Ministers Island
Ministers Island
4.5
About
The Van Horne Estate on Ministers Island offers visitors one of the foremost cultural, heritage and environmental tourism destination in the Charlotte Coastal Region of the Bay of Fundy of New Brunswick. Ministers Island is an enchanting place to experience. Lying in the shores of Passamaquoddy Bay near St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada, this 500-acre island can be reached by driving over the seafloor. Once there, you are immersed in an experience from the late 19th and early 20th century - the summer estate of Sir William Van Horne, the driving force behind the Canadian Pacific Railway. Sir William's vast house, his equally large barn and his bathhouse/artist's hideaway are on view, as are the beautiful carriage lanes through the woods and fields. Time stands still, and you're swept up in an atmosphere that makes you forget all about your everyday life and the here-and-now. Come explore! We're waiting to welcome you.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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  • cotteng
    Halifax, Canada348 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Well worth the visit
    Well worth checking the tide schedule and driving across at low tide to check out this very interesting piece of Canadian History. Tour guides were good. You would need to make multiple visits if you wanted to check out the walking trails and do the house/barn tour. Grateful for the bus/taxi from the parking lot.
    Visited July 2023
    Written August 22, 2023
  • LovemyAcura🌵
    16,679 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Unusual setting reached via driving on ocean floor at low tide!
    How exciting to drive on the ocean floor at low tide to tour the estate on this amazing island. At high tide the island is completely cut off from drivers. Interesting security! Lots of buildings to see and tour here. Such a display of wealth for their time and place in history.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written September 30, 2023
  • jslocombe2016
    Shediac, Canada185 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Fine Day Out
    Worth the walk across the causeway. We hiked the perimeter trail (fairly easy but long) and picnicked near the barn. We met one person the whole way round. The Bath House is very impressive. Be warned: you have no more than five and a half hours on the island. Check the tides and plan accordingly.
    Visited May 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written May 21, 2024
  • Travelling Andy
    Harvey, Canada264 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Visited Ministers Island today – what an AMAZING place to visit!
    My first time here was about 7 years ago for a friends wedding – every since, we make it a return to spot. It’s great to see spots re-opening, being restored and new ways to re tell the past! I’m not sure what the future holds but it would certainly be neat to see alternative ways to add more engaging techniques to these locations – whether it be audio, visual or both but imagine the use of Apple Vision to a location like this? Could be even more AMAZING!!
    Visited June 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written June 28, 2024
  • Jackie M
    Fredericton, Canada6 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Van Horne Art Exhibit
    The world premier of the Van Horne art exhibit opened today on Ministers Island – what an amazing addition! The exhibit is outstanding, particularly since the paintings were displayed in the room where they were first created. Well worth the trip across the ocean floor!
    Visited June 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written June 29, 2024
  • Orso52
    Glenview, Illinois789 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very interesting museum only accessible at low tide. Definitely worth the trip
    Upon the recommendation of the owner of a little antique shop we visit in St. Andrews, we went to Ministers Island. It is only accessible for the hours of low tide in the Bay of Fundy. At high tide the gravel road there is covered by 14 feet of water. The barn is quite interesting; but the great house is the main attraction. With 70 rooms, 14 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms this museum takes several hours to explore properly, As it is only accessible at low tide, you need to time your visit carefully so as to reach it and not get stuck!
    Visited July 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written July 5, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles349 reviews
Excellent
221
Very good
104
Average
16
Poor
5
Terrible
3

M L
315 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
Our group of four adults gathered at the mainland at 8:00 a.m. just as the staff were gathering to drive across the ocean floor to the island. We joined the convoy. We had prepaid our tickets and since we were tourist car #3 we didn’t have to wait long to get through the gated entrance to the property. It would be better if they had a line for prepaid and another for on the spot purchasers though.

Definitely worth a visit! We plan to return.

The 10 minute verbal tour presentation delivered by a summer student was excellent, informative, and pleasant. We appreciated then being able to do our own self-guided leisurely tour of the house. We then did a tour of the huge barn with a very good guide.

Tip: It would be best to check the tide schedule before booking your accommodation in St Andrew’s. Had I realized the tide for the day we planned to visit Ministers Island was early I would have booked accommodation for a different day with a later low tide. As it was our access to the island was from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m on the day of our visit.
Written July 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

