Get ready to feel the sand beneath your toes and bask in the sun, all while tasting fresh flavours and enjoying Canada’s warmest saltwater beaches.
7-10 Days, 515 km (320 mi.)
Along the Acadian Shores Road Trip, you’ll find the perfect relaxing coastal experience through sandy days and starry nights. This is an adventure for those dreaming of saltwater beaches, delicious seafood feasts, and a captivating joie de vivre. Whether you’re looking to hit the road and explore the entire coast, or dreaming of spending a week relaxing in a cottage by the sea, this is the perfect place.
Days 1 - 3:
~130 km (81 mi.)
Dipping your toes in the warm water at Murray Beach Provincial Park is the perfect way to kick off this road trip! During this stretch, you’ll find lots of opportunities to hit the beach and experience some of the province’s most fun filled spots, like Shediac and soaking up the sun at Parlee Beach and Aboiteau Beach, or snapping a photo with the iconic Giant Lobster in Shediac. It is the lobster capital of the world after all, so if you're there between July 2 and 10, don't miss the Shediac Lobster Festival!
In addition to its beaches, there are endless other ways to reconnect with nature along the Acadian Shores. Whether it’s camping in a seaside park, strolling through a vineyard at Richibucto River Wine Estate, exploring the Irving Eco-centre: La Dune de Bouctouche or learning about Indigenous heritage at Kouchibouguac National Park, you’re definitely going to get a taste of the great outdoors.
When you’re looking to switch things up, this region is the perfect place to immerse yourself in rich cultural experiences. Take a trip through the prohibition era and discover Acadian culture through unique characters, theater, music, comedy, dance and cuisine at Le Pays de la Sagouine. While you’re in the area, did you know that over 95% of Canada’s smoked herring production originates in Cap-Pelé? Visit one of the region’s authentic smokehouses and learn more about this fascinating industry at Cap-Pelé’s Smokehouse Museum.
Road Trip Eats
Days 4 - 7:
~275 km (171 mi.)
Experience the joie de vivre that comes alive in the Acadian Peninsula! During this section of your road trip, you’ll be surrounded by joyous Acadian culture, magnificent coastal views, and delicious eats.
Whether you’re taking in Miscou bogs from the top of the Miscou Lighthouse (we especially recommend this route in the Fall when they turn bright red), exploring the Ecological Park of the Acadian Peninsula on Lamèque Island, discovering the île aux Foins in Neguac, or enjoying the trails at Club plein air Caraquet, this region is a nature lover’s paradise.
For cycling enthusiasts, the Acadian Peninsula has a unique experience in store: the Véloroute de la Péninsule acadienne (VPA). It boasts an impressive 140 paved kilometers (over 600km if you count connecting roads and its 14 circuits) which will lead you across narrow coastlines, inland villages, and lively fishing ports.
No matter how many wheels take you to your destination, be sure to set aside a few hours for a trip to Aquarium NB in Shippagan. Here you’ll find more than 1,000 aquatic specimens and fascinating experiences like the touch tank and the harbour seal’s meal (set your watch daily, 11am and 4pm!)
You can’t truly have experienced the Acadian Peninsula without visiting the Village Historique Acadien. This living museum is built around a 2.2 km circuit bordered with about 40 historic buildings inhabited by fully bilingual interpretive guides who portray the daily lives of the Acadian people from 1770 to 1949.
Festival watchlist: If you’re in Caraquet between August 5 to the 15, experiencing the lively and culturally significant Festival acadien de Caraquet is an absolute must. For more summer festivals in the area, check out the Fisheries and Aquaculture Festival in Shippagan (July 8-16), the International Baroque Music Festival in Lamèque (July 27-29) and the August 15 National Acadian Day festivities in many communities (including the spectacular Tintamarre parade in Caraquet). If you’re in the area in September, don’t miss out on the Festival des arts visuels en Atlantique.
Road Trip Eats
Days 8 - 10:
~110 km (68 mi.)
During the final stretch of your trip, you’ll find yourself driving through the coastal towns of the Chaleur region. This area has some of the province’s best hiking trails (such as the Chaleur Green Trails, the Daly Point Nature Reserve and the Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail), scenic unspoiled beaches, and warm hospitality.
Before you’ve even arrived, plan ahead for a photo stop because you’ll be passing through some stunning coastal views, including Pokeshaw Beach and the iconic Pokeshaw Rock Lookout (tip: follow the trail down to the beach below for a great beach bonfire spot).
This region hosts the road trip’s urban hub, the city of Bathurst, with its lovely Waterfront Promenade, picturesque boardwalks and local shopping. You’ll definitely want to try out one of the local microbreweries, hit up the farmers market, and visit Youghall Beach at low tide to walk along sandbars while taking in dreamlike sunset skies. And be sure not to miss Pabineau Falls, just outside the city in Pabineau First Nation.
This region hugs the beautiful Chaleur Bay (loosely translated as Bay of Warmth), named by explorer Jacques Cartier when he arrived during a July heat wave. During the day, blue seas sparkle, and at night the coastline is known for being dotted with beach bonfires. Check out Bass Attack Fishing for a unique kayak fishing experience in the bay.
Continue along the coast and be sure to walk along the beach in Beresford, grab a few cooked lobster claws in Nigadoo, enjoy fresh pastries in Petit-Rocher, or have a picnic at the wharf in Pointe-Verte. Last but not least, we recommend stopping in Belledune to enjoy the picturesque views from the Jacquet River Gorge!
Festival watchlist: Many events heat up the summer in the Chaleur area, including the Dory Boat Festival (July 5-9) and Blues d'la Baie Festival (July 27-29) in Petit-Rocher, the Pabineau First Nation Powwow (July 8-10) and the Festi-Plage in Beresford (July 30-August 1).