With a Local: Campobello Island, New Brunswick

Campobello Island is part of the province of New Brunswick, Canada.

A 1,134-hectare section of the island became an international park in 1964. Administered jointly by Canada and the United States of America, the park was created in memory of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who first visited the park in the company of his parents, aged just one year old. The Roosevelt’s affectionately called Campobello their “beloved island”.

Head Harbour Lightstation, on the northern tip of the island, is another landmark that draws tourists to the island.

Peter Harwerth works as a tour guide on Campobello Island and provides his insights for Go Eat Do:

Why should people visit Campobello Island?

I think Campobello Island is a secret paradise on the east coast of Canada. We are not crowded, we have a relaxed lifestyle here and a beautiful coast. We also have wonderful nature and a lot of history to offer.

The most outstanding part of the history is the story of how Franklin Delano Roosevelt [President of the USA from 1933 to 1945] came to Campobello and used the island as his summer retreat for years. He left wonderful memories with locals, who they were very friendly with. They built beautiful buildings around the island and enjoyed it the same way I do today.

Peter in the tower at Harbour Head Lightstation.
Peter by the lamp in the tower of Head Harbour Lightstation.

What is your favourite spot on Campobello Island?

There are so many beautiful spots. If I should pick one it would be the southern part of the island, the natural area of the Roosevelt Campobello International Park with all of its beautiful views across the water to the coast of Maine. But then there’s also the lighthouse on the north side of the island with all of its ambiance and flair which I really enjoy too.

Where would you take a guest to eat on Campobello Island?

Of course, the choice of restaurants is a very personal. I like to sit at the Herring Cove Provincial Park Golf Course restaurant, where I can look across the water of the Bay of Fundy. At the same time I can see a beautiful lake and a beach.

Campobello Island is a base for fishing. Try the seafood while you are there.
Campobello Island is a base for fishing. Try the seafood while you are there.

Where would you recommend for a drink on Campobello Island?

A coffee can be enjoyed at Jocie’s Porch, down at Friar’s Bay, where they roast their own coffee beans. It’s a fantastic place, very local. You can meet locals there and summer residents too.

For beer, I would maybe go to the golf course restaurant.

We have a couple of good local breweries in New Brunswick, based in Saint John. There’s also a brewery across the border in Lubec, the Lubec Brewing Company, which brews excellent beer.

Seafood chowder served at the Family Fisheries Restaurant on Campobello Island.
Seafood chowder served at the Family Fisheries Restaurant on Campobello Island.

What is your favourite legend associated with Campobello Island?

Thinking of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, it’s a fantastic thing to think about, that he was so familiar with local waters that he was actually able to steer a destroyer through the very narrow passage between the town of Lubec and Campobello Island. The passage being just 150 feet wide at low tide. That’s a story that has survived into modern times, much to the enjoyment of people.

Calm waters on a foggy day in the Bay of Fundy.
Time for reflection? Calm waters on a foggy day in the Bay of Fundy.

What do you recommend people do and see if they stay an extra day or two in the region?

There are a lot of things to see across the border as well as in New Brunswick. If you want to go over to Lubec, in Maine, we have a two-destination vacation initiative. There’s the West Quoddy Lighthouse out there, which is a beautiful site with a museum.

We have a fast boat connection with St Andrews. It makes the distance of 12 miles in half-an-hour. That’s a beautiful way to see something different to Campbello, as we are not a centre for shopping but St Andrews has that.

A whale watch tour would also be possible directly from Campobello Island.

Volunteers have restored Head Harbour Lightstation into a popular tourist attraction.
Volunteers have restored Head Harbour Lightstation into a popular tourist attraction.

Further info

Learn more about Campobello Island and the Roosevelt Campobello International Park during a tour with Peter, the proprietor of Island Discovery Tours.

The island is in the Bay of Fundy. To find out more about the province of which it is a part, see the Tourism New Brunswick website.

The Explore Canada website also has information about New Brunswick and the rest of Canada.

The photos illustrating this post are by Stuart Forster.

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2 Comments

  • Agness of Fit Travelling

    August 22, 2017 at 13:30 Reply

    Campobello Island seems like an amazing destination which offers all kind of things. When’s the best time of the year to go there?

    • Stuart Forster

      August 23, 2017 at 09:37 Reply

      Most visitors head there over the summertime. July, August and early September tends to be the most popular time to visit.

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