New Brunswick, one of Canada's charming maritime provinces, offers a delightful blend of natural beauty, vibrant culture, and rich history. Nestled along the Atlantic coast, New Brunswick is bordered by Quebec to the north, Nova Scotia to the southeast, and the U.S. state of Maine to the west. It was one of the four original provinces that joined Confederation on July 1, 1867, alongside Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, marking the birth of Canada as a nation.

The province is known for its dramatic coastal landscapes, the world's highest tides in the Bay of Fundy, and vast wilderness areas. New Brunswick's rich cultural heritage is influenced by its Indigenous peoples, French Acadian communities, and English settlers. Visitors to this province can enjoy a wide array of activities, from exploring historic sites and charming towns to embarking on outdoor adventures in the stunning natural environment.

Fredericton: The Cultural Heart of New Brunswick

Fredericton, the capital city of New Brunswick, is a vibrant and historic city located on the Saint John River. Known for its rich cultural scene, beautiful parks, and historic architecture, Fredericton offers a unique blend of urban sophistication and small-town charm. The city is home to several notable institutions, including the University of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, which contribute to its lively arts and educational environment.

Top 10 Things to Do in Fredericton

1. Explore the Beaverbrook Art Gallery

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is a cultural gem in Fredericton. Home to an impressive collection of Canadian, British, and international art, the gallery showcases works by renowned artists like Salvador Dalí and J.M.W. Turner. Regular exhibitions and events make it a dynamic destination for art lovers. The gallery also hosts community programs, workshops, and tours, enhancing its role as a central hub for arts education and appreciation in New Brunswick.

2. Wander through the Historic Garrison District

The Historic Garrison District is a National Historic Site that offers a glimpse into Fredericton’s past. Stroll through the beautifully preserved buildings, visit the Fredericton Region Museum, and enjoy live performances during the summer months. The Changing of the Guard ceremony is a highlight not to be missed. Additionally, the area hosts numerous festivals, outdoor concerts, and markets, making it a lively spot year-round.

3. Enjoy Nature at Odell Park

Odell Park, one of the most beautiful urban parks in Canada, is perfect for nature lovers. Spanning over 333 acres, it features extensive walking trails, a serene duck pond, and a botanical garden. It’s an ideal spot for picnicking, hiking, and enjoying the natural beauty of Fredericton. The park also offers a children's playground and numerous picnic areas, making it a great destination for families.

4. Discover Science East

Science East, housed in a former jail, is an interactive science museum that’s fun for all ages. With over 150 hands-on exhibits, it covers a wide range of topics from biology to physics. The museum also offers a fascinating look at the history of the building itself, including the old jail cells. Special programs and workshops are regularly held, engaging visitors in science and technology in an entertaining and educational manner.

5. Visit the New Brunswick Legislative Building

Take a guided tour of the New Brunswick Legislative Building to learn about the province’s political history. The building, an architectural masterpiece, features stunning stained glass windows, intricate woodwork, and historical artifacts. Tours provide insights into the legislative process and the building's history. The grounds around the building are beautifully landscaped and offer a tranquil spot for a leisurely walk.

6. Stroll along the Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market

The Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market is a vibrant hub where locals and visitors can enjoy fresh produce, artisanal goods, and delicious food. Open every Saturday, it’s a great place to sample local delicacies, meet artisans, and experience the community spirit of Fredericton. The market is also a cultural experience, with vendors often offering traditional Acadian and Indigenous foods, reflecting the province’s diverse heritage.

7. Explore the University of New Brunswick Campus

The University of New Brunswick (UNB) campus, one of the oldest public universities in North America, offers beautiful architecture and scenic views. Take a walk around the campus, visit the Harriet Irving Library, and enjoy the various art installations scattered throughout the grounds. The campus is also home to the UNB Art Centre, which hosts regular exhibitions and cultural events.

8. Cruise the Saint John River

Experience Fredericton from a different perspective with a river cruise on the Saint John River. Various operators offer scenic boat tours that highlight the natural beauty and historical landmarks along the river. Sunset cruises are particularly popular for their breathtaking views. The river is also a great spot for kayaking and paddleboarding, providing numerous opportunities for water-based recreation.

9. Attend the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival

The Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival, held every September, is Fredericton’s premier music event. Featuring local, national, and international artists, the festival offers an incredible lineup of performances in various venues across the city. It’s a must-visit for music enthusiasts. The festival creates a festive atmosphere throughout the city, with street performances, food vendors, and special events adding to the excitement.

10. Visit Kings Landing Historical Settlement

Just a short drive from Fredericton, Kings Landing Historical Settlement is a living history museum that brings the 19th century to life. Explore the well-preserved buildings, interact with costumed interpreters, and participate in hands-on activities that showcase rural New Brunswick life in the 1800s. The settlement offers a range of seasonal events and programs, providing insights into historical farming practices, crafts, and daily life.

Beyond Fredericton: Top Things to Do in New Brunswick

1. Drive the Fundy Coastal Scenic Route

Begin your journey outside Fredericton by taking the Fundy Coastal Scenic Route. This picturesque drive offers breathtaking views of the Bay of Fundy, charming fishing villages, and numerous parks and reserves. Highlights include the picturesque town of St. Andrews by-the-Sea, where you can explore Kingsbrae Garden, take a whale-watching tour, and visit the historic Algonquin Resort.

2. Explore Fundy National Park

Fundy National Park, located along the Bay of Fundy, is a natural paradise known for its dramatic tides, lush forests, and rugged coastline. The Bay of Fundy boasts the highest tides in the world, and witnessing this natural phenomenon is a must. The park offers a variety of hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging backcountry routes. Popular trails include the Dickson Falls Trail, which takes you through a cool, mossy forest to a beautiful waterfall, and the Fundy Footpath, a challenging but rewarding trek that offers stunning coastal views.

In addition to hiking, visitors can kayak on the bay, explore the tidal flats, and discover the unique marine life that thrives in this environment. The park also has several pristine beaches where you can relax, swim, and enjoy the scenery. During low tide, you can walk on the ocean floor and explore the sea caves and towering rock formations at Hopewell Rocks, located just outside the park.

Fundy National Park is also home to several campgrounds, offering both serviced and unserviced sites. For those looking for a more comfortable stay, the park provides rustic cabins and yurts. During the summer, the park hosts various interpretive programs and activities, including guided walks, campfire talks, and stargazing sessions. Winter visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and tobogganing. With its diverse landscapes and range of activities, Fundy National Park is a destination that offers something for everyone.

3. Visit Saint John

Saint John, Canada’s oldest incorporated city, is a vibrant and historic destination with a rich blend of natural beauty and urban attractions. The city’s Uptown district is a treasure trove of Victorian architecture, bustling markets, and cultural landmarks. A stroll through this area will lead you to charming shops, art galleries, and a variety of restaurants offering everything from fresh seafood to international cuisine.

One of the city’s most notable attractions is the Reversing Falls Rapids, a unique natural phenomenon where the Bay of Fundy’s powerful tides cause the Saint John River to reverse its flow. The Skywalk Saint John provides an exhilarating vantage point from which to observe the rapids. For an up-close experience, consider taking a jet boat ride through the churning waters.

The New Brunswick Museum, located in the heart of Uptown, is another must-visit. It offers exhibits on the province’s natural history, including a fascinating collection of whale bones and marine fossils, as well as displays on the region’s cultural and industrial heritage. The museum's Hall of Great Whales is particularly impressive, featuring full-size whale models and interactive exhibits.

Saint John is also home to the historic Saint John City Market, the oldest continuously operating farmers market in Canada. Open year-round, the market offers fresh local produce, meats, seafood, baked goods, and handcrafted items. The market's vibrant atmosphere and diverse offerings make it a great place to experience the local culture and cuisine.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Rockwood Park offers a range of recreational activities. This expansive urban park features hiking and biking trails, lakes for swimming and boating, and a zoo. The park is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy nature without leaving the city.

4. Discover the Acadian Peninsula

The Acadian Peninsula is rich in culture and history. Visit the Village Historique Acadien, a living history museum that showcases Acadian heritage. Enjoy traditional music, cuisine, and festivals in towns like Caraquet and Shippagan. The peninsula is also known for its beautiful coastal scenery, offering opportunities for beachcombing and wildlife viewing.

5. Go Whale Watching

The Bay of Fundy and the waters around Grand Manan Island are prime spots for whale watching. Join a guided tour to see humpback whales, minke whales, and the rare North Atlantic right whale in their natural habitat. These tours often include educational components, providing insights into marine biology and the efforts to protect these magnificent creatures.

6. Relax at Parlee Beach

Parlee Beach in Shediac is one of the warmest saltwater beaches north of Virginia. Enjoy the sandy shores, warm waters, and various beach activities. Shediac, known as the "Lobster Capital of the World," is perfect for indulging in fresh seafood. The town hosts an annual Lobster Festival, which is a fun event for the whole family.

7. Visit Kouchibouguac National Park

Kouchibouguac National Park offers a diverse landscape of beaches, dunes, forests, and salt marshes. The park is a haven for birdwatchers, bikers, and campers, providing numerous opportunities to explore and enjoy nature. The park's beaches are particularly popular in the summer, offering safe swimming areas and beautiful scenery.

8. Experience Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill in Moncton is a fascinating optical illusion where cars appear to roll uphill when in neutral. Nearby attractions include the Magnetic Hill Zoo, Magic Mountain Water Park, and the Magnetic Hill Winery. The area is a great destination for families, offering a variety of attractions and activities.

9. Explore the Saint John River Valley

The Saint John River Valley, known as the "Rhine of North America," offers beautiful scenery and historic sites. Drive along the scenic River Route, visit the town of Woodstock, and see the world’s longest covered bridge in Hartland. The valley is particularly stunning in the fall, with vibrant foliage creating a picturesque landscape.

10. Discover the Miramichi River

The Miramichi River is famous for its salmon fishing but also offers excellent canoeing, kayaking, and hiking. Visit Metepenagiag Heritage Park to learn about the area's indigenous heritage. The river's peaceful setting and natural beauty make it a great destination for outdoor activities and relaxation.

11. Adventure at Mount Carleton Provincial Park

Mount Carleton Provincial Park is home to the highest peak in the Maritimes. The park offers hiking, camping, and stunning views of the surrounding wilderness, making it a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The park's trails vary in difficulty, providing options for hikers of all skill levels.

New Brunswick's diverse attractions ensure that every traveler will find something to enjoy. From stunning natural landscapes to rich cultural experiences, this province offers endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation.

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Jun 25, 2024
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