If you’re looking for the ideal road trip Newfoundland is a great place to consider. Newfoundland is wild, windswept and perched on the edge of the Atlantic. It’s part of Canada but a world unto itself. The best way to see this vast and beautiful province is on a Newfoundland roadtrip. The scenery is spectacular, and best experienced with the luxury of being on your own schedule.
Newfoundland was the last province to join Canada, in 1949. It still seems like a separate country in many ways. They have their own distinct accent and expressions, with entire books dedicated to translating and loads of distinctly “Newfy” traditions. You’ll likely be called “buy” constantly, and you’ll be straining to figure out what’s being said to you half the time. Newfoundlanders are so incredibly friendly, you’ll feel like you’re talking to an old friend, even if you can’t always understand them.
Newfoundland is not a small province, and distances between sites can be far. It is possible to see a portion of this province in a week. But if you really want to dig deep in Newfoundland, I’d recommend taking at least a 2 week road trip to Newfoundland.
This 2-week Newfoundland road trip itinerary covers National Parks, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and National Historic Sites. There are plenty of recommendations for extending your trip beyond 2 weeks, as well as places you could forego if you have less time.
Table of Contents
- Getting to Newfoundland
- Newfoundland Road Trip Tips
- Itinerary Overview
- Gros Morne National Park & UNESCO World Heritage Site: 2 days
- Great Northern Peninsula: 2 days
- Twillingate: 2 days
- Bonavista: 2 days
- Terra Nova National Park: 1 day
- St. John’s: 3-4 days
- Argentina: 1 day
Getting to Newfoundland
Newfoundland is an island, hence limiting the options to get there! The only ways to get to Newfoundland are by ferry or airplane.
Nova Scotia to Newfoundland Ferry
The ferry from Nova Scotia leaves from the North Sydney ferry terminal to either Port-aux-Basque or Argentia. The ferry can be busy, so reservations are highly recommended. This is especially true in the summer, and if you have an over-size vehicle. You can make reservations here.
North Sydney, NS to Port-aux-Basque, NL – this 7-hour ferry runs year-round. We ended up taking this ferry both directions because we were too early in the season to catch the Argentia ferry. I opted for the daytime boat because 7hrs didn’t seem long enough for anyone to sleep and I was sure we’d end up with tired, cranky kids (and parents) if we took the overnight boat!
North Sydney, NS to Argentia, NL – this ferry takes 16hrs and only runs during the summer months. The cabins are booked up well in advance, so if you’d like a cabin make reservations as soon as you know you’re itinerary! There are a number of relatively comfortable reclining seats available both with and without a reservation. This is a reasonable alternative if you haven’t been able to secure a cabin, or don’t want to spend the money!
Check the marine Atlantic website for ferry schedules from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland.
Labrador to Newfoundland Ferry
The ferry from Labrador leaves from Blanc Sablon, Quebec and travels to St. Barbe, NL. The sailing takes about 1hr45min and is frequently cancelled during bad weather and high winds. The schedule varies widely during the week and depending on the season. You can make a reservation in advance, and in the busy summer months, this is highly recommended. If the weather is dreadful, I’d recommend calling in advance to ensure the ferry is running (1-866-535-2567).
*expert tip: All scheduled times are Newfoundland time. The ferry leaves from Quebec, which is 1.5hrs behind Newfoundland, which can make things a little confusing.
Flying to Newfoundland
The main airports in Newfoundland are St. John’s, Gander and Deer Lake. For this itinerary, you’ll want to fly into Deer Lake and out of St. John’s (or vice versa, depending on which direction you’re going). The cost of rental cars has increased drastically since COVID, so it may be worth checking the price of a one-way rental in each direction and choosing your itinerary based on this.
Newfoundland Roadtrip Tips
If you’re headed on a road trip to Newfoundland, there are a few things you should know and plan for.
