Escaping routine for a day can be a great pick-me-up for the whole family. Here are five ideas for a quick trip!
Skip the Beach in Shediac
Yes, you can plan a full day outing to Shediac without braving the crowds at Parlee Beach (or before the summer season begins)! Take the traditional family photo with the World’s Biggest Lobster and enjoy the beauty of sitting by the water while little ones explore the playground. Walk down to the water and enjoy skipping stones and searching for shells. A lovely spot to visit before the summer crowds rush in! (The onsite washrooms aren’t open in the off season.)
While in town, indulge your sweet tooth with a stop at Candy Bar à Bonbons or Candy Craze (both on Main Street); give the kids a little free reign and you’ll be basking in the ‘best parent ever’ praise! Round out the adventure with a little touch tank fun at the Homarus Eco-Centre at Pointe-du-Chene Wharf. (The season opens June 4.) Find out all kinds of neat facts about lobsters and their local habitat; you can even adopt a baby lobster of your own! And depending on what’s playing, you can wrap up the day with an old-fashioned family outing to the drive in.
Guard the Gate
Kids will love the chance to dress up in period costume and guard the gates at Fort Beauséjour – Fort Cumberland National Historic Site of Canada. Just a few minutes from Sackville, this is a great spur-of-the-moment outing. You can spend a few hours exploring the ruins of the fort, and the fields at the Fort are ideal for kite flying and picnic lunches. There are special activities geared towards families on Parks Day (third Saturday in July), New Brunswick Day (August 1), and Acadian Day (August 15). The site is open June 25 to September 5, from 9am until 5pm.
Springhill Miner’s Museum is an adventure that captures the imagination by actually allowing you to experience going down into a coal mine. Lots to learn and discover about the industry and the area. You can also stop by the Anne Murray Centre, a fun visit for a budding musician, as one of the interactive displays allows you to record a ‘duet’ with Anne in studio. Along the way you can visit a great little play spot in Oxford, across from a Tim Horton’s and a Subway.
There are a couple of great options for exploring the past with some hands-on adventure.
An hour drive will bring you to the Joggins Fossil Centre and a look at the Earth as it was 300 million years ago. You can search the beach for your own fossil experience, as well as visit the museum.
Continue down the road another 45 minutes and you can visit the Fundy Geological Museum, a must for the dinosaur lover in your family. Did you know some of the oldest dinosaur bones in Canada were found in Nova Scotia? Check them out, as well as many other amazing creatures from the past, and gemstones found in the area. Guided tours along the sea cliffs are available.
(A straight drive home from Fundy should take about an hour and a half.)
All Aboard for Tatamagouche!
This pretty little Nova Scotia town is the first in Canada to operate a ‘road train,’ starting this summer. (It had its official unveiling on Saturday!) The vehicle holds about two dozen passengers and looks like a train. It’s sure to be an adventure for little people with big imaginations!
Keep the train theme going with lunch or dinner at The Dining Car at the Train Station Inn; the car was built in 1928 and used by CNR. (Why not go all the way – make it a mini-vacation with an overnight in a refurbished caboose!) There’s also a bakery onsite.
You can also explore Tatamagouche by bike. Check out Remember Adventures (next door to the Train Station Inn), which rents quadricycles that can hold a small family. A great deal at $25 for two hours (price includes helmets, and some snacks and water, with more available on site for purchase).
Be sure to check out the Grain Elevator Market, which houses several shops and hosts musical events.
Tatamagouche is about an hour and a half drive from Moncton via the Trans Canada. Take the scenic route home, travelling along the Amherst Shore. Lots of great provincial parks and beaches to stop and explore – check out the red sands and warm water at Northport Beach. That route takes closer to two hours.
If you’re making a mini-vacation of it, consider checking out some of these nearby attractions: Balmoral Grist Mill; Seafoam Lavender (the season peak is expected July 16-17, watch for lots of events then!); Sugar Moon Farm; and Lismore Sheep Farm Wool Shop.
Where are your favourite road trip destinations from the Greater Moncton Area? We’d love to hear your go-to adventure spots!