Of all the places in the world, Newfoundland wasn’t really even on my radar! Luckily, my mom wanted to visit this far-flung Canadian province for her big retirement trip, so we had an excuse to make it a priority. It was so different from anywhere else I’ve been! If you’re planning a trip to Newfoundland any time soon, here are the best things to know before you get there!
Newfoundland and Labrador are Part of the Same Province
And they were the last two regions to join the Canadian Confederation in the 1950s. A province is similar to a state in the United States, and “Newfoundland and Labrador” are one province. Interestingly, there is no ferry or bridge directly connecting the two land masses! You can take the ferry from Pigeon Cove, Newfoundland, to Blanc-Sablon in Quebec, then drive across the border, or vice-versa.
More here: Tips for Driving in Canada
When to Go
Late Spring and Summer will be your best bets for this area.
May-August is “puffin season,” so you will definitely see them if you visit the eastern coast of Newfoundland, especially the Bonavista Peninsula.
Icebergs can be seen in May and June, but you will have the best change to see them up around Twillingate. St. John’s only gets the occasional iceberg, so you may not see any if you’re staying in southern Newfoundland.
Whale watching is best from late June through August. You may see a few before or after that, but if you visit at the right time, you’ll literally see hundreds of whales! They feed in the waters off Newfoundland in the summer, then head south to have their whale babies in the winter months.
Note: Many businesses are only open in July and August, and many businesses that are open any time of year are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Check opening hours before you go!
Read more: What to Pack for Newfoundland in Summer
How to Get There
There are two ways to arrive on Newfoundland: Fly or take a ferry. Major airports include St. John’s (YYZ) and Gander (YQX). Flights are limited, but they are available every day! If you’re coming over with your RV or simply want to have your own car, you can take a ferry from several ports around the Maritime Provinces (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick) and the province of Quebec.
More here: What to Know Before You Visit Canada
They’re on Their Own Time Zone
Interestingly, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador has its own time zone! They are half an hour ahead of Atlantic time, and an hour and a half ahead of Eastern Time.
Also interesting: How to Use Jet Lag to Your Advantage
The Capital City is also the Oldest European-settled City in North America
St. John’s is the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador. It was settled by Europeans in 1497 by John Cabot, making it older than any other European-settled area on the entire North American continent! It was truly “New Found Land” at the time.
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