To myself and most of us, travelling plays a huge role in our personal growth and discovering one’s self, especially when we leave the comforts of our hometown behind to explore the unknown. The feeling we get after a few hours on a plane and landing in paradise is irreplaceable, but not always possible. The advantage of owning a vehicle is that even when you have to stay a little closer to home, you can still find ways to hit the road. After careful research, it was for certain, Kouchibouguac National Park was the chosen destination we were going to explore.
We left behind the city of Halifax in the early hours of the morning. We decided beforehand that we wanted to have a bit of a road trip before we hit the park, and our first destination was the small town of Pointe-à-la-Croix in Quebec. If you happen to be driving at the right time of day, you can get lucky and see moose scattered all along the roads. After an endless drive through the forest lined highways of New Brunswick, picturesque mountains began to appear in the distance, marking the town of Campbellton which is located on the Quebec-New Brunswick border.
This region of New Brunswick (along with many other regions) has a very strong Acadian background which goes to show that you don’t have to travel far to explore different cultures.
After poking around Campbellton, we crossed the border to Quebec. Everything seems to immediately change after entering Quebec. The prominent French speaking population, the scenery and last but not least, the price of alcohol. We took our time and talked to the locals a little bit. Had a bite to eat and decided we should be on our way.
We drove those winding tree-lined highways back towards Kouchibouguac, but not before stopping in Mirimachi for a pit stop and a few last minute camping supplies. By the time we arrived at the park, we were all anticipating a relaxing evening by the fire after being cramped in a car for the past 7 hours.
There are over 300 camp sites within the park. We stayed in the south Kouchibouguac campground and decided to step up our camping game and stay in an oTENTik. If you haven’t heard of these yet, they are a cross between an A-frame cabin and a prospector tent mounted on a wooden floor – with lots of extras! You get all the perks of camping with the comfort of a bed and a campsite already set up and ready to go. Parks Canada has over 100 oTENTik’s located in parks all across the country and we highly suggest giving one a try.
Kouchibouguac offers Hiking trails that range from 1 to 11 km for beginner and dedicated hikers, fat-bike rentals with over 60km of trails, canoe & kayak rentals are available to paddle around the saltwater lagoons and calm rivers and a few interpretive programs. We definitely recommend you take the time to head across the boardwalk to Kellys Beach as a good introduction to what the park has to offer. We easily spent a whole day in the water! As soon as you hit the boardwalk you can feel the intense smell of salt in the air, which as maritimers, we really appreciate.
There really is something for every camper as far as this place goes!
After two nights in our little paradise, it was time to pack it up and head out. Of course we will surely return and we definitely recommend Kouchibouguac on your itinerary for your next East Coast Canada adventure!
Words by Colby Veinotte & Nicole Boutilier.
Photos by Nicole Boutilier