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East Coast Mermaid’s Guide to Summer in St. Andrews by the Sea

St. Andrews by the Sea! Only the dreamiest seaside resort town around, and how lucky are we to have this kind of magic right here in beautiful New Brunswick?

Located only one hour from Saint John and 2.5 hours from Moncton, St. Andrews is the vacation destination you didn’t realize you needed until you find yourself wrapped up in the magic of the town, and discover it’s nearly impossible to leave. (Seriously, it gets harder to leave every time!)

If you have visited before, you’re probably not surprised why we chose it as the perfect East Coast destination to tie the knot. And because many of you have asked, I couldn’t resist putting together a guide to plan the perfect St. Andrews trip this summer. 

Whether you’re staying for one night or seven, there isn’t an attraction, restaurant, or shop on this list you should skip! 

Where to Stay…

I’m a little biased, but I can’t imagine staying anywhere else when visiting St. Andrews than the historic Algonquin Hotel and Resort. When I was a little girl, my parents would travel there each spring and send me postcards full of tales from their travels. I dreamed about the day I’d get to stay at this hotel myself! This summer, we’re saying “I Do” on the property and, needless to say, I’m over the moon. 

The Algonquin is pure magic. It will transport you back in time while delivering the award-winning customer service, dining, amenities, and experiences you would expect at one of the original Canadian Railway hotels.

When staying at the resort, make sure to pack your swimsuit to take advantage of the indoor and outdoor swimming pools. The outdoor pool is one of my favourite ways to spend a hot summer day in town—don’t forget to treat yourself to a poolside drink.

Love a good ghostly tale? Make sure to book the Ghost Tour at the hotel! 

Where to Spend Your Day …

It’s impossible to get bored in St. Andrews, with so many activities for the whole family at your fingertips, including a world-renowned golf course at the Algonquin and the most majestic gardens at the Kingsbrae Gardens, just minutes from the hotel. There are alpacas and goats and enchanting Secret Gardens. (Need I say more?)

But if you’re looking to spend the day like a mermaid, here are a few of my favourite haunts in town. 

The Huntsman Marine Aquarium

It should come as no surprise that an aquarium full of sea creatures would be first on my list. The Huntsman is a fun time, every time. I’ve honestly lost count of how many times I’ve gone. When you visit, you will meet two playful seals and countless salty friends in the aquarium’s two touch tanks, including a skate that loves to have his belly rubbed! 

Book a Whale Watching Cruise 

Want to play with the ocean’s biggest creatures? Book a whale watching tour with one of the many tour operators in St. Andrews. I’m a big fan of Quoddy Link and Fundy Tide Runners and have had EPIC whale watching experiences on both. And if you’re booking in late July and into August, you’ll likely get to hang with the humpback whales who I like to say are the showboats of the ocean! These majestic creatures always put on a good show!  

Here’s my guide from last year on everything you need to know to plan your Whale Watching trip in New Brunswick: Whale Watching on the Bay of Fundy – NB Staycation Series

Explore Ministers Island

If driving across a sandbar to an island only accessible at low tide sounds like your jam—and how could it not be?—you’ve got to hop over to Minister’s Island during your visit to St. Andrews. It’s where you’ll find the Sir William Van Horne House and be transported to another era as you tour the island, take in the views, and explore the iconic Bath House where Frank Sinatra once partied. Just make sure to check the tide schedule as the island is only accessible during low tide! 

Where to Snap the Perfect Instagram Photo …

While you can spend hours at sea, on the golf greens, or exploring the Van Horne estate during your visit (or ahem, laying by the pool like a goddess), there are plenty of destinations to visit during your stay that only require a few minutes and a few photos for the gram! 

If you’re staying at the Algonquin, make sure to stroll by the Pansy Patch home across from the hotel. It’s like something out of a fairytale and the most photogenic house around. (And there are A LOT of photogenic houses in town.) 

Hey look, a deer! You won’t be in town long before you notice that there are deer EVERYWHERE! And you can’t go to St. Andrews without snapping a few pics of these majestic locals! Keep your eyes extra peeled for the famous Spirit Deer, an all-white deer that often hangs out by the Van Horne Trail.

And speaking of the Van Horne Trail, if you’re in the mood for a picturesque, scenic stroll in nature and along the ocean, make sure to check out this trail which begins at Langmaid Park. It’s very accessible for walkers, cyclists, and even wheelchairs and push-strollers.

Next, stroll along Market Wharf with a fresh-squeezed lemonade or ice cream and enjoy views of Navy Island and Maine across the way. I love to walk along Market Wharf in the early morning with a fresh coffee, but I especially love it in the evening when the sun is beginning to set. 

