When to visit
- Very Favourable
What to do
- Worth the detour
- Must see
When you visit Fundy, be prepared for an impressive natural spectacle, with unique coastal landscapes and massive tides that will not leave you indifferent.
The Bay of Fundy holds 160 billion tonnes of water which, twice a day, every day, flows in and out of the bay with the tides. To give you an idea, 160 billion tonnes of water is the equivalent of all the water in all the rivers in the world, the height of a 4-storey building, and the weight of 32 billion 5-tonne elephants... Pretty impressive! Unsurprisingly, the Bay of Fundy has one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world.
The Fundy region is an ideal environment to slow the pace and take the time to really appreciate all the beauty around you during your eastern Canada road trip.
Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park
This park is one of New Brunswick's top attractions because it is the best place to witness the natural wonder of the Bay of Fundy. Here, the tides dictate what you can see and do, depending on the time of day. You need to see Hopewell Rocks (nicknamed “Flowerpot Rocks” because of their rounded shape and vegetation on the top) at both low tide and high tide to truly appreciate the magnitude of the tidal phenomenon.
It is important to note that the entrance fee to Hopewell Rocks is valid for two consecutive days, to allow you to see both tides. You can walk across the ocean floor and explore the rocks, beach and coves for 3 hours before low tide and until 3 hours after low tide. The time between high and low tide is six hours and 13 minutes on average, meaning you can easily see the high and low tides in the same day. You may prefer to spread your visit over two days, but note that you should spend at least 4 hours in the park to fully appreciate everything it has to offer.
Activities in the park include hiking, kayaking around the “flowerpots” at high tide (reserve as early as possible!), relaxing on a beach, watching the millions of shorebirds during their migration from mid-July to mid-August, visiting the Interpretive Centre, walking across the ocean floor at low tide and admiring the red sandstone cliffs, “flowerpot” formations and the spectacular coastal scenery.
The park is open from mid-May to mid-October, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in low season, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. from mid-June to mid-August, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from mid-August to early September.
Did you say the highest tides in the world?
Yes indeed, the Bay of Fundy has the highest tides on the planet. The difference between high and low tide can reach up to 16 metres (50 feet), twice a day! That's the height of a 4-storey building… Just think of it!
So don't even consider planning your visit without consulting the tide tables.
Note that the tide times and heights change from day to day and generally vary between 10 and 14 metres.
The Mi'kmaq people, who were the area's first inhabitants, were fascinated by this incredible phenomenon and created magnificent legends to explain its mysteries.
Cape Enrage Lighthouse
If you like lighthouses, be sure to visit the one at Cape Enrage, built in 1840, making it one of the oldest in New Brunswick. Many shipwrecks occurred at Cape Enrage, which was named for the turbulent waters that pass over the reef.
Cape Enrage offers more than just a lighthouse: you can also enjoy a unique view of the world-famous Bay of Fundy from the over-600-ft long zip line and rappel down 43 metres of rock cliffs overlooking the Bay of Fundy. There is also a beach if you feel like taking a break (note that the beach is covered during the last two hours of the incoming (flood) tide and the first two hours of the outgoing (ebb) tide), a restaurant and an art gallery showcasing local artists and artisans.
Open every day from mid-May to mid-October, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in low season and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. from early June to mid-August.
Fundy National Park
This magnificent national park, created in 1948, should be at the top of your wish list when you visit the area. It will dazzle you with its waterfalls, streams, hills and valleys, abundant and diverse wildlife and vegetation, 120 km of trails deep in the Acadian forest, rocky seaside cliffs, impressive tides and rich marine ecosystem. A real feast for the eyes!
Season: Open every day from mid-May to mid-October, with full services accessible in July and August.
Visitors Centre: Headquarters Visitor Centre (8642 Route 114, Fundy National Park - East Entrance) is open from mid-May to mid-June and early September to mi-October from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and from mid-June to early September from 8 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.
Entrance fee: $7.90/adult/day and $6.90/person/day for seniors 65 years and over (free for youth aged 17 and under).
Explore the ocean floor at low tide
Like at Hopewell Rocks, exploring the tidal mudflats in search of treasures from the sea is a must-do activity. Put on your rubber boots or water shoes before tackling the mud! You could see periwinkles, rock crabs, barnacles, limpets, dog whelk sea snails and seaweed, as well as a wide array of shorebirds that stop to feast on the sea animals that the tides leave behind. The park also offers beach walks led by park naturalists. Ask at the Visitor Centre for more details.
