months is home to arguably one of the world’s cutest birds: the puffin. While a trip to Machias Island requires a bit more effort (you need to book your tour early in the year as they only allow so many people on the island each summer) it’s totally absolutely 100% worth it.
You can read about my 2017 trip here.
Mermaid Tip: The year we went, we booked our trip in January so make sure to book early AND some people will even book two tours, in case the first is cancelled due to weather. Because of the remoteness of the island, inclement weather can easily cancel a trip.
HANG CLIFFSIDE AT CAPE ENRAGE
I was just reminded again this past weekend of how fun Cape Enrage is to visit. Whether you’re spending the day and braving the zip line or just stopping by on your way to Fundy Park – it’s always worth the little detour.
Mermaid Tip: Don’t miss the stairs to the beach. It’s worth experiencing the cliffs from both perspectives.
SEARCH FOR PIRATE TREASURE IN SEA CAVES
Looking for pirate treasure? Why not try a sea cave? New Brunswick is home to the magnificent St. Martins Sea Caves, accessible by foot at low tide and by kayak at high tide. I highly recommend springing for a kayak adventure with Red Rock Adventures.
A visit to St. Martins pairs nicely with a day trip to the Fundy Trail, just sayin.
Mermaid Tip: End your day with a bowl of seafood chowder at the world famous Caves Restaurant. You can thank me later.
BE A MERMAID IN SHEDIAC
OF COURSE, how could I not include one of my regular mermaid haunts in the summer — the coastal town of Shediac. Only 10 minutes from Moncton, you can be a mermaid and splash in the waves at Parlee Beach, cruise to the Point du Chene wharf for an ice cream, fresh seafood, or spectacular Shediac sunset and come see Sandy Toes Shop and ME every Sunday morning at the Shediac Market in July and August!
Where will YOUR East Coast summer take you?
Our NEW East Coast Mermaid Summer Tees are now available on Sandy Toes Shop.
Catch yours here.