L B
Sackville, Canada39 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020 • Couples
Yes there is a wait, yes it is hot, yes the lineups are long. But, if you're like me you carry a cooler with drinks in your trunk when traveling. Have to agree with the pre paying, there is no benefit to it..you still sit in the same lineup and wait in your car. I also don't understand why you cannot go into the top floor and basement of the barn. They say it's because of Covid and you cannot social distance, but you're not social distancing in the main floor either and you are also wearing a mask, so that made no sense. The rates also should be adjusted for this reason, but of course they are not.
We drove down in the morning just to see it when the tide was in and were lucky enough to run into an older gentleman 80 years young on his mopad, that was full of knowledge. He came from the island and grew up in the house by the greenhouse, his family looked after the green house back in the day. He was full of wisdom and we were lucky to have met him. This gentleman seems to miss his home and that time in his life and loved telling his story and showing us the book he carries around with him with pictures and stories of the Island, there is even a picture of him in it on a bike around age 10. This in itself was worth the visit.
Written August 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jamie Y
Keswick Ridge, Canada58 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2020 • Friends
I could say lots of things about this place but for the most part the island speaks for itself. Our family loves this place and pretty much go every year. The house is like a time capsule, the barn, a feat of engineering. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable. The organization is doing an excellent job of managing, preserving and enhancing the quality of the grounds. An absolute must.
Written June 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MatthewS4
Fredericton, Canada219 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020 • Friends
It was a busy weekend and long lineup to get onto island which is only accessible at low tide. If you order tickets online you can bypass the lineup. The barn was closed but staff was on hand to answer questions. Not sure if it was closed due to covid or another reason. The main house had a long lineup to enter so skipped it. Nice area to walk around and see great views of bay. One can go down to a beach from the bathhouse. Horses roaming the field. Trails to walk. Worth a visit for sure.
Written July 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Yaya M
9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
I highly recommend a visit to this unique part of NB history. There is something for all ages. The trails offer a chance to see the many faces of the island - beach, field, woodland trail. And the barn is a must see. The well executed restoration blends seamlessly with the original. Driving across the ocean floor at low tide to access the island is just the beginning of a memorable outing. Ministers Island is something to be enjoyed in all types of weather as the trails offer shelter if it is a wet day and of course touring the buildings means you're inside if the weather is inclement.
Written July 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Maritimer
Moncton, Canada48 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2020 • Family
I’m very happy I went and learned a lot. The kids (and parents) thought it was really cool but to drive across the bay at low tide. Amazing history and interesting to see some of the original features of architecture and style of living. I wish we were able to go through more of the house and the out houses. I would suggest that the staff use microphones when discussing the history in the tour as it was very difficult to hear due to the mask and low voices and kids and people talking in the tour. I would recommend. I would not suggest really young children however because they cannot touch anything and they have to be quiet for the speaker to talk ( we had a very young toddler near us that the parent had to constantly take out of house to try to make it quiet for others but we still couldn’t hear despite their efforts). I wouldn’t bring a pet either because they can’t go in the buildings and really that’s where you spend your time. I’m very happy that we went and we had a great time. Would have given five stars if I could have heard the entire presentation.
Written September 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anne h
New Brunswick, Canada5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
This is indeed a world class destination.I live in NB. What took me o long to get there? I have been to St.Andrews many times and simply didn't go. I will be returning within the month because one visit just can't do it justice. And I don't think 2 visits will get me to see all the buildings, never mind that I want to picnic there soon following one of the trails.
The staff last Wednesday were helpful and shared really compelling anecdotes. I can't wait to read Pierre Berton's Last Spike. All 50 rooms of the house are open to wander freely and enjoy. There are more interesting things to see and comment on in every room.The barn is phenomenal. Everywhere, including the bathhouse is evidence of sheer archetechtural genius and efficiency innovation. The visit is self-paced and leisurely.
My dog enjoyed the grassy spaces and the sandstone beach. There was water at the entrance for dogs, not to be forgotten.
I haven't stopped talking about it!
Written August 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Gary S
Steep Falls, ME103 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Couples
My wife and I took a day trip to Ministers Island in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick. It is a very unique attraction in that the island can only be accessed at low tide. We walked on a road across the ocean floor to access the front gate. We enjoyed our tour of the main house and the barn. Jacob, a docent who is going to school to be a farrier, provided lots of insight into the use and construction of the barn. We truly enjoyed walking the shady trail to the Van Horne summer home and enjoyed a late spring picnic on the table located next to the ticket booth. The island is only available for tours about five hours per day, so getting there early is important. We will definitely return again!
Written June 2, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sandy B
249 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2021
A fabulous pace to spend the day! A stunning setting and beautifully restored buildings. We learned so much about the amazing man who built this compound and who was fascinating on so many levels. Be sure to take the tour of the barn, we learned so much from the guide. Don't miss the bathhouse and take the oppoourtunity to take a walk on the ocean floor. Start your day at the main house. It will make the information you get at the barn more meaningful. Be sure to plan to spend as much time as you are able on this island. Remember that it is only accessible during low tide. In my opinion this was one of the best sites that we visited during our two week vacation. I am not sure that there is much here for young children, but it is a must see for anyone who enjoys history. Driving along the ocean floor was an added bonus to our time on Minister's Island. This site needs to be on the top of your list of things to do if you are visiting St Andrew's!
Written September 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Shane C
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
I was very impressed with the staff and the whole check-in process when we first arrived. Lots of folks on hand to help and provide information. First stop was the guided tour of the barn with lots of tidbits of information about the property. Then to the Bath House, my favourite part ! I can just imagine Sir William descending those steps in his "trunks" to dip a toe in the Bay of Fundy.
The main house was equally impressive with lots of artifacts and treasures therein. Beautiful flowers graced the grounds and the interior was cool and inviting. Lots of staff on hand to help too.
A return visit is a must to explore the trails and beaches on the Island. Maybe a swim is in order too !
Written July 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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