10 NL Travel Experiences Just Too Good To Pass Up

Memorable travel should never be about the destination but the experiences encountered along the way, and here in NL, there are limitless opportunities for lasting memories.

Below are 10 NL travel experiences just too good to pass up.

‘Folk Night’ At The Ship 

The Ship is one of the oldest and finest entertainment venues in St. John’s, a super looking old style pub and unpretentious gathering place where ‘locals’ and staff immediately make you feel at home.

Here, every Wednesday evening, music lovers and musicians come together for Folk Night that includes awesome performances and open mic sessions between sets. This is a unique experience that exposes you to up and coming local talent, with your very own chance to shine.

The Ship is a hangout with tonnes of local characters, many good imported and local brews on tap, and a surprisingly awesome pub grub menu.

Note Folk Night runs from 9-11:30PM, so get here early because this place fills up fast.

Illustration of musicians playing instruments on Folk Night in St. John's A Cultural folk night at the Ship pub in St. John's, Newfoundland Canada

Grand Bank Theatre

Grand Bank Regional Theatre is NL’s 3rd largest theater company and home to some of the most talented actors in the province. Situated in the town’s former Pentecostal church, they have been entertaining audiences with diverse productions for over 20 years.

There is humor to knock your socks off, music to keep your toes tapping, romance to warm your heart, and mystery to set your pulse racing. Each summer, shows run every Tuesday to Saturday with dinner theater on select Wednesday and Saturday evenings, that includes a delicious 3-course meal before each performance.

Watch history unfold or get your funny bone tickled at one of their top quality productions all set in historic Grand Bank.

Outside of Grand Bank Community Theatre building Male and female actors on stage at Grand Bank community theatre

Ecological Hikes & ‘Boil-Ups’

Tuckamore Discoveries, a nature-based tourism venture in Bonavista, offers hike and boil-up tours. To experience the ‘boil-up’ is to take part in a cherished NL pastime.

Walk, snowshoe, or ski your way along a number of selected trails, followed by a good feed of traditional grub cooked over an open fire. Food options include capelin, salt fish, beans, toutons, jams, and other delicacies served with tea or coffee.

Owner/operator Jon Joy, a local biologist and educator, is a fantastic tour guide with a passion for the outdoors. On your journey, John will talk a little about what wild things you can eat in the woods, and you will also get the chance to start a fire using flint.

Note Tours only run from October to May due to fire regulations.

Guided hiking tour along trinity bay bonavista, newfoundland

World Class Caverns 

Corner Brook’s impressive world class cave system is one of western Newfoundland’s best-kept secrets. These amazing caverns have been featured on the Discovery Channel, yet rarely get much attention.

Thankfully, Cycle Solutions gets you to the heart of the ‘world down under’. Their adventure tours are like no other, as you walk along a subterranean stream and learn about the forces and conditions that created this intricate system of natural cathedrals.

The cave is about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) long and tours are individually tailored to the abilities of each participant. All caverns traveled through are large enough to walk in, but there are smaller passages for the more adventurous explorer. This is a real caving trip, which requires climbing, crawling, and stooping.

Cycle Solutions can take you as deep as you would like to go and have plenty of fun along the way with subterranean rivers and rappel sections. Helmets and headlamps are provided. The cave is unfortunately flooded when water in the Corner Brook area rises, so safe visits require experienced local guides.

Note Never visit this cave on your own.

2 people entering the entrance of a cave in Corner brook, Newfoundland Cave entrance daytime with the forest in the background in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada

The Blue Ghosts 

Catch a thrill and encounter sharks up-close with Coastal Connections, an award-winning marine eco tour operator in Conception Bay South.

On this all day adventure, you will help find, tag, and release these amazing creatures and become a citizen scientist. The research data you collect with Coastal Connections will be provided to the Canadian Shark Research Laboratory.

This is much more than just a boat tour, guests learn about this magnificent place, participate in hands-on activities, and view the wonders of NL’s natural environment in the sky, on the land, and particularly, in the sea.

Note Sharks prefer warmer temperatures so tours are offered in late summer and early fall only.

Great white shark swimming in Newfoundland's Atlantic Ocean Two pairs of hands tagging a shark on a boat in CBS, Newfoundland, Canada

Gaultois Shed Party

The shed is a Newfoundland institution, symbolizing part of who we are as a cultural nation, and there is no better company to keep than at a shed party with Gaultonians. Here in Gaultois the authentic culture of Newfoundland’s south coast comes alive as you step into a bubble of friendship and music the likes of which you have never experienced.

Through stories and songs, you will learn how the button accordion has become a mainstay in the province. You will also try your hand at using an authentic Newfoundland musical instrument, the Ugly Stick, and if you want to join in on a refrain, that is fine too. Do not forget to also try some local Gaultois food on-hand.

Note Shed parties happen Friday nights at 8PM, or by request.

About Gaultois

A wonderful destination that is a must-do for anyone who wants to experience ‘Real Newfoundland’. Gaultonians are a special people with personality and soul, and the scenery here easily rivals that of other NL tourism hotspots, a true hidden gem.

