Fun at Fundy, in search of the 50 foot Tide

Reversing Falls

The Reversing Falls, Saint John, New Brunswick

From the wilds of Maine we head the motorhome east, across the border into New Brunswick, Canada. We heard the surf was up in the Bay of Fundy. Talk about extreme tides, each day the Bay of Fundy sees billions of  tons of seawater flow in and out, in 12 hours cycles. Its tidal range can be near 50 feet from seabed to its highest point. Get out the longboard.

St. Andrew’s-by-the-Sea

Our first stop, St. Andrew’s-by-the-Sea. A charming old town, just over the Canadian border on Passamaquoddy Bay. Our campsite is  on the shore and we get our first glimpse of the tides right from the RV. The view in front of us turns from clammy mud flat to glimmering bay in just over six hours. Not bad, but we want more.

We take an expedition is to Ministers Island and  tour William Van Horne’s lavish estate. He was a Canadian railroad baron who built this island home in 1890. The trick to getting there is you need to wait for low tide then drive a 1/2 mile across a gravel sand bar.  The main home, out buildings and garden were pretty spectacular. But no dawdling allowed.  It requires careful timing to make sure you get back off in time.

Road to Ministers Island

The Road to Ministers Island disappears at high tide

In search of bigger tides we take a day trip to Saint John to explore the Reversing Falls. This is the point at which the Saint John River and the Bay of Fundy meet. The  river flows downstream over the rapids into the Bay. When the tide comes in it overpowers the river and flows upstream, making the rapids “reverse.”  As you can see in the photo above the tour boats that run “up” the rapids gave us a quite a show. But we still weren’t impressed.

At St. John we discovered that the further you go up the Bay of Fundy, the stronger the tides. Not to be deterred from seeing some really strong tide action, we decamped and headed the RV for Hopewell Rocks. This must be the place to find the 50 foot tide.  On the way we pass through Alma, cute town, lots of fog. It’s low tide and we notice all the boats are propped up in the mud so they don’t roll over on their sides.

At Hopewell Rocks we pay our entrance fee, hike down to the cliffs and wander around the rock formations exploring the mud flats. The tide is out. The entrance fee we paid lets us come back again at high tide. It’s a full moon tonight so the tides should be very strong and very high.  Here are some before and after shots at Hopewell and Alma. What a difference a tide makes. While we didn’t see a rushing 50 foot tidal wave (in hindsight that is probably a good thing) We did get to see the stark contrast from low to high. We are happy now and ready to see Nova Scotia. Halifax here we come.

At the Flower Pot Rocks:

Low tide at Hopewell Rocks

Hopewell Rocks

And the tide comes in

At  the mud flats:

Miles of mud flats at low tide

And the tides rolls in

Alma Harbor:

Alma Harbor

Boats propped up at low tide

At high tide all is afloat and ready to go

About JudithC99

Wanderer. Writer. Artist. Photographer. Learner. Traveler of the Red Roads


  1. Wonderful post that brings back a lot of memories for me. Last time we visited the East coast was about 20 years ago!

  2. Thank you. Through this blogging I have revisited places I’ve enjoyed and have a growing list of places I want to see…all from the comforts of home.

  3. Pingback: P.E.I. Mussels, Green Gables, and Friendly Foxes « Red Road Diaries

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: