Located off the east coast of the North American mainland, Newfoundland is the most populous island in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. This idyllic getaway destination is the perfect place to go for anyone looking to escape the hectic moments of day-to-day life. Immerse yourself within some of our planet’s most natural wonders, from rugged coastlines and lush forests to ancient rock formations and diverse nature.
The sights will truly take your breath away, only giving it back once your sweeping outdoor adventures come to a close. However, if at any point during your stay in Newfoundland you find yourself needing a break from all the fresh air, then the capital city of St. John’s is the place to be. It’s here where you’ll be able to discover a vibrant culture of traditional music, artistic performance, and some of the most delicious seafood anywhere in the world.
With St. John’s considered by many to be the oldest English-founded city in North America, you can be sure that Newfoundland’s rich history will envelop you just as much as its diverse geography. Spend the day exploring the island, or have a drink with a few of the locals, who are known for their welcoming character as well as a knack for storytelling.
They’re honestly few better places to witness untouched nature in all its glory. And to make your trip to Newfoundland as unforgettable as possible, please take a look at our top recommendations for what to see and do while you’re there. Make sure to note down your favorite places in you BUCKiTDREAM planner.
Take a Trail or Two Taking the time to walk or hike your way across some of the countless trails in Newfoundland is guaranteed to relax your mind, body, and soul. From historic footpaths to the immaculate coastline and lush forests, each backdrop is as stunning as the last.
Bring Your Wetsuit A little way off the coast houses the cool Newfoundland current that attracts a plethora of marine life and seabirds. Dive your way through the clear waters to discover a 500-year-old shipwreck, along with icebergs that have been around for thousands of years.
Hop on a Boat With all that pristine coast Newfoundland has on display, what better way to experience it than a boat tour across the calm ocean waves? Keep an eye out for inquisitive humpback whales, which often surface mere feet from the boat – don’t worry, they’re as friendly as the locals.
A Night Under the Stars If you want to be truly one with nature, then consider spending a night or two camping at one of Newfoundland’s scenic parks. The location of these campsites range from within major cities to remote wilderness and offer varying levels of service – so be sure to find the right one for you.
The Call to Adventure Had enough relaxing for one day? Then try your hand at one of the many adrenaline-pumping activities. Rafting over rapids, soaring on a mountainous zip line, cycling through caves and even dog sledding with a few canine friends; there’s something here for everyone.
One of a Kind Shopping Everyone wants to buy a memento from a wonderful holiday, and Newfoundland has you covered. They pride themselves on their inventiveness, and it shows through their unique crafts available for purchase. Whether it’s delicate jewelry or elegant handmade pottery you’re looking for, you won’t be disappointed.
Hit the Slopes With the greater Newfoundland province’s average snowfall brings upwards of 16 feet in some areas, this is the place to satisfy your skiing and snowboarding needs. No matter the skill level, solo or in a group, the incredible powdered landscape will amaze you no matter your speed.
A Lot to Celebrate While Newfoundland is more-often-than-not associated with peace and tranquility, they still know how to get down and have a good time. Each and every year there are several festivals open to the public, jam-packed with music and culture: the Newfoundland Folk Festival and The Seasons in the Bight Theatre Festival to name a couple.
High-end If it’s a room with a view you’re looking for, then look no further than the Sheraton Hotel. Overlooking the historic St. John’s harbor, you’ll be able to gaze at the sights even after the day is done. Their world-class service and prime location make it an ideal choice for anyone desiring to live in luxury.
Mid-level Take a short walk out of St. John’s and you’ll find Leaside Manor. This reserved and exquisitely maintained 1920s heritage inn offers suites and apartments surrounded by 2.5 acres of mature trees and gardens, for those wanting to escape the populous city come nightfall. This is where modern day comforts meet old-world charm.
Budget There really is no bad place to stay in Newfoundland, and Capital Hotel proves it. With its spacious rooms being within close proximity to Avalon Mall and Village Shopping Center, this affordable proposition is ideal for those wanting to save a dollar or two.
As you might expect, Newfoundland is known for its mouth-watering seafood – this is Canada after all. If it’s a casual bite to eat on classic fish & chips you’re looking for or a fancy evening meal at Raymonds – considered one of the 50 best restaurants in the world – it’s sure to be a meal to remember, long after you’ve taken the final bite.
Newfoundland also has a lot to offer when it comes to unique dining experiences. At Ferryland Lighthouse you’ll find Lighthouse Picnics, where you can dine on distinctive picnic food which uses only the freshest of ingredients. Or to really shake things up, why not try a Great Viking Dinner Feast at ‘the only sod-covered dinner theater in North America’. With live entertainment and an all-you-can-eat buffet, it’s sure to be a night to remember.
Drinks and Nightlife
If all that relaxing and nature has got too much, then George Street in St. John’s is the ideal remedy. This small street is famous for its bars and pubs. For two whole blocks, this quaint Canadian street is solely home to one magnificent drinking establishment after another – with the road only being opened to vehicles in the mornings… as a way to restock the bars (yeah, really).
While down George Street, it’s worth heading to O’Reilly’s Pub for live music every night of the week, featuring the best in local Irish music. Or consider Bacalao for fine dining and cocktails. And these aren’t just any old cocktails; the “Iceberg Growler” for instance, comes served with ice cubes carved from an iceberg over 10,000 years old. And to top it off, George Street also has its own Mardi Gras celebration every October.
Tips and Culture
As Newfoundland offers so much to see and do, it’s easy to lose track of time in its elegant sights. I’d recommend splitting your time between the capital city of St. John’s and more scenic areas, such as the many quaint coastal villages. This also goes for taking part in the most intense activities available, coupled with relaxing at one of the many cozy local pubs, ensuring that you experience the full package.
As we mentioned before, Newfoundlanders are known to be some of the friendliest and most welcoming people there are. According to Maclean’s magazine, Newfoundland has one of the top 10 friendliest cultures in the world – so there’s no need to be nervous about chatting with the locals. When you do, however, you may notice a multitude of accents and dialects. This is a product of their English, Irish, French and Aboriginal heritage. It’s to such an extent that they even have their own dictionary: The Dictionary of Newfoundland English.
Located on the west coast of Newfoundland (a short and fairly inexpensive flight from St. John’s), is a town by the name of Rocky Harbour. It’s here that you’ll find Newfoundland’s must-see attraction: Gros Morne National Park, the second largest national park in Atlantic Canada, and one of the most beautiful places you will ever see. Gros Morne is a member of the Long Range Mountains, which stretch the entire length of the west coast.
This National Park invites you in with the proposition to walk along soaring cliffs, smooth beaches, rolling highland hills, glacial lakes, and deep fjord valleys. If you’re brave enough, trekking to the top of Gros Morne Mountain provides a view like no other. Alternatively, take it easy with a trip to the Lobster Cover Head Lighthouse Exhibit, or maybe admire the wonders from the water via a guided boat trip. With a flourishing population, Gros Morne National Park is home to an eclectic mix of wildlife, and if you’re lucky enough to go, it won’t be long before you’ll be wishing it was your home too.
Newfoundland absolutely deserves to be near the top of your bucket list destinations. So, start on those plans in your BUCKiTDREAM planner, and don’t forget to share your experiences on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.