Kayaking the coast of New Brunswick

Want to explore the coast of New Brunswick? There’s no better way than via a kayak. From Campobello Island on the western end to Hopewell Rocks up at the tip of the Bay of Fundy, the region is accessible by boat and riding with the tides shows just how significant they are. We spent a week in the area hiking and paddling. It was phenomenal.

Kayaking in New Brunswick

Here are some of the highlights of the four day package trip we did based in the Dipper Harbour area near St. Andrews.

Day one we paddled from the base in Dipper Harbour over to Chance Harbour and back. It was about 12-14 miles on the water and some reasonably serious winds towards the end of the return trip, but also a great first day of remembering how to work together and make the boat go where we wanted.

Kayaking in New Brunswick

Kayaking in New Brunswick

Among other things, I was exposed to a weir for the first time. Basically it is a fishing trap set up in the water where the fish end up trapped inside big circular nets which stretch from the ground to above the high tide line. They look absolutely bizarre from on the surface, especially when they’ve been abandoned. And there are a whole bunch along the coast.

Day two saw us load the gear up on the van and head down to Green’s Point to start our day. This was another ~12-14 mile paddle but this time we had a few more stops along the way. Lunch on an isolated beach was beautiful, even with another of the weirs on the shore looming over us. We also made our way to Campobello Island to see the Head Harbour Lighthouse. Access to the lighthouse is only possible at low tide because it involves walking across a rocky area which is underwater during most of the day. We got lucky with the timing of our visit and were able to explore.

Kayaking in New Brunswick

Campobello is interesting in that the only road off the island leads to the United States, not Canada. Good thing we managed to paddle back as we left our passports in the room.

Kayaking in New Brunswick

Day three was a shorter paddle based in St. Andrews; this is the closest thing we saw to a town during this part of the trip. St. Andrews is a small resort town originally built as a playground for the wealthy in Montreal and Toronto. The railroad carried them up to the shore from their homes in the city and they would summer along the waterfront. It is still a vacation/resort town, replete with fudge shoppes and art galleries along the quaint main drag. This is also where the whale watching tours and day trips for kayaking go out from. Cute, if you’re in to that sort of thing.

Kayaking in New Brunswick

And, finally, day four had us paddling in the Musquash Estuary. It is a saltwater estuary which empties and fills with the tides which makes for a very interesting trip. Launch at the wrong time and you should probably just give up as the flow of the water will hold you back. Launch at the correct time, however, and it is an easy ~6 mile paddle down to Five Fathoms Cove; the weather prevented us from doing our desired second half of the trip that day to the black sand beach a bit further down. It was a foggy, cool morning when we put in to the water and it never really cleared for the few hours we were out. It was a most serene and occasionally slightly eerie experience. But it also just seemed to fit given the environs.

Kayaking in New Brunswick

The operator we used is not one I’d recommend for a multi-day trip but their day-tour operations (run out of St. Andrews) were sound. And we did get to see stuff that we otherwise would not have seen because we did the multi-day. Still, we ended up leaving early because our travel style just didn’t mesh with what they were offering to us. Such is life some days.

A whole bunch more photos from the paddling are on Facebook or Google+ or my SmugMug gallery if you’re interested.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. I have had great times on the New Brunswick coast. A heavy rain and lightning storm came upon us one camping trip on Campobello Island when hiking. Only time I saw a tree blow up from a lightning strike.

  2. The entire area around the Bay of Fundy is incrediable. So much to see and do. Letting the tides bring you back to your starting place on St James River (famous for reversing its flow with the tide) is pretty fun.

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