Founded in 1810 by settlers from Nova Scotia, Alma is a small fishing village close to the entrance to the national park. Its beach, located within park limits, is a nice place to take a walk at low tide.
In Alma, you can take a guided sea kayak tour (reservations strongly recommended, especially in high season!) on the Bay of Fundy and around Hopewell Rocks with its famous “flowerpots”, which are slowly being eroded from year to year.
Some of the highlights of Fundy National Park...
Point Wolfe, about10 km from the park entrance, was originally a logging settlement. The impacts of logging on the local environment were severe. The clogging of rivers and nearby coastal areas by sawmill refuse prevented Atlantic salmon from entering rivers to spawn, which harmed fish populations and affected the fishing industry. Fortunately, logging activities came to and in 1922 and the forest could slowly recover. Interpretation panels along the Shiphaven Trail and near Hueston Brook invite you to discover the area's history. You can then take a walk down to Point Wolfe beach and imagine the sorry scene in the heyday of this devastating industry!
Be sure to pay a visit to the superb Point Wolfe covered bridge. Built in 1922, the bridge is 29 metres in length. Note: due to clearance restrictions, access to the covered bridge is limited to a maximum vehicle/equipment length of 7.3 m (24 feet) and a height of 4.4 m (13 feet).
In the mood for a swim?
If you feel like taking a dip, try one of these three spots:
Note: although swimming in the park's many rivers may be enjoyable, it can be dangerous (rocks, strong current, etc.) and is not advised.
Fundy Trail is a park featuring a 30-kilometre scenic parkway hugging the Bay of Fundy coast that can be explored on foot (along one of its 19 hiking trails), by bike or by car.
The parkway boasts more than twenty lookouts and observation decks strategically situated at scenic areas and offering vistas of stunning natural beauty. Discover ancient rock formation created millions of years ago, the famous “flowerpot” rocks, the sea captains' burial ground, an 84-metre suspension footbridge, numerous beaches accessible via secondary footpaths (Long Beach is sublime!) and magnificent waterfalls.
Be sure to stop at Big Salmon River Interpretive Centre if you would like to learn more about the area's history, pick up an activity schedule or visit the gift shop. The interpretive centre is located 10 km east of the charming fishing village of St. Martins, which is also worth a stop along the way.
The park is open every day from mid-May to mid-June and early September to mid-October from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., mid-June to mid-August from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and mid-August to early September from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The historic port city of Saint John is the only major port city on the Bay of Fundy and the largest city in New Brunswick. You will be charmed by its Victorian architecture and buildings and its slightly British feel. Its downtown centre is a pleasant place to explore on foot.
The historic Market Square is one of the oldest and most lively parts of the city, and has been a gathering place for centuries. It's the ideal place to enjoy a good meal, relax and unwind, do some shopping or even attend a concert or one of the many festivals.
Be sure to stop at Barbour's General Store (10 North Market Street, Saint John / 506-658-2990). This museum and tourist centre will take you back in time to the late 19th-century, when it served as a general store from 1860 to 1940. See what an authentic local shop of the era looked like and the wares that would have been found on its shelves.
Access to Market Square is available from 6 a.m. and 2 a.m. every day, but its shops and restaurants are typically open Monday-Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
New Brunswick Museum
The New Brunswick Museum is an enjoyable activity for the whole family. Discover the province's history, natural sciences, fine and decorative arts, its considerable shipbuilding heritage, and learn about the geological history of the area and the famous Bay of Fundy tides.
Usually open Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays and holidays from noon to 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays in winter (November to mid-May).
This gracious public square lies at the heart of Saint John, complete with immaculate gardens, monuments, walkways and a bandstand which hosts many concerts during the summer months. Nearby is the Loyalist burial grounds and the Saint John City Market, a farmer's market where you can obtain a wide array of fresh food as well as local crafts.
Open Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Built in 1817, this gracious home belonged to the Merritt family, British loyalists who fled to Saint John from New York after the American Revolution. It was occupied by five generations of Merritts and has not been structurally altered since it was built. It was one of the few buildings that survived the Great Fire of 1877, which single-handedly destroyed more than 1600 buildings, and has been designated by the Government of Canada as a National Historic Site for its elegance and New England Federalist architecture, typical of Loyalist homes at the time.
Open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in low season and every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from July to September.
Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site
Welcome to one of the 16 Martello towers built in Canada by the British to defend the colony. The Carleton tower was built for the War of 1812, and its unique round architecture played a crucial role in defending the city. The tower has been used as a powder magazine, a military storehouse, a prison, a garrison and an observation post. The top of the tower offers a spectacular view of the Bay of Fundy!
Be sure to visit the Visitor Centre to learn more, watch a video about the history of the tower and explore the interactive exhibits. Guided tours are also available.
Open every day from mid-June to early September from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from early September to early
Reversing Falls Rapids
This amazing phenomenon, in which the river flows in reverse, is created by the collision between the mighty Saint John River and the intense Bay of Fundy tides. At low tide the river empties into the Bay of Fundy, causing a series of rapids and whirlpools. As the tide rises the river current slows and eventually reverses to flow inland, forming rapids again and peaking at high tide. A complete tide cycle is roughly 12.5 hours long.
To truly appreciate the phenomenon, it is best to see the river at different times during the tide cycle, for which you need to know the tide times (visit the tourist information centre at 15 Market Square). Enjoy good views from Reversing Falls Bridge (200, Bridge Road) and Fallsview Park (100 Fallsview Avenue).
Located in Passamaquoddy Bay, this picturesque seaside resort town will charm you with its authenticity. You will enjoy strolling down historic Water Street, the focal point of the community, with its gracious turn-of-the-century houses, boutiques and cafes. If you feel like it, this is a great place to go for a whale-watching tour in the Bay of Fundy with one of the numerous companies that offer this service.
Have you tried dulse?
Dulse is an edible red seaweed, rich in iron and iodine, that is harvested at low tide on the rocks at the foot of the nearby cliffs. Once picked, the dulse is dried in the sun, and can then be eaten in a variety of ways (pan-fried, raw, in soups, etc.). It has a distinct salty flavour.
Huntsman Marine Science Center and Fundy Discovery Aquarium
The Huntsman Marine Science Center is a private, not-for-profit research and education facility whose mission is to engage the community in the discovery and protection of the oceans. The Centre houses the Fundy Discovery Aquarium, featuring Huntsman's two resident harbour seals… Entertainment guaranteed! You can also watch seahorses, salmon and other Bay of Fundy fishes, enjoy a behind the scenes tour of the aquarium, take a break in the café & gift shop, watch feature films and discover interactive displays.
The Fundy Discovery Aquarium is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from mid-May to mid-October.
St. Andrews Blockhouse National Historic Site
This national historic site was built during the War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain, to protect the townspeople against American privateers and military forces. This blockhouse was one of 12 that were used to defend the province. After being severely damaged by a major fire in 1993, the blockhouse was carefully restored and refurnished. Today it looks much the same as it did in 1812. Interpretive displays and guides are on hand to tell you more about the construction of the building and the role it played.
Open daily from the beginning of June to the end of August, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Why not visit an island?
Passamaquoddy Bay is home to several islands that can be reached by ferry. To make the most of your visit, check the ferry schedule in advance and bring along some warm clothing, just in case!
Here are the main islands:
Where to eat
- $ Inexpensive
- $$ Moderate
- $$$ Upscale
- $$$$ Fine dining
Kelly's Bake Shop ($)
If you're in the mood for a treat, try one of Kelly's famous sticky buns, the bake shop's specialty for more than 50 years. Their classic sweet rolls are topped with a sticky cinnamon glaze. They are fresh baked on the premises every day, along with a variety of other baked goods. Also serves homemade soups and salads.
Open everyday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
HOLY WHALE BREWERY ($-$$)
Housed in a converted church, Holy Whale Brewery is the lively project of two brothers from Prince Edward Island, Jeff and Pete Grandy. You will find a great selection of beers, snacks and sometimes a few small dishes. The microbrewery is also home to Buddha Bear Coffee Roaster, which serves freshly roasted coffee and other hot beverages. In the evenings, you will often find live music featuring a variety of local artists.
Open daily from noon to 10 p.m.
An Octopus’ Garden Cafe ($$-$$$)
Octopus’ Garden takes care to specialize in fresh, local, high-quality food. Must of the fruits and vegetables they use come from their own organic farm! In addition to their signature fresh-roasted, organic fair trade coffee and delicious homemade pasta and sauces, the lunch menu also includes soups, chili, salads and a wide variety of sandwiches, while for dinner you can enjoy the catch of the day and several meat options as well as pasta and salads. A studio above the restaurant sells blown glass pieces and works from other local artists. In addition, there is live music every Friday evening starting at 7 p.m., and a series of concerts during the summer.
