When Are Tides Highest?

For many Bay of Fundy experiences you want to time a visit so that there is the highest tidal range (i.e. difference between high and low tide). For example, if you want to walk far out on a beach at low tide, or to sense how rapidly the tide comes in.

The tidal range depends on several factors. One is the lunar cycle, and in general the highest tides in the Bay of Fundy are a day or two following the dates of full or new moon. These are called spring tides. The smallest tidal ranges occur when the lunar cycle is near first or last quarter (called neap tides).

While lunar cycle is one factor, how close the moon is to the Earth is also important. The moon's orbit is elliptical, and sometimes it is closer (this is called perigee) and sometimes further (apogee). The tidal range is higher when we are near perigee.

The tidal range is also affected by how precisely the Earth, Sun and Moon line up. Finally, tidal range is modulated by local weather factors and winds.

Luckily, you don't need to work out all of this for yourself, as tide tables are provided for each location. Fisheries and Oceans Canada provide standard tide tables for a variety of locations around the Bay of Fundy. For example, for Fundy National Park select the location Herring Cove (Alma is not a standard location with information) and the date you desire from the information available at
this link.