- Potholes – Newfoundland is a small province with a lot of highways to maintain. So, it doesn’t always get all the love it requires. Couple this with harsh weather and fluctuating temperatures, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for potholes. Luckily, there’s usually room to swerve around them, but you’ll want to be on the alert for these as they can seriously damage a vehicle if you’re not careful.
- Weather – The weather is unpredictable and can change rapidly. You’ll want to prepare for all seasons all year long.
- Wildlife – There’s an abundance of wildlife on the island, including Cariboo and Moose. These are more common on the Western side of the Island, but you’ll want to remain alert while driving, especially at dawn and dusk.
- Distances – We were constantly surprised by just how far apart things were and how long it took us to get from one point to another. Give yourself ample time, and don’t underestimate just how spread out things are here.
- Wreckhouse wind – I had no idea what this was, but it’s worth taking note of. A wreckhouse wind is any wind strong enough to ”wreck a house” (XXX km/h). It’s highly recommended that you do NOT drive during one of these winds. There will be signs on the highway warning you about this, although the one time we actually saw the sign it was so calm the grass wasn’t even rustling. I think it was an old sign, so make sure to also check the weather and use some common sense!
Know Before You Go To Newfoundland
- Money & ATMs – Almost every business accepts card payment, but it’s always a good idea to carry a little bit of cash with you. The internet does periodically quit, especially with the unpredictable weather, so it’s good to have some cash. You can find ATMs in all the larger cities, and I recommend you get cash out wherever you rent your car (or bring cash with you if you’re coming from somewhere else in Canada).
- Cell service – Much of the province is quite remote, so don’t expect cell service everywhere. Access is limited to populated areas, with large tracts of road completely void of cell service.
- Drinking Water – The tap water in Newfoundland is safe to drink. I always recommend bringing a reusable water bottle with you that you can refill to avoid using plastic. You can bring a water bottle with a filter to use in rivers and streams if you’re going to be wild camping.
- Schedules – I made the mistake of assuming the larger tourist attractions and Parks Canada sites would be open all year long. This is NOT the case. Many things didn’t open until early June, meaning we had to re-jig plans due to our late May arrival. Figure out what you want to see, and check the opening season before you book your trip!
West to East Newfoundland Road trip Itinerary
The reason this itinerary runs from West to East is that this is the direction of our trip! It really doesn’t matter where you start, you’ll have an incredible adventure either way. You’ll need to take into account where you are going to enter and exit Newfoundland and which direction the car rental is the cheapest (if you’re renting a car).
A quick road trip itinerary overview:
- Gros Morne National Park & UNESCO World Heritage Site: 2 days
- Great Northern Peninsula: 2 days
- Twillingate: 2 days
- Bonavista: 2 days
- Terra Nova National Park: 1 day
- St. John’s: 3-4 days
- Argentina: 1 day
Gros Morne National Park & UNESCO World Heritage Site: 2 days
Gros Morne is an incredibly beautiful park, unlike anything else in Newfoundland. A person could easily spend multiple days here exploring the trails or doing the multi-day hike from the end of Western Brook Pond to the summit of Gros Morne mountain. Luckily, you can easily get a taste of what the park has to offer in 2 days.
Things To Do In Southern Gros Morne
The Discovery Centre in Bonne Bay is a great place to begin your visit to Gros Morne. Here you can learn about the geological and cultural history of the park. We spent almost an hour here, but we may have lingered due to the rain outside! I’d budget at least 30-45min to see all the displays. You can also pick up a coffee from the small coffee shop on site.
*kid tip – pick up a Parks Canada Xplorer booklet and ask for a plastic pipette to examine the contents of the Pitcher Plants found around the park.
If you really love hiking, the Lookout Hills Trail starts from here. But I’d recommend heading straight to the Tablelands Trail instead.
The red rock that makes up the Tablelands looks like it belongs on Mars, and it feels like you’re walking on another planet. But it’s not another planet, the red rock comes from deep within our own planet. This is one of the only places on earth where you can actually walk on the earth’s mantle. But, if you don’t visit the Discovery Centre first, you won’t know this!
