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10 Things to Do in St. Andrews, New Brunswick

St. Andrews, New Brunswick, is the perfect place for a family summer getaway.

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This pretty little seaside town sits just by the U.S. border, and has a quaint old-fashioned charm that makes it the perfect place to kick back and relax with the kids. Not that there is a shortage of things to do in St. Andrews. Here are ten activities to keep the family entertained.

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1. Stay at the historic Fairmont Algonquin Hotel

Stay at the historic Fairmont Algonquin Hotel, as it is super family friendly and a great base to explore the area. There’s a big pool, playground and mini-golf on-site, every evening the staff provide marshmallows to roast over the firepits out front, there’s a huge antique armoire full of games in the lobby and reasonably priced babysitter services are there for when you want a little time without the kids. If you do get a kid-free evening, dine at The Rossmount Inn, the food is incredible. (By the way, you might not want to let on to older kids that this hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining!)

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2. Visit Minister’s Island.

Visit Minister’s Island. You can drive across the ocean floor in low tide or take a short boat ride with tour guides over to this, the largest tidal island in Canada, and explore the historic houses (and quirky outbuildings) on this pretty island or the working farm and (newly created) racehorse sanctuary.

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3. Spend time at the St. Andrews Creative Playground

Spend time at the St. Andrews Creative Playground, which has to be one of the best playgrounds in Canada. Designed and built by the community and renowned American playground architect Robert S. Leathers, there are maze-like wooden structures to explore, an amphitheatre for impromptu performances and more slides, swings and climbing tools than you could hope for. You’ll have difficulty tearing your kids away.

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4. Go whale watching.

Family run local outfit Island Quest Marine runs trips throughout the summer, and owner Carolyn Leavitt says that on every trip there’s a “Really, really great chance of seeing whales. Early in the season there are Minck and Finback whales, then in late summer we get the North Atlantic Right Whales and Humpbacks.” Not to mention dolphins, porpoises and the occasional shark or bluefin tuna fish.

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5. Indulge your sweet tooth at the Chocolate Museum.

Indulge your sweet tooth at the Chocolate Museum. Take a break from the sunshine to visit nearby St. Stephen, a lovely old industrial town that is home to the Ganong Brothers chocolates. At the recently expanded museum, you can watch hand-made chocolates being crafted, overdose on samples, play chocolate and candy themed games, and marvel at chocolate sculptures.

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6. Take a paddle around the Bay of Fundy.

Take a paddle around the Bay of Fundy. Seascape Kayak Tours offers family friendly kayaking adventures that show off the rich biodiversity of this beautiful area. Explore deserted islands, lighthouses and a wealth of wildlife: You’ll pass closely by harbour seals and porpoises, many different kinds of seabirds, and there’s a strong possibility you’ll get to see a whale or two.

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7. Sun yourselves at Katy’s Cove Beach. This sandy beach is supervised, the water in the cove gets warmer than in other areas, it has a large playground, a canteen and offers lots of free activities for kids throughout the summer. (The beach is a five-minute walk from the Algonquin Hotel.)

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8. While away an afternoon at Kingsbrae Garden.

While away an afternoon at Kingsbrae Garden. Besides having lots of beautiful areas to walk through, there’s a cool cedar maze leading to a labyrinth, alpacas and lots gardens designed to interest kids (including a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party garden). At 1:30 p.m., everyday throughout July and August, there is a different organized activity for children to take part in.

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9. Lovely restaurants in St. Andrews

There are lots of lovely restaurants in St. Andrews, and pretty much all of them are welcoming to children, but The Gables Restaurant is great and has an awesome patio overlooking the harbour. The chowder at Elaine’s Chowder House is superb and Honeybeans Coffeehouse offers great snacks as well as an awesome cup of joe.

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10. Visit Sunbury Shores Arts and Nature Centre

Visit Sunbury Shores Arts and Nature Centre, which offers programming for kids all summer long. There are a number of four-day art camps that operate in the mornings for five to eight year olds, and then in the afternoons for older kids (as well as camps for teens). If you’ve got creative kids that love to play with clay, draw, paint and create, then there’s plenty going on here to entertain them.