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. In our exceptional province, there are limitless opportunities for lasting memories. Here are 10 NL travel experiences just too good to pass up:

1. Attend ‘Folk Night’ At The Ship Pub 

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

It is here every Wednesday evening, music lovers and musicians come together for Folk Night. There are some awesome local entertainers who perform and there are open mic sessions between sets. This is a unique experience that exposes visitors to up and coming local artists and you’re own chance to shine.

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

It really is a great place to visit and enjoy Newfoundland hospitality and local entertainment at its best. Folk Night runs from 9-11:30 pm, get there early, 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

2. Watch Community Theatre In Historic Grand Bank

Grand Bank Regional Theatre is Newfoundland and Labrador’s 3rd largest theater company and home to some of the most talented actors in the province.

Situated in the historic Samuel J. Harris building, they have been entertaining audiences with diverse productions for 21 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 which 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. Not to be missed on your Burin Peninsula travels.

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

3. Go On An Ecological Hike & A ‘Boil-Up’

To experience the ‘boil-up’ is to take part in a cherished Newfoundland and Labrador pastime.

Tuckamore Discoveries, a nature-based tourism venture in Bonavista, offers hike and boil-up tours. 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 a few 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. You will also get the chance to start a fire using flint.

What better way to spend a fall, winter or spring day than a hike and a boil up. There’s nothing quite like a good cup of tea and a ‘grub-up’ in the woods. Tours run from October to May only due to fire regulations.

Guided hiking tour along trinity bay bonavista, newfoundland

4. Explore 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. You will learn about the forces and conditions that created the intricate system of natural cathedrals.

The cave is about one kilometer 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 explorers.

Cycle Solutions can take you as deep as you’d like to go and have plenty of fun along the way with subterranean rivers and rappel sections. Helmets and headlamps are provided personal gear if available is still advisable.

This is a real caving trip, which requires climbing, crawling and stooping. The cave is unfortunately flooded when water in the Corner Brook rises, so safe visits require experienced local guides. 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

5. Seek Out 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 – you’ll become a citizen scientist. 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 our natural environment…in the sky, on the land, and particularly, in the sea.

Sharks prefer warmer temperatures so these Newfoundland tours are offered in late summer and early fall.

Don’t forget your camera to capture this amazing experience.

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

6. Attend A Shed Party in Gaultois

The shed is a Newfoundland institution, symbolizing part of who we are as a nation and there is no better company to keep than at a shed party with ‘Gaultonians’.

Here 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’ve never experienced.

Through stories and songs, you will learn how the button accordion has become a mainstay in our province. 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’s fine too. Don’t forget to also try some local Gaultois food. Shed parties happen Friday nights, or by request at 8 pm.

About Gaultois…

A wonderful destination that is a must see/must-do for anyone who wants to experience the “Real Newfoundland”. Gaultonians are a special people with personality and soul and the scenery here easily rivals that of the Gros Morne…a 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

7. Stay The Night At A Museum

The Pumpkin House in Durrell (part of the municipality of Twillingate) is actually a 3 bedroom ‘Museum Guest House’. A most exceptional accommodation. On the list of “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 has been lovingly restored with comfortably curated rooms with 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. Gardens, root cellars, and outbuildings original to the property offer glimpses to the past. Relax on their wrap-around deck, perfect for bird and ‘berg watching, catching the sunset, watching boats coming and going or just kicking back and watching the world go by.

Twillingate is one of the most picturesque outports in Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s located on the center edge of what is known as Iceberg Alley. It has a famous reputation of being the ‘Iceberg Capital of the World’. As early as May these mammoth ice sculptures drift literally around the town.

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

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

8. Trek An Internationally Important Bird Area 

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 its high biological productivity, the estuary is a hotspot 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 Canada goose and also boasts an unusually high raptor population, especially during the fall migration.

Here, you can stand at the waters of the estuary and spend the day watching and photographing birds in their natural habitat. There is also a seasonal visitors’ 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 telescope for your viewing.

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

9. Take Up An Artist Residency 

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

Your artist residency is 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, home of some of the oldest European settlements in Canada.

This is a space for multi-layered cultural exchange between artists, craftsmen, writers, and fishermen. The Artist Residency here provides studio space and living accommodation for 2 artists or writers at the same time. Artists and writers 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 & events, and an on-going Museum of material culture. Curated exhibitions of regional and international contemporary art take place in the first-floor galleries. A continuing series of experimental museological displays featuring collections of local historical artifacts and natural specimens are presented on the second floor.

This is a wonderful program that reflects the confluence of historical, natural and cultural conditions that exist interdependently 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

10. Walk The 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.

The proud residents of Rigolet have come together to build the world’s longest boardwalk. This stunning 9 km trek to Burnt Wood Cove will take you along the waterfront and between the forest and the shore.

There are several lookout points along the way which give greats views of breathtaking Rigolet, the surrounding area, and its abundant marine life. 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. Following three years of excavation, three late 18th-century Inuit homes dating back to between 1760 and 1800 can be viewed.

This site is particularly interesting because it was occupied when the Inuit operated a long-distance coastal trade network. This linked their traditional communities in order to exchange Inuit-produced goods with European fishermen and traders in southern Labrador who offered 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

Interior of Pumpkin House B&B in Twillingate Newfoundland with historical artifacts on the wall