Spring, summer and fall are perfect day trip season in Atlantic Canada and especially in areas that are prone to lots of snow and unpredictable weather in the winter months. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of activities to do in the winter, but we tend to keep our winter activities a little more local in order to avoid disappointment in case of poor driving conditions.
Since our starting point is always Bathurst, New Brunswick I am basing all of my day trips with Bathurst as a starting point – Keep in mind most of these ideas will be equally accessible and possible with pretty much anywhere in the Chaleur / Restigouche regions (and even the Acadian Peninsula in most cases) in northern New Brunswick as your starting point.
Let’s hit the road!
For the Hiker
I have done some crazy hikes in my day (Le Tour du Mont Albert as an example…) and no, I am not an avid hiker, but I do love a challenge and a rewarding view that you can only see at the end of the hike! We are so lucky to have a variety of terrain in northern New Brunswick ranging from wetlands to apalachain mountain ranges with Provincial Parks and well kept trails throughout!
Extreme Hiker – You will certainly want to check out the 140km Nepisiguit Mi’kmaq Trail. Obviously this is not a day trip suggestion but there are sections that would make excellent day adventures; especially around Pabineau Falls and Mount Carleton.
Mountain Hikes – Sugarloaf Park is home to Sugarloaf Mountain where you will get to enjoy a walk around the base of the mountain or venture to hike up. The view at the top is worth the climb, especially in the fall! Secondly, Mount Carleton / Mount Sagamook are only a short drive from Bathurst making them great day trip destinations. I’m sad to admit that I am yet to climb either of these mountains but my co-worker has climbed both recently and has them high on her recommendation list. Mount Carleton is more of a family friendly mountain to climb even though the hike is a longer one, where Mount Sagamook is a shorter but steeper climb making it a bit more challenging. The views from 3/4 the way up Mount Sagamook are said toe be pretty amazing and you even get a view of a heart shaped island – how cool is that?!
|Mount Sagamook – Photo from N. Downing
Family Friendly Hikes – These kinds of hikes are my favourite since you can be assured not to have sore muscles the following day and they still offer beautiful scenery along the way or at the end of the trails. Kempt Falls is by far my favourite family friendly hike in our region, while Daley Point Nature Reserve offers a variety of walking trails with gorgeous views of the Bay of Chaleur. French Fort Cove is on my list of trails to hike; I hear great things and love any excuse to visit Miramichi so hopefully we get there soon!
For the Foodie
Seafood! Home of the best lobster in the world (in my opinion) you simply can’t go wrong with anything seafood related in northern New Brunswick. Of course, if you’re planning a day trip around food you are going to want to make sure you hit up the hot spots and get the best of the best. Here are a few of my suggestions that are well located to take in other attractions while you’re on the road… La Terrasse a Steve (Miscou Island), Le Moulin a Café (Charlo), Pabineau Seafood Restaurant (Pabineau First Nation), Atlantic Host (Bathurst) Side Note: Go here for Breakfast before you leave town!!, Café Europa (Campbellton), Culligan’s Canteen (Belledune), Fresco (Bathurst) & last but not least the newest restaurant I simply cannot wait to try Taste the Place Restaurant (Campbellton).
Ice Cream – I know what you’re thinking… you can get ice cream anywhere there is simply no need to make a day trip out of it. Well, that’s where you’re wrong! You can get ice cream but you can’t get it dipped in salted caramel or caramel coconut or Belgian chocolate (that actually comes from Belgium!) just anywhere – for the best of the best make the Bon Ami Ice Cream parlour your destination. While you’re there check out the lighthouse in Dalhousie, the Inch Arran Park and even the Recreaplex on a rain day. Ice cream is good no matter what the weather!
For the Waterfall / Lighthouse Chaser
Northern New Brunswick is an almost entirely coastal region so finding waterfalls and lighthouses could keep you busy for days let alone one day! Here are a few of my favourites to visit:
Lighthouses – Miscou Island Lighthouse, Grand-Anse Lighthouse and last but certainly not least the Dalhousie Lighthouse. The Dalhousie lighthouse holds a special place in my heart because of the love story my grandmother has told me for years about she and my grandfather arriving at dusk so they could dance under the stars next to the lighthouse while he sang “…when you are in love it’s the loveliest night of the year…”.
|Photo from dalhousie.ca
You can very easily stay in Bathurst for the day and head to Youghall Beach Park where you’ll find boardwalks, sandy beaches, views of the marina and a lifeguard on duty. Youghall is great but there are so many other beaches to explore make sure you head out and see the sights, collect sea glass and enjoy beach walks with different views. you will likely be surprised just how different the views are from beach to beach as you make your way from the Acadian Peninsula to Restigouche County.
Since I grew up in Belledune and lived there (on the beach) until a year ago beaches in Belledune will always be at the top of my recommendation list. Closely following are Grand-Anse and Beresford beaches. They both have great views, are pretty quiet compared to Youghall, but none beat the views of the Gaspé coast, Port of Belledune and tranquility of the beaches in Belledune.
For the Festival Junkie
Culture – Northern New Brunswick situated on traditional Mi’kmaq territory and is home to many Acadians as well as Irish, British and Scottish descendants. The mix make for an amazingly diverse and integrated society where we are proud to celebrate our heritage. A few festivals to check out include the Pabineau First Nation PowWow, Acadian Day Festival, Acadie Love, Saint-Quentin Western Festival & Miramichi Irish Festival.
|Photo credit: @facadien on Instagram
Music – If music and entertainment is your thing there are a few festivals you are not going to want to miss! Blues de le Baie & Hospitality Days & Campbellton Bluegrass Festival.
Family Fun – All of the festivals mentioned above have a family fun element to them but these ones are my favourite and cater to the entire family (from toddlers to seniors) just a little bit more than the rest; there really is something for everyone from face painting and bouncy castles to live music and dancing to card parties and grocery bingos. Don’t miss Belledune Days, Festival des Rameurs, Charlo Summer Splash, Salmon Fest, Dalhousie Bon Ami Festival & Beresford Festi-Plage.
*Don’t be worried if you missed many of these festivals this year…
PIN THIS POST and start planning your summer for next year!*For the Rain Delay
Rainy days aways seem to be the ones the stump us all the most, especially in areas with so many outdoor activities at our fingertips, but rainy days can offer just as much fun and just as many day trip opportunities. Taking the long way around to the final destination is always our choice on a rainy day – the scenery is still fantastic in the rain and a little more time in the car doesn’t hurt. Side Note: From Bathurst drive to Tracadie and then head to Miramichi for an entirely different drive than most typically take.
About a year ago the Mr. and I went on our very first staycation (a trip you can easily do in a day trip from Bathurst) and it rained the whole time. We didn’t let the rain hold us back! Instead we took advantage of little shops, farmer’s markets and other things we wouldn’t have done had the weather been beautiful. Here are a few suggestions to keep the whole family occupied during the rain delay (not including all of the foodie options above of course!): Shippagan Aquarium & Marine Centre, Dalhousie Recreaplex, Bathurst Bowlarama, Restigouche River Experience Centre and of course you can shop the boutiques throughout northern New Brunswick.
|rain or shine 🙂
No matter what the weather or the company you keep there is a day trip to suit you and keep your group exploring. I’m sure some of you will have suggestions to add to my list and some of you may be wanting even more suggestions – send your comments and questions my way; I’d be happy to help you 🙂
My shoes for that: Espadrille Sling Back Sandals (with some sneakers in the trunk for hiking!)
As always, all opinions are entirely my own.
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