Check out our new Family Travel Series: DISCOVER NORTH AMERICA: A Family Travel Insiders Guide where parents share their travel adventures featuring locations in Canada and the United States and give us tips on what to do with babies, toddlers and kids in places they have experienced themselves.
This week our Guest Blogger for Discover North America: A Family Travel Insiders Guide is from Breanna from messybunsandmomjeans.com. Breanna is an ESL teacher, job coach for adults with autism, and a mom blogger who helps pregnant women and moms everywhere! She gives us the ins and outs of exploring and visiting beautiful Newfoundland with Kids.
“From the Mountains in British Columbia, the Great Lakes of Ontario, the red clay beaches in PEI, Canada is a BEAUTIFUL place! Newfoundland, Canada, is no exception! Joining Canada is 1949, Newfoundland is the most easterly province. It looks small, but is actually quite vast! But from tip to tip, it is crammed with beautiful scenery. What a great place to teach your kids about the breathtaking outdoors and wildlife! Newfoundland is known for mountains (hence its nickname, “the rock”) and for animals, such as caribou and moose.”
Best Time to Visit Newfoundland with Kids
Newfoundland is beautiful anytime of year, however the best time to visit is from mid June to August when the temperatures warm up and the locals all come out of hibernation. Newfoundland and Labrador is home to a lot of countryside so accommodations can be limited so make sure you book ahead of time to avoid any issues.
Newfoundland and Labrador are quite vast so to explore the whole province you would need at least 2 weeks, but if your short on time you can visit the heart of the province and visit St.John’s and surrounding area which would only require 1 week.
Newfoundland with Kids: How to Get Around
By Air: Newfoundland has two international airports in St.John’s and Gander. Flying is the fastest way to get around Newfoundland as there are multiple smaller airports in Deer Lake, Stephenville, and St. Anthony in Newfoundland, and in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Wabush in Labrador.
By Car: Driving around the province is an excellent choice to explore Newfoundland and Labrador, make sure to plan time to make unplanned stops as the nature of the province will peak your curiosity and create reasons for pit stops. Car rentals require pre-booking as there limited options.
By Ferry: Cars can access between Newfoundland and Labrador by Marine Atlantic ferries, which operates year round to connect the two entry points.
Cruise: Enjoy the beautiful landscape of the province by Water by taking a local cruise.
For more information: Visit the Newfoundland and Labrador Official Site
Unique things to do in Newfoundland with kids
Are you planning a trip to Newfoundland? If so you are making a great choice! You will need to rent a car if you go, but you won’t be disappointed! Newfoundland has many memorable places to see, and the province is much larger in distance than most realize, so renting a car is a MUST to cover the beautiful countryside. There are so many great places to do and see with your kids, especially if they love the great outdoors. Checkout the full interactive map of Newfoundland to start planning your trip. Here are 10 incredible spots to go with your kids on your next trip the Newfoundland:
Cape Ray Beach in J.T Cheeseman Provincial Park
We are starting down in the south of Newfoundland. This provincial park has 16 kilometres of white sand beaches and salt water. From time to time you can even see whales or porpoises! You can see a rare bird called a piping plover and their habitat there too. They are in a near threatened condition and feed on the sand from the coastal lines. You can travel to the Cape Ray Lighthouse, which was built in 1871, as well as the Cape Ray museum, where you can learn about a Dorset Paleo Eskimo Settlement from 1800 years ago! Park activities include: camping, hiking, picnicking, swimming and sea shell collecting. Smokey Cape Walking Trail known for its “smokey” effect offers both a beautiful 2km hike which includes rocky hillsides are multiple viewing points, but in addition it includes nine fitness stations to workout among the park’s natural beauty.
- Change Areas are available and water safety equipment such as life jackets are easily located.
- The area is NOT supervised by a lifeguard.
Gros Morne National Park
This is probably my favourite place in all of Newfoundland! It’s the second largest national park in Atlantic Canada. This spot is special because it is jam packed with wildlife to see, like moose, caribou, foxes and bears. It has several different hiking trails, like Gros Morne Mountain, which is over 800M to the summit, and Southeast Brook Falls, which is much more kid friendly, featuring a short walk up built stairs to the top of a beautiful waterfall. You can also do the Western Pond Boat Tour that takes you around beautifully carved fiords with waterfalls cascading 2000 feet. A popular favourite among the kids is also the Norris Point Marine center, where kids can pet starfish, hold lobsters and crabs, and learn about all the aquatic life in Newfoundland. Don’t forget to grab a tent and go camping! There are tons of great campsites where you can be surrounded by trees and mountains.
