Top 10 day trips from Fredericton
Are you having a great time in Fredericton, but curious about what else there is to do in the area? You don’t have to pack your bags – here are 10 terrific day trips within a two-hour drive of the capital city. From tummy temptations, to amazing natural wonders, to historic Canadiana, set off on one of these routes and explore our beautiful province. Then, come back to your Fredericton accommodation to relax and rejuvenate to prepare for another day of fun and hospitality in New Brunswick!
1. Go With the Flow
Looking to spend a leisurely day criss-crossing the St. John River on free cable ferries that have been a key piece of local transportation infrastructure since the early 1900s? Start your adventures in the Village of Gagetown.Known for its abundance of crafters and artisans, this village was the original capital of New Brunswick, and home to one of the Fathers of Confederation, Sir Leonard Tilley. Learn more about his life at the Tilley House National Historic Site, which has free admission for 2017.
Your next stop is the village of Evandale, where you can stop at the historic Evandale Resort, right next to the ferry landing for a bite to eat, or a refreshing beverage. Continue following the ferries through Belleisle, and Gondola Point, stopping in towns like Bloomfield and Hampton to visit the many antique stores and artisans. On the way back to Fredericton, take the time to visit Motts Landing Vineyard in Cambridge-Narrows to sample some of their excellent, award-winning wines – and maybe pick up a bottle for your evening back in Fredericton!
Extra credit: This region has a long farming history, and has embraced that by decorating many of the buildings with quilt block art. There are 19 stops in total on the Quilt Barn Tour. Can you find them all?
2. Do You Want Fries With That?
A short drive north of the city brings you to the potato farming heart of New Brunswick.Start your trip in Hartland, where you can not only drive across the world’s longest covered bridge (390.75 m/1,282 feet), but which is also home to Covered Bridge Potato Chips.
They offer tours of their plant, complete with a free sample of their chips, and a seasoning bar of more than 30 fun flavours that also acts as a way for the company to discover the most popular new flavours for their products. Lobster chips anyone?? From there, continue upriver to Florenceville-Bristol, home of McCain Foods International, where you can learn all about the history of the mighty spud and how it has been grown over the years at Potato World. Stay in town for dinner that evening at Fresh Fine Dining, an elegant dining experience located in a 26-seat refurbished railcar along the banks of the St. John River.
On your way back to Fredericton, stop in Nackawic at the Big Axe Brewery and pick up some of their award-winning beer to enjoy back in your hotel. And don’t forget to stop for a quick selfie at the big axe while you are there!
Cultural interest stops on this route: For those looking for local and regionally produced art, stop by the Andrew & Laura McCain Gallery in Florenceville-Bristol. If you are interested in the quirky history behind New Brunswick’s Postmaster General and the stamp he created with his face on the front, visit the Connell House Museum in Woodstock.
3. Take the Last Train to Harvey
A short 45-minute drive north of Fredericton takes you to the charming town of Harvey, the home of Don Messer from Don Messer’s Jubilee, a folk music television show broadcast nationally on the CBC in the 50s and 60s that was even more popular in Canada than the Ed Sullivan Show! To commemorate his life and accomplishments, a giant 4.3 m/14 foot fiddle has been erected in the town, perfect for a selfie. For the knitter in the family, this lovely little town is also home to Briggs & Little Woolen Mills, Canada’s oldest woolen mill.Stop in and pick up a skein of yarn or some roving for your next project.
Your next visit is to the always delicious Westphalia Bakery Deli/Café for some of their amazing baked goods. Finish off a trip to this part of the province with a visit to the nearby village of McAdam, where you can explore the McAdam Railway Station, a National and Provincial Historic Site, as well as a designated Heritage Railway Station. Built in 1900, this lovingly restored station is a museum with guided tours that share the importance of rail travel to New Brunswick, and the newly-established country of Canada.
Tempt your tastebuds: When at the train station in McAdam, take a break at the 1950s lunch counter and have a piece of the famous “railway pie”. Made in up to 24 varieties by local volunteers, there is sure to be a flavor to please everyone!
