Vastly underrated and underappreciated, the westernmost of Canada’s Maritime provinces - New Brunswick - is a cultural haven, but nevertheless far too many travelers whizz through the region en route to Nova Scotia from Quebec and vice versa. New Brunswick is one of the four Atlantic Provinces of Canada, and, interestingly, it's the one and only bilingual province in Canada - where both English and French are the official languages. As such, French and English culture and tradition both abound, offering visitors a culturally immersive experience when exploring the province's stunning landscapes, historic cities, and pretty seaside towns.
And since there are only around 750,000 inhabitants living in this area - one that's roughly the size of Ireland - there's ample space for exploration and plenty to do and see without suffering overbearing crowds. So what exactly should one consider when visiting New Brunswick? Out of all there is on offer - from scenic hiking and leisurely camping to city adventures and energetic outdoor pastimes - the following are some of the most fun, yet underrated things to do in New Brunswick.
9 Travel Through Time At Kings Landing
Kings Landing is a fascinating historic attraction that exhibits what life in New Brunswick was like throughout the 19th century. It's 300 acres of open-air museum, home to over 70,000 unique artifacts all on-show to curious guests. A day out here typically involves spectacles from costumed historical characters, such as carpenters, blacksmiths, grocers, and millwrights, as well as farm animals, horseback riding, and interactive activities that are always a hit with the kids. There's also an impressive summer theater stage, an agricultural hall, and plenty of shopping and dining opportunities on the premises too.
8 Be Bamboozled By Magnetic Hill
Magnetic Hill has left people speechless for almost a century. While it may look underwhelming from afar, this wacky attraction is one of New Brunswick's most fascinating features for one baffling reason that defies logic: it's an incredible optical illusion. In the 1930s when vehicles became more common, drivers noticed a strange phenomenon occurring when they drove over the mound of land; when lifting a foot off the brake at the bottom of the hill, it appears - much to the driver's astonishment - that the vehicle rolls backward uphill.
The hill is in fact a mystery spot where an uphill venture is a portion of a larger downhill incline, which the easily confused human brain misinterprets, causing an unnerving illusion of the eyes. This "glitch in the Matrix" result is down to the way the hill's slopes are located and blended with a lack of a horizon, which causes confusion and an unusual production of things appearing as if they are rolling uphill when actually, they're going downhill. Interested travelers who want to experience Magnetic hill - also known as "Gravity Hill" - will know they're close when they see the enormous magnet sign.
7 Visit Magnetic Hill Zoo And Magic Mountain Water Park
Just 15 minutes outside of Moncton city is Magnetic Hill Zoo and Magic Mountain Water Park. With over 400 animals, it's the biggest zoo in Atlantic Canada and was actually placed fourth on a list of Canada’s top ten zoos in 2008. There's a wealth of creatures to observe, including cougars, zebra, tigers, lions, black jaguars, black bears, reindeer, lemurs, monkeys, and lots of different farm animals too.
In contrast, Magic Mountain Water Park offers an immensely fun day out. Popular with kids and adults alike, the park boasts 10 slides and a myriad of watery attractions, including a lazy river, a 400-foot enclosed tube slide, a skybox capsule slide, a wave pool, twister slides, and even the awesome Kamikaze slide where slip and sliding guests can reach speeds up to 60 kilometers per hour. Visitors can even make the park part of an epic weekend away since there are tons more nearby to enjoy, including mini-golf, a go-kart track, paddle and bumper boats, and lovely butterfly gardens.
6 Food And Ferry Journeys In Saint John
Saint John is Canada’s oldest incorporated city and is connected to Nova Scotia by ferry, offering a convenient trip option to those who don't want to drive. The city used to be industrial once upon a time, however, in modern times it's now well known as a fantastic food and cultural hub, where the old-world streets are lined with historic buildings and gorgeous architecture.