2 Newfoundlanders in a shed in Gaultois, Newfoundland playing a guitar and an accordian Gaultois harbour in Newfoundland with rolling hills and cute houses

A Museum Stay

The Pumpkin House in Durrell (part of the municipality of Twillingate) is actually a 3 bedroom “Museum Guest House”, a most exceptional accommodation. Named a “Top 15 of the Coolest Canadian Airbnb Rentals” by Home & Garden Television, this is your 4-star vacation home with a twist.

Built in the late nineteenth century, this charming fishing village saltbox house has been lovingly restored with comfortably curated rooms including original and period appropriate furniture and accessories. The home features living on two floors connected by a steep old Victorian style staircase.

Enjoy a homemade meal prepared in the farmhouse style kitchen and served up in the Victorian style dining room. Outside the picket fence lined property features great views in all directions with gardens, root cellars, and outbuildings original to the property. Relax on their wrap-around deck, perfect for bird and ‘berg’ watching, catching the sunset, seeing boats coming and going, or just kicking back and letting the world go by.

For those looking for an unforgettable experience, look no further than this ‘step back in time’ stay.

About Twillingate Islands

Twillingate is one of NL’s most picturesque outports, located on the center edge of what is known as “Iceberg Alley”, it is famous for being the “Iceberg Capital of the World”. As early as May, mammoth ice sculptures drift literally around the island.

Pumpkin House B&B exterior with teal coloured deck and white picket fence Pumpkin House B&B interior with antique furnishings and leather seats in Twillingate, Newfoundland, Canada

An International Estuary 

The Grand Codroy River Estuary is a 925-hectare area at the mouth of the Grand Codroy River, which gathers water from the Long Range and Anguille mountains.

Recognized by the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance and as an internationally Important Bird Area (IBA), this is an estuary like nowhere else in Newfoundland. The moderate climate, protected shores, rolling cultivated grasslands, and lush balsam fir forests give the Grand Codroy River Estuary a habitat attractive to flora, fauna, and humans alike.

As a result of this high biological productivity, the estuary is a hot spot of bird diversity. The surrounding Codroy Valley is well known to birders as a provincial mecca for songbirds. More than 150 species of birds have been identified in the area, including 19 species of waterfowl. It is also an important staging ground for a large population of North Atlantic Canadian geese and also boasts an unusually high raptor population, especially during the fall migration. See this Checklist of the Birds of Insular Newfoundland.

There is also a seasonal visitor center, located in Upper Ferry, which has information on species in the wetlands and throughout the Codroy Valley, displays on waterfowl and the estuary, plus a viewing telescope.

Aerial view of Grand Codroy River Estuary in SW Newfoundland A flock of birds at Grand Codroy River Estuary in Newfoundland, Canada

An Artist Residency 

2 Rooms Artist Residency is an opportunity for professional visual artists and writers to pursue their creative work in the rich natural and cultural environment of Duntara on eastern Newfoundland’s Bonavista Peninsula, home to some of the oldest European settlements in Canada.

Based in one of the oldest buildings in Duntara, a restored historical saltbox house that was hand-built in 1881 as a fisherman’s house, this local landmark’s painted exterior distinctively displays the traditional architectural colors of the Bonavista region.

2 Rooms is a multi-layered cultural exchange between artisans, craftspeople, writers, and fishermen. The residency provides studio space and living accommodation for 2 artists or writers who connect with the local community simply by living in Duntara, as well as, the larger art community in the surrounding area through events, studio visits, and recreation.

2 Rooms also serves as a gallery and museum, a platform for temporary on-site installation projects, exhibitions and events, and an ongoing museum of material culture. Curated exhibitions of regional and international contemporary art take place on the 1st floor and a continuing series of experimental museological displays, featuring collections of local historical artifacts and natural specimens, are presented on the 2nd floor.

This is a wonderful program that reflects the confluence of historical, natural, and cultural conditions that exist inter-dependently in Newfoundland’s outport communities.

Tri coloured (Brown and white) exterior of 2 Rooms artist residency hillside in Duntara, Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland with salt fish hanging on the clothesline Art installation at 2 Rooms in Duntara, Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland of Republic of Ireland flag made from sea urchins

World’s Longest Boardwalk 

Nestled in a sheltered cove at the entrance to Lake Melville, Rigolet is the most southerly Inuit community in the world. Here its proud residents have come together to build the world’s longest boardwalk.

This stunning 9 kilometer (5.6 mile) trek to Burnt Wood Cove takes you along the waterfront and between the forest and the shore. There are several lookout points along the way with breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Located at the top of the hill, just before reaching Burnt Wood Cove, is a gazebo, seating area, viewfinder, and storyboards.

At the end of the boardwalk is a most unique visitor experience, the archaeological site of Double Mer Point, where, following years of excavation, three late 18th Century Inuit homes dating between 1760 and 1800 can now be viewed. Check out this video of the dig.

This site was occupied when the Inuit operated a long-distance coastal trade network to exchange Inuit-produced goods with European fishermen and traders in southern Labrador for European goods. It was also occupied just prior to the settlement of the first European men in the region.

3 people walking the boardwalk in Rigolet, Labrador, Canada with the ocean and beach on one side and the forest on the other Aerial view of indigenous archaeological dig hillside in Rigolet Labrador