- Location: The trailhead starts 4 km west of Discovery Centre in Woody Point on route 431
- Distance: 4km return
- Rating: Easy
Birchy Head Red Chairs
This isn’t a very time-consuming stop, but the view is lovely from the red chairs at this roadside pull-out. Plus, if you’ve visited a number of Canadian Parks, you’ll know the red chairs are a bit of a “thing”. We try to get a picture with them whenever we can!
- Location: 12km south of Rocky Harbour
Bonnie Bay Marine Station and Aquarium
Unfortunately, we were too early in the year to visit the Marine Station, but I have heard it’s excellent. It’s run by Memorial University and is home to many of the Bonne Bay marine animals and plants. You can join an interpretive tour and get up close and personal with some of the creatures in the touch tank.
Lobster Cove Lighthouse
The Lobster Cove Lighthouse is a small detour from the main road but well worth the few extra minutes drive. The house is well preserved and offers a glimpse into what life was like for the light keeper when these lighthouses were manned. The actual lighthouse itself is still working but is run by the Coast Guard, so unfortunately, you can’t go up the tower (much to our dismay). However, the trails around the seashore surrounding the lighthouse are great for exploring on a sunny day.
- Location: Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse, Main St N, Rocky Harbour, NL
- Cost & Hours are on the Parks Canada Website.
Things To Do In Northern Gros Morne
During the summer months, you can join a guided walk at Green Point. These share the history of the area as well as information on the local flora and fauna (including the Tuckamore forest). If your timing doesn’t allow for it, I’d recommend the 6km hike along the Coastal Trail starting at the Campground.
- Location: 49.682346, -57.956263
- Check the website for the most up-to-date information.
Western Book Pond Tour
In my opinion, this is one of the things that absolutely MUST be done in Gros Morne. Western Brook Pond was once a proper fjord that was cut off from the ocean and is now a freshwater lake below steep, waterfall-strewn mountains. The only way to properly see this fjord is via a 2 hr boat tour.
Tours run only in the summer and shoulder seasons, with the tour frequency changing throughout the season. It’s a 2.7km hike from the parking lot to the boat dock. The trail is quite easy, with plenty of places to stop and rest along the way. If you’re not in the most amazing shape, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to the boat dock. Once at the boat dock, there are toilets and a small café where you can grab a drink and relax.
You need to book your tour directly through the tour operator, Bon Tours [https://www.bontours.ca/]. It may be possible to show up and find room on a boat, however, this is an incredibly popular tour and booking in advance is highly recommended to avoid disappointment.
*expert tip – the best views are from the top deck, but it can get quite windy. If you want a seat on the top deck be sure to line up to board the boat first as it’s always the first place to fill up. The front of the boat also has great views, but there aren’t any seats, and it’s not uncommon to get wet up there! It’s better to pick a comfy seat and just make your way up to the front a few times throughout the boat ride for a photo op.
*kid tip – The trail is gravel, so a stroller with larger wheels will be easiest to push.
- Location: 49.787362, -57.874530
- Check the Bon Tours website for prices, tour times, and to book.
Cow Head is a sleepy little town most of the year but comes to life for the summer months. The biggest draw here is the long sandy beach and protected bay, making it the perfect place to go for a dip in the sea (or just dip your toes…it’s not very warm even if the beach is sandy!).
The other thing to do in Cow Head is go to the theatre (unexpected, I know!). Cow Head is home to Theatre Newfoundland Labrador, which offers a variety of great performances as well as dinner theatre throughout the summer. Check the schedule or buy tickets at Theatre Newfoundland.
Know Before You Go To Gros Morne
Where to Stay
- Green Point Campground. If you can go without services, sites 14, 16, 17 & 19 all have Adirondack chairs with ocean views. Our site (17) had a little path down to the beach as well. Book on the Parks Canada website. The cost is $27.25 per night in the summer and $16.05/night in the winter. It’s open year-round, but self-registration only between Oct 10 and May 20.
