Bonavista, Newfoundland has been named the ‘most road-trippable’ town in Canada and for a good reason! This small town is full of colourful historic houses perched on cliffs and pebbly beaches. You can see fishing boats, whales and icebergs floating by from shore.
When John Cabot first landed in North America in 1497 he exclaimed “O Buono vista!” which translates from Italian to “Oh happy site!”. And so, the sentiment lives on in the name of the town near where he landed, Bonavista.
Bonavista has many sites to visit and here are the top recommendations!
Cape Spear Lighthouse
Visit the most ‘easterly point’ of North America. Arrive early to see the beautiful morning sunrise rising over North America. It’s a beautiful site to stare out at the open ocean with the glowing sunrise. The Cape Spear Lighthouse is the oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland.
Cape Bonavista Lighthouse
The next lighthouse to check out is Cape Bonavista Lighthouse! This incredible red and white striped lighthouse operated from 1843 to 1962 and is now home to a museum. You are able to purchase your tickets on-site to enter this informative and enjoyable museum where you’ll learn about the operations of the lighthouse and how families lived within it. This is one of the rare lighthouses where you can climb to the top and take in all the views.
In addition to visiting the lighthouse, you are able to walk along the cliffs to view the whales below.
Dungeon Provincial Park
While not the largest provincial park, the views are stunning! Visit this site to see the collapsed sea cave with a natural archway carved by the sea.
The Mockbeggar Plantation was the former residence of politician and Confederation advocate F. Gordon Bradley. This site is open to visitors and tells the story of life in Newfoundland in the 1930s and 1940s as well as Newfoundland’s confederation story.
Bonavista Puffin & Whale Tour
If you are looking to see whales on your trip this is the tour for you! The Bonavista Puffin & Whale Tour is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see whales and sea life frolic around you. The boat offers a heated lower cabin but if you want to be ono deck dress warm, it can get chilly! This tour is approximately 2 hours with multiple trip times each day and is $65 per adult. Tickets can be purchased online or on-site.
Bonavista Social Club
If you’re looking for a relaxing meal by the water, check out the Bonavista Social Club. The restaurant features seasonal dishes and locally sources food – some even grown at the restaurant. The open kitchen concept is centred around the wood-fired bread oven and the patio offers panoramic ocean views.
Check out the nearby town of Elliston, once called Bird Island Cove, which is ideal for bird watchers and Puffin enthusiasts. Walk along the cliffs to see thousands of Puffins nesting nearby. This is the closest view you can get of Puffins in all of North America. Bring your binoculars and cameras to get the best views.