Top 10 things to do in Newfoundland & Labrador

One thing an around the world trip will teach you is just how much you have NOT seen in your very own backyard. On our RTW trip, we saw some of the most spectacular sites across the globe, but now, more than ever, we realize how much we took for granted the beauty of our home, Newfoundland and Labrador. Having said that, we know we are not alone.

Maybe we were meant to wait until we could visit and have a greater appreciation for it, which is why in the coming years, we will be experiencing the following amazing things Newfoundland and Labrador has to offer… and you should too.


1. Gros Morne National Park and the Tablelands – West Coast

I’ve been to 37 countries and have spent 2/3 of my life living in Newfoundland and Labrador and have yet to visit Gros Morne National Park. For this, I’m embarrassed. Located on the west coast of the province, Gros Morne’s fjords are spectacular, as is the view from Table Mountain (so I’ve seen in pictures!). When visiting, please don’t just drive through, get out and hike, kayak, canoe, camp and really experience the park. I still have some research to do before I visit this year to ensure I make the most of it.

Photo courtesy of courtesy Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Photo courtesy of Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Photo courtesy of courtesy Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism/© Copyright Barrett & MacKay Photo

Photo courtesy of Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism/© Copyright Barrett & MacKay Photo

2. Kayaking with humpback whales – Avalon

Stan Cook Sea Kayaking is a go-to in NL for adventure kayaking on the east coast. Time it right and you’ll paddle alongside whales and icebergs, just a short drive from St. John’s.

Photo courtesy of courtesy Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Photo courtesy of Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

3. Iceberg viewing – Twillingate

Tourists flock to NL to see icebergs, but most stay near St. John’s and although I cannot speak from experience, the beautiful, six-hour drive to Twillingate is worth it for the iceberg sighting experience. Massive chunks of ice the size of office buildings sit just a stone’s throw off shore.

Central-Iceberg_Twillingate_MG_1066.eps-2

Photo courtesy of Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Central-Iceberg_Twillingate_IMG_1068.eps-2

Photo courtesy of Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

4. Hike the East Coast Trail – Avalon Peninsula

This 250 + kilometre East Coast Trail stretches along the rugged coast of the North Atlantic Ocean with ‘umpteen’ routes in varying lengths and difficulties. You can even start your hike from downtown St. John’s.

Photo Courtesy of Chris Hoddinott

Photo Courtesy of Chris Hoddinott – Instagram: @Choddinott

Photo Courtesy of Chris Hoddinott

Photo Courtesy of Chris Hoddinott – Instagram: @Choddinott

5. A day (or night) at the beach – Province wide

Yes, our province is known for its spectacular rugged and rocky coastline, but there are some pristine beaches that rival the Caribbean in beauty (unfortunately the water temps do not). There are quite a few secluded beaches scattered throughout the province, so be sure to find the nearest one to you on your next visit or holiday. If you don’t want to venture far from St. John’s, check out Salmon Cove Sands or Northern Bay Sands in Conception Bay!

Photo courtesy of Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Blow Me Down Provincial Park – Photo courtesy of Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Photo courtesy of Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Sandy Cove Beach – Tilting – Photo courtesy of Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

6. Signal Hill – St. John’s

An absolute must here. Drive, or better yet, hike to the top of signal hill and visit Cabot Tower where the first Trans-Atlantic wireless transmission was received from Cornwall, England in 1901. While up there check out the view of St. John’s below, then ponder across the pond toward Europe, which, by the way, you cannot see on a clear day (although it’s only a 4 hour direct flight with Westjet!).

Military Boat in the Narrows

Photo courtesy of Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism/© Copyright Barrett & MacKay Photo

7. Cape Spear – St. John’s

The most easterly point in North America. You cannot get any closer to Europe when you are here. The famous light house and the relentless waves pounding the red rocks on the coast are simply breathtaking.

Photo courtesy of courtesy Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Photo courtesy of Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Photo courtesy of Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Photo courtesy of Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

8. Shamrock City Pub – St. John’s

OK. This is one if my favourite things to do in St. John’s; have a pint or two at Shamrock City on Water Street. I like to go before the crowd shows up and when the live band is just getting under way. You can enjoy your pint(s) and manage to chat with your friends while listening to traditional Newfoundland music. It really is an authentic St John’s experience.

Shamrock

Photo courtesy of Shamrock City Pub

9. Fogo Island Inn

How would you like to spend a night behind floor to ceiling windows with nothing but the crashing waves of the cold, North Atlantic Ocean in front of and ‘below’ you? Well you can do just that at the architectural masterpiece that is Fogo Island Inn. I have not stayed here, in fact I first heard of it in Air Canada’s En Route magazine. The hotel and it’s restaurant have won numerous awards and if you are looking for the ultimate retreat, this might be just the place.

