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Free Things To Do in New Brunswick

Are you a nature lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or an art and history lover? Whatever excites you, New Brunswick has something for travellers within all budgets. With its many cultural attractions, natural scenic places and well-maintained hiking trails, there are numerous free things to do in New Brunswick.

Whale tail emerges from body of water in New Brunswick as sun rises

With all New Brunswick has to offer, it can be challenging to know the top things to include on your itinerary. Canadian Train Vacations, a group of Canadian insiders, help travellers plan their trips to Canada. The following list includes some amazing things to do in New Brunswick for free. Read on to learn more about the 19 fantastic things to do in New Brunswick without spending a dime.

1. Reversing Falls Rapids

Visit this rare and exciting natural phenomenon at the Reversing Falls Rapid! You will witness the river reserving its direction between tides. There are two opportunities to see this each day with tidal cycles of two alternative high tides and low tides. (The tides change every 12 hours.)

The whirlpools, rapids, and small waterfalls flow in opposite directions during the incoming and outgoing tides. The sea level falls four meters below the riverbed during the low tide. Whereas, during the high tide, the sea level rises four meters above the river. Get a perfect view of this phenomenon from the several rooftop observation decks that allow visitors to access it free of charge.

Videos and other interactive displays explain the geology behind this unique phenomenon. The Falls is open throughout the year, at all times of the day, but do check the tidal timings to view this phenomenon. There is free parking at the Fallsview and Wolastoq lots. You can also take the public bus no.1 to the Bridge Road Station.

Tip: Remember to take your binoculars for the best viewing experience.

Water courses in Reversing Falls Rapids river in Saint John, New Brunswick

2. Irving Nature Park

Just 5 miles from Saint John is an amazing natural wonder, Irving Nature Park, which provides excellent views of the Bay of Fundy. See 600 acres of vast bio-diversity from the boardwalk. It crosses salty marshlands, lush green forests and mud flats, ending in the rocky shoreline.

Nature and wildlife enthusiasts will have a fantastic day, viewing more than 250 species of migratory birds. In the park, you many be able to see wildlife like whales and harbor seals from the Seal Observation Deck.

Irving Nature Park is also excellent for family picnics, especially during the summer. It offers all the picnic necessities like a barbecue grills and picnic tables. There is also a special children's forest with mazes formed with cedar hedges.

The park is open to the public from early May until mid-October, between 8 am to 8 pm. Free on-site parking facilities are available. With an array of free activities to do, Irving Nature Park is one of the top free things to do in New Brunswick.

Trees along rocky lookout point facing cove near Saint John, southern New Brunswick

3. Saint Martin Sea Caves

The Sea Caves are one of the natural wonders created by the repeated high and low tides of the Bay of Fundy. The tides have carved caves into the soft red sandstone cliffs. The multi-colored layers of diagonal stripes along these rocks indicate the 250 million-year-old land formation.

Explore these caverns during high and low tides. They are under the water during high tide and can be explored via Kayaks from St. Martin's village. During low tides, you can walk through a small stream to explore the caves. This is one of the top things to do for free in New Brunswick.

Tides from Bay of Fundy reach eroded red Sandstone Cave opening at St. Martins sea caves in Bay View, New Brunswick

4. Rockwood Park

Enjoy scenic nature and many adventurous activities just two miles from Saint John at Rockwood Park. Visit the park during the warmer season to enjoy water activities like fishing, swimming, and kayaking. Hiking enthusiasts can also trek the 30-mile well-maintained trails. Enjoy adventure activities like ice skating, skiing, sleigh rides, and snowshoeing during the colder season. The pet-friendly park also houses a dog park, where your furry friends can be let off leash.

The park is open to visitors throughout the year, and entry is free 24 hours, seven days a week. That said, certain park amenities, such as the zoo and golf course, do require an entrance fee and operate specific seasonal hours.

Take the No.4 bus to Arrow Walk Road Stop. You can also take your car, and the park provides free parking.

5. Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site

One of the oldest buildings in New Brunswick, Carleton Martello Tower, is one of Canada's nine surviving coastal forts. It is a National Historic Site, an example of the British defense structures in the country. Construction of the round tower started during the war of 1812 but was not completed until 1815, when the war was over.

The 30-foot-tall Carleton Martello Tower showcases a restored powder magazine, barracks room, and other historical displays. Apart from the interactive exhibits and the British architecture, it also offers panoramic views of Saint John.

The tower is open for free throughout the year, 24 hours, seven days a week. The museum and gift shops are open from mid-July to early September. You can reach the tower by bus No. 15 or by car. Free parking space is provided at the on-site parking lot.