- Bonne Bay Hotel – The Rooms At Woody Point.
- Norris Point B&B – Out East B&B.
Where to Eat
There are admittedly VERY FEW great food options along the Gros Morne Coast. A few that we enjoyed were:
- Merchant Warehouse Retro Café & Wine Bar in Bonne Bay (16 Water St, Bonne Bay, NL)
- Sunrise Bakery & Café in Parson’s Point (Main St, Parsons Pt, NL). This is a good option for breakfast or lunch if you’re headed North. Actually, it’s the only option in this part of the world!!
- There are a few other (better) options in Rocky Harbour and Norris Point.
Great Northern Peninsula: 2 days
The Great Northern Peninsula doesn’t seem to make it on everyone’s itinerary. This is understandable since it’s so far out of the way from everything! In our opinion, it’s worth the extra driving for experiences only found on this little bit of land sticking out into the Atlantic.
Things To Do Along The Great Northern Peninsula
Port au Choix NHS
Port au Choix was added to our itinerary because of our quest to visit Canada’s National Parks, National Historic Sites and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s a wee bit off the main highway, but barely counted as being out of the way. We learned about the Indigenous people who lived on this site 6000 years ago! It’s pretty incredible. The interpretive centre is well laid out and informative, and there are a lot of great walks that can be done around the peninsula. There’s even a herd of resident Cariboo that you can spot if you’re lucky (which, unfortunately, we weren’t).
- Location: Point Riche Road, Port au Choix, NL A0K 4C0
- Check the website for opening hours and cost (included in your Parks Canada Discovery Pass)
L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site & UNESCO World Heritage Site
I really had no idea what to expect when we visited L’Anse aux Meadows. I just thought it was an old Viking settlement and didn’t realize the significance of this site.
When the Norsemen landed in North America at this site 1000 years ago, it completed the circle of human navigation around the globe. Indigenous Ancestor’s arrived from the West over 5000 years ago, and the Norsemen’s arrival completed the loop when they arrived from the East. This is pretty big if you stop and think about it.
It’s easy to spend the better part of a day here. The reconstructed longhouse has a few actors that tell the history of the men and women who wintered here many centuries ago. There are also a number of hiking paths and a small interpretive center.
- Find the opening hours and cost on the Parks Canada Website. It is included in your Discovery Pass if you have one.
If you want more Viking history after visiting L’Anse aux Meadows, you can head up the road to Norstead. This is a reconstructed Viking village that I’ve heard incredible things about. Unfortunately, it wasn’t yet open when we were in the area (it didn’t open until June 6).
- Location: 263 L’Anse Meadows, Saint Lunaire-Griquet, NL
- Check the Norstead website for opening dates and costs.
Dark Tickle (Berry Picking, etc)
This locally owned business is centred around Newfoundland berries. They offer a number of different excursions and activities depending on the time of year. We weren’t in Newfoundland for berry season, but we visited their onsite café, Café Nymph, and learned all about the different berries that are summertime foraging favourites.
This is the main city up at the top of the Great Northern Peninsula, and chances are you’ll find your way here. It has the highest concentration of restaurants and accommodation options. There are a few things to do in St. Anthony, mostly centred around Dr. Grenfell (who you’ll find to be quite prolific in this area, we even found a tribute to him in Labrador!).
You can visit the Grenfell House Museum and the Grenfell Historical Society (where we went for tea & toutons). It’s also a great place to spot icebergs; head out to Fox Point Lighhouse, or walk Lamage Point Trail.
Know Before You Go To the Great Northern Peninsula
Where to Stay
- Grenfell Heritage Hotel and Suites (definitely your best bet if you can get a room)
- Snorri Cabins (lots of options, nice if you’re looking for a bit more space).
