Tidal Bore Rafting in Nova Scotia – The World Highest Tides

Written By: The Planet D

For someone who is not a fan of water, I tend to do a lot of water sports. But when visiting the World’s Highest Tides, you can’t miss tidal bore rafting on the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia!

When we decided to go Tidal Bore Rafting in Nova Scotia, I knew it was something I’d love in the end, but I cannot lie, I was a bit nervous leading up to the event.

Tidal Bore Rafting in Nova Scotia

We were in Nova Scotia on a road trip around the Cabot Trail and along the Bay of Fundy. It is a beautiful part of the province. Last year we explored the South Coast and marveled at Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg and this year we were doubly excited to see the stunning cliffs and powerful force of the Bay of Fundy.

One of the best things you can do to truly understand the power and magnitude of the world’s highest tides is to ride the waves.

What is tidal bore rafting?

tidal bore rafting nova scotia boats
Our boats

The tides of the Bay of Fundy come in with brute force and in true Nova Scotia fashion. Someone figured out a way to harness that power and create the zaniest adventure you’ll ever try!

Zipping out onto the river 20 minutes before high tide begins, the zodiacs are ready for a rolling adventure on rapids and waves on the water rushing in from the bay.

Tidal Bore Rafting – What to expect

rafting bay of fundy rain suits
Necessary gear for tidal bore rafting

We arrived at the mouth of the Shubenacadie River an hour early to prepare for our adventure ahead. We were rafting with River Runner’s Tidal Bore Rafting adventures one of the pioneers of Tidal Bore rafting in Canada.

They recommend showing up early to give plenty of time to change, sign your waivers, and gear up in rubber boots, rain gear and PFDs (personal floatation devices). But most importantly, you couldn’t be late because the tides don’t wait for anyone!

For those arriving even 15 minutes late for tidal bore rafting, it’s already too late. The boats are on the water waiting for the adventure to begin.

Out to the Zodiacs

tidal bore rafting guide
Our Guide Chelsae

There was a large crowd gathering on the veranda and we were broken up into groups of eight where we followed our guide (aka zodiac captain) to the river where we got into the boats.

We were heading down the river to wait for the tide to come in.

Our guide was Chelsea who has several years of experience tidal bore rafting and had a large and lovable personality.

We knew we were in for an amazing time!

The Rafting Adventure Begins

rafting tidal bore nova scotia
Soon this will all be covered in water

It started off calm enough. The tide comes in slowly at first so we made our way out to a sandbar where we walked in the centre of the river taking in the fact that within a few minutes, this will all be covered in water.

We walked around for about 15 minutes before we were called back to our rafts for the thrill ride on the river. Once the water started covering the sand, it moved fast. Within minutes we were bouncing over our first set of rapids known as Giggles.

Different Sets of Rapids

tidal bore rafting in nova scotia

It’s aptly named because as you bounce over the washing machine turbulent waters, you can’t help but giggle. We made pass after pass getting wetter and wetter as our laughter grew louder and louder. Love watersports? See our experience Kayaking Nova Scotia’s South Shore

Tidal Bore Rafting wasn’t scary, it was pure fun!

It was so much fun that I actually wanted bigger and faster waves to go through. I couldn’t wait to be bounced around more and more! Tidal Bore Rafting not exciting enough for you? You might enjoy Learning to Whitewater Kayak

Is the Water Cold when tidal bore rafting?

rafting nova scotia's tidal bore dave and deb
Loving the Experience

Dave and I paddled earlier in the week on the Bay of Fundy and that water was cold. We were told that because 100 billion tons of water are churned up from the bottom of the bay twice a day every day, it never warms up. The freezing water from the lowest depths is always pulled up to the surface making swimming an unpleasant experience.

I was a little worried about freezing on the river during our Tidal Bore Rafting experience, but the tide mixed with the warm river water and it was splendid.

I wasn’t cold at all. As a matter a fact, (I can’t believe I’m saying this) I was almost hoping we’d hit a rogue wave and go for an unexpected swim. Believe me, whenever we go whitewater rafting, the last thing I hope for is to fall out.

Tidal Bore Rafting is Safe

tidal bore rafting with river runners
Other River Runners

The cool thing about Tidal Bore rafting is that there are no rocks to worry about. Unlike whitewater rafting, if you fall in, you don’t have to worry about getting stuck on rocks, you can just float and enjoy the ride. But nobody fell in today. Instead, we all had turns getting thoroughly soaked.

The tour went on for a couple of hours and definitely gave us our share of adrenaline. Each person took turns moving to the front of the zodiac to enjoy the rush of water from all directions. It was definitely more exciting up front.

The murky water that is the colour of chocolate milk continually thrashes over the rubber edges giving you the soaking of your life. And a lot of gulping of saltwater.

The Guide Makes the Difference

tidal bore rafting
In formation

Our guide Chelsea navigated the river with ease. She shouted methodical directions either move back closer to her to lighten the weigh up front or to move forward once we made our way out of the churn and muck.

We zipped around each bore again and again until the tide moved onto the next sandbar or obstacle. We followed the waves all the way up the river until we came to the bridge and the tide was fully in for the night.

After an exhilarating ride upriver, we had the chance to relax on the way back, chat and take in the beautiful scenery as bald eagles flew overhead.

Relaxing Boat Ride back

going back to the docks
All in a days work of Tidal Bore Rafting

I have seen tidal bore rafting gain popularity in the past few years and always wanted to give it a try. I am so glad we did! When you go to Nova Scotia, you’ve gotta hop on the river too. Tidal bore rafting is fun for all ages. Whether you are an adrenaline junkie or a first-time daredevil, this will give you the thrill you are looking for.

Details of Tidal Bore Rafting

todal bore rafting nova scotia

Tidal Bore Rafting can be booked at River Runner’s Tidal Bore Rafting

They offer accommodation in comfortable cottages close by, making for the perfect escape. A stay at the cottage is highly recommended. You’re coming out of the tidal bore wet, covered in mud and sticky with salt water.

While River Runners has hot showers and heated floors in their change rooms, there’s nothing better than taking the short two-minute drive to your cottage.

Cottages are equipped with barbecues, hot baths and shower and cozy up for the night under a thick blanket.

Tidal bore rafting

Our Tidal Bore Rafting Experience was courtesy of Nova Scotia Tourism who we went on assignment with to capture adventures and photography around Nova Scotia. Find out more about travel to Nova Scotia at VisitNovaScotia.com All opinions are our own. 

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

7 thoughts on “Tidal Bore Rafting in Nova Scotia – The World Highest Tides”

  1. Hey Dave & Deb, what can I say a Real adventure couple!!! You have always shared your experiences & the real joy that you get from traveling & adventures. But actually, you have shared a lot of inspiration & motivation to all.

  2. Well, actually our neighbor were looking for the water rafting in the waterfall in Auckland.They loved your post.

  3. Great images…
    rafting is an alluring experience where one can enjoy and feel the waves…
    thanks for sharing this article…

  4. Love the post. You two sound like myself and my husband. I’m very risk adverse and he’s an adventure junkie. He’s still trying to get me to skydive. Not so sure about that one. I think he’s hoping that our daughter grows up to love those sort of things. 🙂