Exploring Canada’s Bay of Fundy

Photo courtesy of New Brunswick Tourism

Exploring Canada’s Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy is one of the natural wonders of Canada—and it draws thousands of visitors each year.  Carved by the wind and sea, the Bay of Fundy’s 170 miles of ocean is so geographically and architecturally unique that it was recently named as one of 28 finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature contest.

The Bay, which reaches into Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Canada, has extreme tides that reach up to 53 feet.  More than 100 billion tons of seawater flow in and out of the Bay each day, and just one tide cycle is enough to fill and empty the entire Grand Canyon.

The tides are just part of the draw here, though. More than 12 species of whales call the Bay of Fundy home during their summer and fall feedings, and it’s one of the rare locations where you can see the North Atlantic Right Whale.

Birders are fascinated by the area for the 34 species of birds that stop here on their 2,486-mile southbound journey from the Arctic to South America.

Time has left its mark in these northern regions of Canada. The Joggins Fossil Centre & Cliffs has some of the world’ most complete fossil records on life in the Coal Age. The fossils can be found along nine miles of coastal cliffs in Nova Scotia. You can see the fossils when the Bay of Fundy tides withdraw. There are more than 200 species of fossils recorded, including tetrapods, which can be found nowhere else on earth. The Interpretive Centre (jogginsfossilcliffs.net) is a must-see if you decide to see the cliffs.

Another Nova Scotia favorite is Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, which has some 10,000 acres of majestic coastal trails. This wilderness park includes deep valleys, pristine coastline, sheltered coves and old growth forest. Camping, kayaking, birding and rock hounding are popular activities in the park (capechignecto.net).

Mother Nature has looked kindly on this region, but it’s not the only reason to travel to Canada.

A popular local activity is tidal bore rafting as the tides come up the Shubenacadie River in Nova Scotia. The tide enters the Bay every 12 hours and moves toward the river.

The immense force of the tide will reverse the outgoing river and send it backwards some 25 miles. The tidal wave can reach 11 feet high, and rushes at speeds of nearly eight miles an hour as it nears the head of the Bay and enters the river.

Across the Bay in New Brunswick are Hopewell Rocks, which are unique flower-pot shaped rock formations. You can walk around them on the ocean floor. Then, when the tide comes in six hours later, take a kayak and paddle around what have now become islands.

Stonehammer GeoPark, which is also in New Brunswick, is a 965-square-mile area that encompasses communities, coastline and rivers. Popular activities are 15 highlighted adventures that include sea-cave exploration and self-guided geology walks.

Travel to the Bay of Fundy is easy, with convenient air access to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. There are numerous hotels and B&Bs to choose from along either side of the Bay. If you’d like to see both sides of the Bay, Maxxim Vacations has an economical vacation package that includes airfare from several American cities, six nights accommodations (three in Nova Scotia, three days in New Brunswick), a rental car and admission to local attractions, starting at $1,479 per person (maxximvacations.com)

If You Go

Tourism New Brunswick, www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca

Nova Scotia Tourism, www.novascotia.com