Where to Eat
- Café Nymph
- Daily Catch
Optional Side Trip – Labrador
Few visitors to Newfoundland make it up the Great Northern Peninsula, and even fewer cross the Strait of Belle Isle to Labrador. The biggest reason to do this is to explore the whaling history of the region at Red Bay Basque Whaling Station in Red Bay. It is both a Canadian National Historic Site as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Things To Do In Southern Labrador
Red Bay Basque Whaling Station
A visit to Red Bay Basque Whaling Station was the catalyst behind our visit to Labrador. It’s about an hours drive along the coast from the ferry terminal at Blanc Sablon, QC. The site is small but fascinating, another piece of history that seems to be completely missed in our history books (or at least I don’t remember it!). Our girls claim it was the best Xplorer site we visited.
The guides all have a strong connection to the site. They talk fondly of the days when the town was a flurry of activity as archaeological digs & dives were piecing together the info we can now read about. In the summer they run a number of interpretive programs that could easily keep a person occupied for the entire day.
If you have the time, and the money, consider a trip to Battle Harbour. It was not in our budget, but it’s been added to my future ”dream list”!
Know Before You Go To Southern Labrador
Where To Stay
- The Florian Hotel (Forteau)
- Northern Light Inn (L’Anse au Clair)
- Camping – It’s possible to wild camp in Labrador, just be respectful of the locals (don’t pitch up on private property) and beware of the crazy wind! We had a hard time finding a spot sheltered from the wind. We spent one night camping, but the second night we gave up and stayed in a hotel.
Where To Eat
- The Florian Hotel (Forteau)
- Robin’s Donuts (L’Anse au Clair)
- Greco Pizza Xpress (L’Anse au Clair)
- Whaler’s Restaurant & Cabins (Red Bay)
Twillingate: 2 days
Due to unforeseen circumstances (mainly me incorrectly booking a boat tour for the wrong week), we never made it to Twillingate. I’m a bit sad about it, but it also gives us a reason to return to Newfoundland. Plus, I’d really love to visit Fogo Island, and Twillingate is easily visited on the way. The following info is based on my research and plan, rather than what we actually did. Head to this post by Wandering Wagers for personalized info on visiting Twillingate.
Things I Wanted To Do In Twillingate
- Long Point Lighthouse
- Auk Island Winery
- Beothuk Interpretation Centre
Optional Side Trip: Fogo Island
Along with not making it to Twillingate, we also didn’t make it to Fogo Island. In a sense we opted for the Great Northern Peninsula this trip, rather than Twillingate and Fogo Island. I’m not all that sorry, it gives us a great excuse to go back one day!
Things You Should Do On Fogo Island
- Fogo Island Marine Interpretation Centre
- Fogo Island Inn
- Check out this post by Lora for more ideas!
*Expert Tip – On your way from Twillingate to Bonavista, you’ll drive through Gander. If you’ve seen the Broadway Musical “Come From Away”, you’ll want to stop in for a Tim Hortons coffee and drive by the airport.
Bonavista: 2 days
Bonavista lies at the end of a beautiful peninsula. It’s full of quaint little fishing villages, a gorgeous coastline and lots of cute puffins! Bonavista is the largest city on the peninsula, but I’d highly recommend basing yourself in Trinity or Port Rexton.
Things to do in Bonavista
Ryan Premises NHS
This Canadian National Historic Site was once a major canning center for the cod fisheries. It’s spread out over several buildings and has a few interactive exhibits that were especially fun for the kids. Their favourite was filleting and salting the stuffed cod!
To the girl’s dismay, they don’t have an Xplorer program, and they were disappointed they couldn’t earn another National Park tag. However, they still had a great time, and we learned a lot.
Cape Bonavista Lighthouse
The drive out to the red and white striped lighthouse takes you to the very end of the peninsula with unimpeded views north to the Labrador Sea. There are a handful of walking trails and some great views over to a puffin colony. We went specifically looking for puffins and, of course, didn’t find any! But we had a lovely walk along the cliff, well protected behind the fence.
