It’s that magical time of year where island hopping is upon us and I can’t wait to set sail on the Grand Manan Adventure to return to my favorite island in the world this summer.
I’m so excited to hear that so many of you have booked a trip to Grand Manan Island this summer. You’re going to LOVE it!
I’m just weeks away from publishing my updated 2022 East Coast Mermaid’s Guide to Grand Manan but until then, I wanted to share a few mermaid secrets to planning your summer island vacation so that everything is splashing!
Let’s dive in!
During the summer months, a ferry reservation is HIGHLY recommended and travellers are required to check-in at Blacks Harbour 45-minutes prior to sailing and 45-minutes in North Head prior to your return crossing.
But don’t worry – once you have parked your car, there is plenty to explore in Blacks Harbour – like finding the “secret” seaglass beach behind the parking lot. And vice-versa on Grand Manan – grab an ice cream at the ferry landing or a treat from the Old Well House Cafe, and check out the Grand Manan Whale And Seabird Research Station.
There’s only ONE gas station on Grand Manan and it’s located at the Independent Grocer. It opens at 7:30 am and closes at 8:00 pm Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, it only opens at 12:00 pm and closes at 5:00 pm, so gas up on Saturday if you plan to cruise the island on Sunday morning.
The Independent is also the best spot to pick up groceries, something to throw on the grill, or grab-and-go snacks. They have a fantastic selection and a great place to shop if you’ve booked a cottage for a week.
Due to its proximity to the US, it’s common for your cell phone to switch to US towers and providers when at the Southern end of the island, making it easy to rack up salty roaming charges. If you’re heading to see the Southern Head Cliffs, consider sliding into airplane mode or turning off your phone. It’s never *not* happened to me when exploring the cliffs so consider this your warning.
Unlike the mainland, many restaurants on the island have varying hours and may be closed on days like Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday. Most restaurants close by 8:00 pm and late-night dining isn’t an option, so plan accordingly. Especially if you’re going on an evening whale watching tour or sunset cruise.
Always check a restaurants Facebook page for updates on their hours and availability. For example, it’s an island and some of my favorite spots have been known to run out of certain products or they may need to close early or completely due to unexpected circumstances. To avoid any disappointment, check Facebook.
Got to pee? No sweat. There are Public Restrooms at the Ferry Terminal in North Head if you’re adventuring in the area! It is my go-to for when we haven’t checked in at our accommodations yet or have checked out and need a place to go!
One of the highlights of visiting Grand Manan is the ferry ride! It’s 1.5 hours long and departs from Blacks Harbour – don’t forget to make your reservations! You only pay once on your return to the mainland and can do so online or at the Ferry Terminal in North Head.
If it’s a beautiful day, I HIGHLY recommend staying out on deck for the ride as you will be able to spot whales, seals, porpoises, seabirds, and more! It’s a real adventure.
Last but not least, enjoy every single moment on the island! Breathe in the salt air, enjoy the sound of the fog horn, and fall in love with the magic.
And if you’re having trouble deciding what to see and do, here are my five must-do activities when on the island.
- Visit Swallowtail Lighthouse. It is my favorite place on the island and is pure magic in the early morning.
- Drive to the end of the island to explore the Southern Head Cliffs. They are otherworldly!
- Book a whale watching tour with Lambert Family Adventures. You won’t regret it! You can read about my 2021 adventure with the Lamberts here.
- Look for seaglass at Stanley Beach! I have found the most stunning pieces here including red and a pirate glass stopper!
- Catch the sunset at the Whistle. It’s the best place on the island to view it!
I can’t wait for you to discover the magic.
Still have questions? Keep an eye out for my 2022 East Coast Mermaid Guide to Grand Manan or swim into my inbox with your questions: firstname.lastname@example.org 💌