best view of st.johns newfoundland
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15 Fun and Unique Things to Do in Newfoundland

Newfoundland is a picturesque island with stunning landscapes, from rolling hills to cliffside views. The easternmost province in Canada, no point on the island is more than 100 km in any direction to the Atlantic Ocean, making it a great outdoor adventure destination. If you are ready to get outside and explore, read this guide of 15 fun and unique things to do in Newfoundland.

newfoundland is filled with many fun and unique things to do

What is There to Do in Newfoundland?

Newfoundland is an outdoorsy person’s playground. You can experience hiking along cliffs, kayaking in the ocean, marine wildlife cruises, and much more. Nature and adventure are abundant in Newfoundland, so get outside and see as much as possible of this beautiful province.

What is Newfoundland Best Known For?

Newfoundland is best known for its charming & colourful homes, delicious seafood, and the most friendly and welcoming locals. Colourful houses line the coastline, adding colour to the landscape and making it so you can’t help but smile when you see them. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Newfoundland has access to fresh seafood, including shrimp, clams, crabs, cod and more. So make sure you try some of their famous seafood dishes, such as cod tongues and seafood chowder. The lovely Newfoundlanders are friendly, have a unique language from other parts of Canada, and are good storytellers. These three things that Newfoundland is known for are just a few reasons to plan your trip here.

colourful houses st.johns

15 Fun and Unique Things to Do in Newfoundland

If you are looking for things to see in Newfoundland that are unforgettable and filled with an abundance of natural beauty, this list of unique things to do in Newfoundland is for you. 

the first sunrise in north america is in newfoundland

Watch the First Sunrise in Canada

One incredibly unique thing to do in Newfoundland is wake up for the first sunrise in all of Canada and North America at Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site. The easternmost point on the continent, watch while the sun rises here before anywhere else in North America. A highlight of my Newfoundland trip, I highly recommend watching it for yourself. For all my tips on visiting Cape Spear, read my guide to Sunrise at Cape Spear.

Mistaken Point 

A fossil site in southern Newfoundland, Mistaken Point is home to the oldest known fossil cliffs in the world, over 560 million years. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this 17 km-long strip of rugged cliffs contains a significant piece of the history of life on Earth and over 10,000 fossil impressions. Spend an afternoon walking on historic fossils on a guided tour of Mistaken Point for a unique Newfoundland experience.

jellybean row st.johns

See the Iconic Jellybean Houses

A town painted in vibrant colours, don’t miss a visit to St.John’s. Having seen pictures before travelling to Newfoundland, photos just can’t show you how colourful the capital city is. Upon arriving, I learned that Jellybean Row, although marked on maps, is not actually a specific set of houses but refers to any series of colourful houses in a row in St.John’s. Plan to walk around downtown and the surrounding area to enjoy all the Jellybeans you can find. I had a fun time wandering through St.John’s, taking photos of the most colourful houses I could.

Gros Morne National Park 

Gros Morne National Park is a massive 1805 sq km park in western Newfoundland, known for its raw beauty. Stunning landscapes of dramatic cliffs, waterfalls, and tree-lined valleys, Gros Morne is a hiker’s paradise. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, the park is a rare glimpse at the result of tectonic drift. The best ways to experience Gros Morne National Park are hiking, resting at the beach, attending a summertime festival, or taking a boat tour in a kayak or canoe. 

driving the irish loop is one of the top things to do in newfoundland

Drive the Iconic Irish Loop Roadtrip

The Irish Loop is a famous loop drive in Newfoundland, for a good reason. A very scenic drive along the coast of the Avalon Peninsula, the Irish Loop passes by tiny towns, beautiful cliffs, rolling hills, and more. And don’t forget to stop along the way! There are lighthouses, a suspension bridge, incredible views, and places of history to visit on or near the route. To plan your stops along the way, read my guide on What to See on Newfoundland’s Irish Loop.