- Visiting the Cape is free, but the lighthouse museum does have an entry fee. You can find the latest info on their website.
Puffin Viewing Site
This was one of our favourite stops on the entire Newfoundland road trip! The small peninsula between Ellison and Maberly has a puffin colony that is close enough to almost guarantee a sighting. You sit at the edge of a cliff, looking across a small gap to a rocky island full of puffins.
Based on the name, I should’ve known this would be the best place to see Puffins! Coming from the North, the parking lot is on the right, just past the entrance. It’s a short walk from here to the cliff edge overlooking the puffin colony. It’s a very easy walk from the parking lot out to the viewing site, and you’ll go past a few of the traditional cellars this area is known for. There’s even one right beside the car park that’s perfect for a photo op!
During our visit, we watched the puffins pop in and out of their nests (burrows?) in the ground just along the small straight. However, when my friend Dawn and her family visited, the puffins flew right across to say hi! Earlier in the season, when they’re nesting, they tend not to travel far from their nests. So if you’re able, plan your visit for a bit later in the summer.
*kid tip – You have to cross the road to get to the puffins, and it can get quite busy. Please be sure to keep your kiddos close.
It’s a very easy walk from the parking lot out to the viewing site, and you’ll go past a few of the traditional cellars this area is known for. There’s even one right beside the car park that’s perfect for a photo op!
Skerwink Trail (Trinity)
Unfortunately, this is something on my list that we missed. Partly because the weather wasn’t very good, and partly because we just didn’t have the time!
This well-marked trail is a moderately challenging 6km hike that takes about 2 hours. It looks to have stunning coastal views, but I guess we’ll have to wait until next time to see them. Don’t make my mistake, make time for Skerwink Trail!
Twine Loft Dining
While we were planning our roadtrip to Newfoundland, I didn’t expect much from the food. I figured it would be mostly fish and chips and clam chowder! (And it was a lot of those things…) However, we were able to find a few absolutely fantastic restaurants on our travels, Twine Loft Dining in Trinity being one of these.
There are 2 sittings a night with a set menu that varies based on the catch and the season. They also have a gorgeous deck right on the water to sit and enjoy an aperitif before dinner. Kids are welcome at the early sitting, and it’s always busy you need to book ahead. The day before we received an email confirming our main course choices (we had 2 options), otherwise we got what we were served. And it was incredible!
My plan was to have dinner at Twine Loft prior to the theatre, but unfortunately, this wasn’t in the cards for us.
Rising Tide Theatre
The variety of productions occurring each season at Rising Tide Theatre is astonishing. I would assume for a small theatre, they would run one performance for the whole summer. However, they had multiple different shows.
As with everything in Newfoundland in the summer, make sure to look at the schedule before planning your trip (if it matters which performance you see) and book in advance.
We were booked to see a magic show, the most appropriate show available for the kids. However, on the day of the show, they were having issues with the lighting and ended up having to cancel it. They offered us seats for a later date, but we were going to be long gone by then. This was just bad luck for us!
Expert tip: Book the early seating at Twine Loft Dining prior to walking over to catch the evening performance.
Sea of Whales Adventure
I think it’s impossible to visit Newfoundland without getting out on the water, and a boat trip with Sea of Whales Adventure is the best way to do this! We visited early in the season and had the most spectacular 3-hour tour with Kris.
Of course, I managed to screw up our booking. Honestly, for some reason, I was off my game this trip! I’m blaming it on the fact that we were in Canada, and it felt like I didn’t need to do as much planning because we were at home (although a VERY long way from home!).
I booked online, and we showed up at the office in Trinity at what I thought was our time of booking. Except, nobody was there. I was a bit confused, as was the person I spoke to on the phone! She came rushing back to investigate and figured out that I was booked for the following weekend…whoops!! Luckily, there was space the next day for us, so all was not lost.