4. Woods and Waders Way
Central New Brunswick has a long history as an outdoorsperson’s paradise, full of woods, and winding rivers perfect for fly fishing. Stop first in the village of Boiestown at the Central New Brunswick Woodmen’s Museum to explore the vibrant and colourful lives of the woodsmen who made their living from the forest. The Upper Miramichi River has long been the center of the lumbering industry in New Brunswick, and the museum’s 15 acre site depicts this proud history with displays of authentic tools, documents, and photographs that chart the course of the local and provincial lumber trade from the 1800s to the present day.
The other main industry in this area has been fly fishing for Atlantic salmon.A number of local guides and outfitters can be found in this area if you are looking to try your hand at the sport, and many a famous person has fished along the shores of these rivers for a chance to bring in one of these prized fish. The Atlantic Salmon Museum in Doaktown celebrates the cultural and economic significance of the Atlantic salmon through displays of more than 3,000 artifacts including original paintings, sculptures, salmon flys, rods and reels and a small aquarium. The Museum is also home to the Hall of Fame dedicated to those individuals in whose lives the Atlantic salmon has played a significant role.
While in Doaktown, why not check out Miramichi Canoes and see their line of beautiful canoes, handcrafted by master canoe builders.
Make a splash: Try cooling off by hopping onto an inner tube and enjoying a lazy day tubing down the Nashwaak River. A number of companies offer tube rentals for a few hours or a half day.
5. First Nations, the Irish and the French – oh my!
For a truly multicultural experience, head north on the Miramichi River Route to the city of Miramichi.This area has been home to different settlements for more than 3,000 years, starting with the Mi’kmaq people. At the Metepenagiag Heritage Park, you can explore the culture and history of the Mi’kmaq people of the area. The Park also houses two of the most significant aboriginal archeological sites in eastern Canada: the Augustine Mound National Historic Site and Oxbow National Historic Site.These two sites demonstrate that the Mi’kmaq have lived in this area for more than 30 centuries, and makes it the oldest continuously inhabited area in New Brunswick.
But it’s not just the First Nations people who recognized how good life in Miramichi can be.The French, Scottish and Irish all established settlements in the area as well. At Beaubears Island Interpretive Centre, you can learn about Miramichi’s Acadian settlers through a variety of guided tours of the interpretive centre and the island, or you can hop into a Voyageur canoe and recapture those pioneering days on the river.
Next to discover the area were the Scottish, and their stories are told through both the MacDonald Farm Provincial Historic Site that showcases the traditional foods, domestic crafts and daily chores of the Scottish settlers, and Wilson’s Point where you will find an an historic Scottish graveyard, a 1791 replica of the first English church and tales of ghosts and founding fathers of the Miramichi Area.
The last to arrive were the Irish, and their influence on the community remains significant to this day. Middle Island Irish Historical Park is home to an interpretive centre and a number of hiking trails.
The real reason all of these people chose Miramichi as their home was the mighty Miramichi River.Get out and enjoy the river on a riverboat ride with Miramichi River Boat Tours, or enjoy it from the air as you ride New Brunswick’s longest zipline with Over the Hill Zipline.
A fishy feast: Don’t miss a delicious cedar planked salmon dinner at the 1809 Restaurant and Bar in the Rodd Miramichi River Resort and Lodge.
6. Gorge-ous Grand Falls
A two-hour drive north of Fredericton lands you in Grand Falls; and these falls are certainly grand!The largest waterfall east of Niagara Falls, water cascades 23 metres/75.5 feet down into a beautiful gorge. Naturally, most of the activity in the town takes place around this amazing natural wonder. Stop first at the Malabeam Centre to discover the First Nations history of the area, and the myth behind the creation of the falls. If you are looking to get out and stretch your legs, you can sign up here for a guided tour of the gorge, or simply do your own tour by walking down the 401 steps that take you to the shores of the gorge where you can further explore the area.
If you would rather do something a bit more adrenaline-pumping, try ziplining across the falls with Zip Zag, or try “deepelling” – face first rappelling – down a 41 metre/135 foot rock wall into the gorge with Open Sky Adventures. For those who enjoy getting out on the water, Open Sky Adventures also offers pontoon boat tours and kayak rentals.
