The Highest Tides In The World

It is said that nowhere in Nova Scotia is more than 67 km (42 mi) from the ocean. Once you look at the map of my home province, you will see how true that is.

Nova Scotia has 13,300 km of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. A coastline that consists of amazing beaches, wonderful waves, fantastic cliffs, beautiful wild islands, chiseled inlets and coves, and the highest tides in the world.

Map image – Wikipedia

So what exactly do I mean when I say the highest tides in the world? Well we took a little day trip to show JT a couple of spots that not only prove this fact but always leave us in awe of the beauty of our province and the power of the Atlantic Ocean.

Our first stop was Anthony Provincial Park in Maitland. This day-use park overlooking Cobequid Bay is a perfect place get an idea of the drastic difference between high and low tide. The Doc and I had visited this spot a couple of years ago when the tide was high. On our visit this time the tide is low. Luckily, I have pictures from both visits to share so you can see the difference.

Next we head to Burntcoat Head Park in Noel. Burntcoat Head is the actual site of the highest tides in the world. According to the sign, the tidal range can reach 16.3 metres (53.5 feet) at its greatest, from low tide to high tide. This is where we do more than look at the shoreline. It is were we walk out on the ocean floor. There is a window of a few hours around low tide when this is possible. We picked this particular day because both the weather and the tide schedules were in our favour.

The view as we tentatively step onto the sandstone base that has been chiseled into steps from centuries of tidal movement is breathtaking. One you never forget. I was looking forward to seeing it again knowing how its beauty made me feel on my previous visit. I was also looking forward to JT experiencing the same thing.

At the bottom there is so much to see:

There are islands that you can walk around. Islands that were once part of the mainland.

There are the eroded cliffs that jut out above us. Cliffs of sedimentary rocks dating back 220 million years.

There are small caves and cutouts created by beating and retreating waves.

And shapes and markings that look like artwork. The handiwork of powerful wet fingers.

There are signs of ocean life, periwinkles and small hermit crabs and signs of the movement of creatures now buried until the water returns.

And there is a vastness that leaves you speechless, which is why I am currently sharing more pictures than words.

We spend almost three hours wandering the floor before leaving for a dinner reservation. Burntcoat Head is a place that you keep looking back at while walking away because you’re not ready to leave and because you don’t want to lose that feeling of perspective. That feeling that this landscape, this ocean, this planet are so much more important than we puny humans are and are willing to admit. I would like to think that it is a place that can change you. 

Thank You for reading.

Photos: Jenn Stone, Nova Scotia Map – Wikipedia

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25 thoughts on “The Highest Tides In The World

  1. This is such a stunning area, glad you got to experience it. We lived in Noel many years ago and it is a stunningly beautiful place to live. It was a thriving farming area then but the area has lost most of its population. As the farms were bought by the mennonites in North field who did not send their children to the schools so the schools closed. When schools close the area dies. So sad as I thought it was the most beautiful place I have ever lived. The weather is great as you do not get fog and the heat in summer is accompanied by the breeze of the tides. We had great respect for the danger of the tides as lives have been lost by its swiftness and force.


    1. Yes it is a fabulous place. We did the dining on the ocean floor event there a couple of years ago. I fell in love with it then. I know I will continue to go back for future visits.


    1. Yes it is a must see. I know you would love it. I do feel lucky about living here. I am reminded every time I look out my window. Hope you can make that NS trip happen. There is a lobster dinner at stake if the season lines up.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Lobster season moves around to different locations at different times so we can get it somewhere most of the summer. In my area it usually lands in May or June. I would plan based on the weather rather than the lobster season. There will be lobsters to be had all summer long.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. This is an amazing pictorial essay — it makes me want to visit the east coast even more than ever. I love the ocean and now that I live so near the Pacific, I don’t think I could live anywhere that wasn’t at least a short drive to the sea. I would love to see the Atlantic which is (I’ve read and heard) is a wilder and saltier body of water! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The ocean does get in your blood. I missed it a lot when I lived in Ontario. For 17 years. The Atlantic can be quite powerful and wild at times and is always beautiful. Worth a visit. I think you would like the East coast.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That sandstone area is awesome! My Dad always had a thing about Nova Scotia and always wanted to visit with my mother. I wish they had gone while they still had health and could afford to go (I kept telling them to) but it’s too late now as my Dad died last November and my Mum can’t get about much now. At least it illustrated to me that my view of doing everything you can while you still can is right!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Another friend of mine went to visit her daughter in Canada when she was 90! Just shows how people differ in their approach to life. Mind you, my parents were adventurous enough until about their 70s…

        Liked by 1 person

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