Are you ready to explore a wild, rugged landscape of dramatic cliffs, sea caves, otherworldly icebergs, and fascinating wildlife, all with welcoming villages nearby? Spend your day watching the whales and puffins play before cozying up in a local coffee shop. Then, head out to watch for the colorful aurora borealis in the dark skies above. Taking a road trip from St. John’s to Bonavista reveals the history, landscapes, and people of this scenic slice of Newfoundland, Canada’s easternmost province.
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Midas wants to help you get ready for your summer road trip, starting with your vehicle. Our techs can run a completely free Closer Look Vehicle Check. This in-depth visual inspection lets you know what needs fixing now and what can wait, so you can hit the road with confidence.
Make the trip before the trip to Midas and get $20 off a full-synthetic oil change. Request your appointment at Midas.com.
Kick off your Newfoundland adventure with a stop at the gorgeous city of St. John’s, named in honor of John the Baptist. One of Canada’s most popular tourist destinations, St. John’s is the perfect place to start your Newfoundland adventure. Known for its “mini San Francisco” vibe (thanks in part to the collection of colorful homes, often called “Jellybean Row”), there’s plenty to see and do during your visit. Whether you want to check out the historic Signal Hill or enjoy a night out on the town with family and friends, the choice is completely yours. Historic St. John’s also played a large role in many wars, including the French and Indian War as well as the American Revolutionary War, so historical sites abound. Whatever you’re looking for, St. John’s won’t leave you disappointed.
Newman’s Wine Vaults
On a journey that showcases the great outdoors, you don’t want to overlook the great indoors, and Newman’s Wine Vaults Provincial Historic Site certainly accomplishes that mission. In 1679, a vessel filled with wine from Portugal unexpectedly docked in Newfoundland for the winter after a run-in with privateers. Upon arrival in their original destination, the bottles that “wintered” in Newfoundland were said to have a special smoothness, attributed to the cold climate. This accidental discovery kicked off a tradition that continued for more than 300 years. The initial sea cave shelters later became the brick and stone vaults you can visit today, sampling vintages similar to those once cherished by English aristocracy.
Cape Spear Lighthouse
It’s not often you find yourself at the most “easterly point” of North America, but when setting foot at Cape Spear Lighthouse, that’s exactly where you’ll be. Wake up bright and early to see the beautiful sunrise from this scenic spot. Stare straight ahead and overlook what appears to be all of North America, with nothing but the ocean behind you. The oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland Labrador, the Cape Spear Lighthouse offers incredible views and a rich history that leaves a lasting impression.
East Coast Trail
Next up on your Newfoundland expedition is the lovely East Coast Trail, featuring more than 26 wilderness paths to explore. Whether you’re looking for a nice and easy trail or prefer a strenuous hike to get the blood pumping, the East Coast Trail delivers. It offers a seemingly endless number of sights to see; make your way to the 50-meter suspension bridge at La Manche or stop and gaze at eye-catching waterfalls. Before your visit, be sure to check out the events calendar, as there are some fun activities and guided hikes scheduled throughout the year.
Butter Pot Provincial Park
Clean and comfortable campsites? Check. Breathtaking views of forests, bogs, and beaches you’ll be telling your friends and family about for years? Check. Butter Pot Provincial Park, one of the premier parks in Canada, is visited by tens of thousands of camping enthusiasts each year. Choose from a handful of trails to explore, catch a trout, kayak across a pristine pond, go for a swim, or simply enjoy time with your family around a campfire. With more than 170 campsites, Butter Pot Provincial Park is the perfect place to set up camp.
Come By Chance Beach
Make a quick trip to the fun and exciting Come By Chance Beach, located in the tiny town of Come By Chance, just off the Avalon Peninsula. Established in 1969, Come By Chance is home to a population of just over 200 people and gained national attention due to its highly-productive oil refinery. Pull over at this quiet and beautiful beach to enjoy the ocean views. Though not as well known as some other cities nearby, Come By Chance is one of Canada’s busiest ports and a perfect place to get out and stretch after a long day’s drive.
Terra Nova National Park
Make your way to the beautiful Terra Nova, Canada’s easternmost national park, and get ready for a great time. With more than 400 square kilometers jam-packed with opportunities to hike, explore, and camp, you may need to extend your trip for a few days. Kayak through the sheltered bays of the magnificent coastlines, snap photos of whales or local seabirds, or walk the 11 gorgeous hiking trails. Home to eagles, beavers, moose, and more, Terra Nova National Park is a nature enthusiast’s dream. Visit during the summer and treat yourself to live performances, long walks with your family and friends, or even a nice round of golf.
Cape Bonavista Lighthouse
Your trip wouldn’t be complete without stopping at another incredible lighthouse. The Cape Bonavista Lighthouse operated from 1843 to 1962, and is now home to an informative and enjoyable museum, sharing the beacon’s rich history and giving you a first-hand look at life during the mid-1800s. Browse a lightkeeper’s diary, observe the handful of century-old artifacts, or just take in the waves splashing in from the sea. Cape Bonavista Lighthouse is one of the rare lighthouses that allows you to climb to the top to see the light that was used during its working years. Venture over to Spillars Cove to take in views of The Chimney, a prominent sea stack, and its many resting seabirds.
The Elliston Puffin Site
For the best up-close views of puffins in North America, head to the Elliston Puffin Site. Here, one of these beloved seabirds might fly right by your head, landing nearby for the perfect photo op. Don’t forget your binoculars and your camera. Watch for whales in the waters below. While in the area, check out the historic root cellars built into the hillsides. These might look like hobbit holes, but only fruits and vegetables hide inside.
Extend your journey as long as possible by exploring the incredibly enjoyable town of Bonavista, Newfoundland. Unlike surrounding cities, Bonavista was founded on an open plain, which gives it a unique landscape and fresh feel. Famous for its fish markets and a staple in port trade, Bonavista offers hours and hours of exploration fun. Stay a night or two in a classic hotel, or venture out to see the Ye Matthew Legacy ship or Mockbeggar Plantation.
This journey has given you a sample of all that Newfoundland offers. Continue your loop to reach the western and northern shores, or venture inland. Some can’t-miss sites include Gros Morne National Park, Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve, and L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. Hop on the Trans-Canada Highway to explore Newfoundland and Labrador’s small section of this famed route, which stretches across the entire length of Canada. Your adventures have just begun.