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While you won’t find any palm trees here, Grand Manan still offers a relaxed pace. Connected to mainland New Brunswick by ferry, the small island is home to charming villages, the vertiginous Southwest Head sea cliffs, and the idyllic Swallow Tail Lighthouse—the second-most photographed lighthouse in all of Atlantic Canada. Take a whale-watching cruise (minkes, finbacks and humpbacks all swim nearby in the summer months), do a little sea kayaking on the Bay of Fundy (home to the highest tides in the world), hike to picturesque Hole-in-the-Rock or along the beach at Dark Harbour, or just sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Painters, photographers, rockhounds, nature lovers and hikers will find opportunities everywhere. The island’s 33-km (18-mi.) highway follows the sea from one breathtaking scene to the next, from lighthouse to lighthouse. You can also take the short free ferry ride to the small fishing community of White Head Island and continue your adventure there! Don’t forget to explore the 3 busy fishermen’s wharves and traditional herring weir fishery. Local cuisine can be sampled around the island and locally harvested seaweed delicacies are available for purchase in many spots. A recognized North American birding hot spot, birders have been flocking to Grand Manan Island ever since James John Audubon visited in 1833. Located on the Eastern Flyway, over 240 species of birds make the island their home. World-renowned for whale-watching, you won’t experience it like this anywhere else. The waters around Grand Manan Island are important feeding areas and nurseries for a number of whale species, including minke, finback and humpback whales, and the rare North Atlantic right whale.