The Fundy Coast of New Brunswick is home to the world’s highest tides, and many of the stops along the way showcase this. My time in this area was quite spectacular – here’s a short list of the places I think are worth a stop.
The first stop just before the Fundy coast at the west edge is St Stephen. A small town, with not a whole lot of draw, unless you love chocolate. And really, who doesn’t? St Stephen is the home of Ganong Chocolate.
There is a chocolate museum housed in the old factory. The new, much bigger, much fancier factory is still located in the town as well. The museum does an excellent job of showing the history of the company and what set them apart, like hand-dipped chocolates. And of course, many many free samples throughout.
At the Ganong Chocolate store you can purchase any of the delicious items the company makes, and it is the only place to buy hand-dipped chocolates, which just happen to have 3 times as much chocolate. Mmm…
St Martins and the Fundy Trail
The harbour at St Martins is one place to witness the crazy tides in action. At high tide, it looks like any other small town harbour. At low tide, all the boats are sitting in the mudflats, with the water nowhere to be seen. At the edge of the town are red sea caves, carved out by the ridiculously high tides of Fundy Bay.
You can wander down into these caves at low tide, so try to time your visit accordingly. The real draw here though is the proximity to the Fundy Trail. The Fundy Trail is composed of a scenic drive, and a hiking/biking trail along the coast. If you’re not up for hiking, there’s plenty of viewpoints you can drive right to. And I imagine they’re quite spectacular if you happen to hit it on a day that isn’t foggy!!
The flowerpot rock is a short hike down, but is pretty interesting. There’s a visitor centre, a suspension bridge and endless lookouts. The whole trail is only 16km at the moment, but they’re looking to extend it all the way to the national park. So, spend the day, hike, bike, drive, and see the Fundy coast!
Fundy National Park
As with every national park in this country, tons of hiking opportunities abound in Fundy National Park. There are of course the longer, overnight backpacking trails for the more experienced or those with the time.
I tried out a few of the trails in the area. The first was Laverty Falls. A 5km or so hike ever so slightly downhill to a waterfall, and ever so slightly uphill on the return. The most popular, Dickson Falls is a short 1.5km loop hike, on a boardwalk with stairs here and there. There are signs describing the unique eco-system of the area.
The Shiphaven trail along the coast provides amazing views of what used to be a popular port for lumber. The Herring Cove beach is well worth a stop, where at low tide, you’re actually walking on the ocean floor. You can tell since all the rocks are covered in coral. There’s a few small sea caves here as well.
A small detour off the Fundy Coastal Drive will get you to Cape Enrage. Restoration and preservation of the lighthouse and area was taken on by a local school teacher and his wife. Now, instead of being left to deteriorate, the area is a draw for tourists.
The views from the point are quite spectacular, you can see across to Nova Scotia on a clear day. There’s a beach you can access at low tide, a restaurant, a gift shop, and a few adventure activities – like rappelling down a cliff, or soon – a zipline. Well worth a stop between the national park and Hopewell Rocks.
You can – and should – spend at least the day at Hopewell Rocks. Then you can see the area at both high and low tides. At high tide, you can check out all the viewpoints, and see these rock formations sticking up out of the water. High tide is a good time to head down the trail the other direction and check out Demoiselle beach as well. Then, at low tide (well, actually, 3 hours before and after), you can walk on the ocean floor. You can walk pretty well all the way down the beach to the point, amongst crazy rock formations – flowerpots, and arches mostly.
When you first go down the stairs to the beach, the most photographed arch and flowerpot stand there. Well they are definitely interesting, and there will be all kinds of people in your photos giving scale, there are many other just as interesting places down the beach.
Make sure to give yourself enough time to check out everything. The highest tides in the world create some pretty spectacular scenery.