new brunswick staycation summer podcast pickle planet travel tourism ideas saint john

New Brunswick Staycation Summer ideas in the Saint John region

Your Guide to Exploring Saint John, New Brunswick

Next up in our Staycation Summer Series: Saint John – also known as Saint Awesome!

This summer, we’re asking folks from around New Brunswick to share the hidden gems and must-see spots in their hometowns. In this podcast episode the executive director of Discover Saint John, Victoria Clarke, takes us on a virtual tour of Saint John and all it has to offer families for staycation & day trip adventures.

And Victoria is so awesome, she’s created several lists of things to do for us! Read on for her recommendations & let us know in the comments any activities and attractions you’d add for family fun in Saint John.

#SaintAwesome Saint John Family Itineraries

Uptown Fun

Getting out and exploring the uptown is a must-do for the whole family. Saint John offers a number of self-guided walking tours including:

  • Art in Public Places – which showcases various public art installations throughout the uptown
  • Three Historic Walking Tours – which provide historical facts and anecdotal stories about much of Saint John’s history
  • Salmon Run – now in its fourth year, featuring 23 beautiful six-foot salmon, designed by New Brunswick artists

Keep your eyes peeled as you go for the best #SaintAwesome Selfie spots – we’ve flagged these throughout the uptown to make sure visitors don’t miss out!

Try out Breakout’s Saint John Outdoor Adventure Puzzle. Using your mobile phone, walking shoes and an adventurous spirit to follow the clues and complete your mission. A whole new way to see the sights!

Stop for a cookie break at Java Moose Coffee Roasters on Princess Street, grab a sweet treat at Bella’s Traditional Ice Cream on Germain, or head to the Saint John City Market for a delicious lunch – where you’ll find numerous options, in case everyone wants something different.

If you’re visiting on a Thursday, plan to hit up the Saint John Night Market! South Market Street is filled with food, drink and craft vendors beneath a canopy of lights. Browse the locally-produced goods or enjoy a craft beer with friends!

West Saint John

Start your day at the Irving Nature Park, enjoying scenic vistas of a special part of the Fundy coastline, a place where everyone can come and experience the various ecosystems of the Southern New Brunswick coastline. The kids will enjoy a chance to see seals at the Seal Observation Deck, as well as squirrels, birds and other curious woodland creatures throughout the various tails.

After lunch head to TimberTop Adventures for an afternoon in the trees. One of Canada’s largest aerial adventure parks, nestled in a beautiful old-growth forest next to the sandy shores of Dominion Park beach. Experience up to 11 courses with over 100 creative obstacles curated from around the world, including rope bridges, suspended climbing walls, swinging ropes, spinning logs, a flying skateboard, a trapeze and over 20 zip line challenges.

If you’d rather be on the water, plan to kayak the Saint John River with Go Fundy Events, leaving right from the Dominion Park Beach. 

Stop at Carleton Martello Tower on your way back uptown for some amazing city and harbour views, and we also suggest heading to Fort Howe for a family selfie with the Saint John Sign.

St. Martins 

Spend a morning or afternoon at the Fundy Trail Parkway, plan your visit around low tide to ensure a stop to explore the St. Martins Sea Caves.

Pack a picnic lunch to have in the park (most Saint John restaurants offer a take-out or grab and go service) or stop at The Caves Restaurant for a bowl of their world famous chowder.

A stop at Octopus Ice Cream is another must do, right on the St. Martins wharf!

Spend the rest of your time in St. Martins with Red Rock Adventure. They offer daily Sea Kayak and Scenic Coastline Zodiac Tours, or work with their to create your our customized adventure.

Saint John Beaches and Parks

Head to Rockwood Park, for a day in nature, right in the heart of Saint John. Hike the trails, swim at Lily Lake, or visit Inside Out Nature Centre for paddle boats, kayaks, canoes, hydro bikes, rock climbing, geocaching and more! Grab a meal on Lily’s Lakeside Casual Dining‘s beautiful patio, and enjoy the views. If younger kiddos need to burn off some steam, there’s a fantastic playground in Rockwood Park, with grassy patches for relaxing for the parents.

Plan an afternoon on the ocean at Mispec Beach (known as a great beach for sea glass hunting!), or if you prefer fresh water Little River Reservoir, which also has some beautiful hiking trails.

Rainy Day Options

We don’t mind the rain, there’s still lots to do! Whale sightings are guaranteed at the New Brunswick Museum, New Brunswick’s provincial museum and Canada’s oldest continuing museum. Discover New Brunswick’s art, history and nature in more than a dozen fully accessible galleries.  

Visit the Canada Games Aquatic Centre for a day in the pool! An Olympic-sized indoor pool, two leisure pools, two water slides, diving platforms and springboards, a toddler pool, a sauna – there’s something for everyone!

Head to Breakout Saint John‘s Escape Rooms where the family can embark on a unique adventure, to find clues and solve puzzles to escape within the hour. Missions are based on a variety of themes and difficulty levels, some designed specifically with kids in mind.

Families with older kids might want to take aim at Woodchucks Axe Throwing. Axe Throwing Coaches will show you the ropes when you arrive and have you comfortable in no time! 

Boutique and gallery hopping is another great option, or head East where larger shopping centres off a number of big box and chain store options.

Any of these days can be capped off with an evening of entertainment and delicious food, right on the Market Square Boardwalk, steps away from the Hilton Saint John and Delta Hotels by Marriott Saint John. (The Pickle kiddos would point out that Freak Lunchbox is handy, too!) There are also numerous unique dining options throughout the uptown, many with children’s menus. A number of popular chain options are located on the East Side of the city, should that be more to your family’s tastes, as well as the Hampton Inn & Suites and Best Western Plus Saint John Hotel & Suites.

Alright – who’s ready to learn even more? Click the triangle ‘play’ button below to listen to Victoria share her enthusiasm and insider’s scoop on Saint John – and be sure to head to Discover Saint John’s website for all your vacation and day trip planning ideas!

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