This fine national park 50 mi/80 km southwest of Moncton offers sightseeing along the rugged, steep-sloped cliffs and tide-washed beaches of the Bay of Fundy. In fact, you can even go sightseeing in the Bay of Fundy: At low tide (twice a day), after the 38-ft-/12-m-deep water has rolled back out to sea, you can actually walk on the floor of the bay. Enjoy exploring beneath the towering red sandstone sculptures, where you'll find the many caves and sea creatures revealed by the receding tide.
There is a great deal of walking and stairs involved to get to the ocean floor, so the elderly and parents of young children may have difficulty. Additionally, the tides and weather are closely monitored to prevent injuries, and there is always staff around to help those in need.
Above the water line, there are beaches and sandstone-and-granite cliffs. As you move away from the coast, the land turns to rolling hills. Wildlife in the park includes white-tailed deer, snowshoe hares, raccoons, moose, coyotes, bobcats and the rare eastern panther. In August, bird-watchers can admire thousands of plovers and sandpipers feeding on the flats.
Find your bird bliss at Mary's Point, a 30-minute drive from Fundy. You'll get a spectacular view of the yummy mud shrimp that hundreds of thousands of sandpipers feast on each August before their long flight south.
The park has about 60 mi/100 km of hiking trails along the coast and through forested uplands, where ascents reward hikers with sweeping views of the bay, hidden waterfalls, streams and bogs. Just inside the Alma entrance is an attractive campground, from which you can walk to a glassed-in, heated saltwater pool overlooking the ocean. There is plenty of freshwater swimming within the park as well. Cape Enrage, where you'll find the remnants of an old lighthouse and an ancient tropical marsh, is also a favorite rappelling site.
Outfitters in the village of Alma offer sea-kayaking excursions—a fine way to see the coast and nearby marshlands. And in Alma you can recline on the sandy shores while the kids scout for treasures. Watch your timing, though, because this beach is covered in 40 ft/12 m of water at high tide.
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