It would come as a surprise to most people that eastern Canada has a tropical beach. Nestled between Quebec, Maine, and Nova Scotia, the Canadian province of New Brunswick is home to a rather unique attraction - Parlee Beach. This beach is famous for providing vacationers with the warmest saltwater swimming experience in the region. Here's what visitors can do at Parlee Beach.
What To Know About Parlee Beach
A part of the Parlee Beach Provincial Park, this destination has been crowded with tourists since at least the 1800s. Situated on the Acadian coast, there are two reasons why the water is so warm. Firstly, this patch of the sea is relatively shallow, which makes it easier to warm up under the sun. Secondly, the Gulf Stream, which originates near Florida, flows to the Acadian coast, bringing heated water from the south along with it.
The winter months, which often see snow and freezing temperatures, erode the sandy beach and its tropical character. Yet another casualty of the global sand shortage, Parlee Beach might not be there forever and owes its continued existence to the New Brunswick government replacing and replenishing the sand on its shores every year. Thanks to these efforts, no one has to miss out on the opportunity to picnic on the soft sand or build sandcastles.
The beach is a central part of the regional economy as the tourism that it attracts gives life to many businesses and nearby towns. Unfortunately, the beach has been shut down in the past due to contaminated water. That incident, as well as the most recent shutdown due to the pandemic, highlighted the economic and cultural importance of Parlee Beach. The contamination problem has been rectified since then, and the beach is safe to swim in again.
When To Visit Parlee Beach
It's clear that the only time to visit the beach for most convention purposes is in the summer. New Brunswick is still in eastern Canada, which means that the winters are severe. As a result, the water is far too cold to swim in and most of the restaurants and attractions are closed. However, for visitors interesting in seaside activities such as bird watching and wildlife photography, Parlee Beach can still be a fruitful destination. Additionally, for visitors interested in some quiet solitude, winter is a good time to visit as the beach can get crowded in the summer.
Parlee Beach Activities And Amenities
Since it is part of a provincial park, there are a lot of activities to do. Many visitors come from far away, so there are plenty of campgrounds and hotels to stay in. Additionally, visitors can explore several hiking trails, restaurants, and quaint towns in the area.
For visitors staying in the nearby town of Shediac, a fun way to get to the beach is by hiking the downtown Parlee Beach trail. This gravelly pathway begins in Shediac, passes through a stretch of woodlands, and ends up in a field next to the beach. Alternatively, for tourists on the beach itself, there is a sandy trail sandwiched between marshlands that provides an excellent opportunity for bird watching and seaside nature hiking. Shorebirds and waterfowl inhabit the surrounding groves and swamps.
The Parlee Beach trails are also perfect for biking. Visitors can rent a bicycle from Shediac, or bring their own, and enjoy the breeze and scenery on two wheels.
Most tourists end up at one particular restaurant that has become a staple for Parlee beachgoers. However, it's worth noting that almost all restaurants on the beach are closed in the winter, as the summer is the only time the beach is trafficked and the water is warm enough to swim in.
- Restaurant: Parlee Beach Restaurant.
- Address: 221 Parlee Beach Rd, Pointe-du-Chêne, Canada
- Recommended: Lobster rolls
- Price: $$
Of course, apart from restaurants, Parlee Beach provides a lot of facilities for picnickers. Visitors can pick up snacks and food from the nearby beach store and either hunker down on a picnic blanket or sit at one of the several picnic tables and shelters.
A popular way that visitors travel to the beach is by RV. To accommodate campers, the Parlee Beach Provincial Campground provides ample space, amenities, and proximity to the beach. The campground is open to visitors without RVs as well, and visitors are free to pitch tents, stay in their cars, or book rooms in the nearby lodges. There is a nominal fee for campers, mostly for access to amenities.
- Area: Parlee Beach Provincial Campground
- Address: 25 Gould Beach Road, Pointe-du-Chene, New Brunswick, Canada
- Amenities: Showers, bathrooms, RV chargers, grills, walking distance to the beach and restaurants
- Price: $
Beachgoers who are staying in the area would also want activities in the nighttime, as swimming after dark is not usually permitted. One of the more interesting attractions nearby is the Neptune Drive-in cinema. For the most part, everyone who visits Parlee Beach does so by car. The drive-in cinema is, therefore, a perfect activity after a long day of grilling, hiking in the woods, and lounging on the sunny beach. Like every attraction in the area, the cinema is only open in the summer.
- Name: Neptune Drive-in Cinema
- Address: 691 Main St, Pointe-du-Chêne, Canada
For the warmest waters and most tropical weather in Canada, Parlee Beach is the place to go. Whether it's in the summer or winter, for one day or several, there are plenty of things to enjoy.