20 Best Sights in The Acadian Coast, New Brunswick

Acadian Festival

Fodor's choice

This two-week celebration of Acadian culture is held in Caraquet during the first two weeks of August. In the Tintamarre, costumed participants parade noisily through the streets; the Blessing of the Fleet, a colorful and moving ceremony that's usually held on the first Sunday of the festival, eloquently expresses the importance of fishing to the Acadian economy and way of life. Alongside these events is a schedule of concerts, theater, storytelling, poetry, and visual arts.

Kouchibouguac National Park

Fodor's choice

The word Kouchibouguac (Kou-she-boo-gwack) means "river of the long tides" in the Mi'Kmaq language, and this natural wilderness park consists of sandy beaches, dunes, bogs, salt marshes, lagoons, and freshwater, and is home to an abundance of birds. It is also a Dark Sky Preserve, so when the bird-watching is over for the day, stargazing can take over. The visitor center (open mid-May–mid-October) features information and interpretive exhibits. Kellys Beach is supervised and has facilities. There are more than 60 km (37 miles) of trails for biking and hiking in summer and for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snow walking, and kick sledding in winter. The forests and peat bogs can be explored along 10 nature trails, each of which has a parking lot. There are lots of nature-interpretation programs, and you can canoe, kayak, and picnic or rent bikes and boats. In summer there are Voyageur Canoe trips, paddling to a seal colony while your interpreter recounts tales of Mi'Kmaq and Acadian culture. Other programs include storytelling, Mi'Kmaq dances, and outdoor theater. Reserve ahead for one of the 311 campsites.

Parlee Beach Provincial Park

Fodor's choice

The warmest salt water in Canada and a 3-km (2-mile) stretch of glistening sand has earned Parlee Beach the title of the best beach in Canada by several surveys, and it has a Blue Flag international eco-certification. It is a popular vacation spot for families, with a campground, and plays host to beach-volleyball and touch-football tournaments; an annual sand-sculpture contest and a triathlon are among a schedule of summer events. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking (fee 9 am–5 pm); showers; toilets. Best for: sunrise; swimming; walking.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Acadian Historical Village

More than 40 restored buildings here re-create Acadian communities between 1770 and 1949. There are modest homes, a church, a school, and a village shop, as well as an industrial area with a lobster hatchery, a cooper, and a tinsmith shop. The bilingual staff tells fascinating stories and provides demonstrations; visitors are invited to take part. You can also enjoy dinner and entertainment during the evening and stay overnight in the grand Hôtel Château Albert, an authentic re-creation of a 1907 hotel.

Aquarium NB

This wonderful aquarium has a serious side and a fun side, with labs that are the backbone of marine research in the province and more than 1,000 specimens to see in more than 31 indoor exhibition areas, outdoor touch tanks, and the harbor seal pool. Feeding time for the seals (at 11 and 4) is always popular, as are the touch tanks, containing such species as sea stars, clams, sea cucumbers, and rare blue lobsters. Another exhibit illustrates the underwater world of the Acadian Peninsula and how fishing is carried out there, and there are various educational activities and a documentary film to see.

100 rue de l'Aquarium, Shippagan, New Brunswick, E8S 1H9, Canada
sights Details
Rate Includes: C$9.15, Late Sept.–late May

Beaubears Island


Formerly a thriving shipbuilding center, this is one of Miramichi's most interesting outdoor spots. Start at the museum-style interpretive center, with interactive audio-visual displays. A short boat trip will then take you to the island to see two historic sites, staffed by characters who love to share their colorful island stories and adventures. There are also guided tours and trips around the island in a 26-foot traditional Voyageur canoe, and regular special events are another attraction.

35 St. Patrick's Dr., Miramichi, New Brunswick, E1N 4P6, Canada
sights Details
Rate Includes: Interpretive center C$5; ferry to island $10; tours from C$20; Voyageur canoe experience (call for information)

Fort Beauséjour–Fort Cumberland National Historic Site

Near the Nova Scotia border in Aulac and 12 km (7 miles) east of Sackville, the site holds the ruins of a star-shape fort that played a part in the 18th-century struggle between the French and British. The Deportation of the Acadians began here. The fort has fine views of the marshes at the head of the Bay of Fundy, and the visitor center has a fascinating collection of artifacts and interpretive exhibits.

Founding Cultures Museum

The former Pope's Museum now explores the peoples and cultures that shaped the area---First Nations, French, Irish, Scottish, and English, with a room dedicated to each---and how they formed the inclusive society they enjoy today. One exhibit that remains from the previous museum is the scale model of St. Peter's in Rome.

184 Acadie St., Grande-Anse, New Brunswick, E8N 1A6, Canada
sights Details
Rate Includes: Donation, May be closed in winter

Île Miscou (Miscou Island)

Accessible by bridge from Île Lamèque, Miscou, on the northeastern tip of New Brunswick between the Bay of Chaleurs and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, has white sandy beaches, and the dunes and lagoons are good places to see migrating bird species.

Irving Eco-Centre: La Dune de Bouctouche

The center preserves a superb example of a coastal ecosystem that protects the exceptionally fertile oyster beds in Bouctouche Bay, a salt marsh, and an important 12-km (7½-mile) sand dune. Hiking trails and an 800-meter (½-mile) boardwalk with ramps and stairs to the beach make it possible to explore sensitive areas without disrupting the environment of one of the few remaining great dunes on the northwest coast of the Atlantic Ocean, and electric vehicles provide tours for visitors with mobility issues. An outstanding interpretive center puts the ecosystem in perspective with nature exhibits, a film presentation, a saltwater aquarium and seasonal special events. The staff regularly conducts guided walks. Swimming is allowed.

