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Unique Nature Experiences in Saint John, New Brunswick

Featuring: Jillian MacKinnon

Marketing & Communications Director , Discover Saint John

Explore the phenomenal outdoors and romantic charm of Saint John, New Brunswick, according to a destination expert.

Saint John, New Brunswick is unlike any city you've visited before. Not only is this destination known for its unusual "reverse tides," but it also has a flourishing uptown core with roots in history. We sat down with Jillian MacKinnon, Marketing & Communications Director at Discover Saint John, to learn more about what makes Saint John special.

#1 Witness a Phenomenon

What is something that differentiates Saint John from other destinations?

The Bay of Fundy

We are the only city that's on the world-famous Bay of Fundy. It has the highest tides anywhere in the world, changing by about 28 feet twice a day. The Bay of Fundy and the Saint John River also collide right here in Saint John, creating the phenomenon of reverse tides.

When the bay is at high tide, it creates a series of rapids and whirlpools that boats can't pass through. At low tide, the river flows back into the bay, which creates an uphill sensation for any jet boat operators. It's an amazing sight to see. Use our Tide Watch tool to plan your adventures based on the tides.

"We have spectacular outdoor adventures surrounding the city, but if you're looking for a nice dinner, we are perfect for that, too." Jillian MacKinnon, Discover Saint John
Artist Sean Yoro painted a unique mural of the Bay of Fundy:

#2 Discover Where Old Meets New

How would you describe your destination in three words?

Historic, Vibrant, & Romantic

Saint John is the oldest incorporated city in Canada, and architecture from hundreds of years ago is still in tact because of heritage preservation areas.

Despite our historic ties, we consider ourselves to be a vibrant and romantic city, too. It is very walkable here with hundreds of cool bars, restaurants, and galleries to explore. These modern attractions are often inside repurposed older buildings, so it's like opening a door to the past.

"Local young entrepreneurs have been repurposing historic buildings into cool attractions like microbreweries, Italian restaurants, and homemade ice cream shops." Jillian MacKinnon, Discover Saint John

#3 Find Peace at the Parks

What is the most peaceful spot in your destination?

Local Parks

We have a lot of great city parks here. Irving Nature Park has gorgeous views of the Bay of Fundy. Rockwood Park is one of the largest urban parks in North America, with beautiful trails, lakes, wildlife, and even a golf course.

#4 Enjoy Local Flavor

What local chef or restaurant do you frequently crave?

Jesse Vergen

Jesse Vergen is a local celebrity chef, he's fantastic. He owns a breadth of restaurants around here, but one of my favorites is Toro Taco, a grab-and-go spot. He also owns Saint John Ale House right on the waterfront and Smoking Pig BBQ, which operates out of an old train car.

Watch local chef Jesse Vergen sample craft beer around the city:

#5 Spend Time on The West Side

Where would you bring a ‘know-it-all’ local to show them a new side of Saint John?

The West Side

I would take them outside of the uptown core over to the west side of the city. That's where you'll find Moosehead Breweries Unlimited, Canada's oldest independent brewery, and you can enjoy the brewpub or take a guided tour. There's also the new aerial adventure park, kayaking on the Saint John River, and the beautiful Saint John Marina.

#6 Explore the Sea Caves

What is your family's favorite place to explore on a day trip?

Sea Caves in St. Martins

My kids love exploring the sea caves in St. Martins. The village also has plenty of great restaurants right on the beach with the traditional cuisine like lobster rolls or fish and chips, so we'll make the short drive over, check out the caves, and grab lunch together.

More Local Tips

Scenic Vistas

Peruse the Coastline

An hour outside of the city is the Fundy Trail Parkway: the longest undeveloped coastline between Labrador and Florida. Here you'll find breathtaking beaches, cliffs, flowerpot rocks, and waterfalls.

Getting Here

Driving Distances

Get here from these nearby cities:

  • Fredericton 110 kilometers
  • Moncton 153 kilometers
  • Dieppe 158 kilometers
  • Miramichi 271 kilometers
  • Bathurst 346 kilometers
  • Edmundston 374 kilometers
  • See more . . .

Unforgettable Sights

Go Whale-Watching

The coastal, picturesque fishing village of St. Andrews has incredible whale-watching adventures.

Rediscover Saint John, New Brunswick Map

What Is A Destination Organization?

A destination organization is responsible for promoting a community as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live and work.

Get Involved

We are looking for destination marketers who want to share the hidden gems and off-the-beaten path things to do in their hometowns.

About the Contributor

Jillian MacKinnon

Marketing & Communications Director

About The Contributor

Jillian has been Director of Marketing & Communications at Discover Saint John since 2010, launching high-profile campaigns such as #SaintAwesome.