The Best East Coast Adventures: Sea Kayaking

Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, Nova Scotia

Cape d'Or, on Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy

Cape d'Or, on Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy    Photo: Jordan Crowe

Paddlers on this side of the Mississippi usually make for the rugged coast of Maine. Which is fine if you haven't been spoiled by Nova Scotia. Cape Chignecto, about four hours north of the Maine-New Brunswick border, offers the kind of stuff you can't even find in British Columbia: 600-foot sea cliffs, wild rock formations, and, of course, the mercurial Bay of Fundy. The bay can get extreme, with 40-foot tides, but Chignecto is actually fairly benign. "It's not inherently difficult to paddle here," says guide Scott Cunningha, author of Sea Kayaking in Nova Scotia. "It's just that conditions can change so quickly." Which is why you want a guide on your first outing. Cunningham takes novices and experts alike on four-day trips from Red Rocks, near the town of West Advocate, to Spicers Cove. On the way, you'll paddle down winding channels where harbor seals line the rocky ledges, over basalt reefs, under towering spires, and through sculpted caves near the remnants of 18th-century boatbuilding operations (four-day trips, including gear, $895). At trip's end, recover at the Lighthouse on Cape d'Or (doubles, US$97), a converted lightkeeper's residence near the put-in.

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