Everything You Need to Know to Plan an Overnight Trip to Elliston, Newfoundland

Planning our trip to Newfoundland was a little tricky. The things we wanted to see and do weren’t exactly close, and yet, they were close enough that we wanted to fit everything in! We knew that Elliston would be the best place to see the adorable puffins, and possibly some icebergs, but a day trip was not exactly ideal for someone who doesn’t adore road trips (ahem, that’s me!).

So, an overnight trip was our solution! If you’re contemplating something similar, here’s our experience, along with some lessons learned and recommendations. Take a look!

Getting There

Get ready for a road trip! There are no scenic flights from St. John’s to Elliston (trust me, I checked!), so unless you charter a boat, your best way to get here is driving. It’s just over three hours one way, which is totally doable. There are not many places to stop along the way, but the scenery is beautiful, and you’ll be on an easy highway more than half the time.

The drive from St. John’s to Elliston!
More here: The Ultimate List of Road Trip Tips

The Route

Good news! This is an easy road trip We started in downtown St. John’s and followed signs for the TCH 1 (Trans-Canada Highway). We followed that for quite a while, then made one turn: A right onto Route 230 toward Bonavista. Look out for potholes on Route 230! Then all of a sudden, boom! We were in Elliston.

Get ready for some open road!
Also helpful: Tips for Driving in Canada

Driving Tips

Canadian driving is pretty easy, especially on this route, but we did come up with some tips so you know what to expect.

  • Get cozy with your cruise control. The road is long and largely straight. Give your legs a rest!
  • Stay in the right lane unless passing. People actually follow this rule here! They do not hang out in the left lane for the whole trip.
  • Bring snacks and water. There are not very many gas stations or other natural stopping points.
Don’t be afraid to get a little off-road to see all the beauty of the Bonavista Peninsula!
More here: What to Know Before You Visit Newfoundland

Staying There

We stayed at the Meems’ Elliston B&B. We booked on Hotels.com, as usual. And, it just so happens to be the only option! You’ll find more accommodations in nearby Bonavista, but if you’re looking to stay nearest to the puffins, this is your option. It’s got a “Fabulous” 8.6 rating on Hotels.com, and it includes complimentary breakfast, wi-fi, and parking. There are only four rooms, however, so book early!

Meems B&B was a great place to stay near the puffins.
More here: What to Know Before you Visit Canada

Eating There

Anywhere you go in the world, it’s all about the food, right? Just me?

The Puffin Cafe

This is a great spot for lunch or dinner while you’re here. It’s on your way to the Puffin Viewing Area, and they have quite an extensive menu. They also have wonderful desserts!

Poutine for the Table
Cod au Gratin
Seafood Lasagna
Puffin Burger (not made of puffin meat!)
Pidgeonberry Tart
More here: Tips for Puffin Peeping in Elliston

Meem’s Bed and Breakfast

The bed and breakfast where we stayed was in a great location, and offered a delightful, local breakfast, including homemade preserves, traditional bread from a local bakery, and greens from their backyard!

Homemade Pastries
“Lassie” Bread (molasses and raisins)
Fried Eggs and Baked Black Beans
Take a look: The Pros and Cons of Staying in a Bed & Breakfast

Mifflin’s Tea Room

On our way back to St. John’s, we explored a bit more of the Bonavista Peninsula. Mifflin’s Tea Room is a popular spot in downtown Bonavista.

Tuscan Chicken Club Sandwich with Salad
Warm Chicken Salad on Croissant (you read that right: the chicken salad was served warm!)
Traditional Newfoundland Touton (like a yeasty English Muffin) with Molasses
Keep eating on my World Foods Page!

What’s Worth Doing There (and Nearby)

This is the reason you came right? To see things!

The Puffins!

Go see the puffins! You can see plenty of these adorable little (emphasis on “little”) birdies while they nest here from May through August. The Puffin Viewing Area is well-marked, and there is FREE parking just beyond the viewing area. Bring your telescope lens to get great photos, or simply sit and watch. You’ll know which ones they are from their distinctive coloring, and the fact that they flap like crazy when they fly!

Meet my puffin friend!
Bring Your Camera! The Best Travel Photography Tips

Spillars Cove

This is one of the most beautiful, rugged, dramatic coastlines I’ve ever seen. You’ll have to either hike or do some off-roading (or a little of both) to get to it, but it’s worth the effort. The tall, thin rock coming out is a “sea stack” and an “igneous intrusion,” for you geology enthusiasts out there. Most people just call it “The Chimney.” You can sometimes see puffins here, but we did not see any the day we visited.

Spillars Cove
Keep reading: The Most Epic Landscapes in the World (that you can visit)

The Dungeon

This collapsed sea arch is a perfect example of the power of nature. The rough North Atlantic Ocean literally took this arch out with no apologies! Now it’s a deep hole that seems awfully… Dungeon-esque, don’t you think? The color and clarity of the water coming in here is one of the most stunning aspects of this geologic formation. Find out More at The Dungeon Provincial Park website.

The Dungeon
More here: Everything You Need to Know about Travel in the Shoulder Season

The Cape Bonavista Lighthouse (Bonavista)

This was an unexpected delight! Its distinctive shape and coloring have made the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse famous, but even better–you can go inside! The “house” portion of the lighthouse has been restored to its 1870s glory, when a lighthouse keeper and his family lived here. You can even go all the way up to the light at the top, which is not something that’s allowed in just any historic lighthouse!

Cape Bonavista Lighthouse
The Lights all the way at the top.

Oh, and you will most likely see puffins here as well!

Can you see them perched on the rocky ledge?
Read next: How to Be Your Own Travel Advocate

Find an Iceberg

The biggest icebergs, and the best chance of seeing them, will be off the coast of Twillingate. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that when I was planning our trip! Sometimes the big icebergs float down to St. John’s and Elliston, but nothing I read online in my research mentioned just how unusual that is. While we did see a small one in a place called Tickle Cove, we were disappointed not to see the ones that are as large as cruise ships!

We saw one!
Keep reading: Travel Mistakes You May Be Making (and how to fix them)

Want more about Elliston and Newfoundland? You’ll find it on my Canada Page!

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One response to “Everything You Need to Know to Plan an Overnight Trip to Elliston, Newfoundland”

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