Looking for a great New Brunswick 'staycation'? Go where you've never been
Many residents have no idea what the province has to offer travellers
It's no secret New Brunswick's premier would like to see more people taking their summer holidays inside the province's borders.
As far back as late April, Blaine Higgs was encouraging "staycations," even though travel within the province wasn't even recommended at that time.
"Once we are able to, and hopefully that will be soon, to allow more movement throughout the province, we want to have people staying in New Brunswick," Higgs said at a news conference.
Now, with the opening of the Atlantic bubble, the province is putting its money where its mouth is, offering a 20 per cent rebate for many overnight travel expenses incurred by New Brunswickers in their own province between July 15 and Sept. 30.
The Explore NB Travel Incentive Program has a limit of $1,000, and travellers have to present receipts with their application.
Ellen Tucker has worked in the tourist industry for decades, and she said the offer is too good for New Brunswickers not to take advantage of it.
Many New Brunswickers have no idea what the province has to offer travellers, Tucker said.
"I mean, we know people who just discovered Black Beach, and they've lived here all their life."
Black Beach, in Lorneville, on the western outskirts of Saint John, is reached by walking a beautiful nature trail through coastal forest. This brings you to the secluded beach, with the unusual black sand that gives it its name.
But Tucker said it doesn't have to be secluded to be little known.
She doesn't understand why Edmundston isn't a destination for travellers.
"It has the incredible gardens [the New Brunswick Botanical Gardens], a few really good restaurants, and some great hiking trails," she said.
And if you have an affection for miniature worlds, a visit to Du Réel au Miniature to check out the model railways is a must.
"And on your way up there, you can stop and see Grand Falls."
If you plan to head to the Miramichi region, Tucker recommends the Metepenagiag Heritage Park, a museum of First Nations history and culture.
"Very few New Brunswickers even know about it," Tucker said of the interactive museum and trails located in Red Bank. She recalled a visit to the museum with her husband, Gordon.
"Gordon started talking to one of the guides there, and I thought he was never going to leave. I had to practically drag him out."
And, Tucker said, a drive along the Acadian Peninsula is always worth it, for what she calls some of the most beautiful scenery in New Brunswick.
Farther down the coastline, Tucker suggested Cap-Pelé as a great destination. She said, like many New Brunswickers, she had never been there until a visit in 2018.
People practically drive right by it on the way to P.E.I., not knowing what it offers.
She recommended a visit to Aboiteau Beach for beach lovers.
The fishing community also has some of the best seafood restaurants around.Tucker said check out the Smokehouse Museum, which pays homage to the community's long history of producing smoked fish.
On the Fundy coast, Tucker is a big fan of the Hopewell Rocks, not far from Fundy National Park, and said the village of Alma also has lots to offer travellers.
And now that the ferry to Campobello Island is operating again, Tucker said, an island hop from the mainland to Deer Island and on to Campobello is in order.
Try to get the timing right to see the "Old Sow" tidal whirlpool near the Campobello ferry landing on Deer Island.
And, Tucker said the golf course on Campobello — Herring Cove Provincial Park Golf Course — is great.
Being off the beaten track a bit and away from the crowds can be an advantage for New Brunswick.
Tucker said people may not want to travel very far, but she said it's important to "spread the money around in New Brunswick."
"This is going to be with us for a while," she said of the pandemic. "Get used to wearing a mask and doing the right things."
And remember to keep your receipts. You can apply for the Explore NB Travel Incentive Program between Oct. 1 and Oct. 31.