bay of fundy

The Bay of Fundy, a one-of-a-kind adventure in New Brunswick

PRESS TRIP – Dreaming of an epic adventure in Canada? Then this post is for you. Head to the famous Bay of Fundy on Canada’s east coast for a one-of-a-kind experience unlike any other. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or enjoy unique experiences, you’ll find it here.

Canada is famous for stunning landscapes, friendly people and rich Indigenous history. While there are many spectacular places for outdoor lovers, none are like the Bay of Fundy, home of the world’s most extreme tides.

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While I’ve visited the Bay of Fundy on the Nova Scotia side, I’ve always wanted to experience it from the New Brunswick side. Since I didn’t have the opportunity to explore a lot of this province in the past, I jumped at the chance to experience the Bay of Fundy virtually with Tourism New Brunswick, Envision Saint John and Uncorked Tours. As always, my opinions are my own.

bay of fundy
Fundy National Park: photo by Emilie Iggiotti via Tourism New Brunswick

the Bay of fundy and fundy national park

Winding between two provinces – New Brunswick and Nova Scotia – the Bay of Fundy covers about 170 miles of pristine nature made of rugged cliffs, thick forests and extreme tides over an otherworldly ocean floor. Located on the bay is the Fundy National Park.

This inlet of the Atlantic Ocean is a popular spot for whale watching. Here, outdoor lovers can explore over 80 km of hiking trails winding through the thick Acadian forests and along the coast, as well as more than 25 waterfalls. If water is your thing, you can paddle in a kayak and experience the everchanging tides or observe the wildlife. Over 12 different species of whales frequent the bay, and over 260 species of shorebirds feed on mud shrimp in the salt marshes and mudflats.

bay of fundy
Hopewell Rocks: photo by Chantal Garcia via Tourism New Brunswick
bay of fundy
Hopewell rocks: photo by Dennis Minty via Tourism New Brunswick

the famous bay of fundy tides

The Bay of Fundy has the world’s highest tides, with 160 billion tonnes of seawater flowing in and out of the bay twice a day, every day. What makes the tides so extreme is that the change in water level can rise an unbelievable 16 metres (52.5 ft.).

For some reason, I had the wrong idea of what tides looked like before we got to the Bay of Fundy. I pictured them more like a wave, like what you see in surfing. When I realized how high they could get, I got a terrorizing image of a tsunami-type wave that would bury me under the water. If you’re like me, don’t worry. It’s more like filling a tub with water or draining it.

The rising water levels are incredible, but they can also be dangerous, especially if you get stranded and can’t get to shore. Always check the tide timetables and err on the side of caution. If you’re planning on kayaking over the tides, make sure to have a guide familiar with the area.

One of the best spots to experience the tides is at The Hopewell Rocks. At low tide, you can walk around the ancient ocean floor and admire the giant boulders carved into dramatic shapes by centuries of water. In some areas, the low tides unveil miles of sand where you can find fossils and small tidal pools filled with ocean life.

The Hopewell Rocks are also known as flowerpots as that’s what they resemble. In some spots, low tides allow access to numerous caves. Visitors can join guided tours to explore the caves with an expert guide.

Fundy Trail Parkway

Another great way to experience the Bay of Fundy area is through the Fundy Trail Parkway. This scenic 30km (18-mile) drive offers access to 21 lookout points, seven beaches, nine points of interest, 16 observation decks and four waterfalls. Visitors can also explore the numerous hiking trails, including the Fundy Footpath, which connects Fundy National Park to the Interpretive Centre at Big Salmon River.

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Source: Fundy Trail Parkway

For detailed information about the route, fees, lookouts, observation decks, points of interest and maps, visit the Fundy Trail Parkway site.

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Fundy Parkway: photo Nick Hawkins via Tourism New Brunswick

Culinary delights in Saint John

Saint John is a delightful place where you can start or end your tour of the Bay of Fundy. As a seaport city with a fascinating history and a laid-back atmosphere, Saint John is a perfect spot for foodies and those looking to relax.

Canada’s East Coast is known as a seafood destination, and if you’re looking to try some of the local flavours, you can’t go wrong here. Saint John alone has over 80 restaurants in a five-block radius where you can feast on fresh lobster, steamed mussels, seafood chowder and many other culinary delights.  

bay of fundy
Seafood: photo Tourism New Brunswick

Those craving additional local flavours should try dulse, a wild seaweed that resembles lettuce. This edible green is harvested on the nearby island of Grand Manan. It grows on ocean rocks and is picked during low tide and then dried in the sun. Dulce is packaged and sold locally.

You can walk off your seafood coma by exploring many historical attractions or relaxing on one of the sandy beaches. Saint John is also an excellent spot for tide-watching on the Bay of Fundy.

tips for visiting the bay of fundy

The Bay of Fundy is everything an outdoor lover can dream of, but you don’t have to be a die-hard wilderness buff to enjoy your visit. You can explore the Bay of Fundy and the surrounding area for a few days, or you can easily make it a day trip from bigger towns like Moncton or Saint John. There are many accommodation options in the area, from camping to guesthouses and hotels, to accommodate various tastes.

Fundy National Park is easily accessible by car from Fredericton (two-hour drive), Saint John (1.5-hour drive) and Moncton (one-hour drive). The closest town to the park is the town of Alma. There is no public transportation directly to or from the park. Don’t forget to check the official site for the most current fees and admissions.

bay of fundy
Whales photo by Tourism New Brunswick

Summer is a great time to explore, but if you prefer to enjoy the changing foliage, fall might be the better option for you. The Hopewell Rocks area is open from mid-May to mid-October, and so are most of the top sights in the area. You can visit New Brunswick year-round, but certain areas of the bay might be restricted off-season.

Visitors are likely to enjoy whale sightings during the summer months, while bird watchers can take advantage of the spring migration from early April to early June. June/July is best for puffin sightings on the Machias Seal Island, while semipalmated sandpipers migrate through the bay’s mudflats to South America as late as October.

It takes about six hours and 13 minutes between the high tide and low tide, and there are approximately two high tides and two low tides every 24 hours. This means visitors are likely to expect to see at least one high and one low tide during daylight hours. To get the whole experience, it’s best to see both high and low tides in the same location. With six hours in between, there is plenty of time to explore the area while you wait.  

Final thoughts

The Bay of Fundy offers spectacular views, but it’s the only place you can walk on the ocean floor that’s been there for millennia. When the low tide empties, it’s like peeking under a world we usually don’t see, from ancient life forms to rocky formations.

Here you can feel like an explorer, venturing into a world that has long been forgotten. You can scour the ocean floor, kayak on the high tide or hike through ancient forests. Stand amongst the giant, silent rocks that make you feel small and insignificant. Now, you are an adventurer facing the power of Nature. How cool is that?

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