St Andrews By-the-Sea is an idyllic maritime town in New Brunswick bolstered by the famous Algonquin Resort established in 1889. The moment you see the Algonquin in St. Andrews you’ll feel like you are in a time warp. I felt as if I had stepped right onto the set of Dirty Dancing, with this old style family resort feel complete with wrap around porch and a castle like appearance. This was one of the few remaining resorts owned and operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway shuttling tourists to their grand resort in the 1900’s. Having just undergone massive renovation, the resort looks better than ever, and is welcoming visitors into St. Andrews By-the Sea once again.
So once you arrive at Algonquin, next you’ll need to determine what things to do in the little town of St Andrews New Brunswick. Luckily I found a nice mix of relaxing and more adventurous activities to keep you busy during your stay.
Games at Algonquin
Most hotels have a lobby that is seldom used but for checking in and out. They are often beautifully designed, and untouched. But the Algonquin Resort is different – it had one of the most inviting and social lobbies and porch I had ever experienced. Just wander around the lobby area and you’ll see families sitting around on couches playing games, reading books, and socializing. It felt like a giant family room and gave the entire resort a vibe of fun. Games were found on all of the coffee tables; scrabble, chess, checkers, cards, and more.
More Information: Algonquin Resort Website
Have a beach day in some of Canada’s warmest saltwater swimming. Katy’s Cove, a supervised sandy beach ready for swimming, volleyball, sandcastles and summer fun, offers picturesque views of Passamaquoddy Bay. Cost to use the beach facilities is only $2 and it’s open from 10am to 6pm in the summer. It’s a great day out for the family, but on the day we visited it was a bit stormy – but still beautiful.
It’s a family affair at Island Quest Marine Whale Watching. Captain Chris comes from a long line of fishermen and grew up scalloping and lobstering. However he changed gears when he started to study boat building and decided to move the family business into tourism. He built his own boat that you’ll board and take out on the Bay of Fundy for whale watching. The day we went out the tide was low when we left the docks in St. Andrews and the weather was really foggy. You could barely see the shoreline, but as the morning went on the fog burned off and whales revealed themselves, along with lighthouses, seabirds, and aquafarms. We spotted a number of humpback whales on our outing and we were thoroughly entertained by the crew who educated us on whales and other sea life. It was a great way to get out on the Bay of Fundy and by the time we got back to the dock the tide was higher and the whole waterfront looked different!
More Info: Island Quest Marine Whale Watching Website
Add a dash of color to your stay by strolling through the Kingsbrae gardens. 27 acres of botanical paradise. Beautifully kept and landscaped, the gardens are bursting with color and bees with over 50,000 perennials and various themed gardens! In addition to wandering around the gardens, we also wandered back in the woods and met the latest artist in residence at Kingsbrae, Joe Palmer, a chainsaw artist who was in the middle of making some large and complex creations! It was fun to talk to him about his craft and see him at work.
More Info: KingsBrae Gardens Website
A short drive out of St. Andrews in the little town of Bethel you find the famous Ossie’s Fried Clams diner/truck stop. It’s been a staple in the area since 1958. We drove up to the white building parked the car, ordered a full meal of fried clams, scallops, and fish – plus milk shakes and got ready to stuff our faces. Sit at picnic tables and enjoy this basic yet historic experience of eating the best fried clams in the region! It’s absolutely worth it…and don’t skip the milk shakes!
Fine Dining at Rossmount Inn
Known throughout the Maritimes for it’s creative market fresh cuisine and upscale yet small town atmosphere, the Rossmount Inn is a must stop for foodies. The menu changes daily depending on the local ingredients and harvest season for Chef Chris Aerni. The big yellow Victorian at the top of the hill was bustling the night we went to dinner. We dined on oyster shooters served in a shot glass, halibut ceviche with sweet potato, quick seared yellow fin tuna in hoisin glaze chia seed black peppercorn crust, and a carrot-ginger puree. Make sure you make reservations well in advance, as this is a popular stop in St. Andrews By-the-Sea.
More Information: Rossmount Inn Restaurant
Go for a Run
One of my favorite things to do in a town is to go running. It’s a great way to cover more ground than you can walking, but yet you are still going slow enough to take it all in. St. Andrews is a perfect little town to run around(it’s relatively flat!) and get to see a diverse set of sights in a simple little 5k. I started at the Algonquin and ran around the peninsula on Water Street. It took me by the coastline at low tide, all muddy and foggy, and then it turned the corner around the peninsula and it took me into the heart of the colorful town. Cute little homes and neighborhoods, and eventually the business district of St. Andrews full of restaurants and shops. It was a great way to see the town wake up. And if you really love running, check out the unique Beat the Tide 10k or 5k where you actually run on the ocean floor before the tide comes back in!
After seeing all the sights, it’s a great time to sit and relax on the big open porch of the Algonquin and sip a martini. The bar, Braxtons, served up my favorite drink in the world; a gin martini with blue cheese stuffed olives. It was a great evening to sit out on the porch with my parents, sip a martini and watch the sun go down on this idyllic town.
Disclosure: I was a guest of New Brunswick Tourism, however all opinions are my own.
By Renuka March 5, 2015 - 10:11 am
Your pictures almost transported me to St Andrews! 🙂 I love the idea of Porch nightcap!
By Kay March 5, 2015 - 10:59 am
Photos and text are excellent. I am including St Andrews on my short list.
By Tim Ostrem March 5, 2015 - 10:47 pm
Great article Sherry. Spectacular imagery.
By Denise March 6, 2015 - 9:23 am
we can hardly wait to get there!! Don’t forget about Ministers island and bar road, and the salmon hatchery and huntsmens!
