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Kayaking As The Tide Rises Around The Rocks

Kayaking Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick

Every year about 175,000 people visit Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick. It’s one of the most popular attractions in the province appealing to people of all ages.

Only a fraction of visitors actually try kayaking Hopewell Rocks, which also goes by the name – The Flowerpots. The cool looking rock formations are located on the Bay of Fundy, home to the world’s largest tides.

Every day more than 100 billion tons of water reportedly flows in and out of the Bay of Fundy – as much as all the water contained in every freshwater lake and river in the world – though I can’t imagine who did that calculation.

All visitors to Hopewell Rocks Park get a chance to see the wonderfully eroded rock formations though I think you have to have a good imagination to consider the shape to be a Flowerpot. Note that there’s a shuttle if the kilometre long walk to the beach from the Visitor Center is a problem.

Updated February 2020. This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a purchase via one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Kayaking Hopewell Rocks – where timing is everything

If you arrive within three hours on either side of low tide you can walk the ocean floor among the flowerpot rock formations. I did that and could have spent hours taking photos.

But I also booked a two hour kayaking trip with Baymount Adventures so I had the chance to see The Flowerpots from several different vantage points. I’d recommend the experience.

The Flowerpots at low tide
The Flowerpots at low tide
Kayaking Hopewell Rocks in water that is always muddy in this part of the Bay of Fundy
The water is always muddy in this part of the Bay of Fundy
"The Flowerpots "
The Flowerpots
It's VERY busy at low tide on a summer day
It’s VERY busy at low tide on a summer day

Kayaking Hopewell Rocks – what’s it’s like

The kayaking tour around the flowerpots is very popular. It’s easy plus its kid and family-friendly. Book well in advance in the summer.

Approximately 30 people were on our tour – though each group of 6 or 8 ended up with their own guide. After getting geared up with a life jacket, a spray skirt, a paddle and a dry bag we walked down to the beach.

For many it was there first time ever kayaking so the lesson on how to hold a paddle and the safety talk was useful. For me – not so much.

Let the tide float you off the beach

What was different for me compared to other kayaking trips was the way we launched. We all got in our kayaks, adjusted rudder pedals, did up our spray skirt and then waited for the tide to float us away – granted with a quick push to move things along from the guide.

The tide rises – and falls – so quickly – just under 6 feet an hour for 6 hours (it was a 39 foot tide the day I went) so it wouldn’t have been long before we floated off naturally.

Over the next 1.5 hours kayaking Hopewell Rocks we explore the coast between the flowerpots, checked out some caves and paddled onto Shepody Bay. It’s great fun maneuvering the kayak in tight places.

Kayaking Hopewell Rocks as the tide rises around the rocks
Kayaking as the tide rises around the rocks
Kayaking Hopewell Rocks towards the donut shaped cloud
Kayaking towards the donut shaped cloud
Kayaking in between the rock formations
Kayaking in between the rock formations
Easy kayaking with almost no wind blowing
Easy kayaking with almost no wind blowing
The same place at high tide
The same place at high tide

The semipalmated sandpipers at Hopewell Rocks

On our return to the launch site we were treated to the sight of thousands of semipalmated sandpipers – or at least I think that’s what they were as they make up the bulk of the two million shorebirds that visit the Bay of Fundy every summer.

Other shorebirds that stop on their migration include the least sandpiper, the semipalmated plover and sanderlings. They come to the Bay of Fundy to fuel up on the nutrient rich mudflats for their trip to South America. It was a treat to see them – even from a distance.

Masses of sandpipers not far from our launch site
Masses of sandpipers not far from our launch site

Useful Hopewell Rocks information

  • In the summer the park is open from 8 AM until 8 PM. By late August the opening hours become shorter.
  • Adult admission is $15 per person – good for entrance on two consecutive days. Kids are $8.00 each. Seniors and youth get reduced rates.
  • The park is open from mid-May until mid-October. Visit their website to get up to date pricing and times.
  • The park is less than an hour’s drive from Moncton.

Where to stay near Hopewell Rocks

If you would like be able to spread out and do your own cooking, The Artisan Suites – The Woodland Suite would be a great choice especially as its just 1.1 kilometres from the park.

If you don’t mind being a bit further away (13.9 km), 1854, The Maplegrove Inn is a B&B rated superb in Riverside.

Sackville Bed & Breakfast – rated superb – would be another great choice. It’s 17.7 km from Hopewell Rocks.

Further reading on things to do in New Brunswick

Click on the photo below to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

Exploring Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick on foot and by kayak depending on the Bay of Fundy tides



Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 39 Comments

  1. I’m loving all your Canada posts. You keep introducing me to places I’ve never heard of, but that look incredible. I really need to travel more especially in eastern Canada.

    1. @Andrew The tides on the Bay of Fundy are phenomenal = and one of the reasons there is so much interest in harnessing their energy. The Hopewell Rocks are a beautiful place to visit.

  2. Hopewell Rocks is one of my favourite places on the east coast. We have been twice but haven’t kayaked yet because I felt unsure about getting into a kayak with my younger daughter in the ocean. Now that I know someone who has done it, I feel reassured that we can handle it so next time we visit we will definitely kayak around Hopewell Rocks.

  3. Hi Leigh, I have to laugh on the coincidence! I was just in New Brunswick today for a business trip! But my New Brunswick is in New Jersey. Your New Brunswick is much more beautiful and interesting. I wish it’s where I was today. The Bay of Fundy always fascinate me. I love your photos of the flower pots. I’ve seen lot of photos of them but you’re composition and perspective is pretty unique. The kayaking looks like a lot of fun. And the masses of sandpipers are just amazing! I’m more amazed thinking that they had to fly to South America from there. I wish I have my own wings to travel.

    1. @Marisol I didn’t know there was a New Brunswick in NJ – so I’ve learned something today. I’ve seen some flowerpot photos too but very few of people kayaking. I enjoyed just as much watching the sandpipers fly around – and I too would like my own wings.

  4. I first heard of Hopewell Rocks and Bay of Fundy from a Travel Channel show and have been wanting to visit. It was considered one of the best natural wonders in the world. Love the before and after shots but especially that perfectly framed vertical shot. What an experience it must be to see the tides come in. It’s such a gorgeous area.

  5. I’m going to have to say that I don’t really see Flowerpots in those formations, but I do think they look interesting. Kayaking seems to be a good way to see more. As always, your photos make me feel like I’m there. And oh my, what a lot of birds in that last picture.

  6. Incredible place to Kayak, and to be able to see more of the area. Hopewell Rocks looks so very pretty!
    Love how you were given instructions on how to paddle, good to hear that they could help with the basics for those that are new to the sport.
    What is a “Spray Skirt” for?

  7. Looks a very cool and unusual experience this, Leigh. Some of the rocks look almost human, a little like the moai on Easter Island. We only saw a little bit of New Brunswick, but liked what we saw. It felt very off-the-beaten track.

    1. @Sophie New Brunswick doesn’t feel like it sees the tourists that the other Maritime Provinces get. Some parts of the province feel well off the beaten path -in a nice sort of way though.

  8. I have been to Moncton too many times to count, but always on business. One of these days I’ll have to go back and do this little adventure!

  9. Those are some beautiful rock formations. Great that you were able to book a kayak tour and get a little closer.

  10. Those rock formations are amazing. It seems like it would be a lot of fun kayaking around there. I think I was there when I was very young, but not sure. Better go back to be sure. 🙂

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