Irving Nature Park, Saint John

Irving Nature Park trails The Irving Nature Park on the west side of  Saint John is an urban oasis right on the Bay of Fundy.

It took a while for us to discover the park, but wow! Set aside to protect a sensitive area of the environment, it’s a 600-acre nature lover’s dream. Beaches, mudflats, gravel trails, dirt trails, and a paved road provide just about every kind of nature experience you could hope for, and it’s easily accessible.

This being the ocean, it might be foggy when you drive in:fogBut don’t let that scare you. Fog burns off pretty early in the day, usually, and with the diverse landscape, there are bound to be pockets of the park that are clear. Even if they aren’t – well, a foggy day is a true Maritime experience!

IrvingNatureParkEvery Saturday morning, the main paved road is closed to vehicle traffic so that runners and walkers who prefer a paved surface can enjoy it, and so that anyone with a stroller to push can enjoy unfettered access. You can use the paved road any time, though – just keep an eye out for cars.

The ocean beach (the Irving Nature Park is right on the Bay of Fundy) is popular for swimming, but we often saw people flying kites while we were there as well, which tells you it’s pretty windy. But then, that’s what ocean beaches are like, in my experience.

beach at the Irving Nature Park beach at the Irving Nature Park in Saint John, New BrunswickThe hiking trails that we explored offered the usual lush forest experience.

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moss at the Irving Nature ParkI’ve heard of many wildlife & bird sightings at the Irving Nature Park, but with their boundless (and loud) enthusiasm, toddlers generally scare off animals, so I didn’t see any.

path1 path2 Take your time to explore and let the wee ones get to see the forest, but keep an eye on them as the trails are real forest trails (read: uneven).

Also, wear DEET. A lot of it. Moist Maritime summers are bug breeders, so if it’s not windy you’ll be grateful for the bug spray.riverThe Irving Nature Park is also a Urban Star Park which means it’s a great place to stargaze.

The best part? Admission to the park is free, and there are free events throughout the year.

Your turn

Have you been to the Irving Nature Park in Saint John? What was your favourite part?

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