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Fishing Is Still One Of The Biggest Economic Drivers On Deer Island

Deer Island NB – Exploring by Bike

You don’t hear much about Deer Island in New Brunswick. That’s partially a result of its diminutive size. Deer Island has a land mass of only 45 square km. For comparison’s sake that’s a little bigger than the country of Liechtenstein in Europe. But for such a small island there’s a lot of rural and coastal beauty. 

A visit to Deer Island NB is more about rest and relaxation than it is about keeping busy. The pace of life is slow. There doesn’t seem to be much of a rush to do anything or go anywhere – unless it’s for a ferry sailing so come here with books and a laid-back attitude.

Deer Island NB – How to get here

Deer Island is located in the Bay of Fundy at the entrance to Passamaquoddy Bay, only five kilometres from the mainland and just four kilometres northwest of Campobello Island. Fredericton and Saint John are the closest big cities to the ferry terminal.

Deer Island is accessed by a 20 minute ferry ride from L’Etête on the mainland. There is year round service and crossings are every 30 minutes between 8 AM and 5 PM.

You can also take a ferry from Deer Island to Campobello Island one of the Fundy Islands, as well as to Eastport, Maine.

The shoreline in l'Etete beside the ferry docks at low tide
The shoreline in l’Etete beside the ferry docks at low tide
Looking across to one of the wharves from the ferry terminal, Deer Island, NB
Looking across to one of the wharves from the ferry terminal
Lighthouse rising from the fog
Lighthouse rising from the fog
The ferry to Deer Island, NB
The ferry to Deer Island, NB

Deer Island is still largely driven by fishing and aquaculture, with tourism playing a lesser role. As a result, it’s quiet and there aren’t a lot of services.

But there are a few cottages for rent as well as a couple of B&B’s. I stayed in the Deer Island Inn which I can highly recommend. It’s not fancy, but it’s spotlessly clean and very friendly.

Restaurants aren’t plentiful either. But from experience, I can tell you that the lobster roll from the 45th Parallel Restaurant is very good.

You can buy lobster rolls on Deer Island
You can buy lobster rolls on Deer Island

What to do on Deer Island, NB

I cycled almost every road on the island – something you can do in under a day. There is also excellent kayaking including the option of doing a multi-day trip with Seascape Kayak Tours. There’s also a little bit of hiking but the trails are short. Birding can be quite good.

For something quite different, head to Deer Island Point near the ferry launch for Campobello Island. There you’ll find the Old Sow – the largest whirlpool in the western hemisphere. It’s best seen about three hours before high tide.

And if you have some time on your hands, nose about in one of the many artist galleries.

Inner harbour on Deer Island, NB
Inner harbour on Deer Island
You've got to love the names people come up with
You’ve got to love the names people come up with
Fishing is still one of the biggest economic drivers on Deer Island
Fishing is still one of the biggest economic drivers on Deer Island
Deer Island crab traps?
Colourful lobster pots
Pretty rural scenes all over Deer Island
Pretty rural scenes all over Deer Island
This hen strutted around my B&B like she owned the place
This hen strutted around my B&B like she owned the place
The area around Deer Island is dotted with smaller islands making it a kayaker's paradise
The area around Deer Island is dotted with smaller islands making it a kayaker’s paradise
Colourful fishing boats at sunset
Can’t miss the orange fishing boat at sunset

Further reading on New Brunswick 

Visit the local tourism website for all things related to Deer Island, NB.

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

A visit to Deer Island, New Brunswick

 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 33 Comments

  1. Such a beautiful part of the country! I haven’t visited Deer Island but we drove to Campobello Island when we were staying in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea one summer and returned via ferry – it was a great day!

    1. @Lisa I found all the islands had such different characters. I also loved Campobello but it felt more Americanized – no surprise there with the bridge to Maine & the Roosevelt connection.

  2. It’s nice to visit there when you don’t like crowded place. It is beautiful Island and clean.

    1. @Mette Crab traps are typically thrown down into deep water – I believe with a sandy bottom. You have to bait them and then a certain length of time – maybe 8 hours you go back to see what you’ve got.

  3. Deer Island looks delightful. When we visit New Brunswick we will definitely visit the island. I love the lighthouse rising from the mist, the boat harbour and a lobster roll, finishes the deal for me. It looks delicious.

    1. @Jan Deer Island is a delight. You don’t need a lot of time for it – unless you really want to recharge. Include Campobello Island and Grand Manan Island as well.

  4. There are so many gorgeous islands in NB, and the Maritimes. I’ve been to NB more times than I can remember, but almost always on business, so have never really explored the tourist side. Maybe one of these days I’ll get to do that. I want one of those lobster rolls!

    1. @Nancie Work versus pleasure – we get such a different view of a place depending on why we’re visiting. Maybe on another trip back to NS you’ll be able to spend some time relaxing in the Fundy Isles.

  5. These are such beautiful photos. I especially like the one of the lighthouse “floating” above the fog. That chicken, the white flowers, and the crab (lobster?) traps really set the scene. If lobster rolls are an option, I wouldn’t mind at all that there aren’t a lot of restaurants.

    1. @Wilson There isn’t actually that much hiking available. I did one in a small park but the best thing to do is to go to the visitor info centre when you get off the ferry and pick up a map. They are very helpful inside as well.

  6. As a long time Deer Island resident I would like to say thank you for shinning light on our little piece of paradise. As you mentioned, Deer Island is only accessed by ferry. It is a free crossing from L’etete, NB and it is only a 20 minute sail with lots of sea life and beautiful scenery to take in along the way. I would like to note that the ferry service has vastly improved over the years and Deer Island is accessible via ferry from 6:00am until 10:30pm. Hope you all will consider a visit to our Deer Island. You won’t be disappointed.
    PS: The traps pictured are lobster traps.

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