Open Thursday-Monday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Tipsy Tails Bar & Grill ($$-$$$)
Tipsy Tails offers not only lovely views of the harbour and fishing boats (especially if you are seated on the patio), but also the chance to enjoy one of the best lobster meals in town. The menu is quite short, but the choices are interesting and varied: oysters, mussels, Maritime seafood chowder, Bay of Fundy scallops, lobster roll, fish and chips, lobster plate, lobster poutine, lobster mac and cheese, grilled rib eye and more.
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
VEGolution's owners and husband-and-wife team, Keith and Sarah, have both been vegetarian for many years. Their dream was to open a vegetarian restaurant and that is just what they did, putting their combined 35 years of culinary experience and training to good use. The result has been a phenomenal success, and we challenge any meat-lover to give it a try and then say they didn't like it! You are sure to have a unique sensory experience. They also offer quick and healthy meals and snacks to go.
Open Wednesday-Saturday from noon to 7 p.m.
Saint John Ale House ($$)
Saint John Ale House offers a truly wide selection of beers, including several local brews. Chef and his team offer pub-style fare prepared with seasonal New Brunswick ingredients. They also try to make everything possible in-house, such as bread, charcuteries, pickles, butchering their own meat, and much more. The menu changes regularly. Their large patio is the perfect spot to enjoy a cold brew in the summertime.
Opens daily at 11:30 a.m. The last seating is at 10 p.m. from Sunday-Wednesday, and at 11 p.m. from Thursday-Saturday.
Splash Thai Cuisine ($$)
If you feel like trying something different, come sample some authentic Thai cuisine prepared by Chef at Splash Thai Cuisine. The menu features soups, salads, noodle and rice dishes, meats and more than a dozen choices of curry. An outstanding discovery that will delight your taste buds!
Open Tuesday-Sunday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
East Coast Bistro ($$$)
A Saint John favourite, and for good reason! This traditional French bistro serves unpretentious food of the highest quality, and absolutely everything is prepared in-house using only locally sourced, sustainable products. They are committed to proving that it is possible to eat well without the need for imported ingredients. The menu changes with the seasons, providing a sumptuous blend of Maritime flavours and French techniques.
Open Tuesday-Friday from noon to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for brunch and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. for dinner.
Italian By Night ($$$$)
The owners of this urban Italian restaurant and bar want to share their love of Italy by creating an authentic Italian dining experience through fabulous authentic food and a warm, relaxed atmosphere. The cuisine focuses on combining high quality local seasonal products with fine Italian ingredients. Every dish on the menu has been selected with care, and every detail plays a role in creating a memorable dining experience.
Open Tuesday-Thursday and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations recommended!
Niger Reef Tea House ($$)
Housed in a historic 1920s building just steps from the Blockhouse overlooking Passamaquoddy Bay, you will be charmed by this little gem of a restaurant. Specialties include the delicious seafood chowder and sublime potato tart; the menu also features burgers, sandwiches (including a lobster sandwich), fish and meat dishes, and a tasty vegetable curry. Not to mention their decadent homemade desserts!
Open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. from Thursday to Sunday.
Here is another establishment with an ideal location overlooking Passamaquoddy Bay, and a cozy ocean-themed decor! The Gables serves simple fare: fresh seafood, burgers, salads, steaks, pasta and daily specials. The view of the bay is hard to beat, and their patio provides front-row seats for admiring the harbour.
Open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 8 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from noon to 9 p.m.
Rossmount Inn Restaurant ($$$$)
The reputation of this hotel restaurant extends well beyond Canada's borders, and reservations are essential for the privilege of sampling the refined and artistic cuisine. Chef Chris Aerni from Switzerland has won the hearts of even the most demanding palates with his insatiable quest for the freshest local fish and meat, many hours spent cultivating a fabulous organic kitchen garden, the best market-fresh produce and his search to find new rare ingredients. The culinary experience at Rossmount Inn is constantly evolving, with complex and exquisite dishes that delight its guests.
Open every day for dinner only. Reservations required.
*** Hours may vary ***
Where to sleep ?
- Very Favourable
Enjoyment - People made it happen
We especially liked the town of Saint Martin's (don't miss it!), although this leg of the trip offered the most things to see and do the whole way. The Bay of Fundy could ellicit more days spent there.