New Brunswick road trip: Fundy Coastal Drive | St. Andrews to Moncton

by W. Andrew Powell
Fundy Coastal Drive, New Brunswick road trip

New Brunswick is calling for a road trip filled with incredible, 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.

If this sounds like the perfect trip for you, the Fundy Coastal Drive route has suggestions on what to do, where to stay, and more, starting in the west and going to the east. You can, of course, reverse the trip by starting in Moncton, where you can fly in and rent a car, and finishing in St. Andrews.

This guide is part of a series of stories with ideas for New Brunswick road trips. Read the full New Brunswick road trip guide.

The road trip route and details

Following the coast, and the Bay of Fundy, offers one of the best tours you can take through New Brunswick. From the west, we’ll start in St. Andrews By The Sea, go on to Saint John, and St. Martins, followed by Sussex, Fundy National Park, Alma, and Moncton. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the full driving route.

Getting to New Brunswick: There are a number of options for your trip. You can fly into Saint John or Moncton, or drive from Quebec, Maine, or Halifax.

How long should you plan for this trip: Ideally plan for 7 days, but you can complete this route in as little as 3-4 days, depending on your pace, or extend your stay to explore each stop more. Most stops on this trip are 30 minutes to an hour apart, and the whole route is approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes of driving.

Day 1 – St. Andrews By-The-Sea

St. Andrews By-The-Sea

Arrive in St. Andrews By-The-Sea and check into the Algonquin Resort, or one of the nearby inns or bed and breakfasts. If you arrive by 1 PM you can visit the very scenic Kingsbrae Garden, or take a walk along the waterfront.

Depending on how much time you have on the first day, St. Andrews is an excellent place to plan a fishing trip, or go whale watching.

For dinner, try Braxton’s Restaurant, Rossmount Inn Restaurant, The Chandler Room, or the casual Clamdigger. Then go and enjoy the sunset views at the St. Andrews Blockhouse, or along Water Street.

Visit the St. Andrews website for more ideas and their latest news.

Day 2 – Saint John

Saint John's Kings Square
Saint John’s Kings Square

For golfers, book a tee time at the St. Andrews Golf Course, or families will enjoy the Huntsman Marine Science Centre with the array of local aquatic life, lobsters, and even seals. On your way out of town, stop by the beach at the end of Bar Road, and if you have time, explore Ministers Island. The road to Ministers Island is only open when the tides permit, so plan ahead.

Driving out of town, you’ll head to Saint John for the rest of the day. There are a number of hotels and inns in the city, but I recommend the Hilton Saint John, Delta Hotels by Marriott Saint John, or the Hampton Inn & Suites.

On your first day, explore Uptown Saint John, take a walk around Kings Square and and the Saint John City Market, stop to shop at the Container Village that’s filled with a variety of artisans and vendors, and then have dinner at Grannan’s Seafood, Saint John Ale House, or Churchill’s Pub & Steakhouse.

Finish off your day with a candy stop at Freak Lunchbox, or grab a whisky or cocktail at one of the city’s excellent bars, like Hopscotch Whisky Bar.

Day 3

Rockwood Park
Rockwood Park

Make your way to either Rockwood Park, part of the Stonehammer Geopark, or the Irving Nature Park for hiking and fresh air.

At Rockwood, you can bicycle, rent a boat on the lake, take the kids to the playground, or hike the forest. Irving Nature Park has a rugged beach nearby, as well as a number of routes through the forest, and scenic lookouts.

After your time walking, take in some of the city’s culture and history at Carleton Martello Tower, Fort Howe, Loyalist House, the Loyalist Burial Ground, or one of the many art galleries downtown.

Finish your day in Saint John, staying one more night, and enjoy more of the downtown atmosphere, have ice cream at Bella’s Traditional Ice Cream, and have a glass of wine at Happinez wine bar.

Day 4 – St. Martins

St. Martins sea caves
St. Martins sea caves

Leave for St. Martins after breakfast, an easy 45 minutes drive from Saint John. Plan to book well in advance for a stay at St. Martins Country Inn, Beach Street Inn, or the BayBaie B&B as these accommodations all book up quickly. Alternatively, you can also stay another day in Saint John and make the trip out to St. Martins and the area, or stay in Sussex.

At St. Martins, find a meal at your accommodations, or visit The Caves restaurant right beside the beach and sea caves. For the best experience at the caves, visit during low tide when you can walk out across the beach and to the caves themselves.

The area is quiet and relaxed, and it’s a great area to take a break, walk, and enjoy a slower pace on your road trip.

From St. Martins, it’s a very short drive to the Fundy Trail Parkway, where you can hike, walk along the beaches, see a waterfall, and drive right beside the ocean. The Fundy Trail has a number of lookouts, observation decks, and places where you can hike along the coast, or walk on the beach. It’s a short walk to Fuller Falls, while Walton Glen Gorge Falls are the most spectacular.

Day 5 – Fundy National Park

Fundy National Park
Fundy National Park

Depart St. Martins for Sussex, which is less than an hour away, enjoy lunch, have ice cream, and explore the town’s murals, or have a treat at Cobblers Lane Fudge Factory.

From there, visit Fundy National Park and the town of Alma for motels, inns, cottage rentals, and of course, hiking.

Anyone who loves the outdoors will love this area, and you can easily stop here for a couple of days if you have time. A night in the area is long enough to enjoy a hike though, and have a meal at Alma.

Fundy National Park has over 100 km of hiking and biking trails, you can go camping, there are over 25 water falls, and you can spot all kinds of animals in their natural habitat.

Cape Enrage is a short drive, too, where you can get more adventurous. A few activities include a zip line, rappelling, and fossil tours.

Day 6 – Moncton

Leave Fundy and Alma for Moncton, but stop on the way at Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick’s home to the iconic flowerpot islands and the world’s highest tides. The drive to Moncton is only an hour, so you can stop at Hopewell Cape for an hour or two, and still make it to Moncton by mid-day or the afternoon.

Once you arrive in Moncton, there are quite a few hotels in the area. A few suggestions include the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Moncton, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Moncton, Delta Hotels by Marriott Beausejour, Canvas Moncton, or Four Points by Sheraton.

For activities, the adults will want to explore Magnetic Hill Winery, kids will enjoy the zoo at Magnetic Hill, and Magic Mountain water park has water slides and a lazy river.

For the grown ups, Casino New Brunswick has good food, slot machines, gaming tables, as well as concerts and performers.

And for dinner, enjoy Tide & Boar, Cinta Ria Malaysian Restaurant, or Pump House.

Day 7 – Departure

Finish your road trip by discovering history and more at Musee Acadien or the Resurgo Place discovery centre, or get outdoors and have an adventure in the trees at Treego Moncton.

Finally, catch the Tidal Bore that happens every time the tides change. It’s a rustic, natural event, driven by the incredible tides of the Bay of Fundy.

Extend your stay

If you want to extend your stay in New Brunswick, Moncton is close to Shediac, Kouchibouguac National Park, the Bouctouche sand dunes, as well as Fredericton.

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.

Want to get a look at one of my trips? Watch my New Brunswick road trip video.

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

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