Framed by the shores of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the Bay of Fundy is a playground for the curious. Named one of the seven wonders of North America, the Bay of Fundy is home to the highest tides in the world, rising upwards of 40-50 feet twice a day, every day, 365 days a year. Where the real excitement lies, however, is in the receding tides where the ocean floor is left completely exposed. Twice a day, ships sink into the sand where they were once buoyed in ocean water. Fifty foot rock formations hidden by waves only hours before, stand tall and imposing a few hours later. Walk on the ocean floor where the tide has dropped the height of a four-story building, and dine on the ocean floor at low tide. The Bay of Fundy’s shores are ever-changing making its exploration all the more exciting. Plan your own trip to this natural oddity with this guide listing things to do, places to stay, and eateries to try while you’re experiencing Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy region.
Want to explore more of Nova Scotia? Check out our guides to Halifax, the East and North Shore, Annapolis Valley, Acadia and more on the site!
What to Do:
The Bay of Fundy is an excellent location for whale watching. As the tides rise and fall drastically throughout the day, a vast array of marine nutrients get pushed to the surface attracting high volumes of plankton. This plankton then signals fish to gather and feed, luring seabirds and whales to the Bay as well. Expect finback whales, minke whales, and harbor porpoises in late spring, humpback whales in late June, and occasionally the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale until the fall. There are several whale watching tour operators in the Digby Neck and Brier Island areas waiting to show you some of the rarest animals on Earth.
Tidal Bore Rafting
Tidal Bore Rafting is wholly unique to the Bay of Fundy and Nova Scotia is the only place in the world where you can do it! When the incoming tides of the Bay of Fundy meet the flow of the outgoing tides on the Shubenacadie River, it creates an illusion of reversing the direction of the river, resulting in a series of small tidal pools with waves that reach from 10-12 ft on average – higher during the Full Moon phase! To take advantage of this unusual water war, grab a Zodiac and hold on tight as you surf the waves of the tidal bore. You won’t regret it—or forget it.
If an intense water adventure isn’t your thing, admire the phenomenon of the Bay of Fundy from above. Test out a bird’s eye view on a Helicopter Tour where you’ll get to absorb the greater landscape, watching the sea sweep up against the cliffs that border the rolling vineyards. The perspective allows for a completely unique Bay of Fundy experience.
2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Nova Scotia boasts six UNESCO designated sites, two of which are located along the shores of the Bay of Fundy:
Joggins Fossil Cliffs is where you can observe and traverse up to 15 km (9 mi) of magnificently exposed layers of rock revealing the world’s most complete fossil record of life in the “Coal Age” when lush forests covered Joggins and much of the world’s tropics, 300 million years ago. In these coastal cliffs, rare fossils reveal details of life as it was in the “Coal Age”. With careful observation, visitors may find fossils on the beach that have fallen from the cliffs, or view the spectacular sandstone layers that entomb ancestors of the first dinosaurs. It is all here, at the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, waiting to be discovered.
The Cliffs of Fundy Geopark attracts visitors not only with geological wonders but with a vibrant landscape full of trails, cliffs and sea stacks to explore, sunsets to soak in, and memories to be made. The Geopark celebrates globally significant connections between geology, local communities, culture, and nature. At the Cliffs of Fundy Geopark, with more than 40 impressive geosites within a 165 km (102 mi) drive from Debert to Apple River, visitors are welcomed to explore this stunning Bay of Fundy coastline. Home to Five Islands and Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, you’ll find hiking trails, island views, sea stacks and unique rock formations – all making a great backdrop for picnics, photos and some rest and relaxation.
Ocean Floor Trail Ride
While the tide is low, explore the ocean floor on horseback! Picture this: you’re on a dark red horse with a golden mane, trotting through fields where farmers tend to their crops, your view opens up to a long shallow seashore where your horse splashes along the muddy shoreline while you see a colossal rock formation, which was completely submerged in water only hours before. Are you in a trance? Me too. Maybe it’s time to register for your guided trail ride today!
Where to Stay:
The Bay of Fundy is surrounded by cozy B&B’s, quaint inns, and cozy chalets, but here are some of our favorite picks.
A fifty minute drive from Burntcoat Head Park, Natura Wilderness Resort offers an elevated camping experience with wooden-frame platform tents stocked with cookware, solar-powered lighting, a propane stove, firewood and fire pit, a memory foam mattress and bed, running water and showers, and optional breakfast/supper baskets. At Natura, you’ll experience every perk of camping without any of the hassle.
Enter a real-life fairytale as you drive up to the Gingerbread House B&B where doors and windows trimmed in pastel pink and swirly-detailed siding transports you into a Hansel and Gretel-esque storybook land. In winter, revel in the snow-frosted pines lining the driveway. The cozy rooms and suites are each uniquely decorated with a colorful assortment of wall papers, bedding, and framed artwork paired with a quirky-shaped window overlooking the surrounding pines. Take a short 5-minute walk into the downtown area of Wolfville and drive a little over an hour to reach Burntcoat Head Park, home of the Guiness World Book of Records for the highest recorded tide in the world. The B&B is located right next to the Cornwallis River which flows directly into the Bay of Fundy.
Once a Lightkeeper’s residence, the Inn at the Lighthouse on Cape d’Or offers a waterside experience in a quaint four-bedroom inn. Enjoy a room with a view of the water, a private restroom, and access to a common area where guests can mingle. This is no five-star hotel, but the views and location are unmatched. If you are interested in a more removed setting near the water, the Lighthouse Inn is perfect. They provide just what you need to be comfortable between exploratory outings along the water. Visitors also rave about meals at the Inn. Even if you decide not to stay overnight, it’s worth visiting the Lighthouse for a midday break or evening meal.
Where to Eat:
If you’re craving a dining adventure, stop by the Wild Caraway for an artistic meal that fuses locally sourced ingredients into stunning dishes for lunch and dinner. Not far from the Lighthouse on Cape d’Or, the Wild Caraway would make a wonderful lunch or dinner stop while exploring the Cape. It’s also not far from the Three Sisters where you can explore sea stacks formed by lava flow, or as Mi’kmaw legend tells, by three mischievous sisters frozen into stone. Whatever you choose to do on the Cape, cap your day with a meal at the Wild Caraway.
Ever wondered what it would be like to walk along the ocean floor without scuba gear? In Burntcoat Head Park, you can do just that as tides recede unveiling the bottom of the sea. Upgrade your experience by dining there too. The Flying Apron Inn and Cookery takes meals to the next level, below sea level. During the Cookery’s “dine on the ocean floor” experience, you’ll follow a forager to taste and learn about native edibles, receive a guided tour of the park, and finish off with a locally sourced dinner arriving in three carefully curated courses. This is a one-of-a-kind, bucket-list, bragging-rights experience!
For an all-inclusive lobster experience, visit Hall’s Harbour where an old fishery now exports Canadian lobster all over the world. Enjoy unique menu items like lobster mac and cheese, grilled lobster and cheese (a take on grilled cheese), lobster nachos, or an entire lobster meal including a complimentary lobster bib to take home as a souvenir. I think it’s safe to say that Hall’s Harbour is a lobster-lover’s heaven.
We hope these recommendations help you craft a trip like no other to the Bay of Fundy! And if you’ve visited the tides of the Bay before, comment your recommendations below!