St. Andrews By-The-Sea is one of New Brunswick’s most beautiful ocean-front destinations. The sea-side town has a little bit of everything, and you’re going to fall in love the moment you arrive.
From the relaxed atmosphere, the striking water-front views, and the welcoming people, St. Andrews sums up some of my favourite things about New Brunswick. There are also cozy hotels, excellent restaurants, and some of the most unique ocean adventures, especially in the summer.
A short drive from Saint John, NB, and situated along the western side of the Bay of Fundy, there are very few places like it.
If you’re looking for an excuse to visit, here are five of the best reasons to experience St. Andrews By-The-Sea.
Food, shopping, and taking it easy
New Brunswick’s wonderful hospitality is half of what makes St. Andrews so charming, and whether you’re shopping, eating some of the best seafood, or taking a stroll, the town feels like an escape from the everyday.
Along the main stretch of the town–on Water Street–there are a number of stores, restaurants, inns, and B&Bs. You can easily spend a morning or an afternoon just checking out the shops and food.
For fine dining, with excellent seafood options, one of the best restaurants is The Chandler Room at the Treadwell Inn, or head up the street to Braxton’s at The Algonquin Resort. Passamaquoddy Veranda at the Algonquin also offers an exceptional breakfast buffet.
If you’re looking for more casual fare, I also highly recommend the Water Street Diner on the corner of William Street, or a little outside town the Clam Digger is a can’t miss spot for fried clams, burgers, and seafood.
For shopping, check out Cottage Chic for upscale, east coast items; Serendipin’ Art, for local paintings and jewellery; The Whale Store, for a mix of unique local souvenirs; and Scrooge & Marleys for fresh fudge, clothing, and even Christmas decor.
Since it’s located right on the waters of the Fundy, surrounded by the Passamaquoddy Bay, there is a lot to explore on the water.
There are sight seeing tours and even lighthouse tours, but whale watching is one of the best excursions, and from late June to the end of September there are a number of options. Near the pier, on King Street, you can find four of the main whale watching companies.
Depending on when you’re in St. Andrews, you’ll have the chance to see minke, finback, and even humpback whales with Fundy Tide Runners, Island Quest Marine, Jolly Breeze, or Quoddy Link Marine. As far as favourites go, they’re all excellent, but Jolly Breeze offers a tall ship experience that’s very unique.
For a hands-on experiences, especially for the kids, the Huntsman Fundy Discovery Aquarium (1 Lower Campus Rd.) has a huge touch tank with lots of coastal creatures, as well as numerous tanks with fish and sea life, plus the popular harbour seals, Loki and Snorkel.
The great outdoors
There are a number of parks, hiking trails, beaches, and places to take a stroll in St. Andrews, with options for young and old.
Ministers Island is one of the best destinations in the area, and it’s especially unique since you can only reach it during low tide. The historic island is beautiful, has a number of cultural centres, preserved buildings, and includes trails and seasonal events.
Kingsbrae Gardens is a beautiful park with over 50,000 perennials in themed gardens, with ponds, and streams, as well as the award-winning Garden Café.
For nature lovers, or just a chance to relax outdoors, Pagan Point Nature Preserve, Navy Island, Centennial Park, Katy’s Cove Beach, and St. Andrews Blockhouse all offer coastal scenerey and the chance to sit or take a walk, and breathe in the fresh ocean air.
There’s also a beach that appears at low tide, along the drive to Ministers Island, where you can hunt for sand dollars. Just be sure not to take home any live ones.
The Algonquin Resort
If there’s one hotel that’s worth the trip to New Brunswick, it’s the Algonquin Resort.
Originally opened in 1889, the Algonquin is a NB landmark, with historic charm, but the resort has also moved with the times and features all the amenities you could hope for: indoor and outdoor pools, a number of in-room amenities to pamper any traveller, excellent food, a full-service spa, and a lot more. There are even fire pits for evening s’more-making, and did I mention the award-winning 18-hole golf course?
The Algonquin Resort is the kind of place you need to visit for a few days, just to really check it off your bucket list, and it sets the perfect tone for staying in St. Andrews By-The-Sea. I’ve stayed at the hotel twice so far, and I always look forward to the next time I can visit again.
Soak it up, and enjoy one of Canada’s most beautiful ocean-side towns.