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Saint John, New Brunswick Travel Guide

Canada

#15 in Best Family Vacations in Canada

Best Things To Do in Saint John, New Brunswick

Saint John's somewhat rough exterior deters some travelers, but those who give this industrialized city a chance will discover that tucked beneath its smoggy skyline is a wealth of historic and cultural sites. For the best introduction to Saint John and New Brunswick, spend some time at the New Brunswick Museum. After this, you can dive deeper into Saint John's history as a British colony by touring sites like the Loyalist House and the Carleton Martello Tower. Just make sure to devote at least a day or two to the region's natural attractions: If you don't mind the drive, you can enjoy spectacular views of the Bay of Fundy from Fundy National Park.

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Saint John, New Brunswick

Free
Sitting at Market Square in downtown Saint John, the Saint John City Market has been in operation since the late 1700s, making it the oldest continuing farmer's market in Canada. But before you become too engrossed in the many mouthwatering offerings at the vendors' tables, make sure to cast your glance upward. The ceiling of this massive 19th-century building (the original market was held outside) resembles the upturned hull of a ship -- a tribute to the city's shipping industry.
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Shopping Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Saint John City Market
Sitting at Market Square in downtown Saint John, the Saint John City Market has been in operation since the late 1700s, making it the oldest continuing farmer's market in Canada. But before you become too engrossed in the many mouthwatering offerings at the vendors' tables, make sure to cast your glance upward. The ceiling of this massive 19th-century building (the original market was held outside) resembles the upturned hull of a ship -- a tribute to the city's shipping industry.
... more

#2

#2 in Saint John, New Brunswick

According to previous Saint John visitors, this natural phenomenon is sure to wow you. Sitting just west of downtown Saint John, the Reversing Falls is a rocky gorge overlooking gurgling whirlpools, impressive rapids and several small waterfalls. Here's what makes this natural site such an anomaly: The whirlpools, rapids and waterfalls flow one way with the incoming tide and another with the outgoing tide. According to one TripAdvisor user, "It was impressive to see the water churning as the tide changes and the dramatic tidal difference was awesome!"
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Natural Wonders Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Reversing Falls
According to previous Saint John visitors, this natural phenomenon is sure to wow you. Sitting just west of downtown Saint John, the Reversing Falls is a rocky gorge overlooking gurgling whirlpools, impressive rapids and several small waterfalls. Here's what makes this natural site such an anomaly: The whirlpools, rapids and waterfalls flow one way with the incoming tide and another with the outgoing tide. According to one TripAdvisor user, "It was impressive to see the water churning as the tide changes and the dramatic tidal difference was awesome!"
... more

#3

#3 in Saint John, New Brunswick

Free
If you don't feel like trekking all the way to Fundy National Park, you'll find excellent views of the bay just a short drive from downtown at Irving Nature Park. Occupying a narrow peninsula about 10 miles southwest of Saint John, this 600-acre green space features breathtaking Fundy vistas, not to mention a variety of habitats such as a forest, a salt marsh estuary, a beach and a bog. You can explore all the park has to offer by following its numerous hiking trails. This is also a great place for wildlife lovers: Irving Nature Park is welcomes roughly 250 different species of birds, while maritime mammals such as whales are often spotted off-shore.
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Parks and Gardens Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Irving Nature Park
If you don't feel like trekking all the way to Fundy National Park, you'll find excellent views of the bay just a short drive from downtown at Irving Nature Park. Occupying a narrow peninsula about 10 miles southwest of Saint John, this 600-acre green space features breathtaking Fundy vistas, not to mention a variety of habitats such as a forest, a salt marsh estuary, a beach and a bog. You can explore all the park has to offer by following its numerous hiking trails. This is also a great place for wildlife lovers: Irving Nature Park is welcomes roughly 250 different species of birds, while maritime mammals such as whales are often spotted off-shore.
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#4