6. King's Square

With greenery and several historical monuments, King's Square, in Saint John, is designed in the shape of the British Union Flag. A bandstand at the center of the square with a copper roof and metal framework was built in memory of King Edward VII. The bandstand hosts several free outdoor events on selected days. The park is one of the best picnic spots in the city.

Located in the heart of Saint John, more than ten bus lines stop near the square. Free street parking is available around the square for comfortable access if you are driving a car.

King Edward VII Memorial Bandstand landmark, in illuminated King's Square, located in the city of Saint John

7. Roosevelt Campobello International Park

Owned, operated, and maintained by the Governments of the USA and Canada, this international park is located on Campobello Island in New Brunswick. The park used to be the summer residence of then-US president Franklin D. Roosevelt. With cobble beaches and rocky shores, you will be amazed at the park's ecology.

Symbolizing the international cooperation between Canada and the USA, the park is run with the financial support offered by both countries. The 2,800-acre park is home to numerous cottages. The 34-room Roosevelt's cottage is a major attraction.

Roosevelt Campobello International Park is open from May to October from 10 am to 6 pm Atlantic. You can enjoy a guided tour of Roosevelt's cottage and the other cottages. If you are a history lover, listen to the place's historical significance over tea. Entry to the park and the Roosevelt cottage and car parking is free.

Grounds of Franklin Roosevelt's summer cottage residence near Bay of Fundy on Campobello Island, Welshpool

8. Saint John City Market

The Saint John City Market, with its inverted ship's keel-shaped roof, is an iconic building with boutiques, restaurants, and pubs. It also houses a three-storey atrium, the New Brunswick Museum, and a library.

Located on the waterfront, the market is one of the best places for an casual summer day. You can shop, eat, drink and enjoy numerous activities. Several free events are also organized at the atrium during the winter festive seasons.

Entry into the market is free from 6 am to 2 am. Do confirm seasonal operating hours. Parking is free, and you can also take the numerous city buses.

Shopper in old traditional farmers market with structured roof rafters and Mounted Moosehead in Saint John City Market

9. Tidal Bore

This astounding natural phenomenon occurs along the Petticodiac River in Moncton and Riverview in New Brunswick. During the changing tides at the Bay of Fundy, the gushing waters from the rising tide run over the otherwise calm Petticodiac river. The height of the waves can vary drastically between 3 to 60cm. The waves are stronger during full moons.

Two tidal bores occur daily, and you can witness the drastic difference at high and low tide times. At low tide, you can see the river bottom, whereas you can see how the river changes within an hour of tidal bore.

Check the Tidal Bore Monctol arrival times online or at the Tourist Information Centre at the Chocolate River Factory.

Rising tide of Bay of Fundy causes natural phenomenon, tidal bore, to occur pushing back water in muddy river's flow in Moncton

10. Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market

One of Canada's top 10 community markets, Boyce Farmers Market is home to over 350 local farmers, food producers, and artisans from the local community. With shops spread over two huge market halls and the surrounding open area, you can shop for vegetables, meat, dairy products, and other local produce.

Cheerfu shoppers holding fresh produce converse with vendor at rustic Fredericton Boyce Farmers' Market

11. Shediac's Giant Lobster

The structure is a tribute to the lobster fishing industry in Shediac, the Lobster Capital of the World. It is an 11 m long, 5 m tall, 90-tonne concrete structure of a lobster. Designed by the Canadian artist Winston Bronnum, the giant lobster is the world's biggest lobster scupture. A staircase on the pedestal allows people to climb up to have their pictures taken.

With 500,000 visitors annually, it is one of the most-visited roadside attractions in New Brunswick.

Flags fly by massive lobster sculpture monument representing the community's fishing industry in Shediac, New Brunswick

12. Centennial Park

Originally known as the Parkton Nature Park, Centennial Park is a 94-hectare lush forest-cum-recreational space. It houses various Airforce displays like the CF-100 Canuck Fighter Jet, M4A3 Sherman Tank, the anchor from the HMCS Magnificent, and CNR Locomotive.

The park is open throughout the year, offering season-specific activities. If you visit during the summer, you can access the children's splash park, Centennial Dog Park, Artificial Turf Sports field, event zones, and other outdoor activities.

You can look forward to cross-country skiing, tobaggan hills, snowshoeing, and outdoor skating during winter.