Rather than leaving from Trinity, we drove across the peninsula and left from Princeton. We were suited up in waterproof thermal suits and put on mitts and a toque. It wasn’t warm, but it also wasn’t cold (thanks to all the layers).
We saw a baby eagle, an iceberg and a minke whale and met a lobster fisherman. However, the highlight for all of us was the puffins. Because we were on a 3-hour tour, we had time to head a bit further out. We went to a large island off the coast that’s home to a huge puffin colony. There were hundreds of birds on the water and in the air above us. It was spectacular! I’d highly recommend the 3-hour tour for this reason alone.
Typical tours run for 2 hours, which is definitely enough to feel like you’ve had a great time on the water. However, if you have time to spare, I’d highly recommend the 3-hour tour.
Know Before You Go To Bonavista
Where To Stay
Where To Eat
- Twine Loft Dining (Trinity)
- The Quintal Cafe (Bonavista)
- Mifflin’s Tea Room (Bonavista)
Terra Nova National Park: 1 day
You could honestly spend a day or a week in Terra Nova National Park. We opted for a quick visit to the Visitor Center and a coastal hike, but there’s so much more you could do here!
The Visitor Center is the best place to start your visit, with a touch tank and many interpretive displays about the plants and animals in the park. During the summer, they offer guided walks as well as evening concerts and campfire singalongs.
- You can find the schedule online to plan your visit.
St. John’s: 3-4 days
St. John’s is an incredibly cool city with so much charm. It’s worth a whole post in itself, so I’d recommend heading over HERE if you’re looking for more detail. However, I’ll give a general overview of all the things I think are worth making time for in the capital city.
Things To Do:
- Cape Spear Lighthouse NHS
- Signal Hill NHS
- The Queen’s Battery Barracks
- Johnson’s Geo Centre
- Terry Fox Mile 0
- The Rooms
- Wander & Shop along Water St.
- Visit Quidi Vidi
Where to Eat:
- The Postmaster’s Bakery
- The Battery Café
- Rocket Bakery Water St
- Ches’s Famous Fish & Chips
Optional Side Trip: Brigus (1/2 day)
I had to include this for completeness, although I’m not actually certain it’s worth the detour! We dubbed Hawthorne Cottage NHS as the worst National Historic Site in Canada. Now to be fair, we haven’t visited all the National Historic Sites, but I think we’ve seen enough to hand out this “award”.
We had half a day to fit in either Hawthorne Cottage in Brigus or Castle Hill National Historic Site in Argentia. I was a bit perturbed that the Argentia ferry wasn’t running yet (meaning we had to drive all the way back across the province to catch the ferry from Port-aux-Basque. Again, I didn’t do my research (at all) and made the decision to visit Brigus because it looked like a cute town, and we could squeeze in one more National Historic Site.
Hawthorne Cottage is a heritage home that was gifted to the Canadian government. It has been well preserved and does provide some insight into the life of Canadian Explorer Captain Bob Bartlett. However, it wasn’t worth the detour, especially since it didn’t have an Xplorer book (again, I should’ve done my research!).
In my opinion, the only reason to visit Hawthorne Cottage is if you really want to check off all the Canadian National Parks and National Historic Sites. You can find further information on the Park’s Canada Website.
Argentia 1 day
If you do a better job than me when planning your Newfoundland Roadtrip (which you will now because you’ve read this!), you’ll either fly out of St. John’s or catch the ferry from Argentia.
If you do catch the ferry from Argentia, it’s worth visiting Castle Hill National Historic Site. Unfortunately, I don’t have any personal experience here (see our above poor decision to visit Hawthorne Cottage instead).
There’s So Much More!
There’s so much more to do on a Newfoundland road trip, this is really just scratching the surface. As always, some of the best bits of a road trip are the unexpected gems you find along the way.
A few more optional side trips to consider are: Saint Pierre et Michelon (France) and the Mi’Kmaq Discovery Centre.
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