You won’t believe what a fun day you can have just minutes from Moncton! Salisbury has several parks to explore, the jewel being Highland Park, which has brand new equipment and a natural playground area – some of which was built using pieces of a giant tree removed from Main Street this spring. Highland Park sits atop the Petitcodiac; walk down for a stroll along the river, maybe even catch a frog! It’s a lovely spot for a picnic, or you can grab a slice of some of the best pizza around at The Pizza Mill on Main Street. Just across the street is the Dairy Depot, with amazing prices and playground equipment for the little ones. Feel like shopping? You can find antique stores on either side of the ice cream spot, and a new consignment shop behind the recently revamped pharmacy. And while there’s no splash park in the village yet (watch for one at Highland Park in the future!), there is an outdoor pool open all summer.
Trying to appeal to a range of ages? Check out Sackville! The newly-renovated Bill Johnstone Park, which includes a splash park, tennis and basketball courts, has playground equipment designed for infants, preschoolers, and great climbing sections to challenge older kids. It’s a quick stroll along the main streets, where you can find lots of fun shops and eateries. (Our favourite was having each family member choose a chocolate from the display case at Knuckles Truffles Chocolates!)
You can also check out Disc Golf in Beech Hill, take a guided tour of the Waterfowl Park, or spend time at Lillas Fawcett Park & Silver Lake, a perfect childhood combination of playground, freshwater swimming, and trout fishing – ranked one of the best family beaches on the East Coast by Today’s Parent.
Saturday is a great time to head to Sackville. The Tantramar Family Resource Centre is hosting a Story Tent at the Farmer’s Market during summer, a great spot to beat the heat and enjoy some family time while adventuring. Look for them from 9:30am to 11:30am in Bill Johnstone Memorial Park. Thursdays are also a great day to visit; there are free concerts at the park at 6:30pm. For details on all the upcoming events, including Shakespeare in the Park, SappyFest, and more, visit the Town’s website or check out their incredible 2016 Visitor’s Guide.
St. Andrew’s By The Sea is roughly a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Moncton, making it a great roadtrip or a mini-vacation destination (consider overnighting at the Kiwanis Campground, right on the ocean). This picturesque town is full of attractions, including the lovely Kingsbrae Garden, considered one of the Top Ten gardens in Canada – and a great spot to grab some family photos! The Garden also hosts lots of events and activities your family can enjoy, such as a daily ladybug release, alpaca walk, and children’s activities. There are whale watching cruises and other ocean-related activities (pirate fans should check out the Jolly Breeze tall ship tour), the Fundy Discovery Aquarium & Huntsman Marine Science Centre, and Ministers Island, all great destinations for the family. The community also has one of the most creative playgrounds in the country.
Brighten up a dreary day with a trip to Saint John this summer. Wednesdays from 9:30am to 12:30pm you can hang out at the Played Out Fun Centre (designed for up to age 12, with an area designated for those four and under) in the Parkway Mall, where adults enter free and can enjoy the coffee and snack bar. (Admission is $7.50+tax for the day; infants up to six months are free, and those up to one year old are half price.) Older kids? Check out Level Up Laser Tag, and indoor arena and 80’s arcade, open later in the day. You can spend the day exploring the New Brunswick Museum, getting up close and personal with whales and much more in the hands-on Discovery Centre. You can find lots more family-friendly Saint John ideas online. If you’re in the city in August/September, be sure to check out Sculpture Saint John, and don’t forget the buskers in July!
P.S. En route home (weather permitting), consider a round of mini-golf at Fire Fly Forest in Hampton.
An ‘S’ roadtrip list isn’t complete without Shediac! There’s always lots to enjoy at Parlee Beach, but here are some other highlights. 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. 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. 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.