St. Martins Sea Caves: Exploring the ocean floor

There’s a reason the Bay of Fundy draws tourists from around the world, and it’s not exactly because it has the highest tides in the world. It’s because here, you can do the impossible: you can walk on the ocean floor. No scuba gear required.

On the coast of the Bay of Fundy, just north of Saint John, New Brunswick is the small town of St. Martins, where at low tide you can not only explore the ocean floor, but walk into caves along the shoreline.

The tides

The first thing you’re going to want to do before you plan a visit here (or anywhere along the Bay of Fundy) is check the tide tables. During each tide cycle, 160 billion tonnes of water flows in and out of the Bay of Fundy, and the height of the water changes up to 50 feet. So at high tide, the St. Martins sea caves are submerged while at low tide, you can walk right out – and into – them. It’s about 6 hours between low and high tide, give or take, and you do NOT want to get stuck out there when the tide’s coming in, so plan ahead.

Parking

Plenty of places to park when you visit the St Martins Sea Caves

We didn’t have a problem parking when we visited, although I can imagine that on warm sunny weekends it might get pretty packed here.

There’s no fee for parking at the St. Martins sea caves, and no fee for admission to the caves or area.

Exploring St. Martins’ Sea Caves

Crossing the stream at St MartinsThis is important: wear some sports sandals you can get wet.

The first thing you’re going to do is cross a small stream of water as you head towards the caves. If, like my husband, you wear sneakers this gets wet. If, like me, you wear flip flops, this gets tricky and it doesn’t get much better afterwards, with wet rocks and seaweed making things slippery. Sports sandals are what you want here: something with traction, that fits snugly, and that you can get wet.

There’s plenty to keep the entire family interested here. Young kids will enjoy the caves, and probably playing in the mud and water. You’ll want to keep them close, though, because the wet rocks and seaweed can be slippery. Older kids and adults will marvel at the high tide line way, way above their heads. And who doesn’t love an ocean view?

Eating

We packed a picnic lunch, but if you’re looking for something lower maintenance, there are a few restaurants that overlook the sea caves here.

Keep going

Our trip was specifically to see the St. Martins sea caves, but if you’re looking to make a day/weekend of it, there’s plenty to do in the area. I’ve heard good things about the Fundy Trail Parkway and of course, Saint John is nearby. Further south is New River Beach Provincial Park, and further north is the Fundy National Park & Hopewell Rocks.

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