Photo courtesy of Fogo Island Inn

Photo courtesy of Fogo Island Inn

Photo courtesy of Fogo Island Inn

Photo courtesy of Fogo Island Inn

10. Dine at St. John’s many award-winning restaurants

Don Cherry recently put Mallard Cottage in the spotlight after making some off the cuff comments about Ron Maclean enjoying a seal burger prepared there. I have not eaten here yet, but this place has been all the rage on Facebook, so it’s gotta be good right? They serve up traditional NL dishes in an idyllic location in Quidi Vidi Village.

Mallard Cottage Halibut

Dinner at Mallard Cottage

Raymond’s: We have eaten here and what I remember the most is the peas pudding stuffed ravioli. We were a little hesitant at first, but after tasting, we were embarrassed to have doubted chef Jeremy Charles for even a second. Raymond’s is on the pricier side, but definitely worth a birthday or anniversary visit.

If you are looking for a casual dining experience with lovely staff, great coffee and delicious food, check out Rocket Bakery on Water St. The fish cakes are a must and a go-to for Jess every time we come home for a visit (they are also gluten-free!).

I could go on forever about the culinary scene in St. John’s, it’s come a long way over the last 5-10 years. One last plug, the mussels at Yellowbelly Brewery are amazing!


This is MY list, based on what I would most like to see and do (and eat!)

What are your favourite things to see and do in Newfoundland? Let us know in the comments below!

Note: Special Thank You to Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism for use of their amazing photos that so accurately represent the beauty of the province. Visit www.newfoundlandlabrador.com for more information.

Steven

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30 Comments on “Top 10 things to do in Newfoundland & Labrador

  1. Baccalieu Island is the largest protected seabird island in Newfoundland and Labrador and its 3,360,000-plus pairs of Leach’s storm petrels make it the largest Leach’s storm petrel colony in the WORLD Red Head Cove’s Baccalieu View Walking Trail gives visitors an unforgettable experience as it wanders through an ever changing landscape with sites of rare Orchids, natural ponds ,Fairy House meadows and forest opening up to stunning views of Baccalieu Island, unlike any other

  2. Oliver’s on water street is def my favorite SJ restaurant, quaint and delicious 🙂

  3. Come and visit our Newfoundland ponies , heritage animal , at various locations around the island such as Change Islands, Cappahayden, Bay Roberts , Etc. Contact NL Pony Pals Project for more details.

  4. We r also from NL but living in Sk now. We went home last summer and finally visited Gros Morne National Park. It is a must see , absolutely beautiful. Breathtaking Scenery. Going through the Fiords was spectacular.. Good luck with your blog.

  5. Burgeo, located on the south west coast has (in my humble opinion) the most beautiful beach on the island….. At Sandbanks Privincial Park. Once you leave the TCH , the ‘Burgeo road’ was once richly populated with caribou herds, though sadly, not so much now but the drive is still like going back in time. Visiting Burgeo, truly captures the unique way of life our island is famous for. The entire town is a must see…. But a fire and camp out on the beach is a must do!

  6. The dig of an 1600 seaport community in Ferryland is amazing ! A first class interpretation centre, guided tours (a must),ongoing archaeological dig.

    • We drove the Irish Loop with my grandparents last summer but didn’t get a chance to check this out! Definitely something else to add to our list!

      • You should also visit the Picnic Lighthouse, a must

  7. I just visited back home for a few weeks – and just got back to California here not too long ago. You’re making me SO homesick! 🙂

    • Check the weather forecast here – it might help with that homesickness! 😉 California is still on our list of places to visit, we will have to let you know if we make a trip! Thanks for reading! 🙂

  8. Pingback: Coming Home and New Beginnings | finelinetravels

  9. Sounds amazing! I’m thinking about heading to Newfoundland in September. So much to do!

  10. We have visited plenty of B and B on the island, the best we have found is The Bacileau Trail B and B , Water St, Carbonear. You will never find and better hosts than Bruce and Craig. Bruce is a red seal shed and he worked in some great places in St. John’s until they took on this great place to stay. It is also available as a great dining room. Craig will take care of your every need. Reservations recommended. Will make another visit this year.

  11. The berry picking on a warm summer day or a boat ride to Ren Contre and Pools Cove from Bay L’argent on the Burin Peninsula….nothing beats it

  12. Pingback: 17 Trips to Take in 2017 - Great Big Globe

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