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Parlee Beach Provincial Park, NB
Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 6:00pm by Lolo
107 miles and 2.5 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay
After St. Martins, we drove another 3 hours or so to the Parlee Beach Provincial Park on the Northumberland Strait side of New Brunswick--only about 35 miles from Nova Scotia. Parlee Beach is an extremely popular beach destination for New Brunswick families, so we were pretty fortunate to get a site at the Provincial Park Campground. Unfortunately, however, the campground was not near the beach, but almost a 1-mile drive away. This might not sound like much, but after a long day of driving, it would have been nice to be able to just hookup the RV and walk down to the beach. Instead, we had to drive and only returned to the campground around 10:00 that night to sleep. We find that this happens a lot with State Parks in the U.S. and Provincial Parks in Canada. The campground guides tell you there's a beach, but they leave out the fact that it is actually miles away. It makes a big difference.
The beach was quite lovely though and the water was amazingly warm. It was hard to believe that we had started our day in winter jackets on foggy, damp Deer Island and now here we were in bathing suits in the warm waters of the Northumberland Strait. Things were looking up. I had told the kids that a trip to the Maritimes didn't mean we wouldn't be swimming, but after the frigid waters of Acadia, I don't think they believed me; but here we were on a beautiful, sandy beach with 75 degree water--warmer than anything you usually find north of the Carolinas.
After some time at the beach, I convinced the kids to accompany me on an exploratory bike ride. I've got this restless (and somewhat obsessive and annoying) tendency that isn't satisfied until I've checked out everything there is about a place. Herb, who doesn't have this same tendency and had driven for a greater part of the day, decided to stay back and shower and relax with a cocktail.
So off the boys and I went, past the volleyball courts and concession stands and then out of the park into a community of beach homes. Eventually, we found ourselves on a wharf with several bustling restaurants and outdoor cafes. This definitely seemed like the place to be at 7:00 in the evening, hanging out at a cafe watching the fishing boats come in. Also, this area claims to be the lobster capital of the world, so I have a feeling that the seafood is a big draw as well. Satisfied that we had gotten a taste of the area, we pedaled back to the RV, where we found Herb much relaxed and content.
Although Parlee Beach was a bit too developed for our taste, I can see why it is one of New Brunswick's most popular beach destinations--warm water, wide sandy beach, good beach facilities, and great restaurants. It reminded me a lot of some places along the Jersey shore. We, however, tend to gravitate to more remote, unsupervised types of beaches. I'm sure we'll find some; in fact, I have a few planned along the way.
Parlee Beach Provincial Park is located on the Northumberland Strait in the village of Point-du-Chene, near Shediac, New Brunswick. Its long sandy beaches and warm 75 degree waters make it one of Canada's most popular beaches. In fact, the Northumberland Strait has some of the warmest saltwater north of Virginia. Besides the beautiful beach, park facilities include a restaurant, amphitheater, changing pavilion, playground, and volleyball courts. The fee to enter the Park is $8 per vehicle. The Provincial Park also has a 165-site campground located a few miles from the beach.
The nearby town of Shediac, known as the Lobster Capital of the World, has numerous fine seafood restaurants. The wharf at Point-du-Chene also has several restaurants and outdoor cafes from which you can watch the fishing boats come in.
Parlee Beach Provincial Park location map