Burntcoat Head Park Highest Fastest Tides in the World

Lucky visitors to Burntcoat Head Park at the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia get to experience something truly remarkable, the highest tides in the world. In the space of around six hours you go from walking on the ocean floor at low tide to seeing 160 BILLION tons of water at high tide. The tidal range can reach over 50 ft (15 m) at Burntcoat. Wondering if you should go? YES! You MUST experience this phenomenal wonder of the natural world.

Highest tides in the world

Included in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest tides in the world, Burntcoat Head Park mean spring tidal range averages 47.5 ft (14.5 m) and extreme range of 53 ft (16 m).

Flower pots, like the one pictured below, look like an island during high tide. Trees and other plants on the flower pot help to stop the ground from eroding on the top portion.

 

Exploring the ocean floor near the flowerpot at Burntcoat Head Park on Bay of Fundy Nova Scotia

Exploring the ocean floor near the flowerpot at Burntcoat Head Park on Bay of Fundy Nova Scotia

 

I met people at Burntcoat who thought it would be so-so but once they arrived couldn’t stop talking about how it is such an amazing experience. Bay of Fundy tidal range is astonishing to see.

 

"AMAZING!!!" is how I describe experiencing the tidal range at Burntcoat Head Park

“AMAZING!!!” is how I describe experiencing the tidal range at Burntcoat Head Park

 

My day trip to Burntcoat park is one of my favorite memories of my month in Nova Scotia during the summer of 2018.

 

Where is the Bay of Fundy?

When you look at a map of the maritime provinces of Canada and the extreme northeast United States the Bay of Fundy is the body of water separating New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. A small portion of the Bay of Fundy is officially in Maine, but they don’t experience the high tidal ranges.

Where is Burntcoat Head Park?

Located in the inlet of the Bay of Fundy called the Minas Basin, Burntcoat Head Park is in the Annapolis Valley region of Nova Scotia. The nearest town is Noel, named after Noel Doiron, a leader of the Acadians expelled by the British during the Deportation of Acadians in the mid-1700’s.

Click here for a Google map of Bay of Fundy and Burntcoat Head Park

 

Other tourist attractions in the Annapolis valley, besides the highest tides in the world, include whale watching, tidal bore rafting, kayaking, hiking, bird watching, and winery tours.

 

Map of Bay of Fundy highlighting Burntcoat Head Park location

Map of Bay of Fundy highlighting Burntcoat Head Park location

 

Tide tables

Before you visit the park you need to check the tide schedule for the predicted low tide and high tide times. The tides change daily but the space between low tide and high tide is approximately six hours. So there will be 2 high tides and 2 low tides during each 24-hour period.

 

Stairway to the ocean floor at Burntcoat Head Park

Stairway to the ocean floor at Burntcoat Head Park

 

First you need to a reliable source for the tide tables. And most importantly check to be certain you are looking at the tide tables for the correct location.

 

The link below is to Fisheries and Oceans Canada tide times:

Burntcoat Head Park Tide Tables

 

Reading the tide tables you will see the tidal predictions in both meters and feet and the time is in 24-hr format.

 

The stairs to the ocean floor now flooded with high tide waters at Burntcoat Head Park

The stairs to the ocean floor now flooded with high tide waters at Burntcoat Head Park

 

ADT = Atlantic Daylight Time (which is one hour later than Eastern Daylight Time)

 

Flowerpot on the left is surrounded by water at high tide Bay of Fundy

Flowerpot on the left is surrounded by water at high tide Bay of Fundy

 

Planning a day trip to the park

For the best experience visiting Burntcoat Head Park you should plan to spend at least 6 hours in the area. You can plan a lunch or visit another attraction in between tides, more details below.

I visited when low tide occurred at 10:30 am and high tide around 4:45 pm. With my driving time of 2 hours each way it turned into a full day trip.

Driving time to Burntcoat Head Park

  • Annapolis Royal allow 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Antigonish allow 2 hours
  • Dartmouth allow 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Guysborough allow 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Halifax allow 90 minutes
  • Lunenburg area allow 2 hours

 

Low tide at Burntcoat Head Park

Getting to the ocean floor is a short walk from the parking lot, around 5 minutes.

Beware the ocean floor is slippery. So bring shoes with a decent grip or go barefoot if you don’t want to get your shoes dirty.

 

Standing on the ocean floor at Burntcoat Head Park on Bay of Fundy

Standing on the ocean floor at Burntcoat Head Park on Bay of Fundy

 

Be prepared to get your footwear dirty while walking on the ocean floor at Bay of Fundy.

 

After walking the ocean floor your footwear will get muddy and sand covered.

After walking the ocean floor your footwear will get muddy and sand covered.

 

Watch for activity in the tide pools at low tide, you may see hermit crabs moving about carrying a mollusk shell.

 

On the ocean floor looking towards the flower pot at Burntcoat Head Park

On the ocean floor looking towards the flower pot at Burntcoat Head Park

 

You’ll see beautiful patterns in the sand and rocks on the ocean floor at Burntcoat. And you can walk right up to the ocean and watch the waves.