Landlocked at high tide? Take a drive down Bar Road to snap a before and after photo of Minister’s Island at high tide. It definitely puts it all into perspective! 

Love lighthouses? Stop by Pendlebury Lighthouse on the waterfront for a quick photo op and watch the boats sail in and out of the Harbour. 

Lastly, make sure to catch the sunset either from the Market Wharf or at the Blockhouse on Joes Point Rd, right on the water. You might even find a lucky piece of seaglass on the beach at low tide!  

Where to get Caffeinated …

Getting coffee and lattes when I go to St. Andrews is always one of the highlights of my trip because of two amazing shops downtown: McGuire Chocolate and Honeybeans

You can’t go to St. Andrews without visiting Mark and Victoria, owners of Mcguire Chocolate, and sampling some of their decadent chocolates and homemade ice cream. You might even get lucky to catch a glimpse of their two cats: Hank and Tam Tam. You’ll spot Hank on several of their chocolate bars. I’m in love with their hot chocolate (you’ll want to spring for the homemade marshmallow) and their mochas! I mean—chocolate is their life, so I’m sure you can imagine how delicious their mochas are! 

I can’t talk about coffee without mentioning Honeybeans! They are the makers of the Salty Maritimer Latte (I’m obsessed) and their cinnamon buns are next level. My bestie is also a fan of their delicious Italian Sodas on a hot day! 

Where to Dine…

Fun Fact: I totally suffer from dining FOMO. Which makes me EXTRA picky when trying to decide where to eat when we travel. I love food and I love dining out, so I’m always extra nervous that we’ll make a wrong choice and I’ll waste one of our vacation meals on something subpar. 

If that’s resonating, you won’t need to worry about that at all if you try any of these amazing restaurants in St. Andrews. 

Seasons by the Sea Bistro

Seasons by the Sea Bistro opened last year, is a new favorite of ours and it’s a must during every visit. They have the most dreamy patio right on the ocean and between the food and the incredible service, you’re in for a real treat! Make sure to try one of their cocktails and say YES to the truffle wedges! Their menu changes seasonally and I haven’t had a dish I didn’t love yet. 

Braxtons at the Algonquin

If you don’t want to leave the hotel, Braxtons is where it’s at! You can choose to dine in the restaurant or order to your room. Their seafood chowder is my fave and definitely say yes to dessert! They’re also an excellent choice for ordering breakfast in bed when staying at the hotel. 

Rossmount Inn 

Want to splurge while you’re away? Book a reservation at the Rossmount Inn for dinner. Trust me on this one. We dined at the Rossmount Inn for our anniversary back in November and I’m still dreaming about it. Located just minutes from town, the Rossmount has beautiful accommodations and an outdoor pool, if you’re looking for another place to rest your head during your stay in St. Andrews. 

The Clam Digger

Did someone say Fried Clams? If you’re craving fresh fried clams and fries, look no further than the Clam Digger. Located on the way into town, the Clam Digger is a staple for delicious fried seafood. Just pack your patience (you’re on vacation anyway!) because there’s usually a lineup. That said, it’s totally worth it! 

The Gables 

One last charmer on the waterfront, the Gables! It has a beautiful sheltered patio and the kind of seafood dishes you crave on vacation. It’s a cozy spot to bring the whole family! 

I can’t talk about food in St. Andrews without mentioning three restaurants we have yet to try but are absolutely dying to: Niger Reef, the Chandler Room at the Treadwell Inn, and Savour in the Garden at Kingsbrae. I’m hoping to check all of these off our list this summer! 

Where to Shop

Last but not least, you can’t visit St. Andrews without shopping downtown. With so many cute shops to choose from, you can easily spend a few hours supporting local. 

There are so many to choose from, including the Leather House (established in 1969), My Space Giftshop, and Cottage Chic

But my absolute favourite—and my new go-to shop for the cutest outfits—is Marée St. Andrews. I’ve found so many dresses, accessories, and more in the shop. Every time I’m in town, I can’t wait to pop in! 

I mean, look at this darling leopard print dress I picked up there recently! Perfect for twirling on the front lawn of the Algonquin.

So what do you think? Have I got you dreaming about your next coastal escape and ready to fall in love with St. Andrews?

Leave a comment, send me a note: crystal@eastcoastmermaid.com, or DM me on my shell phone if you have any questions about planning your trip. I’d love to help. Seriously, it makes my heart do dolphin flips 💙

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