Whether you’re inspired by the countless songs about the open road, the freedom from airport pat-downs or just the inherent urge to get out of town and shake things up, the road trip is the basis of so many childhood memories and backseat-driver nostalgia.
Canada offers plenty of options to choose from when you decide to put the pedal to the metal, but no other destination is more remarkable, fascinating or memorable than the East Coast. Steeped as it is in history, geographic wonders, and delectables fresh from its waters, you’d be hard pressed to find any other place like it.
Before you head out, be sure to plot out these roadside attractions, which offer the chance to take in the sights and get some great snaps. Whether you’ve got just a few days or the luxury of weeks to see Canada’s eastern seaboard, your time there will be nothing short of inspiring, leaving you desperate for a return trip.
Depending on where you start your journey across this country, your first stop is more than likely to be New Brunswick, the breeding grounds of the Atlantic puffin, and home of the sardine can and the snow blower, both of which were invented here.
Start with a record-setting monument: The Hartland Covered Bridge is the world’s longest covered bridge. Just shy of half a kilometre long and celebrating its 120th birthday in 2021, this romantic structure can also transport you to your next destination —just keep on driving.
Location: Hartland, N.B.
If you’ve got an axe to grind, wait until you see the World’s Largest Axe. Standing at 15 metres (49 feet) tall, it is so big it had to be moved on a Sunday morning to avoid traffic. The landmark stands for the industry that made its mark on this small community, named the “Forestry Capital of Canada” in 1991. The huge “stump” doubles as a stage for outdoor gatherings in the community. In the head of the axe there is a time capsule embedded for future generations.
Location: Nackawic, N.B.
Watch science and nature move in opposition right before your eyes at the Reversing Falls Rapids. Visit this natural wonder to see when the Saint John River passes through a gorge to merge with the Bay of Fundy at high tide. The whirlpool effect is so powerful that vessels must wait for slack tide before passing.
Location: Saint John, N.B.
Wanna see a really big boat? Check out Noah’s Ark. Built in 1993 by a pastor and his son, this 300-foot-long replica is one-third smaller than the Biblical prototype. Its seaworthiness may be in question, but it is home to a private Bible school, School of the Spirit, so lower your voice and watch your step!
Location: Florenceville, N.B.
Keep an eye out for another supersize monument, the Large Fiddle, which was built in 2005 as a tribute to the province’s beloved fiddler Don Messer.
Location: Harvey, N.B.
Nature’s flowerpots are on full display in Hopewell Provincial Park. The Hopewell Rocks are commonly described as looking like flowerpots as a result of tidal erosion over time. Take in the view from above or get right down to tide level. Tours are available from May to mid-October.
Location: Hopewell Cape, N.B.
Who doesn’t like big spuds? Check out the Big Potato Man, a local fixture since 1969 who welcomes you to a locally owned vegetable farm and market that opened in 1952.
Location: Maugerville, N.B.
Experience the optical puzzler that is Magnetic Hill. In existence since the 1800s, it has bemused motorists for decades. Here, the layout of the surrounding land produces an optical illusion, making a slight downhill slope appear to be an uphill slope. Are you rolling uphill or downhill?
Location: Moncton, N.B. Fee: $5
Yet another watery wonder to discover is the tidal bore, where the Bay of Fundy meets the Peticodiac River, creating a natural phenomenon at high tide. Don’t settle for the online video experience. Go hither and see it for yourself!
Location: Moncton, N.B.
Meet the World’s Largest Lobster. This steel giant was created in 1990 by local artist Winston Bronnum. Weighing in at 90 tons, it could crack anything!
Location: Shediac, N.B.
Want to see the other provinces, click the links below:
- Why We Love the East Coast – New Brunswick
- Why We Love the East Coast – Nova Scotia
- Why We Love the East Coast – Prince Edward Island
- Why We Love the East Coast – Newfoundland and Labrador
An editor with 15-plus years in the publishing business, Catalina Margulis’ byline spans travel, food, decor, parenting, fashion, beauty, health and business. When she’s not chasing after her three young children, she can be found painting her home, taming her garden and baking muffins.