Saint Croix Island International Historic Site in Calais was my “hometown” national park unit. My parents had their retirement home very near to this park and as a National Park fan I used to come here very often. Saint Croix Island sits in the middle of the river between Maine and New Brunswick. In 1604, a French settlement began on the island, three years before English settlements in Jamestown. Saint Croix Island’s settlement was soon abandoned, following a terrible winter. When I visited the park years ago there was little more than a boat ramp and information placard at the site. Today there are extensive informative displays accompanied by statues representing various historical figures. There are rest room facilities and a fully staffed visitor center. There is no access to the island itself to protect its archeological and natural elements but the mainland area is well worth the visit. The neighboring shore in New Brunswick, Canada also has a park and display. It is great seeing small parks like this being properly represented.
Fundy National Park is a national park of Canada located on the Bay of Fundy, near the village of Alma, New Brunswick. It was officially opened on 29 July 1950. The Park showcases a rugged coastline which rises up to the Canadian Highlands, the highest tides in the world and more than 25 waterfalls. At low tide, park visitors can explore the ocean floor where a variety of sea creatures (e.g., dog whelk, periwinkles, various seaweeds) cling to life. At high tide, the ocean floor disappears under 50 feet of salt water. There are 25 hiking trails throughout the park. The Caribou Plains trail and boardwalk provides access to upland forest and bog habitats. Dickson Falls is the most popular trail in the park.
Park amenities include a golf course, a heated saltwater swimming pool, three campgrounds, and a network of hiking and biking trails. The Dobson Trail and Fundy Footpath extend out of the park to Riverview and to St. Martins respectively.
A unique red-painted covered bridge is located at Point Wolfe.
I cannot remember the name but there is a wonderful restaurant just north of the park entrance, not only is the food great but the large windows are festooned with bird feeders and you can see more hummingbirds than you can count swarming over the feeders.
Mulholland Point Lighthouse was built in 1888 on the west side of Campobello Island, New Brunswick in the town of Welshpool to guide small coasters and freighters traveling into Cobscook and Passamaquoddy Bays through the Lubec Narrows. This route offered more shelter during foul weather than did the alternate route around the eastern side of Campobello Island. The light was donated to the Roosevelt Campobello International Park in 1984.
The East Quoddy Head or Head Harbor Lighthouse on Campobello Island in New Brunswick may very well be my favorite lighthouse on the entire east coast. My mother grew up across the Passamaquoddy Bay in Eastport, Maine and we visited this light station many times on family vacations. The unique part of this lighthouse is that it is located on an island that can only be accessed at low tide. The enormous tides of the Bay of Fundy completely inundate the surrounding islands making it impossible to return to the shore until the next low tide if you get your timing wrong. You make your way down staircases and ladders that stretch between several small islands to reach the last island where the lighthouse sits. This always made it quite the adventure as a young child. The adults in the group will marvel at the scenery and location.
Whales are very prevalent in the Bay of Fundy, one day we were at the lighthouse during whale season and we saw many whales surfacing out in the bay. My nephew Roger no more than 10-12 years old at the time kept missing the whale sightings so he climbed out onto the furthest point and complained that there were no whales to see. Seconds after he shouted this a large whale rolled on its side and extended its flipper just like in the stock photo below, not more than twenty feet from where he was standing. It was if the whale was waving at Roger.
Be sure to bring your binoculars and camera with you.