Menu
Bay Of Fundy / Travel

2022 East Coast Mermaid Guide to Whale Watching in New Brunswick

What is one of the BEST reasons to live in New Brunswick? Well, if you ask this mermaid, I’d tell you it’s our magical Bay of Fundy that is home to so many incredible creatures, including some of the worlds most precious whales!

Booking a day off work to play with whales is easily the best out-of-office excuse there is in New Brunswick during the summer months and I know that I can’t wait to spend as much time as possible out on the water this summer with my friends.

(And yes – I mean the whales, but I’m extra excited to hit the sea with my friends the Lamberts too! 😉)

It may seem silly to some, but I think it’s so freaking cool that just hours from all major New Brunswick cities, you can hop on a boat and be surrounded by humpback whales, finbacks (the second largest whale in the world), minkes—and if you’re extra lucky—the endangered Northern Atlantic right whale.

Every summer I make sure to take a few vacation days, change my out-of-office to “Hanging with Whales 🐳” and I head to my favourite New Brunswick destinations for ALL the whale watching adventures.

And you know what? Sometimes I book multiple tours because if you take anything away from this post, it should be this: no two whale watching tours will ever be the same. Go on them all!

It’s been a few years since I’ve shared a guide to whale watching in New Brunswick and this summer, I’m very excited to share the updated 2022 East Coast Mermaid Guide to Whale Watching in New Brunswick!

I’m dishing the best tours + everything you need to know to book your trips to these three magical Bay of Fundy destinations!

Are you ready to dive in?

Let’s start with the easiest and most accessible option. This one is great for families or anyone who wants to do a day trip to go whale watching.

St. Andrews is about 2hr30 minutes from Moncton, 1hr from Saint John and 1hr40 minutes from Fredericton—meaning if you want to, you can easily leave any of these New Brunswick cities in the morning, book an afternoon whale tour and have the kids home and in bed by 8:00 pm.

Totally do-able. Totally memorable.

Want to stay the night? St. Andrews has some of the most beautiful bed and breakfasts, motels, and campgrounds. This includes my favourite: the iconic Algonquin Resort & Hotel and the stunning Montague Rose B&B and Team Room.

So if you’re not in a hurry to get home, I recommend staying a night or two and having the whole St. Andrews experience. After all, there is so much to discover in this resort town by the sea from the Huntsman Marine Aquarium to Ministers Island.

While St. Andrews is home multiple whale watching tours, since this is the East Coast Mermaid guide to whale watching—I’ll share my two favourites.

Quoddy Link Marine is my go to whale watching tour company out of St. Andrews. I love booking an evening whale cruise on day one and a morning cruise on day two to have the best of both worlds. Last time I did this, it was the best 24 hours ever.

Again —no two whale watching tours will ever be the same! And if your heart is set on having an incredible experience, booking more than one excursion provides a buffer in the event of inclement weather. Just saying.

Quoddy Link’s catamaran offers three spacious decks and indoor/outdoor options for whale watching. It’s also incredibly safe and cozy for families with small children. This is why it’s my #1 recommendation when people ask what cruise to bring their kiddos on.

The boat is incredibly stable, so if you’re prone to seasickness, it’s a safer option than other tours. It’s also St. Andrews ONLY wheelchair accessible vessel! Ah-mazing!

The average cruise times are 3 hours in length. Plan to budget from $180 for a couple to up to $300 for a family of four during peak season. And avoid disappointment by making a reservation well in advance if you can!

Fundy Tide Runners is my other recommended whale tour out of St. Andrews and a MUST if you’re seeking a whale watching adventure of a lifetime.

Your tour takes place on a zodiac boat. This means when a whale is spotted in the distance, hold on tight—because this boat can FLY through the water. For that reason, all passengers over 90 lbs. must wear a Canadian approved full-length flotation suit. And trust me – you look totally cool in one.

For kiddos under 90 lbs., they will be provided with a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Children under five years of age are not permitted on the vessel. When you experience it for yourself, you’ll totally understand why. It’s QUITE the ride!

Cruise times are 2 hours in length and you should plan to budget from $180 for a couple to up to $330 for a family of four. And again, avoid disappointment by making reservations in advance.

I’m a little biased because we all know Grand Manan is my favorite place on earth BUT it also happens to be an amazing destination for whale watching between July and September. In fact, it’s where I went on my first Bay of Fundy whale watching tour 21 years ago!

Grand Manan is only accessible by a 1.5-hour ferry ride that you can catch in Blacks Harbour, which is about 40 minutes from Saint John. In addition to the cost of your whale tour, plan to budget about $65 to $90 for a couple to a family of four (and depending on the age of your children) for the ferry. You will ONLY pay for the ferry on your return trip to the mainland.

If you’re whale watching off Grand Manan, I recommend planning to stay at least one night on the island so that you don’t want to have to worry about catching your ferry or the drive home after a day at sea.

My favorite place to stay is the Surfside Motel, located in North Head just minutes from the ferry which offers one night stays and is so cute and cozy! It’s also walking distance to fantastic restaurants and located on the best seaglass beach on the island!

