Seaglass / Travel

East Coast Mermaid’s Guide to Winter Seaglass Hunting in New Brunswick

When you think of beachcombing and seaglass, you may be tempted to assume it’s a spring, summer, and fall activity. 

But thankfully, here in New Brunswick, we have this force to be reckoned with called the Bay of Fundy that never freezes over. Hence, we have multiple options for places to beachcomb during every season, but especially during the winter. The fun and treasure hunting really doesn’t need to stop!

Here are a few of my favorite winter and off-season seaglass beaches in Southern New Brunswick.

Rewind to March 2020 — hubby and I were in Saint John for a friend’s birthday party RIGHT before the initial two-week lockdown began. This was my first experience with “winter beachcombing,” and I asked around and did some Googling to learn that one of the best beaches in Saint John for seaglass is Bayshore Beach. And again, because it’s on the Bay of Fundy, there is very little risk of freezing.

The water, I should add. You, on the other hand, should always remember to bundle up when winter beachcombing.

The beach was easy to locate with a little help from Google Maps, and within minutes of arriving on the beach, I found the most beautiful frosted piece of cobalt blue.

This beach is the perfect spot to visit on a day trip to Saint John and is easily accessible. Just take a peek at the tides to ensure you arrive at the perfect time to find those treasures!

Nestled at the end of the road in Blacks Harbour is the ferry terminal where you catch the ferry to Grand Manan Island. But at that very same terminal, there’s also a hidden beach at the back of the parking lot that has become known as the Seaglass Beach of Blacks Harbour. 

Blacks Harbour is located 50 minutes from Saint John and 2 hours and 20 minutes from Moncton, making it the perfect destination for a seaglass day trip if an overnight trip is not an option. 

This seaglass beach is LOADED with glass. It’s everywhere. 

But I’ll warn you, it’s not all the best, most frosted and tumbled pieces. You do have to work a little to find the gems, but over the years, I have found multiple pieces of red here and have friends who’ve been lucky enough to find marbles and stoppers. 

I’m slightly biased now that we have a property there, but seaglass on Grand Manan during the winter or off-season is magical. Yes, it’s a little chilly, and the wind can be a menace, but with zero to very few tourists on the island, there’s a good chance that you’ve got the beaches to yourself. 

And maybe a few locals! 

Grand Manan is accessible via a 1.5-hour ferry ride from Blacks Harbour. The ferry leaves every four hours from Blacks Harbour beginning at 9:30 AM from late September to late June. The last boat to the mainland from Grand Manan leaves at 7:15 PM and puts you back on the mainland at 8:45 PM, so a day trip is totally doable if you’re full of energy. You can view the ferry schedule on Coastal Transport here. And, of course, in the summer, there are two ferries and more crossings to choose from.

When you arrive, head straight to Stanley’s Beach, right in North Head, and just minutes from the ferry for the best seaglass. What I love most about Stanley’s is that it’s a pretty big beach, so you can look for seaglass at both low and high tide. In fact, I found my pirate glass stopper back in 2020 at the water’s edge at high tide. True story! 

If you’re looking for a convenient and warm place to stay, the Surfside Motel, located right on Stanley’s Beach, has been my home away from home since 2001. You can’t beat waking up in the morning and strolling straight down to the beach for your first seaglass walk of the day! 

Last but certainly not least, a beloved gem in the Bay of Fundy, Campobello Island is home to so many seaglass beaches – you won’t know where to start! And just like Grand Manan, off-season and in the winter is the perfect opportunity to have the beach to yourself.

Campobello Island is accessible by two routes. The first is via a free ferry from the mainland in L’Etete, New Brunswick, to Deer Island, and then a paid ferry from Deer Island to Campobello. If you have a passport, you can also travel through the US via Maine and cross over to Campobello via a bridge in Lubec, Maine. 

Once you arrive on Campobello, there are PLENTY of beaches to pick from when deciding which beach to begin at, but my favorites are Pollock Cove and the Ferry Landing. You can also swim over to the Campobello Island Seaglass Festival Facebook page to save or screenshot a digital copy of the 2022 map – sponsored by yours truly!

And speaking of our friends at Campobello Island Seaglass Festival, make sure to check out Founder Stephanie Anthony’s post on her blog about Seaglass Seasons, full of tips for visiting the island this time of year.

Regardless of where you’re beachcombing, visiting most beaches in New Brunswick in the winter months to look for seaglass, can fall anywhere from a little chilly to downright freezing depending on the weather and wind direction and chill. Always check the forecast first and make sure to bundle up and dress accordingly for the weather!

If you’re planning to visit Blacks Harbour, remember that first and foremost, this is ferry terminal, and the parking lot by the beach is designated for trucks and authorized vehicles. Be mindful not to block these trucks or the parking lot, and be respectful of those catching the ferry. 

If you’re planning to visit Grand Manan Island, know that sometimes getting to the island in the winter can be trickier than during other seasons due to high winds and swells. The ferry crossing from Blacks Harbour to North Head and vice versa can be canceled due to weather factors, so always have a backup plan and bring enough medication or clothing in case you need to extend your stay. 

Off-season on Grand Manan also means fewer restaurant options and places to stay. A few of my go-to spots this time of year include the Seaquel Restaurant and Post Office Pizza in North Head, High Seas Convenience in Seal Cove, and Newton’s Mercantile & Cafe for treats and fancy coffees. Mere’s Cafe is also a great spot for early morning coffee, delicious salads, and sandwiches to go!

Lastly, if you’re planning to visit Campbello Island in the winter or spring, the ferry from Deer Island to Campobello Island is privately owned by East Coast Ferries, and it does not run daily during the off-season from October through June. An updated schedule is available on their Facebook Page, but please be mindful that the schedule is weather-permitting and subject to change without notice. If you are planning to take the ferry, make sure to bring extra of everything you might need and/or your passport so you can return through the US if needed.

If traveling to Campobello via the US, please ensure that you are up to date on all US and Canadian border requirements.

There you have it – friends!

I can’t wait to see what treasures you find on your winter seaglass adventures!


  • Lisa
    February 16, 2023 at 3:22 pm

    I’ve been craving some beach combing and your email prompted me to take a trip to Blacks Harbour. I found some jadeite and practiced some beach glass karma:) It’s just what I needed! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Crystal
      February 16, 2023 at 3:28 pm

      Oh I LOVE hearing that!!!! I have found a few pieces of jadeite there in the past. It’s such a hidden gem if you can have patience to weed through all of the fresh broken glass to find the treasures!


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: