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Two Sets Of Stairs To Get You To Safety Or To The Lightstation If It's Low Tide

Campobello Island in New Brunswick by Bike

Campobello Island in New Brunswick is one of the Fundy Isles and an interesting place to visit for a day especially on a bike – though it would also be a great destination for a week of summer R&R. The island lies in between Deer Island and Grand Manan Island. It’s also just 7 km from Lubec, Maine.

I spent a day cycling Campobello Island from one end of the island to the other. I’d picked up a bike on Deer Island from Seascape Kayak Tours, peddled like a crazy person for 30 minutes to get to the ferry dock and timed it so that I waited just two minutes before loading.

Leaving Deer Island for Campobello Island
Leaving Deer Island for Campobello Island

Getting to Campobello Island

The ferry ride over to Campobello Island from Deer Island only takes about 30 minutes but ferries are roughly two hours apart – and hence the reason for my all-out push to make the ferry.

It only costs $5 per person or $6 if you’re traveling with a bike. Cars and a driver are $18 plus a $4 fuel surcharge each way. (Take cash with you in case the debit or credit machines aren’t working.)

It was an interesting ride – not just for the bird life – but for the chance to see the town of Eastport, Maine from the water. It wasn’t what I expected at all – and in fact looks to be quite a size. There is a ferry from Eastport to Campobello Island as well.

Alternatively you can drive from Maine. Take I-95 to Bangor and 1A to Ellsworth. Make your way to Lubec via Route 189. Cross on the FDR Memorial Bridge to Campobello, toll free.

The view of Eastport, Maine from the Deer Island - Campobello Island Ferry
The view of Eastport, Maine from the Deer Island – Campobello Island Ferry

Campobello Island – what to do on this small island

Once I arrived on Campobello Island I decided to head south towards the summer home of President Franklin Roosevelt.

But first I had to refuel and ended up in conversation with a mix of locals and visitors at Jocie’s Porch Tea & Coffee House. The coffee was the best cup I had over my three week trip – but I was disappointed that there weren’t any homemade baked goodies to go with it. Still swinging on a porch put me in a relaxed mood.

One of the beaches near the ferry on Campobello Island
One of the beaches near the ferry on Campobello Island
A mix of locals & visitors hanging out at Jose's Cafe
A mix of locals & visitors hanging out at Jose’s Cafe, a short distance from the ferry

Visit Roosevelt Campobello International Park

It wasn’t much of a bike ride from the ferry to get to Roosevelt Campobello International Park – and the summer home of President Franklin Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor.

You could tour the place at your own pace for free – and ask questions of the guides positioned outside all the major rooms. I loved the house – and could well imagine myself spending summers in such a place.

Couldn’t we all? What I found so interesting was the simplicity of the home compared to what one would see today – and the fact that the servants bedrooms were just a few doors down from the master bedroom.

"The summer residence of President Roosevelt"
The summer residence of President Roosevelt
Lovely hiking trails in Roosevelt Campobello International Park
Lovely hiking trails in Roosevelt Campobello International Park
The beach in front of Roosevelt's cottage
The beach in front of Roosevelt’s cottage
The servant's bedroom - just a few doors down from the master bedroom
The servant’s bedroom – just a few doors down from the master bedroom
"The master bedroom of FDR"
The master bedroom
The living area in the Roosevelt cottage
The living area in the Roosevelt cottage

Check out FDR International Bridge

From the Roosevelt cottage I made my way toward the FDR International Bridge – a short bridge linking Campobello Island with Lubec, Maine.

There’s a pretty lighthouse to see and if you have the time there are load of trails to hike and cycle through Roosevelt Campobello International Park. In fact it’s really a cyclist’s paradise.

It's a short bridge linking Maine to Campobello Island
It’s a short bridge linking Maine to Campobello Island
Looking over to the town of Lubec, Maine from Campobello Island
Looking over to the town of Lubec, Maine from Campobello Island
The Mulholland Lighthouse on Campobello Island
The Mulholland Lighthouse

Hike to Head Harbour Lightstation if it’s low tide

Then from one end of the island I cycled to the far end to check out the Head Harbour Lightstation. Unfortunately my visit coincided with high tide so I had to admire it from a distance. Notice all the sets of stairs down to the ocean so that you can walk to it when the tide is low.

"Warning if you plan to visit the Head Harbour Lightstation"
Warning if you plan to visit the Head Harbour Lightstation
At low tide take a set of stairs down and walk to the Head Harbour Lightstation
At low tide take a set of stairs down and walk to the Head Harbour Lightstation
The Head Harbour Lightstation
The Head Harbour Lightstation
Two sets of stairs to get you to safety or to the lightstation if it's low tide
Two sets of stairs to get you to safety or to the lightstation if it’s low tide

Explore the backroads

On the way back to the ferry dock I meandered down some side roads and stopped wherever a photo opportunity presented itself.

Of course I was hungry and thirsty again (I always am on a bike ride) and decided to check out the Family Fisheries Restaurant. Cold lemonade and a piece of delicious two crust – as they call it there – raspberry pie – was the payoff for all the hills I’d climbed.

One thing I learned on this trip is that people who drive cars and offer advice about the hills you might encounter on a bike in fact know nothing.

I was told by several people on the ferry that Campobello Island was much flatter than Deer Island – and maybe that’s true to a degree down at the south end but there are hills – you just don’t tend to notice them if you’re driving.

Buoys strung up on a clothesline
Buoys strung up on a clothesline
The Deer Island - Campobello Island ferry
The Deer Island – Campobello Island ferry
Gulls galore between the two islands
Gulls galore between the two islands

I had a fabulous day on Campobello Island. I found it particularly friendly and wish I’d had more time to explore both Herring Cove Provincial Park and Roosevelt Campobello International Park.

The day ended with a return ferry ride to Deer Island and another 45 minute bike ride to drop off my bike – really a perfect day on a summer weekend in my books.

Further reading on things to do in New Brunswick

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

A Visit to Campobello Island, New Brunswick


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 57 Comments

  1. Leigh, beautiful photos of a beautiful day. I appreciate the way you include the costs of activities, travel, accommodations – whatever, even if a portion of your experience has been hosted. I am noticing a great number of blogs who add the disclaimer, but never mention what the cost will be for the rest of us who don’t get the discount/freebie. Thanks for doing that – it is useful to your readers.

  2. Looks like an interesting island, Leigh, beautiful and historic. I suppose there’s border control either side of the international bridge, eh? I like walking across borders; biking would be fun, too. Can you cycle across the bridge, pop into Maine for lunch, then return?

  3. I would love to visit the Fundy Island. I had no idea the Roosevelts had a summer home there, although after seeing the photos I understand why.

  4. What a great day, Leigh. I knew that Rossevelt had his summer home there. Looks like a lovely place to while away the summer. I don’t bike. Is it possible to walk the island, can you bring a car over?

    1. @Nancie You can take a car on the Deer Island ferry for $20 each way and you can drive from mainland Maine. You can take a ferry too from Eastport, Maine. There are beautiful hiking trails in the Roosevelt Campobello International Park.

  5. Good for you for catching that ferry. You definitely had an incentive. You’re right, that Roosevelt summer home is much simpler than I would have expected from a president. All in all, it sounds like a day that was both relaxing and invigorating.

  6. I love how they call these huge homes cottages, I love those amazing skies with the clouds, they are my favorite, thanks for sharing Leigh

  7. Boy, did this ever take me back in time! I vividly remember visiting FDR’s home at Campobello so long ago. I was very impressed by the house and the history. What a pretty island, too. I can picture a few minutes relaxing on that porch at Jose’s.

    1. @Cathy I spoke with one of the guides in the house who shared an interesting fact. Around 9-11 FDR’s home would see approximately 4000 visitors a day – and now on a really good day it’s only 500 – and usually 300-400 people. I think it’s a lovely corner of the world to explore.

  8. As usual, Leigh, your photos are stunning!
    Love the beauty and simplicity of the Roosevelt house. I can just imagine how relaxing it must have been to wake up to that view everyday.

  9. The first photo I was attracted to was the flowers on the beach one. It is not often I see flowers right on the sand. Shock horror that there were no home baking to go with the coffee (sinfull). And finally I was struck by your seagull photo. I know from experience that when I photograph seagulls, there never appears to be as many in the shot as in real life so there must have been a lot!

    1. @Jan It would be easy to double sales at a coffee place with a bit of home baking and I didn’t understand why it wan’t offered at all. The tide was changing when I took the seagull photo so there must have been a lot of food around.

  10. I had never heard of Campobello Island or even its connection with Roosevelt. What a beautiful place and no wonder he chose this place for a summer home. I was expecting some sort of mansion too. Love the lighthouses!looks like another wonderful day trip for you, Leigh.

  11. Hi Leigh,
    What a lovely island! It looks so peaceful, too. No wonder the Roosevelts made it their summer home. The house looks so warm as if people are still living there. Sounded like you really had a beautiful day. I love all your photos; they transported me to Campobello Island, which I have never heard before this.

    1. @Marisol It looked like a very comfortable place to hang your hat for the summer. I do find it interesting though why the Roosevelts chose New Brunswick and not some place in Maine as the location of their summer home.

    1. @Scott Thanks. It’s an interesting part of Canada – though because of its proximity to Maine felt like it offered a little bit of both countries. Definitely a great place to bike.

  12. What a wonderful name for the islands – Fundy – it makes it feel like a fun trip already 🙂 I was intrigued with your pics of the Roosevelt’s holiday residence. How interesting to step back in time and see how other people live, and I was surprised at how simple their house was. What a lovely position though 🙂

  13. The rooms of the cottage seem so warm and appealing. The whole place looks so peaceful. I would love to visit Campobello Island with my family.

  14. What a beautiful island! I’m originally from Orcas Island in Washington and now love to visit as many islands as possible:

  15. It’s so interesting to read your article as I just had a conversation with an acquaintance pondering a similar trip though as yet undecided as to whether to do it in a day or camp for a night or two to allow for longer exploration. It is such a serene and subtly beautiful part of the world that certainly tends to draw those in love with the outdoors – whether hikers, kayakers, or otherwise – as well as a striking number of artists drawn to document the beauty of the region.

    1. @Mary Campobello Island is very pretty – especially along the coast as it’s quite rugged. I think it’s a place where you could go for a week of R&R if you weren’t burnt out – otherwise a day or two should suffice.

  16. Wow- Campobello Island looks beautiful! I love your outdoor shots with the bright colors. I’ve never seen such a stern warning about a high tide before!

  17. I just wanted to point out that Franklin Roosevelt’s home here is only cottage by definition. Not by today’s standards of what we consider it to be.

    I’m glad you enjoyed my coffee at Jocie’s Porch. I always love to hear feedback. Come back next year and you will be able to get home made goodies. It was out of my control that I didn’t end up being able to sell baked goods this year. Your pictures capture a good portion of our slice of heaven. There is so much incredible nature here to explore its hard to cram It into one day! All the best.

    Robert Calder
    Owner of Jocie’s Porch

    1. @Robert Thanks so much for stopping by. You do realize you make the best coffee in New Brunswick don’t you. So sorry you couldn’t sell baked goods – maybe some government health regulation but if they are anything like your coffee you will have a winning combination.
      I could have spent longer on Campobello if I’d had more time – but that is life these days.

      And I do appreciate that the home is a cottage by definition – sort of like the way Muskoka cottages are bigger and more lavish than most people’s homes.

  18. Which rt did you ride 774 or did you do the Fundy drive? Mileage wise how far from one end to the other? Looking forward to that piece of pie!
    Just did Deer Isle so thanks for the hill update

  19. Thank you for your lovely comments about Jocie’s Porch. You must have visited during our first year. We hope you will come and visit us again. We now served a full bakery and homemade soups and sandwiches, along with our fresh roasted coffee and 42+ tea choices. Happy biking!

  20. Great to see you visit and write about Southwest, New Brunswick, nice work Leigh. St. Andrews has a cycling race and the surrounding area has well maintained roads, inspiring trails to trek and dramatic views like this which I hadn’t see in my years living in the Maritimes. Visit and experience Kilmarnock any time your back in the area.

  21. Hi Leigh- glad to hear of your idyllic day biking across the island. We camped there last year at Herring Cove and played golf. This August we will return with our bikes (my sweetheart has an e-bike so now he can keep up with me!) . When we were there, we were able to partake in a Saturday evening dinner at one of the cabins on Roosevelt’s property. For $35 USD per person you could enjoy a lobster or chicken dinner, complete with a sample of FDR’s famous dirty martini (euewee – it was awful), a “behind the ropes” tour of the cottage (main house) and entertaining recitations of bits of stories and quotes. You need to book this ahead of time because numbers are limited to about 60 I believe.
    Maybe this time we’ll look into taking a ferry across to Eastport if it’s running. A year ago it wasn’t.

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