4 Nights on Avalon Penninsula

Old Feb 3rd, 2024, 08:32 AM
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4 Nights on Avalon Penninsula

We will have 4 nights in St. John's at the beginning of the trip to NFLD and will have 4 nights to explore the rest of the Avalon Peninsula at the end, dropping our car off at 5 pm on the 5th day. We're coming down from Trinity and would love suggestions about what route to take and where to spend our nights. We're interested in theatre (is there still Shakespeare in Cupids?) and birds and history and walking (not serious hiking).

If you had 4 nights outside St. John's, where would you go?
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Old Feb 4th, 2024, 03:19 AM
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Welcome to Fodors. we moved your thread to the Canada forum
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Old Feb 7th, 2024, 02:10 PM
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Hmmmm.... if you'll be coming from Trinity, I'm assuming you'll have seen the Bonavista Peninsula. (which is a must-see IMHO)
Perchance Theatre has moved from Cupids to Conception Harbour. It's still going to be an outdoor theatre, apparently (I'm a bit sad because Cupids/Brigus is a charming area).

Now, the Avalon Peninsula... here are some suggestions, not knowing details of your interests.
If you look at a map, you'll see that the peninsula is a weird shape, with four "peninsulas" of its own, St. John's being on the NE one.
Taking Rte 60 through Conception Bay South (formerly a series of fishing villages, now the St. John's suburbs), you can head out to the NW peninsular, and end at Carbonear/Harbour Grace. Harbour Grace has a small town museum and an 1810 stone church; Carbonear has some good restaurants, a theatre, and a quirky main street (the monument to a postmistess by the old P.O is notable). MadRocks (nearby Bay Roberts) and Pirates Path (Harbour Grace) are scenic and non-strenuous walking trails.. Then if you cross the peninsula to Heart's Content, there's a lovely lighthouse and the historic cable stations (history of the first transatlantic cable). Down to Dildo (pause for discussion of name) where there's a nice brewery and various accommodation choices.

Heading down to the SW peninsula will give you the town of Placentia, which has an interesting historic site, Castle Hill, a French fortification from the 18th c. Going down to the tip will give you the Cape St. Mary's bird sanctuary (https://www.gov.nl.ca/ecc/natural-areas/wer/r-csme/) and a feeling that you are about to drive off the end off the earth!

You can come up the eastern side and head to the SE peninsula. The beach at St. Vincent's is known for whale sightings. Ferryland has a 16th c archaeological site, and Bay Bulls (you're almost back to St. John's now) has boat tours to see whales/seabirds. Puffins in season!

Have I been there? I live here--near Clarenville, you'll pass within a km of my house when you come from Trinity.
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Old Feb 7th, 2024, 10:05 PM
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Thanks so much! We're really excited about our trip and so appreciate your help. There's nothing better than getting assistance from a local!

At the moment we've booked four nights in Trinity. Your suggestions care great, and I'm wondering about how many nights to stay in what place. Should we change Trinity to only 3 nights so we have more time on the Avalon Peninsula? Or is 4 nights enough? We're interested in history and walks, and would love to see the Perchance Theatre. Any idea what days they perform? I'm excited seeing the birds at Cape St. Mary's and Witless Bay (maybe doing a boat trip). There's so much to see! We're in Newfoundland for 4 weeks and it's so hard to decide the timing.

Thanks so much for the help,
Jo-Anne
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 03:06 AM
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Hello to nfldbeothuk! I don't see many posts from you these days, and I hope you are well.

Jo-AnnePreston, nfldbeothuk's suggestions triggered a memory of a NYT article about the Avalon Peninsula. This is "gifted," as they say, so no need to worry about the paywall:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/03/t...smid=url-share

Newfoundland is one of my favourite places. I lived there for four years in the 70s and have been back several times to hike.

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Old Feb 10th, 2024, 11:04 AM
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Hi JoAnne,We spent 3 weeks in Newfoundland August 2018 it is beautiful place with the East and West coast being so different.

We drove from Philadelphia, Pa to Sydney, NS and took the 7 hour ferry to Port aux Basques. If you drive you have the option of either a 7 hour or 21 hour ferry. On the ferry we saw whales, seals and many birds which broke up the trip over. We found a warm place to sit and nap and ventured outside to checkout the wildlife. The ferry was the worst part of the trip, wife got seasick.

Our NF Experience

A lot of one way roads meaning down the same road to get to a place, not many looping roads. So drive 1 hour down a road spend a few hours checking out the place and drive 1 hour back the same road you came back down. That got old after a while, BUT the views were amazing the entire time, folks very friendly so yea worth a visit.