Quidi Vidi Village 

One of the cutest villages in Newfoundland, Quidi Vidi is a quaint and charming neighbourhood of St.John’s. Part of a small fishing community on Lake Quidi Vidi, this picturesque place is known for its hiking, small cottages, brewery, and delicious food. Spend an afternoon walking by the lake or going on a boat ride, shopping in local artisan shops, and enjoying fresh seafood. Often called a hidden gem in Newfoundland, Quidi Vidi is an easy day trip from St.John’s. But go early, because parking is limited.

hike the east coast trail in newfoundland

Hike along the East Coast Trail

With over 300 km of trails along the Avalon Peninsula, one of the best things to do in Newfoundland is to hike along the East Coast Trail. Stretching from Topsail Beach to Cappahayden, NL, there are hikes ranging from easy to challenging, so whatever your hiking level, there is a hike suitable for you. See scenic cliffs, rock formations, sea stacks, and other geological wonders along the way as you experience some of the best of Newfoundland’s wilderness.  

Don’t know where to start on the East Coast Trail? You can find parts of the trail in St.John’s at Signal Hill and Cape Spear. My favourite hike was to LaManche Suspension Bridge

Bonavista

Bonavista is a beautiful historic town in the Bonavista Penisula. It was here where John Cabot first set foot in North America during the 15th century, the same explorer whose name inspired the famous Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia. Aside from its picturesque rocky shores, lighthouse, and pebble beaches, The Bonavista Peninsula is home to some of the best things to do in Newfoundland, including where you can see the iconic three: icebergs, whales, and puffins, making it a great addition to your trip.

signal hill at night st.johns

Signal Hill at Night

Signal Hill at Night is a great lookout spot in Newfoundland. Head up to Signal Hill at night for the best night-time perspective of St.John’s. Located at the highest point in the city, Signal Hill offers scenic views over the city day or night, but seeing the city lit up at night is extra special. I visited around the full moon, and it was beautiful to see the city from above and see the ocean behind lit up by the moonlight. Hop in your rental vehicle and get ready to enjoy this popular attraction in a new light: after dark. 

L’Anse aux Meadows 

Step back in time at L’Anse aux Meadows, an archeological site at the northern tip of Newfoundland. The National Historic Site of Canada features the remains of an 11th-century Viking settlement, evidence of the first contact with Europe on this side of the Atlantic. One of the most unique things to do in Newfoundland, there is nothing like this place anywhere else in North America. See a milestone in the history of human migration.

one of the most unique things to do in newfoundland is see puffins

Puffins Tour

Whether you are an avid bird-watcher or not, puffins are adorable, and it’s not too often you can see them in their natural habitat. The official bird of Newfoundland, the Atlantic Puffin, is the only variety that lives in the Atlantic Ocean, and Newfoundland is lucky to be visited by 95% of them. Each year from early May to late August, Puffins come to Newfoundland’s rocky shores to breed. For the best puffins view: by water, take a tour to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, or by land, head to Elliston in the Bonavista Peninsula. 

Outside of the breeding season, puffins live at sea. I visited in September, so they were no longer on land, but I watched them fly from the water to the ecological reserve from my boat tour.

a whale boat tour is one of the most exciting things to do in newfoundland

Whale Watching

Each year thousands of whales return to the coasts of Newfoundland to feed, including the world’s largest population of humpback whales. From May to September, you can watch the whales play and frolic near the rocky shores, from the land or on the water. Bring your binoculars and try for a glimpse of these amazing mammals from a tour boat, or get up close in a sea kayak. Seeing whales up close is a bucket-list experience of mine, and I was unfortunate to visit outside of whale season during my trip, but the boat tour I went on to see puffins also offers whale tours.

Iceberg Alley 

Seeing icebergs is one of the most popular and memorable things to do in Newfoundland. There aren’t too many countries where you can see them in abundance, and here the icebergs can be seen from land or sea. Iceberg Alley is a stretch of coast from Labrador along to the southeast coast of Newfoundland, where you can find them. Each spring, icebergs travel down from Greenland and are best viewed from late May to early June. I visited in September, so I didn’t have the opportunity to see them, but I hope to see some icebergs soon.

dildo newfoundland

Visit the Sister City of Hollywood, USA

Sister City to the iconic Hollywood, California, is the charming town of Dildo, NL. This tiny oceanside community was recently made famous for its name on the Jimmy Kimmel show, but the village is the real draw, filled with small shops, friendly locals, a brewery and restaurants. See their version of the “Hollywood” sign, visit the shops for souvenirs, and enjoy lunch at the Dildo Brewing Company for a fun and relaxing afternoon in Newfoundland.

