The St Martins sea caves are located in New Brunswick in the mesmerising Bay of Fundy on Canada’s Atlantic Coast. If you’re not familiar with the region, it is best known for having the world’s highest tides and the largest difference between low and high tide on a daily basis.
Due to the diverse landscape of cliffs and miles (or kilometres to Canadian’s) of coastline, this is a fantastic place to enjoy an Atlantic road trip and see many natural wonders.
The sea caves are a natural phenomenon that shows you the history of the geologic landscape over many, many years. It’s a sight to see and definitely worth your time when visiting this coastal region in Canada’s Atlantic provinces.
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The St Martins sea caves
These famous sea caves in St Martins are pretty much what put this quiet village on the map. An otherwise unknown village, their biggest tourist site is the sea caves. During high tide, you can only reach these caves by boat or swimming.
If you want to explore and go inside the caves, you’ll only be able to do so by foot during low tide. There are officially two large caves, and unofficially there are four. The reason for this is due to the level of erosion and how deep each cave has become over time.
Two of them are still very “young” caves so are not yet very deep into the cliff, but they still allow you to get up close to the cliff face to explore.
Pro tip: Even though the tide is out, there is often a stream of water in the way. If you want to get close to the caves you should consider appropriate/waterproof footwear.
Checking the tide times
As with any sea related activity, you’ll need to know the tide times to get the most out of the area. When visiting the St Martins sea caves you’ll want to keep track of when low and high tide are so you can go inside them.
This is very easily done, and there are a few websites that have daily updates for locations across Canada (many for dates far in advance too).
One of my go-to sites for checking the tide is Tide Forecast.
If you’re in the area for more than one day, a general rule of thumb is that the tides move by roughly one hour each day. This is a good way to guess the next few days if you at least know the first day’s times.
As you can see in the image above, there is a clear line in the rocks that shows how high the tides reach here. As this is an entire region with the world’s highest tides it’s no surprise that they do in fact reach so high.
How to get there
If you’re already in New Brunswick, you’re in luck. As one of the smallest provinces, you can drive from one side to the other in just a few hours!
For the address on gps or google maps, click here.
One of the closest cities is Saint John which also has one of the three major airports of New Brunswick. The St Martins sea caves are on the coast (as you may have guessed) and if you’re arriving by car it is only a 45 minute drive from Saint John. This means it is easily accessible as just a day trip!
Once you arrive in St Martins, which is a small seaside town, you’ll follow the road down the main high street. You’ll reach a small river where you cross over a small bridge followed by a fairly sharp corner. After this corner you’ll find a fish shop on the beach with a car park and cliffs in the distance. You have reached your destination!
Spending some time in New Brunswick? Why not check out:
- Kayaking the world’s highest tides at Hopewell Rocks, NB
- Remarkable coastal drive along the fundy trail parkway
Parking & amenities at the St Martins sea caves
For those arriving by car, there is a reasonably sized car park. When travelling on either a weekend or during the peak of summer, be prepared to arrive early otherwise the spots fill up quickly.
The parking is free (if you manage to get a spot) and there is a large beach restaurant and two small beach stores. Think handmade items rather than sunscreen.
Pro tip: Didn’t bring sunscreen with you? You can buy some at the general store back on the main high street.
There were no public toilets available for use when I visited, but the restaurant has some for paying customers.
This is also arguably one of the best beach restaurants in the province. You may as well make the most of visiting, buy some chips in the sun, and then you can use their facilities too!
Things to do nearby
St Martins is a small seaside village, so there is a limited number of things visitors can do. If you have access to a car, I’d recommend looking at the following activities to enjoy:
The Fundy trail is just a 30 minute drive from the St Martins sea caves car park. The Fundy trail is a driving parkway and gated park for visitors to see many breathtaking views. It is a main tourist destination for visitors to the area and should be included in your itinerary!
- Quaco Head Lighthouse
Technically this lighthouse is a little outside of St Martins too, but it is a cute stop for photos if you’re in the area! The lighthouse has been around since 1966 and is located in the heart of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve.
- Walton Glen Gorge Falls
If you want to continue enjoying the outdoors, why not head over to the Gorge falls and enjoy the lengths of the Salmon river? From here you can see all the way down to the Bay and can enjoy the small cliffs and foliage in the landscape.
Have you been to the St Martins’ sea caves yet? What did you think?