Plan the perfect New Brunswick road trip | When, where, what to do, and route ideas

by W. Andrew Powell

New Brunswick is a beautiful, welcoming province to explore, and it’s a charming destination for your next road trip. To help plan the perfect trip, I’ve put together some of my top travel ideas, tips, and suggestions.

From planning your stops, route ideas, activities, and a few must-see places, to when to visit, these are my top tips for your New Brunswick road trip.

When to visit New Brunswick

Fownes Head Lookout at Fundy Trail Parkway
Fownes Head Lookout at Fundy Trail Parkway

There is no bad time to visit New Brunswick, but to get the most out of your trip, summer is the best season with the most activities and the best weather.

From June until the end of September, New Brunswick has so much to offer, and it’s the best time to get outdoors.

You can go whale watching, swimming, biking, and hiking. Or why not try kayaking or rafting? Or just take it easy and get a tan on a beach.

Every season in New Brunswick offers something unique, all year long, and early fall is also beautiful, but the great outdoors is really beautiful in the summer.

Read more about when to visit New Brunswick, with details on fall, winter, and spring.

How long should I plan to visit

Like any great vacation, you can tailor your trip around how much vacation you have, but at the very least, I would plan on two days for every area that you want to visit.

If you want to explore as much as possible, travelling between a number of areas, and staying overnight in each destination, you should plan on around 7 to 10 days to explore.

That would give you a leisurely trip between most of southern New Brunswick, including the major cities (outside of Miramichi and Edmundston), along the Bay of Fundy, and north east towards Shediac and along the Northumberland Strait.

If you only had 4 or 5 days, for instance, you could explore the Saint John area, plus St. Andrews By-The-Sea and St. Martins, or Sussex and Fundy National Park. Or perhaps Moncton, Shediac, and Kouchibouguac. Otherwise, road trip guides below break down the suggested number of days for each route.

How to get to New Brunswick

On the road in New Brunswick
On the road in New Brunswick

There are three ways to get to New Brunswick: you can drive, you can fly, or you can take a ferry from Nova Scotia.

For drivers with enough time to get from another province or state into New Brunswick, it’s an easy trip from Quebec, Maine, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia.

Within Canada, you can drive the Trans Canada Highway, and it’s a 15 hour drive to Saint John from Toronto, as one example, and it’s around a 9 hour drive from Montreal, or a 5 hour drive from Halifax.

Or you can choose to fly into one of the three main airports: Moncton, Fredericton, or Saint John. Halifax is also a good destination to fly into and then drive from there.

If you plan to make drive the entire trip you will save on flights and car rentals, if you already own a car, but you will need extra time for the drive in and out of the province.

Read the full guide with tips and suggestions on getting to New Brunswick.

Where you need to visit in New Brunswick

St. Andrews By-The-Sea
St. Andrews By-The-Sea

New Brunswick’s largest three cities–Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton–offer a lot of culture, great places to stay, art galleries, and a lot more.

And the rural areas and small towns nearby offer beautiful, scenic spaces that are authentically filled with east coast charm.

A few of the top highlights include:

Fredericton – The Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Taproom Trail, Boyce Farmers Market, bicycle tours, go paddling on the Wolastoq/Saint John River.

Saint John – The Saint John City Market, see the Reversing Falls, take a hike, bike, or boat at Rockwood Park, shop Uptown Saint John and the Container Village, and walk along the ocean at Irving Nature Park.

Moncton – Magnetic Hill Zoo, Centennial Park, Magic Mountain SplashZone, see the Tidal Bore, explore history at Musee Acadian, or try your luck at Casino New Brunswick.

Along the Trans Canada Highway, explore Hartland, where you can drive across the world’s largest covered bridge, and near Saint John you can visit St. Andrews By-The-Sea, an idyllic sea-side town with outstanding restaurants, and the Algonquin Resort.

Read the full guide for more ideas and to learn about other highlights around New Brunswick.

Planning your road trip route

Uptown Saint John
Uptown Saint John

Now that you’ve thought about where you want to go and what you want to do, there are fantastic drives to see a lot that the province has to offer.

Thanks to New Brunswick’s great divided highway throughout most of the province, it’s generally between 1 and 2 hours to drive between many major points in southern N.B. For instance, Saint John to Moncton is around 2 hours, and it’s 2 hours from Moncton to Fredericton, while it’s only 1 hour from Fredericton to Saint John.

So you can do all three cities in about 5 hours, making it a breeze to split it up over 3 or 4 days, and many of the other top activities are close to each of the cities.

Here are my top road trip route suggestions, broken down with stops, with recommendations on where to stay on these routes, and more.

Fundy Coastal Drive

Explore coastal views, great food, hiking, and culture, starting in St. Andrews By-The-Sea, and taking you to Saint John, around the Bay of Fundy, and ending in Moncton. Read the full road trip guide.

Other upcoming guides include:

  • The Long Way Around: Hartland – Fredericton – Moncton – Shediac – Fundy – Saint John – Saint Andrews
  • Rural Routes: Fredericton – Saint John River – Sussex
  • Parks Tour: Kouchibouguac – Bouctouche – Shediac – Fundy – Rockwood
  • Quebec to Halifax: Hartland – Fredericton – Moncton

More information

Looking for festivals in New Brunswick? Visit the Tourism New Brunswick website.

For more information on planning your trip you should also visit Fredericton Tourism, Discover Saint John, and Experience Moncton.

Get a preview of some of my favourite highlights in New Brunswick: watch my road trip video below.

Looking for more travel stories? Visit our Canadian Travel Guide for ideas across the country.

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