At Anthony is a small community on the northern tip of Newfoundland. It makes the list because of a thing called Iceberg Alley. Strong currents and wind drives a multitude of icebergs off the coast of this town every year, and are still available in June and July to see! The best time to view Iceberg Alley is in May and June when the Ice bergs are most visible and offer the best viewing. This is an awesome place to visit to expose your kids to the true Canadian arctic and show them icebergs up close. You can view the icebergs up close by boat, or kayak as many tour operators provide tours to visit the icebergs up close while also enjoying whales and sea birds. If your short on time they are also visible from the shoreline.
L’Anse Aux Meadows
Ever see How To Train Your Dragon? Minus the dragons, Newfoundland used to be a settler for Vikings! Not only was it home to Vikings, but it’s the only confirmed place of Norse settlement in North America! In this area, you can try your hand at blacksmithing or weaving, talk to characters dressed up as Vikings, and gather together to hear stories of Norse characters, like Thor and Loki! Tour the visitors center and learn all about the archaeological excavations of the Vikings such as bronze cloak fastening pin. The kids will enjoy checking out a 3D model of what a Viking Norse Camp looked like 1,000 years ago, or checking out the replica Viking boat.
New in 2019: Viking Escape Room – Tykir has locked away a map to the grapes inside the servant’s hut, but only those that demonstrate a sharp wit and a keen eye can retrieve it. Can you pass The Test of Tykir and take your place at the side of the legendary Leif Eriksson? Find out more about Escape Rooms here.
Tips for Kids:
- Do your kids like to explore? Pick up the free Xplorers book at the visitor centre and have fun doing some special activities. When finished, don’t forget to collect a cool souvenir. (Free for kids 6–11 years.)
The capital of Newfoundland, St. John’s has a bustle of over 100,000 people. Still though, St Johns has more than just city life. Check out Cape Spear, the easterly most point of North America, and Signal Hill, which has rich history in a few wars, and also where the first transatlantic wireless transmission was received. You will see a great view of the harbour, and huge cannons and other different exhibits. A kids trip will never be finished without a trip to a candy store! Check out Freak Lunchbox on Water Street. There you will see a mock of Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. You won’t be disappointed! If you kids love boats, try a whale and puffin watching tour. Newfoundland has the largest population of humpbacks that return each year, as well as other whales and even dolphins. These tours will take you out into the ocean where you can catch a live show.
Newfoundland’s Main Attractions with Kids
North Atlantic Aviation Museum
In the centre of Newfoundland lies Gander. You may of heard of this from having a big role in helping during 9/11. In case you haven’t, check out this museum. It has a section on Ganders involvement of taking care of passengers during the 9/11 attacks when planes were rerouted to this small city, and you can even see a steel beam from the World Trade Center on display. There is also segments on Ganders involvement in World War 2, the construction of the airport which played a huge role in the establishment of the city and more! A great benefit is that kids up to Age 5 are FREE to visit the museum.
Terra Nova National Park
This was the first national park settled in Newfoundland! You can see all types of animals here, you can camp, and also discover remnants of the Beothuk nation, an extinct nation of indigenous peoples. Take your kids boating or kayaking, mountain biking, or enjoy a show put off by the staff by a fire.
Most kids love bugs! If so, come to the Insectarium! There you can see hundreds of displays of bugs, a full bee hive where you can spot the queen bee, and go out into a full butterfly pavilion. The butterfly house features up to 1,000 live tropical butterflies and is the largest in Eastern North America. The garden has beautiful waterfalls, ponds and multiple benches to sit and enjoy. They have a gift shop where you can get chocolate covered bugs (or lollipops if you aren’t that brave!) They also have great educational videos for kids! Awesome deal as children under Age 4 are FREE!
Terry Fox Memorial
If you’re Canadian, you’ve heard of Terry Fox. In school, we started learning about him at a very young age, and had a Terry Fox walk for cancer every year. He first began his Marathon of Hope in St John’s, so what better a place to have a memorial for such an accomplishment! Check out a statue dedicated to his memory and his legacy.
St Pierre & Miquelon
Did you know France is only a hop, skip, and a jump away from Newfoundland? It’s true. Board a small ferry on the coast of Fortune, NL, and 25 kilometres later, you’re in a totally French settlement of 242 square miles, and bright painted houses. Don’t forget your passports! It’s a small island, and easily doable in a day. You can teach your kids all about French culture, and be back in NL for supper!
Newfoundland is one of the most spectacular places on earth! It has rich history, beautiful sites to see, and a huge tourism sector. You’ll meet some super nice people, and make memories you’ll never forget. Have you been to Newfoundland? Planning to go? What is your favourite thing to do? Comment below!