Keillor House Museum

This museum is composed of several buildings: Keillor House, an early Regency stone house built in 1813 that contains thousands of artifacts relating to mid-19th-century life and where docents are in costume; Coach House, which contains a fascinating collection of artifacts from the Dorchester Penitentiary; and, just a minute away on foot, the St. James Museum, set in a former church and containing the Beachkirk Collection of equipment used in the manufacturing of textiles, including antique looms; you can sometimes see demonstrations of carding, spinning, and weaving, and there are also blacksmiths' and carpenters' tools. Special events are held at the museum throughout the year.

Le Pays de la Sagouine

This Acadian culture theme park re-creates the world of La Sagouine, an old charwoman-philosopher created by celebrated Acadian author Antonine Maillet. It's a make-believe island community that comes to life (in French) in daylong musical and theatrical performances, with dinner theater/musical evenings July through September. There are also four performances in English Wednesday to Sunday, from June to September. Tours are available in English and French, and the Friday-night jam sessions are accessible to English-speaking visitors, too.

57 rue Acadie, Bouctouche, New Brunswick, E4S 2T7, Canada
sights Details
Rate Includes: Free; presentations $5–10; shows various prices

Metepenagiag Heritage Park

Two important First Nations archaeological sites, the Augustine Mound and Oxbow national historic sites, are at the heart of this park, "Where Spirits Live"—where the Mi'kmaq have lived for more than 3,000 years. In the museum, enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff are on hand to answer questions about the exhibits, and there's a good film about the history of the site. Outside, there are a number of walking trails to explore, and events include drumming circles, traditional dancing, and the annual powwow in June. First Nations experiences on offer include traditional foods, tipi retreats, storytelling from Mi'Kmaq elders around the firepit, and guided walks.

2156 Micmac Rd., Red Bank, New Brunswick, E9E 2P2, Canada
sights Details
Rate Includes: C$8, mid-Oct.–mid-May

Monument Lefebvre National Historic Site

Overlooking the marshes, fields, and birding sites of the lovely Memramcook Valley, this historic site commemorates the survival of the Acadians and celebrates the renaissance of Acadian culture. This monument is in the original home of St. Joseph's College, the first degree-granting French-language institution in Atlantic Canada, founded by Father Camille Lefebvre in 1864. A permanent interactive exhibit, "Reflections of a Journey—the Odyssey of the Acadian People," provides an excellent overview. Guided tours are available.

480 Central St., Memramcook, New Brunswick, E4K 3S6, Canada
sights Details
Rate Includes: C$3.90

Owens Art Gallery

The oldest art gallery in Canada, first opened to the public in 1895, is on the Mount Allison University campus. It houses nearly 4,000 works of 19th- and 20th-century European, American, and Canadian artwork in its permanent collection, and there are usually rotating exhibits as well.

Plage de l'Aboiteau

On the western end of Cap-Pelé, this fine, sandy Blue Flag beach slopes gently into the warm waters of the Northumberland Strait, so it's very popular with families. A boardwalk runs through the adjacent salt marshes where waterfowl nest. The beach complex includes a restaurant and lounge with live music in the evening, and cottages are available for rent year-round. Amenities: food and drink; parking (fee); showers; toilets. Best for: sunrise; swimming; walking.

Ritchie Wharf Park


This waterside public park recalls the area's former shipbuilding industry. It has a nautical-theme playground complete with a "Splash Pad" that sprays water from below and dumps it from buckets above. Shops sell local crafts, and there are several restaurants and docking facilities. An amphitheater showcases local entertainers most evenings and on Sunday afternoon in summer.

84 Norton's La., Miramichi, New Brunswick, E1V 2G7, Canada
sights Details
Rate Includes: Free

Sackville Waterfowl Park

In the heart of the town, the park has more than 3½ km (2 miles) of boardwalk and trails through 55 acres of wetlands that are home to some 160 species of birds and 200 species of plants. Throughout the marsh, viewing areas and interpretive signs reveal the rare waterfowl species that nest here. There's an interpretive center, and guided tours (C$6, including info kit and a snack at the end) are available in French and English mid-May through late August. A self-guided tour is also available at the visitor center and some stores in downtown Sackville.

Ste-Cécile Church

Across a causeway from Shippagan is Île Lamèque and Ste-Cécile Church. Although the church is plain on the outside, every inch of its interior is decorated with folk art, painted in the late 1960s by the priest and two students. Each July, the International Festival of Baroque Music takes place here.

8166 Rte. 313, Petite-Rivière-de-l'Île, Shippagan, New Brunswick, E8T 1C3, Canada

The Olivier Soapery

A working artisan soapery, Olivier includes a museum with a fascinating array of bathtime memorabilia, from old bars of soap and soap-making equipment to tubs and basins. There's a skin-care art gallery, featuring paintings commissioned for soap labels throughout the years, and, naturally, plenty of soap and other skin-care products are for sale. By far the best attraction, however, is the soap-making demonstration, late June to early September at 10, 11:30, 2, and 4.