Fun fact: If you are a lover of horse racing, Grand Falls is also home to the legendary Ron Turcotte who, along with his horse Secretariat, won the 1973 Triple Crown. The town has honoured him with a bronze statue on Broadway Boulevard in the town’s downtown core, perfect for a selfie stop on your trip!
7. Bay of Fundy Border Duels and Foodie Fuel
New Brunswick’s favourite resort town, St. Andrews by-the-sea, is a short 1.5 hour drive from the capital. It is renowned as a whale watching mecca, with several companies operating out of buildings down on the St. Andrews wharf. During the main whale watching season, that runs from mid-July to the end of October, there is an average 95% success rate of seeing whales on your excursion! For those who prefer to stay firmly rooted on solid ground, a visit to the beautiful Kingsbrae Garden is a must. Gifted to the people of St. Andrews by John and Lucinda Flemer to preserve and maintain the family’s former estate, this 27 acre horticultural masterpiece has something for everyone, from more traditional gardens to ones for children that encourage touching and planting the plants, a labyrinth, a cedar maze, ponds, a genuine 1/3 scale Dutch windmill and a wooded trail through rare old-growth forest. All around the site, you will find alpacas, peacocks, pygmy goats, Canada’s first “Jurassic living fossil” Wollemi pine and numerous splendid sculptures.
Downtown St. Andrews features some excellent boutique shopping along Water Street, and nearby you will also find the St. Andrews Blockhouse National Historic Site that harkens back to the War of 1812 and a time when Canada and our neighbours south of the border were not so friendly. Just outside the town is another significant spot – St. Croix Island International Historic Site, site of the first attempt to colonize North America in 1604.
If there is a golfer in your family, do not miss a chance to tee off at the Algonquin Golf Course. Originally constructed in 1894, it boasts Canada’s oldest clubhouse, and the unforgettable oceanfront sequence of holes on the back nine in particular will challenge golfers of all levels. Finish off your day with a meal at the Rossmount Inn, where Chef Chris Aerni continuously surprises the palate with his locally-sourced delicacies. Reservations are necessary, but well worth it!
A sweet secret: Nearby St. Stephen calls itself Canada’s Chocolate Town, and for good reason! The home of Ganong, Canada’s oldest chocolate and candy company, this town takes its sweets seriously. Plan a side trip to the Chocolate Museum to learn about the history of chocolate, and Ganong, and to stuff your face full of Ganong chocolates, of course!
8. The Thrill of History and the Agony of Where to Eat
Canada’s first incorporated city, Saint John, is a short drive from Fredericton, and has lots of unique eateries, and interesting attractions. Starting in the uptown, the New Brunswick Museum features a wide range of artifacts and art that tell the story of New Brunswick over the years. Two major exhibits include the Great Hall of Whales, with its enormous North Atlantic right whale skeleton named “Delilah”, as well as the Our Changing Earth gallery, showing earth’s changing geology, and the centerpiece of Stonehammer, a UNESCO Global Geopark made up of 12 geologically significant sites around the greater Saint John region.
While in the uptown, be sure to check out the numerous antique stores and art galleries that have been popping up. And no visit to Saint John is complete without visiting the historic City Market. The oldest continuing farmer’s market in Canada, its roof is a traditional post and beam market roof that resembles the inverted hull of a ship. Saint John is also known as a city with some terrific chefs. Two in particular that stand out in the uptown are Port City Royal, which was number two in enRoute magazine’s annual Top 10 Best New Restaurants in Canada edition for 2015, and the Saint John Ale House that features the creations of Executive Chef Jesse Vergen who was a runner up for Top Chef Canada in 2014.
Wood you mind passing the paper?: Saint John takes its public art seriously. In particular, visitors are attracted to three distinctive wooden sculptures scattered through the uptown that were created by local artist John Hooper. One is just outside the Saint John Convention Centre in Market Square, one is a decorative light post outside Market Square, and the third and most popular (known as “People Waiting”) is next to Barbour’s General Store. Join the “people waiting” on the bench for a photo and see if your friends and family can pick you out of the crowd!
