The whole province of New Brunswick sits above the Bay of Fundy, home to the worlds highest tides. Experiencing these tides is a sight to see and there is no better place to do that than visiting Hopewell Rocks. This collection of rock formations just off the shore is New Brunswick’s biggest tourist draw and I was lucky enough to see why.
This is my experience visiting Hopewell Rocks Park and my push for why it should be on your East Coast bucket list.
Visiting Hopewell Rocks Park
In Hopewell Rocks Park, there is no shortage of things to see and do. Beyond walking down to the ocean floor to the odd (and awesome) flower-pots, Hopewell Rocks Park has several walking trails, beaches, and a massive interpretive centre complete with a cafeteria and gift shop. From there you can sit in on educational explanations of the geology behind the rocks or book a guided kayaking tour during high tides.Compare prices on flights to New Brunswick with Skyscanner
Entrance to the park costs just $10 for adults, parking is free, and shuttle service to the ocean floor entrance is available for an extra fee of $2, however, I recommend the stroll down.
The Highs and Lows
The Bay of Fundy is home to the world‘s highest tides and visiting Hopewell Rocks is the best way to experience just what this means. With a change of up to 50 ft, these rock towers provide a great reference to what that looks like. At low tides look for the water lines on these curious rock formations. Try not to hurt your neck.
During my 40 minutes or so wandering around the shoreline in amazement, it was hard to fathom how this could be. I would be underwater and then some in a matter of hours and wasn’t convinced until I noticed the path I had come from was completely cut off by the returning waters. By the time I made my way back up the staircase to the trailhead, the beach I was walking on was completely gone.
Although local Micmac will have you believe the high tides are thanks to a giant carelessly splashing around in the bay, the real reason is much less exciting. It comes down to oscillation and the perfect shape of the bay and the basin it forms. Essentially the water in the bay sloshes back and forth in equal distance/time with the tidal cycles. There are several tidal boars in the area where you can literally watch this occur including the Chocolate River, named for its muddy brown colour, in Moncton.READ MORE: THE BEST (and only?) LOBSTER TOUR EVER!
Visiting Hopewell Rocks – In & Out
Visiting Hopewell rocks is a short 35-minute drive from Moncton, two and a half hours from Fredericton, and roughly three hours from Halifax. Stateside it is three and a half to four hours from Maine. No matter where you are visiting from, be sure to consult the tide tables so you have enough time to walk the ocean floor as well as see the water rushing in.
I was visiting Hope Well Rocks on my way from Moncton to Saint John. This allowed me to say get off the main highway and along the coast which I highly recommend. Leaving Hopewell Park I continued south through the Fundy National Park. Be sure to stop in Alma for the most awesome and seemingly out of place hip coffee shop/brewery/pizzeria – Buddha Bear Coffee Roasters and Café. With local beers on tap, nitrous cold brew coffee, and perfectly street-legal tacos (not to mention in-house pickled eggs!), I would visit Hopewell Parks again just to stop in here!
Visiting Hopewell Rocks – Now or never?
Much like the eight of the 12 still standing Apostles off Australia’s southwest coast, Hopewell Rocks days are numbered. Millions of years enduring the worlds highest tides has taken its toll. As recent as March 2016 part of Elephant Rock collapsed, leaving roughly 200 tons of rocky ruins. Because of this, I was surprised at how we were able to get right up to the ones that look oh-so-close to teetering over.
Yes, our time visiting Hopewell Rocks may be short. Then again, they have been standing here for some 13,000 years so what do I know?
Either way, visiting Hopewell Rocks is not to be missed on any tour through the Maritime provinces.
Where to Stay
Moncton has plenty of great accommodation options and is only a 30-minute drive away. For a unique and boutique experience check out the incredible St.James Gate Hotel.
For a more run-of-the-mill hotel stay at a lower price point consider the Delta Hotels by Marriott Beausejour. I stayed at both of these properties and can recommend them both for their comfort and downtown location.
Alternatively, if you are passing through Hopewell Rocks like me and heading towards Saint John definitely check out the Ridgeback Lodge! This glamping spot is incredibly popular thanks to Instagram so be sure to book well in advance!READ MORE: Glamping in New Brunswick – Ridgeback Lodge Review
Visiting Hopewell Rocks Tips
- Wear appropriate shoes, ones that you don’t care about getting dirty. Also, ensure they have a good grip. The rocks can be slippery.
- If you didn’t bring spare shoes, don’t stress. There are washing stations to hose off the red mud.
- Consult the latest tide times to ensure you have enough time to see the high and low tides.
- Book a guided kayak tour!
What say you?
Thoughts on Visiting Hopewell Rocks? Have you been??
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Although my time visiting Hopewell Rocks was made possible by Tourism New Brunswick / Nouveau-Brunswick,
the experience, opinions, and blown mind are my own.