Backroads along the Saint John River in New Brunswick

Slow travel and scenic routes off the beaten track

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New Brunswick has a very good highway system, with two major roads running almost side-by-side to cross the province from Quebec to Nova Scotia. The journey can take less than a day on the speedy Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy-2) but the more scenic option is to follow a series of secondary roads along the course of the legendary Saint John River, which in 2013 was named a Canadian Heritage River.

The Saint John River valley has been known for its tranquil beauty, heritage towns and cities and recreational opportunities for more than a hundred years. By following secondary roads from the city of Edmunston, near where the river enters Canada from the state of Maine, all the way to the mouth at the city of Saint John on the Bay of Fundy you will be rewarded for getting off the beaten path. It’s a journey of about 400km (250 miles).  Plan on spending at least three days on the route to really appreciate it.

Highlights include:

The New Brunswick Botanical Gardens. Only miles from the Quebec border these wonderful gardens come alive with unique botanical sculptures and the mystery of Khronos and the Celestial Garden.

Grand Falls Gorge. The combination of New Brunswick’s largest waterfall and largest gorge makes for a must-see destination that can be explored on foot or by boat.

Aroostook Valley Golf Course. New Brunswick has many fine golf courses, but none like this one that lies half in Canada and half in United States. Tee off in one country and your ball may land in another. A truly unique golf experience and a very nice course.

Hartland Covered Bridge. New Brunswick is justly famed for its covered bridges and none is more famous than the one at Hartland – the world’s longest! While in Hartland drop into the Covered Bridge potato chip factory and get a free sample made with New Brunswick potatoes.

Mactaquac Provincial Park. The gem of New Brunswick’s provincial park system has something for everyone from the excitement of zip-lining to the leisurely pace of house boating.

King’s Landing. This is one of Canada’s preeminent historically recreated villages where you can step back in time and learn the trades and techniques of 19th century life along the river.

Fredericton. New Brunswick’s capital city is worth a day of exploring on its own. Among many things to do, it is noted for its historical Garrison District, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, impressive Legislature Building and miles of trails along both sides of the river.

Gagetown. The Saint John river valley has many well preserved small towns and none more so than the village of Gagetown where you can take a ferry across the river and back to get a great view of this historic place.

Saint John. The journey ends with a sightseeing itinerary in New Brunswick’s largest city.

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