This post was originally published on the Tourism New Brunswick blog.
Here’s the thing with Fundy: It’s awesome, but it can also be a little confusing. There’s the Bay of Fundy (the big basin of water known for having the world’s highest tides), there’s the Fundy region (essentially the land mass and communities stretching along the coastline), and then there’s the Fundy destinations — like Fundy National Park, Fundy Trail Parkway, and Fundy Footpath. So if you’re speaking to a local and say you’re going to Fundy, well... that could mean any number of things.
We don’t blame you if it’s all got you a little — ahem — confused. That’s where we come in. The map below has all the top Fundy locations to check out during your summer or fall road trip. These are the very best places to experience the highest tides in the world. Yes, some of them are named Fundy. And some aren’t. But they’re all worth a visit.
Here’s an overview to get you started:
The Bay of Fundy coastline is about 530 kilometres long. On one end you have The Hopewell Rocks — that’s the east end, towards Nova Scotia — and on the other end, you have the Fundy Isles — this is the west end, close to Maine, U.S.A.
Two road trip routes run through the region — The Fundy Treasures & Tides Ride and the Fundy Wonders & Whales Route. We recommend taking about 5 days for each road trip. Pick one and get to know the nuances of the east or west side of the bay, or, (our vote) do them both for one epic road trip spanning the full Fundy experience.
Starting to get the lay of the land? Here’s some handy info on some of the key stops.
1. The Hopewell Rocks
Experience the power and magnitude of the world’s highest tides. Walk on the ocean floor at low tide and return hours later to kayak around the famous “flowerpot rocks” at high tide. To do: wildlife viewing, trails, café.
2. Mary’s Point
A long sandy beach with tremendous mudflats that are exposed at low tide. Well-known for phenomenal birdwatching. Part of the Shepody National Wildlife Area and the Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve. To do: Interpretive Centre, trails, Carboniferous period fossils.
3. Cape Enrage
Towering cliffs with spectacular views of the bay plus an iconic lighthouse. Ziplining, rappelling, rock climbing, walking paths, and fossil beach. To do: local fare dining in the old lightkeeper’s house.
4. Fundy National Park
One of Canada’s great national parks. Discover Acadian forest, ocean beaches, waterfalls, and excellent trails. Deluxe campgrounds with a variety of no-tent-required accommodations. To do: interpretive centre, activities, and events.
5. St. Martins Sea Caves
A spectacular coastal setting. Low tide reveals red sandstone sea caves perfect for exploring. Kayak around the caves and coastline at high tide. To do: nearby wharf surrounded by two covered bridges, a lighthouse, and famous seafood restaurants.
6. Fundy Trail Parkway
Hike or bike the 16 kilometres of coastal multi-use trail and drive the 19-kilometre parkway. Over 20 scenic lookouts, trails, picnic areas, and secluded beach. The interpretive centre teaches you all about the birthplace of the Atlantic Ocean.
7. Fundy Footpath
Explore Magazine calls this one of the best hikes in the world. A challenging wilderness trail hugs the coastline from the Fundy Trail Parkway to Fundy National Park. Hikers navigate wooded footpaths, sandy beach, waterways, and the Fundy tides. Roughly 3-4 days to complete the hike.
8. New River Beach Provincial Park
This is the Fundy tidal beach, situated in a cove on the Bay of Fundy. Great for camping, kayaking, and hiking. The expansive sandy beach doubles in size during low tide, which also reveals tidal pools with periwinkles, whelks, and starfish. Discover natural history of the bay and flora unique to the area, like bug-eating plants.
9. Minister’s Island
Accessible at low tide only, drive across the seafloor to be immersed in an experience from the late 19th century. The former summer estate of Sir William Van Horne, the driving force behind the Canadian Pacific Railway, you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the bay and architecture that makes the most of it.
10. The Fundy Isles
Well known as an artist’s paradise, this is the largest of the Fundy Isles. Discover solitary beaches, fishing villages, hiking trails, excellent birdwatching and whale-watching, lighthouses, and ruggedly beautiful cliffs. Many options for cottages and accommodations. Accessible by ferry.
This tranquil island was a favourite of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He built his summer home here, which is now an international park maintained by Canada and the United States. The island also has a provincial park, golf course, whale-watching, and an iconic lighthouse. Accessible by land or ferry.
The smallest of the Fundy Isles, you’ll have the opportunity to see the famous Old Sow Whirlpool just off the southwestern tip of the island. It’s located on the 45th parallel — halfway between the Equator and the North Pole — with an iconic restaurant of the same name a must-stop for visitors. Trails, lookouts. Accessible by ferry.