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Grand Manan’s isolation has resulted in a far greater diversity of marine mammals and bird species than land animals. The Grand Manan Archipelago one of North America’s top ten birdwatching locations.

Migrating whales – fin, minke and humpback – abound. Harbour porpoise and white-sided, and white beaked dolphin may sometimes be seen, and occasionally large fish, including basking sharks and bluefin tuna, put in an appearance. Birding is a year round past time, with thousands of seabirds – common murres, razorbills and kittiwakes – seen just offshore during the winter months; the spring migratory period is the best time for visiting birds, followed by the summer nesting season and the autumn migratory period, when many shorebirds and phalaropes return from nesting in high Arctic regions. 

Whale watching tours also double as pelagic–species watching trips, with the seabirds crowding the whales' feeding grounds, and on shore there are numerous shore lookouts, from prominent headlands. The area east of Grand Manan, including the Grand Manan Basin, is important to right whales in the Bay of Fundy, and was established as the North Atlantic Right Whale Critical Habitat in 2009, as part of the Species at Risk Act, to provide additional protection for endangered North Atlantic right whales.

From spring to early autumn Grand Manan’s fields are awash with wildflowers and the island also has an impressive diversity of seaweeds, many of which are edible.  

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: North Atlantic right whale, humpback whale, minke whale, Atlantic puffin, Atlantic white sided dolphin
  • Where: New Brunswick, Canada

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Grand Manan’s Coastal Wonders

Join us for an early autumn bird and whale spectacular on Canada’s eastern seaboard. The area attracts thousands of shorebirds and warblers on migration, and it is one of the best times for whale watching, where species to be seen include fin, minke, humpback and the extremely rare northern right whale.

  • When to go: Aug
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,545 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Northern Right Whales of New Brunswick

Enjoy a self-drive short break to New Brunswick and experience fantastic whale watching along with beautiful coastal scenery. The Bay of Fundy is a cetacean hotspot, with minke, fin, humpback and North Atlantic right whales, together with harbour porpoises, white-sided dolphins and an array of seabirds.

  • When to go: Jun-Aug
  • Duration inc. flights: 5 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £1,745 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Whales of the Bay of Fundy Self-drive

This one-week self-drive holiday takes you to the heart of New Brunswick, visiting Grand Manan Island and the Bay of Fundy, a haven for whales, with fin, humpback, minke, and the rare North Atlantic right whale. You can also expect to see plenty of shorebirds, puffins and some spectacular coastal scenery.

  • When to go: Jun-Aug
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,245 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Compass Rose Heritage Inn

Situated in the heart of Grand Manan Island, facing the Bay of Fundy, Compass Rose is the ideal base for keen naturalists. This charming heritage inn has only seven rooms, each offering comfort coupled with incredible views. Activities include birdwatching, kayaking and whale watching.

Marathon Inn

The Marathon Inn is a designated 'Local Historic Place' as it is one of the oldest purpose-built continually-operated hotels in Eastern Canada. Built over a century ago by a retired captain, it stands on the very top of Marathon Lane overlooking the North Head Harbour in Grand Manan.