Fogo Island

A remote island off the island of Newfoundland, Fogo Island is a collection of four tiny fishing communities. The town of Fogo Island is known for its hiking, local wildlife, museums and heritage houses, and the iconic Fogo Island Inn with its unusual architecture. This tiny island is located along Iceberg Alley, so it’s a great spot to see icebergs.

ferryland newfoundland

Ferryland Lighthouse

Built in 1870, Ferryland Lighthouse is an active lighthouse in Newfoundland’s Avalon Penisula. With beautiful coastal views, Ferryland Lighthouse is a unique spot for a picnic, and you can order one from Lighthouse Picnics. After a light hike to reach the lighthouse, enjoy treats such as a veggie or ham & brie sandwiches, salads, cookies and pastries with a cliffside view. While I didn’t have time to hike to the lighthouse, the town itself of Ferryland is beautiful to drive through.

Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve

Cape St.Mary’s Ecological Reserve is home to the most accessible North American seabird colony. Each summer, thousands of birds from over a dozen species, including razorbills, long-tailed ducks, and kittiwakes, gather at “Bird Rock” for breeding season. And what makes visiting here so special is how close you can get to the birds, as close as 10-20 m away. In addition to birdwatching, this bird sanctuary offers scenic hiking and Saturday evening artist showcases in the summertime. Located in Saint Bride’s, NL, whether you visit for the birds or the cliffside views, Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve is a good day trip from St.John’s.

Meet the Most Friendly Locals in Gander 

Gander is a small town in northeastern Newfoundland with an important airport. Its airport created as a strategic refuelling point for transatlantic flights between New York and London, Gander became famous during 9/11. Its kind locals and perfectly located airport inspired the Broadway musical Come From Away. The musical tells a story about 9/11, about how when planes diverted to Gander, the community opened their hearts, feeding and housing thousands of travellers from around the globe. 

amelia earheart statue harbour grace

Earheart Airfield & Statue

Earheart Airfield is a small airstrip in the small town of Harbour Grace, NL. It takes its name from the famous pilot Amelia Earheart, who used the airstrip in 1932 as part of her solo transatlantic flight. There is also a statue of Amelia nearby when you first drive into town, in honour of her and other early aviators putting Newfoundland in aviation history. 

Terra Nova National Park

Terra Nova National Park is a 399 sq km park, known for being the easternmost national park in Canada. With remnants of the Appalachian Mountains, there are cliffs, rolling forested hills, and ponds. Summer activities in Terra Nova include camping, swimming, mountain biking, and hiking: with over 80km of trails. In the winter, there is cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and winter camping available. A secluded park, Terra Nova is a good pick for taking a break from the ocean to find something calmer.

Map of What to See in Newfoundland

Here is a map of fun and unique things to do in Newfoundland to assist you with your trip planning: 

Other Things to Do in Newfoundland & Labrador

Whether you visit one or all destinations in this guide to fun and unique things to do in Newfoundland, you will have a good time and make incredible memories.

Happy travelling!

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4 thoughts on “15 Fun and Unique Things to Do in Newfoundland”

  1. When we visited Newfoundland for the first time we were intrigued. And loved it so much more than we expected. But when we go back you have given me some good ideas for places we need to see. We would love to spend more time in Gros Morne National Park and explore the Avalon Peninsula. But we will surely want to time our visit to enjoy all that Iceberg Alley has to offer!

    1. Oh, I agree, Newfoundland is so easy to fall in love with. I hope to go back and see the iceberg too. Happy travelling 🙂

  2. Love it! I’ve been to Newfoundland a couple times but there is so much more on this list that I still need to do. When I was in St. John’s, I asked a few locals about going to Cape Spear but they all talked me out of it, and I’ve regretted listening to them–next time!

    1. So amazing that you’ve been multiple times! There are so many beautiful and unique places in Newfoundland, that one trip isn’t enough. Oh, so sad you missed visiting Cape Spear. Watching the sunrise was one of my trip highlights. Definitely put it on your list for your next visit 🙂

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