This summer, our little family of three ventured to a province we’ve never explored before! From the west coast to the east coast, we made our way across Canada to New Brunswick for a completely new experience. And let us tell you: New Brunswick is extraordinary. From the kindness of the locals to the delicious cuisine of the maritimes, the cute and colourful wharfs and genuine small town vibes, we’ve eaten and wandered our way through the beautiful river town of Miramichi.
Table of Contents
Where is miramichi?
Miramichi is the largest city in Northern New Brunswick, and is located right at the mouth of the Miramichi River. This charming town is known affectionately as the Irish Capital of Canada based on the large number of Irish settlers that arrived in the area in the 1800s. Irish heritage shaped much of what the town is today, including traditional music, food and culture. Prior to European settlement, the Miramichi region was home to the Mi’kmaq first nation.
The beautiful Miramichi River is known for its world-famous Atlantic Salmon fishing but the area is popular for so many other reasons. We couldn’t wait to experience the waterfront parks, outdoor activities, and family friendly summer festivals. Read on to see what we got up to!
Where we stayed
The Rodd Miramichi:
Situated right on the banks of the Miramichi River, the Rodd is a charming hotel with many guest rooms that open up right to a walkway along the water. Sit right outside your door and watch the boats go by, or go for a walk down towards waterfront parks and the Miramichi Bridge. The Rodd is a great location to explore Miramichi’s Historic Water Street Business District.
Four Nature Resort:
Hidden in the Acadian Forest with a beautiful spot along the river are the loveliest cabins at Four Nature Resort. For those looking to get a more natural, outdoor New Brunswick experience, Four Nature Resort is the perfect place to stay! With five cozy log cottages that are very well stocked with amenities, fourteen motel rooms and an event centre, this property is ideal for family getaways or retreats. We stayed in the Jefferson cottage which was perfect for us, including a sweet kids room and even dinosaur toys for Ollie to play with! Four Nature Resort provides outdoor toys and games, canoes and kayaks, water access, trails, a boat launch, gardens, a pond and fire pits. We loved exploring the grounds!
Miramichi Treehouse & Camping Adventures:
For a truly unique experience, stay in a fully equipped treehouse and explore Miramichi from up in the trees! We stayed in the Meadows Treehouse, which was huge with two separate sides, five beds, (including bunk beds, which Ollie loved!) and two bathrooms. You can also stay in one of their smaller treehouses, cottages, or RV/tent sites. There’s a pool on the grounds, lots of summertime family activities, and a playground with a wooden pirate ship. You can tell it’s a popular spot for locals!
What we did
Explore the town:
It feels like we’ve been dropped right into the heart of the province here in the town of Miramichi! We don’t feel like tourists when we’re strolling along Water Street or dining at the local Irish pub. Wander down Historic Water Street and feel like you’ve stepped into another world, or head over the bridge to Newcastle to discover the shops, amazing parks, and eateries.
Visit Kouchibouguac National Park:
Meaning “river of the long tides” in Mi’kmaq, this spectacular National Park is situated along New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast, and it’s the perfect place to experience this province’s diverse landscape. Mixed-wood forests, salt marshes, warm ocean beaches, with kilometers of golden sand and dunes as far as the eye can see. We walked along a 1/2km boardwalk over a beautiful marsh to visit Kellys Beach, Canada’s warmest saltwater beaches with 25km of golden sand dunes! It was breathtaking. Make sure to get a yummy soft serve cone at the concession after a hot summer’s day at the beach.
Miramichi is known for bringing people together and celebrating the heritage of the locals who have lived here for generations. Their summer festivals bring visitors from all over New Brunswick to the town to celebrate! We were lucky enough to have been able to attend both Canada’s longest running Irish festival, and Miramichi’s International Kite Festival. Being the “Irish Capital of Canada”, you can imagine Miramichi goes all out: three packed days of Irish music, parades, dancing, food – the works. Sooo much fun! The kite festival was such a brilliant family activity that filled the sky with colourful kites of all shapes and sizes, including some impressive ones flown by top kite fliers.
Experience Hopewell Rocks:
An iconic, must-see natural wonder. Located along the Bay of Fundy, Hopewell Rocks is home to the highest tides in the world! With over twenty free-standing sea stacks along two kilometers of shoreline, these impressive “flowerpots” stand 40-70ft tall and were formed over millions of years of tidal erosion. Many people go to witness the unbelievable sights at low tide when you can walk along the ocean floor amongst these towering sea stacks, then return a mere 6 hours later to see the extreme tidal range at work when the flowerpots are almost fully covered by water. This massive tidal change happens twice a day!
Go tubing down the river:
One of the most popular activities on the Miramichi River, and the place to do it is Gallan’s Miramichi River Tubing! Spend anywhere from 1 to 5 hours on a tubing adventure down the river on a summer day. You can choose between a relaxing float down the lazy river or a rapids run for a bit more action. Bring some cold drinks and make a day of it! We must have seen literally hundreds of people floating down the river and enjoying the beautiful view.
Wander the wharf:
Ritchie Wharf is a buzzing place full of energy and activity in the heart of Miramichi! With its historic lighthouse and colourful vendors along the wharf, it’s a great place to soak up the Maritimes culture and enjoy a delicious bite to eat. It’s also where you go to hear live music, a launch point for river boat tours, and has a playground and splash park that’s great for kiddos.
Attend a Powwow:
Throughout the summer, the different Indigenous bands of the region come together to hold powwows around the province. Witness the incredible drumming, dancing and regalia of the First Nation people – it’s a perfect opportunity to experience First Nation culture firsthand. Spiritual ceremonies, traditional music, food and fireworks – it’s a celebration of culture that everyone is welcome to enjoy.
Where we ate
One of the biggest reasons we travel to new places: THE FOOD! The Maritimes cuisine cannot be missed. We dined on lobster mac and cheese and lobster crostini’s at Vera Kitchen + Bar at Ritchie Wharf, fresh fish tacos and poutine at Apéro Mobile Kitchen’s food truck, fish and chips and a pint of Guinness at O’Donague’s Irish Pub, coffee and iced matcha lattes at Creative Grounds Cafe, coconut cream, lemon and nutella handheld fried pies from Gabi’s Pie Shoppe, breakfast with a stunning waterfront view at 1809 at the Rodd Hotel, some BBQ brisket with a side of mac and cheese at Big Daddy’s Smokehouse, and the creative drinks, snacks, and ice cream at the cutest Cali.co Cafe! Yum.
New Brunswick is bursting with charming towns just like Miramichi, with rugged nature, outdoor activities, unique boutique hotels, genuine cultural experiences, AND, bonus, it’s not going to break the bank. This is not your typical overcrowded tourist location, it’s a place where you can truly experience life in the Maritimes in an authentic way: full of heart and true connection with the land and people. In our opinion? You MUST put this province on your bucket list to discover a different side of Canada!