Tidal Bore Rafting in the Bay of Fundy Tides in Nova Scotia



I’m always looking for the most exciting adventures: in Guatemala it meant hiking in the active Pacaya volcano, in Guyana fishing pirahna and in Canada this excitement was a wild afternoon of tidal rafting. The sharp fluctuations of the Nova Scotia tides create serious rapids that will take you and your boat on a great ride! It’s different from any other rafting trip you’ll be taking part in, and one of the best things to do in Nova Scotia.

Over the Nova Scotia Bay of Fundy Tides

Nova Scotia is a province in Canada and is the second smallest province out of ten. It is home to the Bay of Fundy, which has the highest tides in the world. In a 24-hour period, there are two low tides and two high tides, with about six hours between each. These tides can fluctuate up to 11 feet!

Graphs are available showing daily tide times and even planned heights.

One of the best places to witness the difference in tides is Hall’s Harbor along the waterfront. At low tide, the lobster boats sit patiently on the harbor floor, but if you return later they are swaying in the water ready to leave the dock.

I left early in the morning, then came back a few hours later (and glasses of wine at Luckett Vineyards) and that was the difference:

What is a Tidal Bore?

High tides cause 160 billion tons of water to flow through the Bay of Fundy twice a day, feeding into the Shubenacadie River. This rise in seawater creates a unique adventure in life like no other. When the tide enters the bay of Cobequid, it advances towards the river that narrows to drilled from the sea it is created, which is the leading wave of the tide. This wave can be only inches or 10 feet high. It happens quickly and considering that most mother nature is a bit unpredictable, the arrival time of the tide is a fairly accurate science.

You can watch the tidal wave from the interpretive tide platform of Fundy Or you can experience it in one of the most unique ways, rafting down the bay to the rapids of Fundy.

Curious fact: although it is not recognized as one of the wonders of the world, it has been inscribed in the Guinness Book of World Records!

The Tidal Bore Rafting Experience

Next to the Fundy Tide Interpretation Observatory is where the Fundy Tidal Bore Adventures team met. They brought us a life jacket and a yellow raincoat, although there was no chance of rain. I was about to learn why these jackets were such a good thing!

After loading the boat, we headed further into the waters which were the color of cheap and slightly creamy coffee. And then we waited. I wasn’t exactly sure what we were expecting, I knew it would be the hole in the tide, but I didn’t know if it would be a 10-foot wave that would be heading for us quickly or it would be a small ripple?

Our guide said “here it comes” and in the distance we saw a small white wave. He approached us as if in slow motion. It was a couple of feet high and we rolled over it as if it were a small slope on the road. Really? Was that it?

Then the waters began to rise covering the sandbanks and creating a fury of waves. It looked like a scene from a Hollywood adventure movie, the river resembled the rage of the ocean during a storm. The waves formed in a random pattern and direction.

He needed the experience of our guide to locate the best ones. He aimed the boat directly at them, jumping and crashing into them. We held on tightly to the ropes attached to the side of the raft as we bounced off our seats. We tossed high over some waves, while others just crashed into the boat dragging us from head to toe and submerging the raft. My raincoat was only a protection from the wind because the water was easily found inside.

We laughed, shouted and held out loud. It was an exciting experience that was not initially on my husband’s and my partner’s list, but I would not hesitate to add it to yours (it was a lot of fun, I even added it to my list of the best things to do before you die!).

When your boat is finally hit, you can never be sure what to expect, but be prepared to soak up, breathlessly, tossing it from side to side and just a fun result. It is important to wear the correct recommended clothing so that you feel comfortable and safe.

Here’s a quick video of the action (and me screaming!):

Mud slip on the Shubenacadie River

After your crazy rafting, now is the time for a muddy adventure on the banks of the Shubenacadie River (if you will!). The river is approximately 72 km long and in some places has muddy hills that make it a perfect playground for children and adults. It’s not just any old mud, it feels like a mousse: light, fluffy and dirty

Your boat will be parked, allowing you to climb to the top of the hill and slide, roll or run down; the only requirement is that you have fun!

Remember to bring a moult, there is no way these two experiences will leave you clean or dry. You may even decide not to take your dirty clothes home!

Mud landslide in Nova Scotia

Essential Tide Rafting Tips

Location: Nova Scotia is located along the eastern part of Canada and is bordered primarily by the coast. Tidal Bore Rafting is on the Shubenacadie River, which runs through the north central part of the province.

Getting there: Nova Scotia is home to three airports, but most likely you want to fly to Halifax Stanfield International Airport. The Shubenacadie River is about a 45-minute drive from here. The best way to get to the Tidal Bore Rafting company you choose is to rent a car at the airport and drive.

Tours: There are many companies that have Tidal Bore Rafting, but these are the most popular and have good reviews:

Where to sleep:

Packing tips:

  • Be sure to bring one change of clothes, you will be muddy and wet.
  • Bring it on and put it on sunscreen, even on cloudy days you can burn the sun
  • If you plan to wear sunglasses, make sure they are a great pair that you don’t mind losing.
This publication was provided in collaboration with Canada by Design where I was on a self-driving tour of the Nova Scotia of Canada, which allowed me to roll the loose route when and where I saw fit. This allowed me to focus on finding the best adventures that fit my wish list lifestyle.
All opinions are mine. This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I earn a commission that helps keep this blog up and running, at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.

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