At just under 75,000 square kilometers and with a population of around 750,000, New Brunswick is quickly becoming known for having one of the world’s quickly diminishing assets: wide open spaces.
But it’s not just solitude on offer. The province is peppered with natural attractions and points of interest—so much so that there are five scenic drives to explore. The Bay of Fundy drive (marked with road signs featuring a lighthouse) draws explorers looking to bike, boat, and bus their way through this gorgeous Maritime province. If you’re going to adventure, you need room to move.
Roads to Sea Tours, Moncton
Put simply, if there is a more knowledgeable, passionate, or fun tour company out there, I haven’t found it. On my first visit to New Brunswick back in 2011, I was the guest of owner-operator Anna-Marie Weir who packed three centuries of local history, a live explanation of the tidal bore on the Petitcodiac River, and a backwards trip up Magnetic Hill into the time before dinner, which itself was a learning experience (real New Brunswickers know how to crack open a lobster with their bare hands, and Jesus Murphy, don’t even think about wrecking it with butter).
In 2015, I returned for the Roads to Sea Bay of Fundy Signature Tour, a day-long adventure hitting all the highlights—Hopewell Rocks (at low and high tide), Fundy National Park, Cape Enrage, and arguably the most photogenic covered bridge in the Maritimes. This is an immersive experience that takes you from Moncton all the way to Alma, a working fishing village, and is loaded with local history and culture.
Don’t let the heavily industrial appearance of Saint John fool you—you need only drive as far as the city’s Dominion Park Beach to find yourself in Stonehammer Geopark where you can see geological evidence dating back to the Precambrian age, a billion years ago. This is heady stuff for any natural history geek; by adding kayaks and an enthusiastic guide, Go Fundy Events makes this a fun day out for everyone.
I went on the Coastal Kayak/Lobster Cookout tour, led by a local guide. Departing from the beach at Dominion Park, we paddled along the coast line of the St. John River, occasionally pulling up adjacent to the rocks for a close-up view of the ancient fossils. Go Fundy supplies all equipment including a water-resistant camera bag—a big plus when you’re paddling past an eagle’s nest. Expect to work up an appetite on the water, and to enjoy the lobster feast that much more for your hard work.
Off-Kilter Bike Tours, St. Andrews-by-the-Sea
St. Andrews is a pretty seaside town attracting local and international summer vacationers looking for a Maritime getaway. The village’s main street runs along the waterfront, and visitors flock to the wharf to book excursions. Among the numerous whale watching outfits (try Fundy Tide Runners for small group tours on Zodiac boats) is something entirely different: Off-Kilter Bike Tours.
Currently operated by local Kurt Gumushel, Off-Kilter actually goes back a generation to his father, master kilt-maker Fuat Gumushel who moved to Canada in the 1960s. The talents of the Gumushels paired together to create a totally unique—and totally enjoyable—touring option: cycling, in kilts.
Off-Kilter offers tours tailored to your ability, but make sure you ride to Minister’s Island. It’s reachable by bike at low tide—just be sure you get back before the ocean submerges your path.