Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Canada
Value for Money:
Personality Types that Like it Best
Did You Know … ?
- Bay of Fundy tides rise to 53 feet, for the world’s highest tides.
- The fictional heroine of Longfellow’s epic poem, “Evangeline,” hailed from Grand Pre.
- Port Royal was Canada’s first permanent European settlement (1605).
- The strong tides in the Bay of Fundy reverse the flow of the Shubenacadie River twice daily at 30 mph.
- In one tide cycle, enough water flows into the bay to fill the Grand Canyon’s 1,218,376 acres, one mile deep.
Of water, whales and wine
It’s almost de rigueur for visitors to Canada’s Bay of Fundy to walk on the ocean floor when the tides are out and return later to see how much the waters have risen in the bay known for the world’s highest tides.
The funnel-shaped Bay of Fundy, where 100 billion tons of water roll in and out twice daily, separates New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Over eons, the waters have shaped a dramatically rugged coastline, at the same time wearing away stone to expose, at Joggins Fossil Cliffs in Nova Scotia, a fossil record that dates back 300 million years.
A few of Nova Scotia’s parks abut the bay — parks that include tall sea cliffs, deep ravines and old-growth forests. Depending on season, the bay is home to whales and other large marine mammals, and the coast attracts migrating shorebirds.
The province’s lively Fundy waters and natural shore areas hold a lot of appeal for outdoorsy travelers.
Active travelers may return in a kayak to the scene of their earlier stroll on the ocean floor. To literally feel the tides in action, they raft upriver on a tidal bore. (The bore is an incoming tide forcing water back up an outflowing river.) Most of Fundy’s tidal bores are on the Nova Scotia side. As for whale watching, the venturesome choose the Zodiac as their mode of transport.
However, travelers of all personality types can sample the natural wonders of Fundy and the adjacent Nova Scotia shore, carrying a camera, booking Fundy cruises and driving the marked scenic motorways.
Besides, the area’s personality, if you will, has other facets. This area was the point of origin for many of the French colonists, known as Acadians, who were deported in the mid-18th century and later made famous through Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Evangeline” epic. A few designated historic sites present that story to modern visitors.
Finally, the Fundy inland area, Annapolis Valley, is a food and wine destination. This is wine country and an agricultural center for berries, orchard fruit and vegetables. Not to overlook the sea, lobster and scallops are on a lot of menus, too.
Things to do for Venturers
- Shoot the rapids, which means, in this case, riding the tidal wave rushing from the Bay of Fundy up the Shubenacadie River. This can be a wild ride with waves as much as 12 feet high.
- Do your whale watching aboard a Zodiac off Digby Neck, an area where fin, humpback, minke and right whales spend their summers.
- Attend the Dutch Mason Blues Festival, in August, in Truro. Or, choose the Kempt Shore Bluegrass and Oldtime Music Festival, also in August, in Kempt Shore.
- Overnight at the keeper’s house at the Cape d’Or Lighthouse, on a bluff overlooking the Bay of Fundy and its tides.
- Hike the wilderness trails in Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, where you will overlook the Bay of Fundy from cliffs 600 feet above the water. If you aim to cover all 32 miles of trails, plan on wilderness camping in the park, too.
- At Cape Chignecto, kayak around the Three Sisters rock formations at high tide.
Things to do for Centrics
- In autumn, head to Brier Island, with camera and binoculars, to watch the shorebirds and raptors that stop by there.
- Immerse yourself in the aboriginal culture at the annual Millbrook Powwow. The summer event features entertainment from all over Atlantic Canada.
- Enter the pumpkin-carving contest, watch the pumpkin regatta and otherwise entertain yourself at the Valley Pumpkin Festival, a monthlong autumn fest with scheduled events across the region.
- Dig for clams with local fishermen on the Bay of Fundy mud flats, near Gulliver’s Cove. Tourism promoters call this a Nova Scotia Going Local Experience.
- Allow a half or full day for visiting the area’s vineyards. Make a telephone call from the British-style red-box telephone booth that stands among the vines at Luckett’s Vineyards.
- It’s irresistible. Walk on the ocean floor when the tide is out. Head to Burncoat Head Park, where you can descend on a wooden staircase along the side of the red cliff face for access to the beach floor below. Return six or so hours later to see how different the place looks.
Things to do for Authentics
- Photograph Balancing Rock, a tall thin rock that looks to be perpetually on the verge of collapse. It is one feature, the best known, of many remarkable basalt rock formations on Long Island.
- Search for your Acadian roots at the Grand Pre National Historic Site. You also will learn more about the deportation of thousands of Acadians between 1755 and 1763.
- Eat lobster or scallops, or both. Wash down dinner with locally produced wines.
- Follow the Digby Neck and Islands Scenic Drive, which provides amazing panoramas of rocky headlands and tide-carved coastlines. Travel by ferry to Long Island and Brier Island.
- Head to the Joggins Fossil Cliffs and be amazed at the kind of creatures that lived in swamp forests here 300 million years ago. You may find fossils on the beach that have fallen from the cliffs, and view the sandstone layers that entomb ancestors of the first dinosaurs.
- Walk the curiously named Tangled Gardens at Wolfville. Attractions are a wildflower labyrinth and extensive herb gardens. Then, sample fresh rose hip ice cream.
For more information, consult the Bay of Fundy Tourism Partnership at www.bayoffundytourism.com