Off the southern tip of the New Brunswick mainland, about 50 mi/80 km southwest of Saint John, the Fundy Isles are quiet, scenic areas with lobster boats, rocky shores and small villages. Best of all, they have almost no crowds and are a great place to relax and take in the coastal panorama.
Grand Manan Island (accessible by ferry from Blacks Harbour) lies about 22 mi/35 km offshore. It's the largest of the islands. John James Audubon is its claim to fame as he did many bird sketches there. It's a good spot for whale-watching and seafood—you'll love the truly fresh lobster. Anchorage Provincial Park on the island allows you to camp near the surf. A scenic drive to Dark Harbour will afford you a glimpse of where dulse—a type of seaweed often used as a condiment—grows on the rocks and is harvested at low tide. If you're a history buff, be sure to visit the Grand Manan Museum where you'll see relics from shipwrecks and more than 300 species of birds (many of them rare). Swallow Tail Lighthouse at North Head is one the most photographed lighthouses in the world.
Deer Island (reached by ferry from Letete, near St. George) is a heavily wooded island and home to many lobstermen. It has an unusual natural feature created by the Fundy tides—a huge whirlpool called the "Old Sow." If you stand on Deer Point (at the south end of the island) during a strong, outgoing tide and look out over the international waters between Deer Island and Eastport, Maine, you can see the main whirlpool and several little whirlpools (called "the piglets") spinning off it. Deer Island also boasts an impressive collection of tiny old churches and more seafood restaurants than seems logical. Most restaurants will even package up a seafood picnic if you'd prefer to watch the waves come in while you eat.
From Deer Island, it's another short ferry ride (summer only) to better-known Campobello Island, where U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt spent his summers as a young man. Roosevelt International Park on Campobello preserves the estate where Roosevelt relaxed and recuperated (the island is part of New Brunswick, but the park is controlled and administered by a joint Canadian-U.S. commission). Also on Campobello is Herring Cove Provincial Park, with campsites, a golf course, a lodge, beach and hiking trails.
It's possible to make what is called the "Quoddy Loop"—a tour of the various Fundy Isles around Passamaquoddy Bay, covering those that are part of the U.S., as well as the Canadian isles. Such a tour is easiest in July and August, when all the ferries are on their peak summer schedules and run almost hourly.
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