Summer road trips have become a bit of a family tradition ever since my parents’ dog, Togo, came into their lives and this summer was no different! Last year, we drove out to the Canadian Rockies, and this summer, we set our sights on Atlantic Canada. The plan: a two-week road trip around New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island!
Having Togo in our lives has really changed the way we do family travel. Whereas before we did more resort vacations and international trips, we now seek out dog-friendly activities. For us, that means road tripping around Canada, staying in quiet cottages in the countryside, visiting smaller towns that have more of a relaxed feel, and hiking in national and provincial parks.
It’s not a travel style that we ever dabbled in before, but it’s something that we have grown to love and we only discovered so thanks to Togo; it’s hard to believe how little of Canada we had seen before he joined our family!
Since our road trip kicked off in New Brunswick, today I’m going to share a few highlights from that part of the trip.
Our New Brunswick Road Trip
We kicked off our road trip with a visit in Fredericton, the city that Sam’s parents call home. I’ve been to Fredericton every year since Sam and I first met and with this visit, we really made an effort to go out and experience it as tourists.
We showed my parents along Waterloo Row, a riverfront street lined with beautiful historic mansions turned B&Bs; we took them on the Railway Bridge across the Saint John River and then had fish and chips on the other side at The Picaroons Roundhouse; we enjoyed a walk through Odell Park, where Togo got a taste of the woods; we visited the Old Burial Ground, where we learned about the Loyalists who settled in the province; and we also toured the downtown core, where we hit up some of the major landmarks like the Soldiers’ Barracks, City Hall and the Legislative Building.
Our visit was short and sweet, but I think we managed to give them a nice taste of Freddy Beach with the time we had.
Our next destination in New Brunswick was the picturesque seaside town of St. Andrews. We were only visiting on a quick day trip, so we mostly explored the marina and the main street lined with brightly painted shops. That being said, whale watching tours and sailing trips are very popular if you are visiting with a bit more time.
We got some delicious seafood at the Shiretown Pub at the Kennedy Inn: fish and chips, scallops and chips, and a mixed seafood platter with chips (you can view their full summer menu here). The seafood was lightly battered and delicious – one of our favourite meals of the whole road trip!
After lunch, we drove down Water Street over to the beach, where Togo enjoyed a little splash. St Andrews was experiencing a heatwave on the day we visited, so the cool waters were a welcome reprieve from the 35°C temperatures.
Our next destination in New Brunswick was Cape Enrage, which we probably would have never discovered had I not booked a pet-friendly cottage there! The cape is located right in between Fundy National Park and the Hopewell Rocks, two major attractions we planned on visiting, so it was an easy decision.
We stayed at the Cape Enrage Cottages a rustic yet comfortable 4-bedroom bungalow that came with a fire pit, picnic benches, an outdoor BBQ and a massive lawn with plenty of room for our dog to run around. We even got to see deer one afternoon, which was a real highlight!
The cottage was only a 5-minute drive from the Cape Enrage Nature Reserve, so we could hear the horn’s deep honking when the fog rolled in. The weather on the cape is very unpredictable, so it was cool getting to experience sunshine and blue skies on the first day and then thick fog on the second day.
We found this cottage through AirBnB and you can view similar listings in the area here.
Fundy National Park
One of our favourite days in New Brunswick was visiting Fundy National Park. We only had one full day there, so we really tried to make the most of it by going on numerous hikes.
We started the morning driving towards Point Wolfe, where we crossed a red covered bridge and then found the Shiphaven Trail. This is a hike along an elevated boardwalk that follows the coast and offers several lookouts along the way. On this walk, we saw the remains of an old timber bridge, learned a bit more about the logging history in this part of the province, and just enjoyed the natural beauty all around us.
When we reached the end of the Shiphaven Trail, we linked up with the Point Wolfe Beach Trail and followed that down towards the beach. Since we were visiting during low tide, we got to walk on what would normally be the seabed. It was a pebbly beach with washed-up driftwood and Togo loved running around sniffing all the smells.
After hiking these two trails, we drove towards Herring Cove, where we followed the boardwalk down to Herring Cove Beach. This was a beautiful spot with more impressive views of the coastline, where we could see as far as Alma and Cape Enrage. The tide was slowly starting to come in, but we could still see part of the exposed seabed and rocks covered in seaweed.
For lunch, Sam and his dad went to pick up some fish and chips in Alma (the little town just outside Fundy National Park), that we then enjoyed on the picnic benches across the Visitor Centre overlooking the Bay of Fundy. Coastal views and a fresh sea breeze – we couldn’t have asked for a better picnic spot.
After lunch, we managed to visit two lakes; first up was Bennet Lake which was really busy with kayakers and swimmers, but since we learned that dogs are not allowed in the designated swimming areas, we then continued a bit further towards Wolfe Lake, where we had the beach to ourselves and Togo was able to splash around and cool down.
We passed through Alma several times during our stay in Cape Enrage. This is a small seaside town where the Upper Salmon River meets the Bay of Fundy and it’s a great little place to explore on foot.
It had lots of cute cafes, ice cream stands, lobster shops and restaurants serving up fresh seafood – we had the sticky buns from Kelly’s Bake Shop. There were also plenty of cottages, guesthouses and motels seeing as this is a popular stop for anyone visiting Fundy National Park.
Last but not least, for our final morning in New Brunswick, we visited the Hopewell Rocks. This is an iconic travel destination where you can see how the coming and going of the tide has carved out ‘flower pots’ which appear to rise from the seabed when the tide is low, and which are covered by water and only accessible to kayakers when the tide is high.
I had visited the Hopewell Rocks over 10 years ago when I road-tripped Atlantic Canada with a friend, and it was nice to go back after all these years and see it with fresh eyes.
We made sure to get an early start and arrived at the rocks just as the park was opening for the day and got to experience it almost all to ourselves.
First, we stopped at the two observation points where we could see the tide was slowly going out, and after snapping a few photos, we hiked down to the Flower Pots. We hadn’t looked at the tide schedule but were lucky enough to arrive during low tide, which meant we were able to walk on what would normally be the seabed.
One of the park guides explained that if you were to measure the difference between the lowest point at low tide and the highest point at the Hopewell Rocks during high tide, you’d have a difference of 15 meters! I knew the Bay of Fundy was home to the biggest tides in the world, but I didn’t know they were quite that high!
It was nice seeing my parents witness this natural marvel for the first time, and what can I say about Togo? The guy loved it! He got right in that sticky red clay and experienced his very own spa treatment. Not only were his paws soaked in mud, but his belly, tail and chest too.
It’s a good thing they have washing stations with spray hoses and shoe scrubbers as soon as you climb back up, because we sure needed them.
That’s it for our New Brunswick road trip. Next up: Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island!