The Avalon Peninsula is home to the capital city of St. John’s, where I lived for nearly 10 years. Most visitors usually fly into St. John’s International Airport. If you’re planning on sticking around St. John’s, you can situate yourself downtown and find yourself within walking distance to most attractions. Otherwise, a rental car is necessary.
Life on the Avalon can be expensive. An average pint of beer at George Street costs somewhere between $6 CAD – $8. A meal will cost at least $20 CAD. There are hostels and budget B&Bs, as well as luxury hotels. Airbnb is also an option.
The weather can be brutal at times. Summer and fall are the best times to visit (fall mostly). Pack warm clothing, as well as light clothing, and rain gear!
I love my city. Being a university town, St. John’s has a lot of life to it. Book a spot in the downtore core, and you’ll have easy access to all the best attractions, like Signal Hill and George Street. You’ll need a car to get to Cape Spear, however. The nearby towns of Petty Harbour and Quidi Vidi are also worth a visit — they both offer a sampling of rural Newfoundland life. Come during George Street Fest for a real debauch experience, and then stay for the Regatta — the oldest continuous sporting event in North America.
Here’s my quick guide to St. John’s.
And you’ll definitely want to try lots of dining here! Check out some of my favourite new restaurants in St. John’s.
For hiking in/around St. John’s, there are tons of options. The Father Troy trail is great! I also love the Sugar Loaf Trail, the North Head Trail on Signal Hill, and Blackhead Path around Cape Spear. These trails are all extremely safe to hike, even solo.
The Irish Loop makes for a great mini road trip. During the summer months, you can see puffins in Witless Bay. Whales are also in abundance, and many boat tour operators run daily (weather providing). Icebergs also show up in spring and early summer.
Basically everything outside of St. John’s is rural Newfoundland, or “the bay.” People from St. John’s are called townies; everywhere else people are called baymen. It’s complicated.
My favourite part of Eastern Newfoundland is the Bonavista/Elliston/Trinity area. Trinity is like stepping back into time, and is one of the oldest settlements on the island, with many designated heritage structures. Bonavista has surreal coastline and friendly peeps. Elliston is home to another puffin breeding ground, and September’s Roots Rants and Roars culinary festival. It’s also the “Root Cellar Capital of the World.”
Newfoundland’s changing culinary landscape is evident all over the place. Check out these excellent dining options, many of which are in the Bonavista/Elliston/Trinity area.
On the Bay de Verde Peninsula, stopping for a photo with the Dildo sign is mandatory. Sign up for a spa experience at the Doctor’s House Inn, and try some amazing sushi in Grate’s Cove.
One of my favourite hikes? The Skerwink Trail in Trinity Bay.
Check out my Newfoundland guide eBook soon to be published for more insider info!