The charming city also boasts a beautiful harbor - The Saint John Harbor - providing an idyllic waterfront tourist spot overflowing with shops, galleries, and perfectly-situated restaurants. Another highlight in the city is the historic Saint John City Market - the oldest continuously operating farmers' market in North America's entirety and a bustling National Historic Site where local people go for coffee, lunch, fresh meat and produce, and even handmade crafts and knickknacks.
5 Enjoy A Unique Shediac Lobster Cruise
Seafood abounds in Atlantic Canada, and one of the region's most sought-after delicacies is lobster. Besides in a restaurant, what more authentic a way is there to tuck into fresh, sumptuous Canadian-caught lobster? How about eating it out at sea? Well, one can do exactly that at one of the most highly rated lobster hotspots in North America - the quaint seaside town of Shediac, which is aptly renowned as being the “Lobster Capital of the World".
The town has a rich lobster fishing industry, and visitors can experience it first-hand by opting for a specially tailored lobster tour - an interesting three-hour-long journey departing from the wharf in Pointe-du-Chêne, which comprises a circle all around Shediac Bay. Throughout the tour, people can learn about the history of New Brunswick's lobster industry and are even taught how to cook and eat lobster in the Acadian way. Not a fan of seafood? No problem - the tour usually offers BBQ chicken to those who don't fancy sampling any lobster.
4 Discover The World's Largest And Quirkiest Roadside Attractions
New Brunswick is home to an array of giant roadside installations that make for some brilliant photo opportunities. One of particular note - located in the aforementioned town Shediac - is the planet's largest lobster. First made in 1989 to commemorate the town's crustacean industry, this incredible feature is gigantic steel, concrete, and fiberglass lobster that serves as the town's beloved mascot. The lobster - complete with enormous claws where photo-hungry guests like to perch for a picture - is a massive 35 feet-long, and is situated at the town's entrance where it greets people as they come in.
Another superb super-sized attraction is the world's largest ax. At 49 feet tall, the stupendous structure is seven tons of steel and has been placed in a concrete stump that’s 33 feet in diameter. It was first erected in 1991 to mark the village of Nackawic being crowned the Forestry Capital of Canada. Now, it's a famous photo-op, and also acts as a stage for live events, especially during summer.
3 Discover The World Famous Hopewell Rocks
The renowned Hopewell Rocks are one of New Brunswick's most famous spots, where dramatic tidal changes can be witnessed in all their glory. It's also where the spectacular flowerpot rock formations steal the show, rising out of the sea like skyscrapers formed by the power of Mother Nature and her mesmeric high tides that shape the coastline. Perfect for photography and nature-lovers, these extraordinary rocky formations are a sight to behold, and those who're a little more adventure inclined can get up close by kayaking around them.
2 Adventure At The Bay Of Fundy And Its Surrounding Spots
The Bay of Fundy is one of New Brunswick's spotlight natural attractions. It's home to some of the planet's highest tides, which are formed by over 100 billion tons of seawater, rising up to 12 meters high twice every day. And with such powerful tides come dramatic coastline and landscapes that have been carved out by the ever-changing seas over thousands upon thousands of years. Visitors who explore the bay and its surrounding areas are treated to unbeatable adventure, with such activities like kayaking around Hopewell Rocks, whale watching from St. Andrews, and rappelling down Cape Enrage being some of the very best activities to lose oneself in.
1 Explore Moncton And Its Nearby Attractions
Moncton is the largest city in New Brunswick, yet despite being so it doesn't see many tourists. It's nicknamed the "hub city," which it acquired thanks to its location at the center of the Maritime Provinces, as well as being conveniently close to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
Visitors who take the time to discover this underrated city will find lots of entertaining things to do, such as visiting the Moncton Museum, and the Transportation Discovery Centre, in addition to the intriguing 1920s Capitol Theatre where live concerts are often held. Other great nearby spots worthy of the to-do list include Parlee Beach Provincial Park, as well as other previously featured attractions on the list, such as Magnetic Hill, Hopewell Rocks, and the famous town of Shediac well-loved for its prolific lobster industry.