"Grand Manan Island - Idyllic Ocean Getaway !" Grand Manan by Bwana_Brown

Grand Manan Travel Guide: 60 reviews and 57 photos

Whale Watching, Coastal Trails - You Name It !

Grand Manan, located only 9 miles off the coast of Maine, USA, is the largest of the Bay of Fundy islands belonging to the Canadian Province of New Brunswick. Even so, it is relatively small in size, at only 16 miles long with a total area of 53 square miles. The name of the island derives from the Passamaquoddy Indian name 'mun a nouk' meaning 'island in the sea'. During a storm on March 16,1606, the French explorer Samuel de Champlain (founder of Quebec City) was driven to shelter on one of the small islands in the chain. In his accounts of the experience, he added the word 'Grand' to 'menan', the French corruption of the original Indian name. Although the island was first permanently settled on May 6, 1784 by British Loyalists fleeing from the American colonies when their War of Independence from Britain was won (in Canada it is called the Revolutionary War!), the island was claimed as American territory until 1817 when it was exchanged for three small islands in present day Maine in nearby Passamaquoddy Bay. With its world record 50-foot tides and ice-cold water from the Arctic current, the Bay of Fundy is rich in marine life. In fact, the abundance of marine life has made this a prime feeding ground for several species of whales. Historically, the 2,500 residents of this tree-covered island relied on the ocean for their livlihood, harvesting lobster, scallops, herring and now salmon farming. Although I had been to the island once many years previously on electric power business, the trip in September, 1994 was purely for fun on the occasion of a visit from England by my wife's sister (The first Tips in some sections cover this trip). We had great early Autumn weather during our brief 2-day stay and enjoyed the island's growing tourist delights of whalewatching and coastal hiking.

It was 10-years later that I next returned, for a 3-day biking trip with my buddy Russell. We had a fantastic time exploring this island with the sun shining (and sometimes the fog not shining!) and the wind blowing past us! Most of the Tips on this page deal with this July, 2004 trip.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Rustic, inexpensive and relaxing!
  • Cons:Be prepared for changeable weather!
  • In a nutshell:An amazing escape destination !
  • Last visit to Grand Manan: Jul 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (45)

Comments (26)

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Feb 19, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    Fantastic - just our sort of place! I especially love whale watching trips, and these look great. So yet another one for the ever-growing wish list ;-)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Apr 4, 2009 at 12:32 PM

    Me again, returning to read about another of your great NB bicycle trips. This sounds like a fine place for whale watching, as well. I've never been to *New* Brunswick, but I've done some urban cycling in the old one, known in German as Braunschweig.

  • Aug 10, 2008 at 5:21 PM

    I moved to NB in June and keep coming across your page when perusing the Web for travel info. This time I thought I'd say, "Thanks!" for the great info.

  • robertgaz's Profile Photo
    Jun 9, 2008 at 4:51 PM

    Whale watching and walking would be wonderful... I'm not too sure about wading in those waters though!

  • roamer61's Profile Photo
    Jan 29, 2007 at 9:32 AM

    Great page with valuable tips. I plan on eventually going there as its a major destination for watching seabirds, particularly Puffins and the like.

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Jan 4, 2007 at 6:02 PM

    I'd love to bike and smell the roses on this amazing island despite showers/mist/fog. Great page and mysterious foggy pictures.

  • kyoub's Profile Photo
    Sep 23, 2006 at 5:07 AM

    Very interesting stories and tips. Grand Manan sounds like my kind of place. Thanks for the tour.

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Sep 14, 2006 at 12:24 PM

    Great biking trip Glenn - I see you like wild fruit too - I had some wild raspberries in the Highland - your page reminds me of my home esp. the hole in the wall

  • Sep 9, 2006 at 6:09 PM

    I noticed in this message that Ms. Brown said that there are no large mammles living on the island. I have lived here my entire life and know that free roaming deer exist on the island.

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Sep 5, 2006 at 5:34 AM

    Great pages, awesome cliff story.


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