I am so excited to feature Salisbury’s Highland Park as one of Canada’s 150 coolest playgrounds, representing New Brunswick!
Poor ol’ New Brunswick gets a bit of a bad rep in this country. Folks joke about us being the drive thru province (David Myles will show you different); some even call us No Funswick. Those of us who live here know it’s so much more than that! But if you ARE driving through, this little gem of a park will help give you a snippet into what you’re missing.
Salisbury’s Highland Park – Natural Playground, Splash Pad, Riverfront Picnic Space
Highland Park is just off the Trans Canada Highway, about five minutes from the Salisbury Big Stop. Anyone who has driven east on the TCH knows that landmark; it rises up out of what is seemingly endless highway, awash in big lights and proudly flying a huge Canadian flag.
Instead of taking a left at the off ramp, turn right. You’ll pass a lovely market on the left (an absolute must visit during corn maze season!), then find yourself at one of Salisbury’s main intersections. Another right puts you on the main drag (also known as NB Route 106 West). Less than one kilometre down the road you’ll turn left onto Gordon Street, which ends right at the parking lot for Highland Park.
There isn’t a lot of parking, and minimal (but existing!) washroom facilities, but other than that, this park is a huge winner!
A lot of funding has gone into this park recently, and it shows. There’s a brand new (opening June 2017) splash pad right at the entrance. Next to this you’ll find new-in-2016 traditional playground equipment (one set for todddlers, another for school kids) and swings. To the left of this is my favourite part – the natural playground built in 2016.
This space is a hit with every age! Lots of great climbing areas for little kids right up to us kids-at-heart. There’s a swinging rope, a massive chalk board, a story circle spot, shade, a sand box, and always lots of natural critters and feathered friends around.
If you look carefully at the photo above, you can see the new playground equipment to the right of the natural area, and you’ll notice a lovely gazebo in the background to the left. A great spot for a fun gathering, it’s often used for community events, birthday parties, and impromptu dance-offs.
Highland Park sits atop the Petitcodiac River, famous for its ‘chocolate’ colour and high tides. You can walk down for a stroll along the river just behind the gazebo. At this point in the river it’s much more clear (head to Riverview or Moncton, 20 minutes down the road, if you want to see the mudbanks and tidal bore!) and lovely to dip your toes in at the edge or chase frogs along the bank!
There are a few great options in the village for grabbing an on-the-go meal to munch on in Highland Park. The Pizza Mill, K&B Take Out, and Wright’s Country Bakery are all long-standing Salisbury traditions – and don’t forget to grab an ice cream at the Dairy Depot! Amazing prices, great selection of hard ice cream, and some Little Tykes climbers and child-size picnic tables. Also keep an eye out for one of New Brunswick’s best food trucks, Heavy Kevy’s! Feel like shopping while you’re in the Village? You can find antique stores on either side of the ice cream spot, and a new consignment shop behind the recently revamped pharmacy. And if the new splash park isn’t enough to cool your family down, there’s an outdoor pool open all summer.
Highland Park is a fabulous playground, whether you’re taking a break as you drive cross-country or just looking for a low-key day with the family. Here are a few more photos from our adventures – including in the winter, when Highland Park boasts one of the best sliding hills in the eastern part of the province! The community Winter Carnival is one of our favourite snow-filled events each year.
We’re thrilled to share Highland Park as one of Canada’s 150 Coolest Playgrounds! Watch for more amazing options for fun as you make your way across our country by exploring the map below. I’d love to know – which ones are on YOUR wish list to visit!? Me, I’m starting to dream of family trip to Quebec’s Nathan Shuster Park for the amazing obstacle course, on to the Heritage Adventure Playground at The Forks in Winnipeg, and wrapping up the cross-country trek with the fun play sculptures at Cadboro-Gyro Park. Happy Canada 150!