COD!! you can only have so much cod. It is the first 4 items on every menu which is great, but you can not have cod everyday ….well we did not. What cod we had was amazing.... but got old real fast. St. John’s had no problem finding Great food but venture out of St. John’s and it goes down hill fast. The food on the west coast ie Port aux Basques (we ate at Tim Horton for dinner because we could not find a decent place to eat) Deer Lake, Lobster Cove was lacking. Perhaps we just did not find the good places. Even some of the restaurants we did research reviews were not good. We have traveled a lot having visited all 50 states and most of the the Canadian Provinces. So we know good food when we find it…lol.

Beware of moose while driving they are definitely around as well as bears. Once you get out of an area the next place not much around so if you are low on gas fill up! The weather was in the 60’s in August and it rained very often so bring layers and rain gear. Once you get out of St. John’s it get very rural very fast, lots of trees and more trees....lol

They LOVE coffee especially Tim Horton’s no matter what time of day we passed a Tim Horton’s they had a line both inside and the drive through!!!

The locals accent is sometimes hard to figure out particularly the older folks, I just kinda smiled and said yes.....Then again they probably had a hard time understanding my New Jersey accent.

Many locals we spoke to worked in the oil fields in Alberta and came back a few months at a time. The cod industry really never came back so many folks do what they have to get by.

ATV’s are everywhere in the rural area ie most of the island kinda like the third car in the family. Interesting we saw a group of about 25 stopped in a beautiful lookout, I asked a guy what they were doing...25 all in a group. They said they were traveling the island as a group and staying in B&B at night for 10 days ALL on ATV, wow long time riding an ATV....lol Apparently this is a common thing with locals as tour guide the entire time. The guy said when exploring the options you could have camped out instead of B&B.

Have fun it is a beautiful place to explore.

Stuff we Liked

Bonavista

Dungeon Provincial Park

The town and fishing village

The puffins in Elliston and the root cellars

Cape Bonavista Lighthouse ( some puffins here but more in Elliston)

The Matthew Museum

Nice places to dine.


  1. Bell Island near St. John’s
(need to take a ferry to the island)

Iron ore mine tour ( go below into the mine very interesting)


  1. Gross Morne National Park


Tablelands Trail where the earth mantle is exposed



West Brook Boat Tour would NOT recommend, they replaced the walkway through the forest with a 30’ wide gravel road 1 mile plus long to the lake. Boring boat tour of cliffs which you will see many along your travel through NB.



Green Point beautiful beach.


  1. Rose Blanch
Pretty town with a granite lighthouse


  1. Arches Provincial Park

  1. Blow me Down Provincial Park

  1. Trinity Village historic village, beautiful church and craft shops
    St John’s
Signal Hill

Cape Spear Lighthouse

Petty Harbor ( great fish and chips at Chafe’s Landing when 2 times that good)

Pippy Park & Memorial University Botanical Garden

Downtown area including



Waterfront

Railway Coastal Museum

Anglican Cathedral

The Rooms (history museum)

Fort Amherst (Lighthouse and Fort)

Johnson Geo Center (great Titanic Exhibit)
  1. Castle Hill National Historic Site ( near ferry to St John’s )
  2. Salmonier Nature Park

Tom
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Old Feb 12th, 2024, 02:52 PM
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Tom's list for St. John's is good. I'm assuming St. John's isn't included in your 4 days for the Avalon. If it is, I would take a day from the Bonavista Peninsula, as the city needs at least a day of its own.
In Trinity, be sure to see the Rising Tide Theatre. It puts on an outdoor, walk-around show about the history of the area at least once a week, called the Trinity Pageant, as well as indoor evening shows of various types.

Last edited by nfldbeothuk; Feb 12th, 2024 at 02:58 PM. Reason: was replying to the wrong post
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Old Feb 15th, 2024, 09:30 AM
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Thanks so much! We've got four nights in St. John's when we arrive. We have 4 weeks, so will try to do most of your suggestions!
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Old Feb 16th, 2024, 02:22 PM
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Depending on when you are in St John's, Shakespeare by the Sea St John's does performances in Bowring Park during the summer.
re:TLC195 (Tom)'s post above: The Railway Coastal Museum is sadly no longer operating. Slight correction: Signal Hill, not Castle Hill
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Old Mar 7th, 2024, 03:25 PM
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Doniamacdonald0354, I think he does mean Castle Hill, as it is next to a mention of Salmonier Nature Park, which is also an hour out of St. John's. Castle Hill is a National Historic Site in the town of Placentia, the remains of a French fort.
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Old Mar 7th, 2024, 04:55 PM
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Oh my goodness! We have four weeks, and it seems like THAT won't be enough. Thanks everybody!
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