Situated on Shediac Bay, a sub-basin of the Northumberland Strait, the town calls itself the "Lobster Capital of the World" and hosts an annual festival every July which promotes its ties to lobster fishing; the largest lobster sculpture in the world is situated at the western entrance to the town.
Lobster stocks in the Northumberland Strait have been dwindling in recent years and local restaurants are forced to import lobsters from more plentiful fishing grounds in Nova Scotia during the summer months, however they still serve the shellfish, mainly to tourists.
Hundreds of years ago, the Mi'kmaq encampment of "Es-ed-ei-ik" was one of the major camps in southeast New Brunswick. The Mi'kmaq word "Es-ed-ei-ik" which means "running far in" eventually transformed into Gédaique. Today many Francophone residents use the spelling Shédiac; however, the town's name upon its incorporation did not feature an accented "e", and correspondingly the official geographic name for the community is Shediac. This is a source of controversy among some residents.
The town is located immediately west of Parlee Beach Provincial Park, known for its sand bars and warm water and a scenic wharf in the nearby community of Pointe-du-Chene, at one time a key stopover for Pan-Am's Trans-Atlantic air service.