9. Kiss me, I’m the Bay of Fundy!
Billing itself as “The gateway to the Fundy experience”, the dairy farming town of Sussex boasts two main visitor attractions. The first is the 27 murals depicting a wide range of local stories that can be found scattered thoughout the town. The region is also home to 16 covered bridges. Hartland may have the longest covered bridge, but Sussex and surrounding areas have the most in any one area in Atlantic Canada! Also known as “kissing bridges” because gentlemen often stole kisses in the darkness while going through them, these bridges make for a great romantic outing with your sweetheart.
Heading from Sussex to the former shipbuilding village of St. Martins, you reach the Bay of Fundy.You’ll first see the historic Quaco Head Lighthouse.
Further in town at the Quaco Museum, discover the key role that St. Martins once played in the shipbuilding world. When the mighty Bay of Fundy tide is out, walk out on the discovery beach to explore the sea caves. If your timing is off, consider heading into them in a kayak with Red Rock Adventure instead!
Not to be missed while in St Martins is a trip along the Fundy Trail Parkway. The trail is in its final stages of completion; when done, guests will be able to travel all the way from St. Martins to Alma following the majestic Fundy Coast. The Parkway offers many hiking trails, a suspension bridge, interpretation centre, amazing views and lookouts, a sea captain’s burial ground, a heritage sawmill display, and beautiful discovery beaches.
Break out the pearly whites: Don’t miss out on a selfie at low tide with boats sitting on their side on the ocean floor, and a covered bridge and lighthouse in the background. A perfect coastal shot!
10. Rocks ‘n (Cinnamon) Roll Route
The Bay of Fundy is a world-renowned natural wonder, featuring the highest tides in the world. This route offers you an unparalleled opportunity to experience these tides, if the pull of the moon is in your favour! Start your journey in the town of Alma with a visit to Fundy National Park where you can spend the day golfing, hiking, participating in a number of interpretive programs, and enjoying the amazing views. Admission to National Parks is free in 2017, so it is an ideal time to visit this beautiful area. You can also do some kayaking both in the Park and around the Alma area with Fresh Air Adventure.
After all of this physical activity, you may be hungry. Stop at Kelly’s Bakery and grab some of the famous Alma sticky cinnamon buns, and then head out to Cape Enrage Interpretive Centre. Offering one of the most spectacular views of the Bay of Fundy from its towering cliffs, Cape Enrage has had a light station and fog alarm on its property since 1838. The current light tower is over 140 years old. Beyond the views, Cape Enrage is an excellent stop for thrill-seekers who enjoy ziplining over the Bay of Fundy, rappelling down the 43 metre/142 foot rock face, or rock climbing.
For those looking for something less hair-raising, take a lovely stroll on the fossil beach, and enjoy a delicious locally sourced meal at the Cape House Restaurant. Finish your journey at one of the best known sites in New Brunswick, the iconic Hopewell Rocks. This is the best place to see the true power of Fundy’s impressive tides. At low tide, you can walk on the ocean floor and get up close and personal with the enormous “flowerpot rocks” that are the hallmark of the site. At low tide, sign up for a sea kayaking adventure around the Rocks with Baymount Ouotdoor Adventures. Your pass to this park is valid for 24 hours, so if you time it right you can experience both high and low tides during your visit!
Did you know: The wetlands at nearby Mary’s Point, named for pioneering nature conservationist Mary Majka, have been recognized for their international ecological importance as a stopover site for over 300,000 semi-palmated sandpipers (75% of the world population) as well as large numbers of other shorebirds species. The sandpipers rest at Mary’s Point to feast on mud shrimp and other small crustaceans to double their weight in two weeks in preparation for their non-stop flight from New Brunswick to South America! The best time to visit is from late July until mid-August.
With so much to see and do in and around Fredericton you may decide to extend your visit! We’re happy to have you here, and to share our food, festivals, and fun!