It rolls in, it rolls out; Canada’s Bay of Fundy is never still. Tucked between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Fundy has the highest tidal range in the world. Every day the tides recede so far that visitors have access to ocean floor that’s normally 50 feet below water (that’s about the height of a four-story building).
You could simply watch as the water fills up that 50-foot-deep hole, or you could use the phenomenon as an opportunity to see the Atlantic in a whole new way. Here, five adventures to find on, in, and around the Bay of Fundy:
1. Walk on the Ocean Floor at Low Tide
You may not be able to walk on water, but you can walk on the ocean floor. Wait a few hours until the tide goes out, and then hike down to Fundy’s sandy bottom. There are plenty of views to keep you entertained until the water starts creeping back in, but the best one is near Hopewell Rocks. Check the tide table online and plan to arrive at low tide, when you’ll be able to walk through the arches that normally only peek out of the water. To reach it, hike to the lookout point at Hopewell Rocks and look for a muddy staircase leading down to the bay’s floor. The tidal change is especially evident here, thanks to the backdrop of the unique, weathered rock formations.
2. Kayak Hopewell Rocks
Get a water-level perspective of Fundy with a kayak tour during high tide around Hopewell Rocks. Be prepared to be tossed around a bit; this isn’t an easy kayak outing; winds can be wicked and the waves are powerful on a rough day. Paddle among the giant rock formations and explore narrow passageways. It’s also a fine way to see birds on the rocks, which congregate here in the millions each July.
Photo by Sherry Ott
The picturesque town of St. Andrews is the meeting point for Bay of Fundy whale-watching. Take a charter with Captain Chris of Island Quest and head out to view humpback whales. You’ll also see plenty of lighthouses, seabirds, and aquafarms along the way, and the ship’s crew will educate you on the whales and other marine life in the area. Take special note of how the water looks when you leave compared to when you return to shore—by then, the tide will have changed, and the entire St. Andrews waterfront will appear completely different.
4. Drive the Fundy Trail Parkway
Soak in the cliff views of the bay by driving the 10-mile Fundy Trail Parkway, which starts outside the town of St. Martins and opens up to panoramic views. There are many lookouts and observation decks along the way. If you’d rather go at a slower pace, leave the car behind and hike or bike the trail. Make sure to stop at the Big Salmon River Interpretive Centre, located at the trail’s midpoint, for historical information on the area’s logging, fishing, and shipbuilding days near the Bay of Fundy.
5. Surf the Tidal Bore
One of the longest waves in the world can be found on Moncton’s Petitcodiac River when the tidal bore from the Bay of Fundy’s changing tide rolls in. At high tide, the bay pushes into the river against the current and creates a powerful wave that travels for miles. Surfers from all over the world flock to ride the resulting 18-mile wave. This is one activity where prior experience is a must; however, anyone can watch. The best viewpoint is at Bore Park in downtown Moncton.
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