On our way out to Halifax to spend time with Trevor’s family prior to our Europe trip, we wanted to visit a few sights in the Canadian Maritimes. Despite growing up in Prince Edward Island, Trevor had never seen the tides of the Bay of Fundy. And New Brunswick is the only province Christine had not visited. So, our mind was pretty much made up. We decided to spend our time visiting the Bay of Fundy by hiking in Fundy National Park, seeing the famous Hopewell Rocks, then making another stop in Parrsboro on the Nova Scotia side of the bay.
Fundy National Park
For our time in Fundy National Park, we stayed in the small fishing village of Alma, on the edge of the park. Alma is a great place to stay to see both the park and the famous Hopewell Rocks.
There are only a few accommodation options, so we stayed at the Captains Inn (Click Here). Staff was friendly, bed was comfortable, breakfast was basic but decent – only complaint was the wifi.
The first day, we hiked the Coppermine trail in the morning for the dual reasons that it claimed to have coastal views and it was mentioned by Lonely Planet. In case you hadn’t already figured this out – just because something is mentioned by Lonely Planet doesn’t mean it’s any good. This hike fell into that category. Please see our more detailed post on hiking in Fundy National Park (Click Here).
Later that first day, we headed to Hopewell Rocks, stopping at the appropriately named Cape Enrage. An entry charge of $7/person provided access to a souvenir shop and restaurant. We got a few pictures of the water and coastline, not unlike those we’d taken all along the coast, then checked out the restaurant for lunch. Unfortunately, tourists wanting lunch around noon seemed to take them by surprise, and as we sat down after a table of 4, we were told they couldn’t take our order so as not to “swamp the kitchen”. We decided to take our leave of the restaurant, leaving Cape Enrage suitable enraged. So money well spent! We’d recommend anyone else to stop at the top of the hill just before ticket booth and take your pictures from there.
Hopewell Rocks is apparently the most popular tourist attraction in all of New Brunswick. I guess late June is still “off-season” as it wasn’t too busy. You pay $10/person to get in, so try to time it with either high tide or low tide. The entry allows you to use the park for 2 consecutive days so you can see both tides.
After a couple quick pics of high tide, we killed some time in nearby Moncton before heading back for low tide and the chance to walk on the ocean floor (ie otherwise known as a beach?). Now, unfortunately the park is only open for 8 hours/day. Since tides are >6hrs apart, your chance of seeing high and low tide during opening hours are slim. So if the tides occur outside of 9am-5pm, you might think you’re sh*t out of luck, right?. You might think that, but you’d be wrong.
Trespassing At Hopewell Rocks
The locked gate, the chains across the entrance of the park, and signs about towing your car are actually “New Brunswick-ese” for “please enter, just don’t sue us if you get hurt”. The not-so-secret secret is you can park just outside the entrance gates and walk into the park at any time. So that’s what we did. We went back to the Flower Pots rock formation (the one famous view you always see if you google “Bay of Fundy”) to see if it’s true that the tides go out. It’s true! If you don’t see both high and low tide, this attraction is pretty underwhelming so make sure you go back to see both. Even as an east-coaster (granted, “from away”), Trevor thought it was cool.
On our second day, we went on a couple more hikes in the park then just relaxed in Alma. A second full day isn’t really necessary in this area, but if you are in the area and need somewhere to have some good food and spend some time on a patio, you won’t go wrong at Tipsy Tails (Click here). And bonus, it has some non-deep-fried options on the menu. The seafood chowder and locally smoked salmon tacos were fantastic.
To mix things up, we spent a day in Parrsboro on the Nova Scotia side of the Bay of Fundy. Parrsboro is near the Minas Basin, which was declared by the Guinness Book of World Records to have the highest tides. Trevor always takes travel tips from Jimmy Pattison (incredibly old Canadian owner of the Guinness Book of World Records). So we thought we’d spend a night in Parrsboro on our way to Halifax.
Parrsboro itself isn’t anything special, although we highly recommend Parrsboro Mansion B&B (Click here). Partridge Island, really a peninsula, offers some nice views and a 90-min hike. The tides were high, but by this point we were all tided out.
One recurring theme on our trip around the Bay of Fundy is the desire by Maritimers to deep fry everything. Maybe it’s an east coast thing, as we found the same thing in Newfoundland. Don’t get us wrong, submersing food in hot oil makes most things taste better, but it kind of nullifies any benefits of the hiking we were doing during the days. We even heard that some restaurants will pan-fry or grill your fish, although it’s not on the menu so you have to ask specifically. Kind of like a secret code or something. Now you’re in on the secret. You’re welcome.