 

Burnt orange on the ocean floor at Burntcoat Head Park on Bay of Fundy

 

Some people opt to remove their footwear and walk barefoot on the ocean floor at Burntcoat.

 

Some visitors opt to remove their shoes and walk barefoot on the ocean floor at Burntcoat Head Park

You could leave your shoes behind and go barefoot on the ocean floor

 

The next two photos show low tide and high tide at the same place in Burntcoat Head Park. First photo you can see people walking on the ocean floor while the second photo shows the same area flooded in water.

 

Low tide at Burntcoat Head Park exposes the ocean floor that will flood with water in 6 hours

Low tide at Burntcoat Head Park exposes the ocean floor that will flood with water in 6 hours

 

High tide at Burntcoat Head Park

What a difference a few hours makes! Photo below is the same location as previous photo but with high tide waters.

Flowing at speeds of 7 to 8 knots (9 mph or 15 kph) the tide waters move in quickly. While visiting the park be aware of the tide schedule and return to higher ground before the tide moves in to surround you.

During high tide there is less to do because there is limited space to walk around. It’s fascinating to watch the flow of the water and amazing to see the change in the landscape now turned to seascape.

 

High tide at Burntcoat Head Park on the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia

High tide at Burntcoat Head Park on the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia

 

What to do in between tides

You have several options to occupy your time in between the tidal range and if you didn’t bring a picnic lunch with you it’s a good time to grab a meal at a nearby town. Because you have a few hours to kill you can also take in another tourist attraction around the Bay of Fundy.

For instance I chose to visit the Walton Lighthouse (free) and have lunch at the Walton Pub, only a 30-minute drive from the park. So total of 1-hour driving time. Plus around 75 minutes at the lighthouse and 45 minutes for my seafood lunch.

Another option is to visit the Fundy Tidal Interpretive Centre located at 9865 Highway 236, South Maitland, about a 30-minute drive.

 

Farmland in Hants County Nova Scotia

Farmland in Hants County Nova Scotia

 

Less than 30-minute drive from Burntcoat you could also visit Lawrence House Museum at 8660 NS-215, Maitland. The museum is a Victorian era home with photos, exhibits, and heirlooms. William Lawrence’s claim to fame is building the largest wooden-hulled fully rigged ship in Canada, in 1874.

Restaurants near Burntcoat Head Park

You won’t find many restaurants close to Burntcoat. Here are a couple that are worth the drive.


The Flying Apron

Serving local food, most ingredients sourced within 15 minutes of the restaurant. For this reason the lunch and dinner menus change weekly and also features a large selection of homemade desserts.

If you are interested in Dining on the Ocean Floor check out the Flying Apron and sign up to be notified about dates and info. This is a dining experience to remember! Your meal is served at a dining table on the ocean floor at Burntcoat Head Park on the Bay of Fundy.

Note this is a pricey event. The rate for the 2018 event: $745/per couple + sales tax and tip.

3 Summerville Wharf Rd, Summerville


Walton Pub and Eatery

Featuring a good selection of seafood, burgers, wraps, salads, sandwiches, poutine, as well as appetizers and sides. And beer :)

There is outdoor seating with a lovely view while the inside seating area is decorated with all sorts of memorabilia.

39 Shore Rd, Walton


 

Sign for Burntcoat Head Park - site of the world's highest tides

Burntcoat Head Park – site of the world’s highest tides

 

Burntcoat Head Park visitor info

Address

627 Burntcoat Head Road, Noel, NS

Hours (seasonal)

  • Dawn to dusk from mid-May to mid-October
  • Bathrooms are open 10 am – 6 pm
  • Lighthouse is open 10 am – 6 pm
  • Note that Burntcoat Head Park is CLOSED from mid-October to Mid-May

Is there any place to eat at the park?

There are no restaurants at the park so it’s a good idea to bring water and snacks or a picnic lunch.

Are dogs allowed at Burntcoat Park?

Yes, you can bring your dogs to Burntcoat Head Park but keep them on leash at all times

 

Visitors see Bay of Fundy high tide over the ocean floor they walked just hours earlier

Visitors see Bay of Fundy high tide over the ocean floor they walked just hours earlier

 

Low tide exposes the ocean floor landscape and creates tide pools at Bay of Fundy

Low tide exposes the ocean floor landscape and creates tide pools

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About the Author

Susan Moore spent 7 months traveling around Southeast Asia back in the 90's. Returning to Canada she found a job working on rotation in Siberia Russia. She later moved to Austin Texas where she started a bookkeeping business, allowing her to work remotely. Currently Susan is in year 4 of living a nomadic life, roadtripping around the USA and Canada and writing about her experiences. Read all about Susan » You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter or Instagram

2 Replies

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  1. Way cool Susan! I always recall reading in the Guinness Book of World Records how the Bay of Fundy had the fastest moving tides on earth. Super snaps.

    • Ryan, Thanks! My trip to see the tides at Bay of Fundy satisfied a childhood dream. Those tides are a natural wonder and I’m so glad I went. Thanks for your comment!

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