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Campground Review: Kouchibouguac National Park

6 September 2017

Kouchibouguac national park 2  

Summer technically isn't over until the Fall Equinox which is September 22nd, but for our family, it feels over. Recently we have had some really chilly days. But the last few were really warm. Welcome to September in Nova Scotia. We spent the last week of August at the Kouchibouguac National Park in New Brunswick. Where you say? Pronounced “koo-she-boo-gwack”. I love that our 4 year old has mastered saying Kejimkujik and Kouchibouguac but still struggles with saying hamburger. 

Kouchibouguac National Park is only 3 hours from where we call home. The drive was easy and the next thing we knew, we were arriving at the park. Adam and I visited this park many years ago. I forgot much of the park which was kind of nice because we got to explore it all over again! This park had my name written all over it - there isn’t a lot of people walking, everyone bikes! It’s awesome. 

Kouchibouguac national park

There are over 340 sites for camping. We loved having water, sewage and electricity at our site. Recently, many of the sites had sewage upgrades and these sites make up for roughly 40% of these sites there. This time we chose an open site over looking the Kouchibouguac River. It was pretty open from the sites we were use to but there was a large tree which gave us some shade and beauty and we had a view of the river which was really nice. Literally a stone’s throw away was the main trail which we could hop on.

Kouchibouguac collage 1

Since I am up early most mornings with Annie, we developed a routine of coffee and a stroll through the camp grounds. I had a lot of grounds to cover! This place is big. There wouldn’t be many people up at the hour we were. With the exception of a few people I’d run in to. They’d give me a little smile and a look like “been there, done that” as I stroll all over the place with Annie. I really enjoy looking at how other people “setup shop”. It’s neat to see how quickly someone can make a slot of land their own by hanging towels out on a line or scattering their site with gear and toys. 

I have already decided that the next time we go camping there we will probably choose a camping site in the woods. As I mentioned before, the provincial and national parks really know how to do camping right. The sites are quite large and you really feel a part of nature when you are tucked in your spot. There are trails intertwined throughout the whole place, connecting campers to washrooms with showers, dish washing stations, water taps, recycle stations and two awesome playgrounds. 

This past summer we definitely have become beach bums. We have all the beach gear packed neatly and piled high on the baby’s stroller and on our backs. We may look like the Beverly Hill Billy's coming your way, but when we get to the beach we are stay put! Kouchibouguac has an amazing sandy beach. One of the best parts of the beach is the big boardwalk you need to take to get there. There are sandbars that just keep going and going. And the best thing at the end of the beach day? Hitting up the canteen located at the end of the boardwalk for a chocolate dipped ice cream cone. I’ve always heard of these people who eat dessert before their supper - well, we are those people! 

Kouchibouguac collage 2

The unique aspect of camping in New Brunswick was the amount of French-speaking people. We were outnumbered for sure. It was hard-pressed to find someone speaking English. My little social butterfly Stella quickly found a friend the day after we arrived. But, she only spoke French. We met her at the playground and we just kept politely shrugging our shoulders since we weren’t able to communicate properly. I know a *teensy bit* of French but even this little girl couldn’t understand me! Ha! Soon enough she was following us home to our trailer. But we quickly found out that she was staying right across the road from us. Stella had a great time with this little one. They were instant friends but didn’t really speak to one another. The communication barrier did not bother them. They bonded over what kids do best - playing. One night her family invited Stella to an activity night hosted by the campgrounds. With parents, kids got to be involved in all kinds of games with a delicious banana-type s’more treat at the end of it. It was really fun to watch strangers come together and have some fun. 

This park had a lot of amenities for their campers. As I mentioned, we were really close to the main trail that takes you all over the park. Adam really liked it since he brought his kayak with him and it was easy to take it down the trail and launch it on the river. A few minutes down the trail was a Rental shop where you could rent canoes, kayaks and bikes. A little further down the trail was Ryan’s Landing, a convenience store and laundromat. Upon entering the park, there is a large Visitors centre equipped with exhibits highlighting the culture of the communities surrounding the Kouchibouguac park and the diverse ecosystems inhabiting their lands. And if you are deprived of your “internet fix”, there is a spot located in the building for you to join their free wi-fi. 

This time last year, we were enjoying ourselves down in Kejimkujik. We purposefully booked a week’s getaway before Adam headed back to school. We find that “getting away from it all” allows the transition from a busy summer life to a busy work life that much easier and comforting. We’d wake up in the morning and look at one another and say “so, what shall we do today?” There was no plan or agenda. One rule: enjoy ourselves. At Kouchibouguac we did just that. We camped at four different areas this summer. They were all different yet all very enjoyable. 

I really encourage all you campers who would like to escape to a place where you can relax and really enjoy nature to check out Kouchibouguac. It’s a great spot whether you are 7 months old or 100 years old. There will be something for everyone to enjoy. 

Have you ever been to this National Park? If so, what was your favourite part?

 

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