13. Grand Falls Gorge

It is a 75-foot waterfall on the St. John river, the waterfalls and gorge are popular attractions. A walking trail offers a breathtaking view of the falls and the gorge. You can also take in the scenic beauty of the gorge from a zipline, but there is a charge for that.

Water rushes down jagged and rocky gorge located beside lookouts in Grand Falls, New Brunswick

14. Daly Point Nature Reserve

At the edge of Chaleur Bay in Bathurst, the Daly Point Nature Reserve is a bliss for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. It is a haven for biodiversity, with marshes, an Acadian Forest, and wooded plots. Numerous trails link all these varied habitats.

The park offers exciting activities like birdwatching, plant identification, and moonlight snowshoeing. Wildlife enthusiasts, especially bird watchers, swarm this natural reserve to spot rare birds and rare butterfly species. "Blooms, Birds, and Butterflies" is a guided tour of the flora and fauna to help you understand the area's rich biodiversity.

Children walk on nature preserve centre's wood plot stair network in area filled with trees in Bathurst

15. Killarney Lake Park Trail

Located a 10-minute drive from the Fredericton city center, the Killarney Lake Park features 1200 acres of natural landscape and Acadian forest. It offers 4-km of multi-use trails and many more recreational facilities.

The main trail takes you around the lake, crossing its beaches, taking around 55 minutes to complete. You can also extend your hike and explore the woods. In winter, these trails are converted to use for cross-country skiing.

16. French Fort Cove

The Nature reserve is located in Miramichi, New Brunswick, and is home to numerous hiking and biking trails. Explore the scenic nature park by hiking or mountain biking around the park. You can choose between easy or challenging trails depending on your level of expertise.

Woman soars across park while ziplining in historical French Fort Cove Nature Park in Miramichi located in the Canadian Maritimes

17. Pabineau Falls

This series of huge rapids is only accessible through a 5.6 km in-and-out trail. Not just Pabineau Falls, but the hike itself makes for a memorable excursion, due to the area's scenic beauty.

Much of the hike is considered easy, as it is primarily flat, but you will cross a suspended bridge and use a guide rope for hiking a steep section. Most consider the view rewarding.

Man stands by crystal clear and coursing turquoise river waters of Pabineau Falls, in the Chaleur Region, near Bathurst

18. St. Michael's Basilica

One of Canada's largest churches, St. Michael's Basilica, is located on a hill in Miramichi in New Brunswick, overlooking the Miramichi River. Designed in a neo-gothic style, the facade and the interiors are breathtakingly beautiful. When crossing the Centennial Bridge on the Miramichi river, you get a fantastic view of the church.

The highlights here are its green copper roof, Bishop's Palace, and its great bells. Italian marbles with veined panels adorn the interior of the church. Visit St. Michael's Basilica to take in its grand architecture.

Interior of church from with intricate ceiling and windows

19. World's Largest Axe

Standing majestically tall in Nackawik, New Brunswick, the 15 m tall axe is the world's largest axe, and stands embedded in a concrete stump. It weighs over 55 tonnes, and the axe head is 7 m wide. Located on the St. John River waterfront, it offers perfect picture opportunities.

The structure was constructed to represent the importance of forests and their contribution to the town's livelihood. It also serves as a great place for outdoor gatherings and events.

Where to Stay in New Brunswick, Canada?

People visiting New Brunswick have great accomidation options for all budgets. Here are some of the best places to stay and enjoy in New Brunswick.

  • Inn at Whale Cove Cottages, Grand Manan
    Stay at the traditional, rustic, wooden bungalows at Grand Manan. Explore numerous activities like hiking, kayaking, whale-watching, and beach-combing nearby.
  • Teardrop, Fundy National Park
    Stay at Fundy National Park's reserved site in an unusually structured teardrop dwelling. The water-droplet-shaped room is unique and will make your trip memorable.
  • Treehouse Camping, Miramichi
    Sleep in a treehouse on River Black and enjoy the aerial views. This sustainable option conserves electricity and other resources.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the three things New Brunswick is known for?

New Brunswick is known for its natural scenic places and small-town living. The three top attractions of the province are beaches, seafood, and beautiful forests filled with wildlife.

What is the most visited place in New Brunswick?

The Bay of Fundy, with the world's highest tides, is the most visited place in New Brunswick.

Is New Brunswick, Canada, worth visiting?

New Brunswick is known for its lush green forests, beautiful oceanfront views, and rivers. People who love nature, wildlife, and beautiful landscapes must visit this province.

What is New Brunswick, Canada, known for?

Of all the amazing things in New Brunswick, it is known globally for its highest and wildest tides.

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