People are often surprised by all the fun and relaxation New Brunswick offers. From the beaches to the historic Fundy Trail. From walking on the ocean floor to ziplining across the Bay of Fundy. From relaxing in St. Andrews by-the-Sea to whale watching. There is something for families of all ages and travel styles.
NOTE: At the time of this trip, my kids were ages 4 and 8 years old. This itinerary was easy for us to manage, and these are all the kid-approved activities that we did.
New Brunswick with kids
We arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick around noon. After grabbing our bags, we picked up a rental car at the airport location.
Saint John City Market
We went right away to the Saint John City Market to pick up some delicious goodies. Everyone was hungry after traveling, and the market was a great stop to explore and get food to take back with us to the room.
With goodies in hand, we checked into the Saint John Hilton. I loved that we could access the shops of Market Square and the New Brunswick Museum right from the hotel. It didn’t rain while we were there, but this would be a great comfort on a rainy or snowy day, especially if you are traveling with kids like we were.
New Brunswick Museum
As we still had time before bed, we popped into the New Brunswick Museum, where we saw the Great Hall of Whales and learned more about Stonehammer Geopark. We ALL had a great time at the museum. Though we arranged the tour to be geared more for the kids, I had many questions and was fascinated by whale facts. I didn’t know how giant whales are in real life because I had never seen one or a replica up close before this trip.
The highlight for our 8-year-old daughter was dressing up in lab coats and putting together the skeleton of a porpoise. Our 4-year-old son was touching the baleen and listening to the sounds whales make. After the tour, we checked out the rest of the museum and then went up to the children’s area to make some whale crafts, and the kids had some free time to play on their own.
Uptown Saint John New Brunswick
After breakfast, we did a self-guided walking tour of Uptown Saint John.
- Highlights: go over to Fallsview Park (100 Fallsview Avenue) to see the phenomenon of the Reversing Rapids.
Full disclosure – yes, I think it’s worth going to see if you can catch the reversing rapids. We tried on two different trips and didn’t see it due to timing, but if you get there at the right time, I hear it’s quite a sight. Good luck!
You’ll want to get as much time in St. Andrews as possible, which is one hour from Saint John, especially if it’s a nice day. Head to Kingsbrae Garden – take some time to tour around the site: visit the children’s garden, the rose garden, and the sculpture garden, among many others, and learn about their kids summer programming!
Most of our time was spent in the edible garden & the children’s garden. The kids LOVED playing in and around the miniature houses. The Kingsbrae Garden offers a great variety of things to do with kids, outside of walking through the garden, including a fantastic little zoo. They also have a great café if you want to stop in for a bite. The cafe is more along the lines of wellness food, so check the menu to see if it’s something your kids will eat before making a reservation.
Enjoy the rest of the day exploring the streets, shops and history of downtown St. Andrews, or check-in and enjoy the amenities at Algonquin Resort. The Algonguin is one of the most happily situated places I’ve ever seen. Sitting at the top of a hill, overlooking the sea, and surrounded by beauty. It was hard not to immediately fall in love with the breathtaking beauty of The Algonquin.
While I was entranced by the beauty of the place, both inside and out, my kids were in love with the waterslide at the pool. We all spent a lot of time in the water. The outdoor pool was beautiful to look at, but we didn’t venture in. There was one day when it was very hot, and we could have stayed outside, but the kids really wanted to be indoors so they could use the waterslide.
This is an absolutely lovely and luxurious property with everything you need for the whole family, including a spa while at the same time being kid friendly.
I recommend checking out Jolly Breeze Tall Ship Whale Watching, a 3.5 hours whale watching excursion where the adults and the kids were entertained the entire time. The crew had some great kids’ activities; face painting, pirate costumes, boat steering, learning about sea animals and more.
At the end, the kids received a certificate and pirate coin. We did get to see two whales, plus seals and tons of jellyfish. Jolly Breeze is a great option for young kids because the activities will keep them entertained even if the sea creatures don’t come out to play on your visit.
Whale Watching Tip
I highly recommend that you dress warm and in layers (e.g. pants, a sweater/fleece and jacket) as the Bay can be much cooler than on land. The boat also has blankets and jackets on board, but plan ahead if you are wary of sharing items.
It’s always easier to take a layer off if you are too warm than to warm up. Plus, cold kids equals cranky kids on the boat.
For the afternoon there are many things you could do, like explore the town and check out some of the activities that the resort provides. For this trip, after a few days of go-go-go, I opted to chill with the 4-year-old at the pool while my husband and the 8-year-old went for a bike ride around town.
Tip: The hotel provides bikes that you can borrow during your stay.
If you are eager to explore more and take in everything, check out the Huntsman Fundy Discovery Aquarium. This is another great spot to walk on the ocean’s floor and also visit the many exhibits and touch tanks.
Bay of Fundy
You will need a whole day to take in the Fundy Trail. Pack a lunch or stop at the new cafe that was recently built along the trail. There are so many highlights to check out, but one of the newest is Walton Glen Gorge, which is described as New Brunswick’s Grand Canyon. It’s 1,000 feet across, 600 feet down and there’s a waterfall coming down the cliff face.
With the completion of the Fundy Trail, the gorge is now accessible via a short walk, as opposed to an eight hour hike, which is how hikers would get to this gem before. We have been on the Fundy trail on clear days and days when it called for rain, both were lovely.
Fundy Trail Parkway
When in St. Martins at low tide you must explore the sea caves because they are accessible by foot! Here’s a guide to help you plan your explorations.
Tip: Bring Watershoes or rain boots if it’s easy to do so.
Once you’ve had your fill of the Fundy Trail Parkway, drive to Alma to check into the Parkland Village Inn, a great spot with both wonderful staff and it is right on the Bay of Fundy.
Spend time at Cape Enrage – options include visiting the historic lighthouse, ziplining, rappelling or enjoying some delicious lunch at the Cape House Restaurant.
Note: there is a weight requirement for a lot of the activities here. If you have very young children, I would skip this activity. My daughter 8 was able to do the zip-line with us but the 4-year-old couldn’t. This was a daddy & daughter activity. The younger one & I walked around and explored the lighthouse. Another great activity that’s great for the whole family is the fossil tour.
Drive about 40 minutes from the hotel, to walk on the ocean floor at the Hopewell Rocks, which is a hit with everyone in our family. It also happens to be one of the most iconic parts of the Bay of Fundy.
If you have rain boots I recommend bringing them for this activity, because walking on the ocean floor can be muddy. There are paths you can take to avoid the mud but if you really want to explore some of the flowerpots and caves you’ll get muddy.
By the way, this is never an issue for the kids – they love it! I on the other hand find it’s a lot easier to clean up and get back in the car if our shoes aren’t all covered with mud.
There is a cafe with really good food and you can sit by the window or on the patio for some great views of the ocean and watch the tide going in and out.
Make your way to Residence Inn by Marriott Moncton for the night. I love this hotel because it has everything you need. For the last days of our trip, we wanted something where we could cook dinner and the hotel’s fully equipped kitchen made that easy. They also offer a continental breakfast.