By Jasmine March 6, 2015 - 11:13 am
i love the Alonguin hotel been there many times :)) and St Andrews is a place where i could live :)))
By Judy March 6, 2015 - 12:09 pm
if I were to move back to NB St. Andrews would be my first choice to live. I love this place!
By Cathy March 6, 2015 - 5:30 pm
Love the Algonquin! St Andrews is a magical place like no other. Small but mighty with interesting things to do and see. Nothing beats sitting on the rocks when the tide is out and just enjoying the scene that changes with the tide. I have been going there every summer with my mother, then with my hubby. Last summer we bought a summer home in St Andrews that we hope to some day be our retirement home!! Awesome pictures and write-up!!
By Sherry March 7, 2015 - 12:32 pm
Totally agree – I loved watching the different ‘faces of the area’ with the changing tide.
By Pauline March 6, 2015 - 5:30 pm
Every year we camp with friends at Ocean Front campground. WE love St Andrews… always visit Minister’s Island..and love to watch the sun set from the wharf.
By Sherry March 7, 2015 - 12:32 pm
I didn’t have time to get to Minister’s Island – but hopefully next time!
By Gary March 6, 2015 - 9:22 pm
One of the most picturesque towns in Canada, just waiting to be explored. And with maritime friendliness and hospitality. I try to go there every summer.
By Corinne March 7, 2015 - 5:02 am
It looks fabulous! Like you said a glimpse into yesteryear. I love it.
By Lou March 7, 2015 - 11:44 am
My husband is from there so we go back to visit family. We”ve stayed at the Algonquin a few time and ; my niece got married there. But that was before the renovations. I can’t wait to see the ‘new and improved’ Algonquin. We”ve already made our reservations for the Rossmount. There was no mention or photos of the town, filled with lovely little shops and eateries on the main strip, some right by the water. Can’t wait for a stroll there and a visit to the shop where I can replenish my supply of lavender oil.
By Sherry March 7, 2015 - 12:33 pm
I’ll be interested in what you think of the renovations. I never saw the old version – just this newly renovated one – so lovely!
By Casey March 7, 2015 - 12:44 pm
Great article, but you forgot one of the most important places! Ministers Island! Open island access (tide Dependant) starts in June! And those dashing tour guides! 🙂
By Sherry March 7, 2015 - 2:06 pm
Yes – I didn’t have time to get to Minister’s Island on this trip – hopefully next time!
By Bernie March 7, 2015 - 4:55 pm
St. Andrews is a beautiful place to go and visit. I grew up there and I plan to go home again this year. I am a transplanted New Brunswicker in Manitoba, but you can’t take the New Brunswick out of the St. Andrews girl.
By dave March 7, 2015 - 6:48 pm
Canoe to navy island
By Sherry March 8, 2015 - 10:44 am
Ohhh – that sounds like fun. Will need to put that on the list for next time!
By Heather March 8, 2015 - 3:22 am
Seeing St. Andrews through your eyes is a treat, Sherry! You make me love it even more!
By Sherry March 8, 2015 - 10:44 am
I’m still craving fried clams after that trip to Ossies…delicious!
By Kaiti March 8, 2015 - 7:40 am
Next time you visit you must try out Honeybean’s on water street!
By Jade March 17, 2015 - 5:39 am
Beautiful! I need to travel more in this part of Canada!
By Stephanie - The Travel Chica March 28, 2015 - 4:48 pm
You had me at Dirty Dancing
By Meredith Pillon April 6, 2015 - 10:49 am
Sherry, You captured St. Andrews to a T and your photos are gorgeous.
By Elizabeth April 9, 2015 - 2:55 pm
I have heard so much about St Andrews that I want to go visit there, this year.
What are the winter’s like there, also?
By Sherry April 10, 2015 - 2:14 am
Ohh – I’m not too sure about the winters as I’ve only been there in the summer!
By Mel Gallant April 13, 2015 - 6:36 am
Some of the Finest Scuba Diving in the World is right there in the Bay of Fundy. There is also a local diving business to support it
By Henry April 13, 2015 - 7:47 am
Great place to visit or live. ?
By Sherry April 15, 2015 - 8:38 am
I only visited – I don’t know what it would be like living there! Do you have an insight?
By Mark April 14, 2015 - 5:57 pm
Having sunset cocktails from the upper porch
at Harbour Watch was special.
By Elizabeth April 15, 2015 - 4:38 pm
I am wondering what it would be like to live there in the summer, spring, or winter? I am in Nova Scotia, and want to visit somewhere else, and see if I like it enough, to move there?
And if it isn’t too expensive, also.
By Sally April 27, 2015 - 7:56 am
Heaven on Earth! There is a Peace in St. Andrews that is tangible.
By read this January 25, 2016 - 4:00 am
By Neysa Calhoun June 26, 2017 - 4:35 am
you never mentioned the Ross Museum it is so easy to walk to and the treasures and the love story that made it all happen are so worth it
By Sherry June 30, 2017 - 11:36 am
I didn’t have time to stop there on my visit – but thanks for bringing it up so others will know about it!
By Su August 13, 2017 - 8:54 pm
We are thinking of bringing our bikes. Is there good biking there?
By Sherry August 13, 2017 - 9:13 pm
I didn’t bike there – but I heard there were trails you could ride and the hotels rented bikes – so there must be some. I do know that you can ride over to Minister’s Island when the tide is right – which is pretty unique!
By Brian carter October 4, 2017 - 12:11 pm
There are bike trails all around the area you will love our town