Home to the world’s highest tides, the Bay of Fundy is a natural phenomenon like no other. Each day, 160 billion tonnes of seawater flow in and out of the bay, bringing incredibly diverse marine life with it.
New Brunswick’s Fundy Coast, only a half-hour drive from Moncton, is a vast swath of texture: an emerald carpet of Acadian forest emerges out of dramatic red sandstone cliffs that hug the incredible tides. Brimming with preserved parkland and true maritime charm, the region is an intoxicating medley for those hankering for a laid-back escape.
Morning Walk the ocean floor at Hopewell Rocks, a self-directed park along the upper Bay of Fundy. To truly appreciate the range of the bay’s tides, check the tide table before your visit. The time span between low and high tide is six hours and 13 minutes, so aim to explore
Hopewell’s flowerpot-shaped rocks a few hours before high tide rushes in. Spend time in the interpretive centre before heading back out to witness the extraordinary rise in water level.
Afternoon Hop in your car and take the scenic, hour-long drive to Alma via Cape Enrage. Stop at Cape House Restaurant, a former lighthouse-keeper’s house, for local lunch delicacies such as dulse focaccia and lobster rolls. Once in Alma, dip into the bay’s chocolate milk-coloured water on a kayaking expedition with FreshAir Adventure. Cruise past desolate beaches along the jagged coastline of Fundy National Park and keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles and seals.
Evening It doesn’t get much fresher than Tides Restaurant in the Parkland Village Inn, a shipshape spot to dine and then spend the night. Fishermen unload their bounty from the sea right next door. Nosh on local scallops, fresh Atlantic salmon and salads with foraged blueberries. Aim to snag a freshly made sticky bun from Kelly’s Bake Shop before it closes for the day.
Morning Hit the highway and drive to St. Martins, a postcard-pretty village where, at low tide, you can investigate sandstone sea caves. With two lighthouses, covered bridges and an active harbour, photographers have plenty of subject matter. Be sure to grab a bowl of seafood chowder from The Caves Restaurant before leaving.
Afternoon The forest meets the ocean along the Fundy Trail Parkway, just outside St. Martins. Here, previously inaccessible areas of the Fundy coastline are revealed to hikers, bikers and Sunday drivers. Stroll along several scenic footpaths or use the free shuttle service offered by the park to suss out Stage 5 waterfalls and Pangburn Beach, an immaculate, kilometre-long sweep of cobblestones that have been smoothed by the tides. Get back in your car for the 45-minute drive to Saint John.
Evening When you’re in the Maritimes, a proper pub visit must be on tap. Tuck into seasonal, hearty fare, from fried or steamed clams to fiddleheads, at Saint John Ale House. Sit on the patio to enjoy the scene and listen to live music coming from the boardwalk. Overnight at the Saint John Hilton, located mere steps away.
Morning St. Andrews, situated an hour away from Saint John, is your quintessential resort town. Begin your day getting up close and personal with the marine life that flourishes within the bay. Spot minke whales and porpoises on a whale-watching excursion with Island Quest Marine. Afterward, grab lunch at Niger Reef Tea House, a popular spot with locals.
Afternoon You don’t have to be a green thumb to appreciate the stunning botanical display at Kingsbrae Garden. Meander through this lush, 27-acre paradise that includes an Acadian forest, children’s garden and local art. Afterward, continue on to Water Street to admire charming boutiques and immaculate colonial churches.
Evening Check into The Algonquin Resort, an opulent Tudor-inspired property whose majestic presence has dominated this seaside enclave since 1889. Settle in on the wraparound veranda with a cool drink and challenge your companion to an old-school board game while watching the sun sink slowly into the sea. The perfect ending to an East Coast getaway.