#4 in Saint John, New Brunswick

Saint John's most stunning feature is the Bay of Fundy, and the best way to savor it is to follow the Fundy Trail Parkway. You can walk, bike or drive along this 20-mile, multi-use trail for spectacular views of the bay, while smaller side paths lead to various beaches along the shore. Hikers and bikers will find numerous look-outs and benches along the way, and numerous parking areas allow you to park and explore.
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Hiking Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Fundy Trail Parkway
Saint John's most stunning feature is the Bay of Fundy, and the best way to savor it is to follow the Fundy Trail Parkway. You can walk, bike or drive along this 20-mile, multi-use trail for spectacular views of the bay, while smaller side paths lead to various beaches along the shore. Hikers and bikers will find numerous look-outs and benches along the way, and numerous parking areas allow you to park and explore.
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#5

#5 in Saint John, New Brunswick

Drive about an hour and a half drive east from Saint John, and you'll find yourself in Fundy National Park, one of the last remaining wilderness areas in southern New Brunswick. The park's 129 square miles sprawl out along the Bay of Fundy's shore, providing spectacular views of the water. During low tide, the parks massive red boulders and muddy crimson beaches are exposed, offering colorful photo ops. Even when the tide is high, Fundy National Park's wooden platform trails lead through verdant, mossy forest and past tumbling waterfalls to spectacular cliff-top Bay of Fundy vistas.
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Hiking Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Fundy National Park
Drive about an hour and a half drive east from Saint John, and you'll find yourself in Fundy National Park, one of the last remaining wilderness areas in southern New Brunswick. The park's 129 square miles sprawl out along the Bay of Fundy's shore, providing spectacular views of the water. During low tide, the parks massive red boulders and muddy crimson beaches are exposed, offering colorful photo ops. Even when the tide is high, Fundy National Park's wooden platform trails lead through verdant, mossy forest and past tumbling waterfalls to spectacular cliff-top Bay of Fundy vistas.
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#6

#6 in Saint John, New Brunswick

The best introduction to Saint John and the surrounding region can be found at the New Brunswick Museum. Sitting about a mile and a half west of downtown Saint John, this museum houses a variety of artifacts that recount the province's fascinating history. You'll learn all about Saint John's industrial development, as well as New Brunswick's maritime history. The museum also features local artwork and exhibits on the province's natural landscape, including the ever-popular Hall of Great Whales.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
New Brunswick Museum
The best introduction to Saint John and the surrounding region can be found at the New Brunswick Museum. Sitting about a mile and a half west of downtown Saint John, this museum houses a variety of artifacts that recount the province's fascinating history. You'll learn all about Saint John's industrial development, as well as New Brunswick's maritime history. The museum also features local artwork and exhibits on the province's natural landscape, including the ever-popular Hall of Great Whales.
... more

#7

#7 in Saint John, New Brunswick

The Carleton Martello Tower is one of nine remaining Martello Towers (small defensive forts built by the British Empire) in Canada and a National Historic Site. This particular fortress was constructed during the War of 1812. Although it was completed after the War of 1812 in 1815, the Carleton Martello Tower served as a British defensive structure until World War II. Like other Martello Towers , this one is round with a flat roof once used to mount artillery.
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Monuments and Memorials Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Carleton Martello Tower
The Carleton Martello Tower is one of nine remaining Martello Towers (small defensive forts built by the British Empire) in Canada and a National Historic Site. This particular fortress was constructed during the War of 1812. Although it was completed after the War of 1812 in 1815, the Carleton Martello Tower served as a British defensive structure until World War II. Like other Martello Towers , this one is round with a flat roof once used to mount artillery.
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#8

#8 in Saint John, New Brunswick

If you're interested in history, set aside some time to visit the Loyalist House. This Georgian structure was built in 1817 and originally belonged to British Loyalist Thomas Merritt. Those who visit the Loyalist House will find it filled with authentic 19th-century furnishings and décor. You are welcome to explore the house on your own, but many recent visitors recommend tagging along on a guided tour, which is included with your entrance fee. As one TripAdvisor user writes, "It doesn't take long to go through the house and the tour guide gives some useful information."
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Historic Homes/Mansions Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
Loyalist House
If you're interested in history, set aside some time to visit the Loyalist House. This Georgian structure was built in 1817 and originally belonged to British Loyalist Thomas Merritt. Those who visit the Loyalist House will find it filled with authentic 19th-century furnishings and décor. You are welcome to explore the house on your own, but many recent visitors recommend tagging along on a guided tour, which is included with your entrance fee. As one TripAdvisor user writes, "It doesn't take long to go through the house and the tour guide gives some useful information."
... more
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