Interested in planning a trip of your own? Check out our 2022 East Coast Mermaid Guide to Grand Manan Island.

Trust me when I say – you want to go whale watching with Captain Matt Lambert this summer!

A few years ago, when Lambert Family Adventures first started offering whale watching cruises off the island, I kept hearing raving reviews for their experience. Today – they’re not only my favorite whale watching cruise on the island, but I am incredibly lucky to call them friends too!

The Lamberts offer several tour options throughout the day, a 9:00am, 12:00pm, and 3:00pm. Tours are two hours in length and it will be the most magical two hours of your trip. Later in the summer – they may offer a sunrise tour option departing at 6:00am and if they do, BOOK IT! My experience last year on the sunrise tour was absolutely epic – you can read all about it here.

Breaching Humpback, Lambert Family Cruise in September 2021

As with any whale watching cruise, remember to wear layers. Just because things are beachy keen on the beach and it feels like the tropics, rest assured there will be a significant temperature drop once you get out on the Bay of Fundy. Always plan to over dress, as you can remove layers if it’s a particularly balmy day on the Bay.

Adults and children 12 and over, plan to budget $115 + tax per person for the tour. Children ages 2-11 and seniors will be $102.50 + tax. Reservations are strongly recommended! You can book online at http://www.lambertfamilyadventuretours.com or give my friend Heather a shout at 506-321-0944.

Sea Watch Tours, owned and operated by Captain Peter Wilcox was my first whale cruise—over twenty years ago!—and it has a special place in my heart.

You may also recognize Sea Watch Tours as the ONLY Canadian approved tour operator and vessel allowed to visit the world-famous Machias Island to see the puffins every year during June and July. (An experience I HIGHLY recommend at least once in a lifetime.)

You can read about our puffin experience here and if it’s on your bucket list, set a reminder for January 1st, 2023 when they open their 2023 dates to book it! Because the tours are only offered for one month out of the year, they will sell out fast for the 2023 season.

The vessel you’ll sail on is the M.V. “Day’s Catch”. This lobster fishing boat has lots of seating for guests at the back of the boat and some canopy protection from the sun. As you’re out in the heart of the Bay of Fundy, dressing warm is recommended and Sea Watch Tours provides blankets if you need a little something extra.

Whale tours are about 4 – 5 1/2 hours in length and you should plan to budget from $170 for a couple to $300-$340 for a family of four, depending on the age of your children. Again, reservations are highly recommend! You can book online at http://www.seawatchtours.ca.

Last but certainly not least, if you’re looking for a whale experience off the beaten path—with a few ferry rides included—you must plan an adventure to Campobello Island.

To get to Campobello, you will first have to take a FREE 20-minute ferry ride from L’Étete to Deer Island and then a PAID 30-minute ferry ride from Deer Island to Campobello Island. (For planning purposes, the Deer Island Ferry landing is about one hour from Saint John.)

In addition to your whale cruise, plan to budget $54-65 for your ferry rides to and from the island.

As getting to the island requires a bit more travel and planning, plan to stay overnight on the island at one of their cozy motels such as Friar’s Bay Inn and Cottages or the Whale Watch Motel.

There are also many beautiful cottage rentals and Airbnbs to choose from as well.

Restaurants on the island are limited – I recommend visiting the Porch at Friar’s Bay for breakfast and lunch, and the Pier Waterfront Restaurant for a delicious meal on the ocean in Pollock Cove. And make sure to stop by the Scoop Shack for ice cream and Campobello Island Gift House.

To learn more about planning you tip to Campobello Island, check out my 2022 East Coast Mermaid Guide to Campobello Island.

If you want to hit the open seas for a little adventure while visiting Campobello Island – consider booking a whale watching cruise with Capt. Riddles Sea Going Adventures. I haven’t personally been out on their tours but I have heard amazing things from friends that have!

Whale spotted off Campobello Island, August 2022

Whale Watching cruises leave daily, 7 days a week, from Campobello Island (North Road Wharf) at 11:00am and 3:00pm or from Deer Island (Leonardville Wharf) at 11:30 am and 3:30 pm. Plan to budget $65 (tax included) per person. Children under 3 sail for free.

You can book through Facebook Messenger via their Facebook Page!

Regardless of where you choose to set sail on your whale watching adventure this summer, here are a few helpful trips to ensure your experience is amazing!

I can’t wait for you to experience your whale watching adventure in New Brunswick. If you have any questions while planning your experience, don’t hesitate to reach out to crystal@eastcoastmermaid.com or DM me on my shell phone!

2 Comments

  • Monica A
    July 8, 2022 at 11:16 am

    Nothing in northern or eastern New Brunswick?

    Reply
    • Crystal
      July 8, 2022 at 11:21 am

      Hi Monica!

      Unfortunately, all of the good whale watching in New Brunswick is out of Charlotte County and on the Bay of Fundy! I wish we had whales along the Eastern course but typically, we don’t!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: