Whether you choose a self guided trip or use a well-established and experienced local tour company we encourage you to take the time to explore St. John’s and the surrounding areas. You will find in the following sections samples of day trips and overnight excursion for pre and post convention travel. You will get samples of group events and guided tours to incorporate into your event. This is just a sample so please do call our partner tour guides and DMC for more information.
You can experience the spectacular view of the Narrows, the opening of the harbour, from two vantage points, on water or from above.
Hike the North Head Trail from the Lower Battery. Weave your way through the iconic colourful house and streets built along cliff lines in one of St. John’s famous neighborhoods. You will be standing at the mouth of the Narrows half way through the hike. Take the groomed Parks Canada trial up the back of Signal Hill and experience the breathtaking view from Cabot Tower. A walk back down the hill you will cross the Interpretation Centre and if the timing is right the Signal Hill Tattoo. Stop in the Johnson Geo Centre for an interesting look at the rocks you just climbed from the inside out. Cut from the ancient rock go deep underground to experience the story of planet Earth.
If it is the water perspective you rather, walk to the harbour front and hop on a boat tour to navigate along the lower Battery, through the Narrows and out into the Atlantic for a whale watching adventure. Look back at the city as it rises from the water. It is a lovely perspective to see what mariners experienced as they sailed to safe haven. Your boat tour operator gets you up close and personal to Fort Amherst and you get a bird’s eye view of Cape Spear National Park. In addition to the whale watching adventure, iceberg viewing may also be possible.
500 years provides plenty of time to twist and turn the stories of days gone by. We boast lore and legend, but there are truths in the history of this great city and its people that are worthy of your time.
Immerse yourself in our culture at Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest public cultural space. It’s the place where it all comes together – our history, heritage and artistic expression. The Rooms unites the Provincial Archives, Art Gallery and Museum. A place for people, The Rooms is a portal to the many stories our province has to tell.
Travel east on Military Road to Commissariat House built by British Military Engineers in 1818-1820, and was the finest house in St. John’s until Governor Cochrane’s mansion, now Government House, was completed in 1831.
The Newman Wine Vaults tell the amazing story of a 300-year connection between wine produced in sunny Portugal, aged in the cool climate of Newfoundland, and sipped by England’s aristocracy for generations. It’s all about pirates, port and profit…
After almost 100 years of service, the people of Newfoundland can no longer hear the Conductor’s whistle, or the sound of an engine passing by but you can learn about its storied past at the completely restored 107 year old railway building, the Railway Coastal Museum. It houses over 100 exhibits and displays telling the story of the Newfoundland Railway and Coastal Boat Service. It features a 90 foot diorama of the Newfoundland Railway passenger car.
Dine and shop your way through historic downtown. One thing is certain, you won’t be able to complete this journey in three hours or three days – you are spoiled for choice. The culinary experience in St. John’s is divine. Award winning culinary teams, farm to fork menus, and extensive wine lists are a foodie’s delight. Shopping is eclectic and worldly. Local artisans show well with extensive crafts, jewelry, clothing and art, many using local materials where possible to create a one of a kind item. Shop, eat… repeat.
No matter what your daytime experience, you can cap off each day with musical theatre, plays, storytelling, AHL hockey or outdoor performances. Every night there is live music in St. John’s; jazz, soft rock and traditional Irish Newfoundland music. Infamous George Street is densely populated with pubs and nightclubs to suit anyone’s taste.
Start your day with a visit to Quidi Vidi Village just 3km from downtown. Flakes and fishing stages stand the test of time in this sheltered harbour. Visit the Quidi Vidi Brewery for a taste of locally crafted brew – its noon somewhere! Proceed north to Marine Drive and stop for a picture and a saunter on Middle Cove Beach. Ask the locals if the capelin are running. If so make the time to return. You will be glad you did. Continue into the town of Torbay and into Flatrock. It’s a coastal drive with plenty of stops and the potential for whales and iceberg viewing in season. You will travel west to Portugal Cove where you can have a casual lunch at one of the eateries or a fine dining experience at Atlantica Restaurant before proceeding to the Bell Island ferry. A tour of the underground mines is a fascinating experience. Alternately end your day at Atlantica and Beach House for a Conception Bay sunset you soon won’t forget.
There is still more to explore in Conception Bay. You can take a day trip and return to St. John’s or decide to overnight in one of the many quaint towns on the Northern Avalon. Three and four star accommodations are available along with excellent dining options. Adventure seekers have found the right coast and the guides at Ocean Quest and help you make the best out of your stay. Scuba diving, boat tours and spa treatments all offered by this Canadian Tourism Commission, Signature Experience operator. If it is history you are after, Cupids is home to the Cupids Legacy Centre home of Canada’s first official English colony established in 1610. Brigus is home to Hawthorne Cottage a National Historic Site, home of the famous arctic explorer, Cap. Bob Bartlett. Harbour Grace, Heart’s Content, Carbonear, all worthy of a visit, to learn their story, experience fabulous hiking trails, incredible coast line and charming hospitality.
Before you set out for a day trip, up the shore, we must first get you going in the right direction. In fact you will be travelling south, up the shore. There are many explanations why locals refer to up as south and down as north but you should ask that question yourself and bring home your own story.
Drive south of St. John’s on the Irish Loop to catch a boat tour from Bay Bulls or Witless Bay. Or call from your St. John’s hotel or B&B, the tour companies will come to you. Over two million seabirds flock to the islands of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve and thousands of whales come to feed off the rich capelin stocks. Hook up with a sea kayaking company for the up close and personal experience with the whales. Beginners and all ages welcome. Enjoy a lighthouse picnic before continuing on the colony of Avalon to see how things looked in the 17th century.
So much to see. You will need another day or two to complete all there is to see on the Avalon. Cape Race, Mistaken Point, Woody Island and Cape St. Mary’s are other highlights in the area that should not be missed.
The Discovery Trail is aptly named, as “The New World” was discovered, when John Cabot landed in Bonavista in 1497. This trail of discovery begins at the Terra Nova National Park and winds north to Bonavista, home of the splendidly reconstructed Ryan Premises, which tells the story of the Newfoundland fishery and the Bonavista Lighthouse. The lighthouse is one of the province’s iconic images but must be seen in person to appreciate its dramatic surroundings. A town called Trinity perhaps defines the region best. While there, join Rising Tide Theatre, highly acclaimed for its magical celebration of heritage and culture. Terra Nova Resort and Golf Community and The View Golf Resort offer an excellent golf experience. Port Rexton is home to the Skerwink Trail, an award winning walking trail. In fact this area of the province has received countless recognition and accolades for exceptional accommodation, hiking and walking trails, dining and overall experience from publications like National Geographic, Travel and Leisure Magazine to name a few. It is recommended that you plan a minimum 2-night/3 day excursion to this area or longer if time permits.
Come stay a spell with the resilient folks of route 210. Feel safe and be welcomed. Be charmed by children at play, clothes on the line and livyers nodding hello. Seek Fortune, guardian of a globally recognized fossil site, and also the gateway to St. Pierre & Miquelon, the last North American colony of France. Take the ferry from Fortune to the French islands, a very pleasant and unique side trip to France on the seasonal summer passenger ferry (no cars) operated by SPM Tours. St. Pierre et Miquelon is as French as Brittany, where the ancestors of many St. Pierrais came from. You may choose to stay in Frenchmen’s Cove and take in a day on the links, or one of the area’s many hiking trails. Eight lighthouses keep watch where dories and oil rigs all make their living at sea. Visitor information is stowed away for you at the VIC lighthouse in Marystown, the peninsula’s commercial hub. Stay in Marystown and you may use it as your base to explore this area. Muse upon Grand Bank sea captain homes bearing a “widow’s walk” where women watched and waited in vain for returning seamen. The Theatre and Provincial Museum survive to tell the tales, as will you, invigorated by your time on The Heritage Run. It is recommended that you plan a minimum 2-night/3 day excursion to this area or longer if time permits.
St. John’s has more bars and pubs per capita than any other city in Canada and most of them are located on the infamous George Street. This evening the group gets to experience the famous nightlife of downtown St. John’s. We would host a traditional Pub Dinner/Lobster Dinner and follow dinner with an organized Pub Crawl with Club One as the gathering place once all have finished with their respective bars. The logistics of the event would go as follows:
Pub Dinner at Sundance Saloon – 1 hour
We would arrange for traditional Fish n’ Chips or Lobster Dinner that has made St. John’s so famous. For those who are allergic to seafood we would arrange for an alternative meal. There is bound to be some of Newfoundland’s finest entertainment on hand to keep the group going.
Pub Crawl on George Street – 40 minutes per pub
Once everyone has finished their meal, we would split the group (T-Shirts or Sou’ Westers) in two and assign a musician to each (i.e. bodrhan and fiddler) and arrange for a pub crawl across George Street. We would travel to 3 different venues with the musician leading the group to each venue, and at each we would arrange for the following cultural entertainment: Screech-In Ceremony, an Irish Step Dancer, and an Irish Music Session and Sing Along (song sheets handed out as people arrive).
We would arrange for a free Molson/Labatt product at each venue and we would allocate approximately 40 minutes at each. Once each group has visited all 3 venues we would all meet at Club One for some final entertainment.
Once the groups arrived at Club One we would provide some local entertainment for the group to enjoy a “Scuff, and a Swally!” We would arrange for a great local band to entertain the group offering a mix of dance covers that are sure to get the group up and moving to the wee hours of the morning.
Call Ryan at McCarthy’s Party for booking details. (709) 579-4444 Toll Free: 888-660-6060
One of the most pleasant and most ancient traditions of travel is the sampling of local, alcohols and flavours. For over 500 years the streets and lookouts of old St. John’s, Newfoundland has hosted the world’s explorers, pirates, and princes. Over five centuries before modern European’s arrived in the New World, the Norse or Vikings visited Newfoundland and exchanged their early meads and beers for the native’s blueberry wine.
Participants in our Rum and Rascals itinerary will learn about the continents first taverns, churches, and lookouts. They can sample Cabot Tower rum while viewing historic Cabot Tower and later go underground to participate in a port wine tasting tradition that goes back to 1679 in old wine vaults that also double as one of Canada’s most haunted places. Our guests will sample local craft ales while viewing the rugged Atlantic seascape and listening to local tales of pirates, treasure, and marauding polar bears. Learn about Screech, Iceberg Vodka, and wines made from the wild subarctic berries of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Our Rum and Rascals program is a fun and light-hearted introduction to centuries of serious mischief and worldwide commerce. See the city’s spectacular highlights and participate in the centuries-old tradition of sampling the local alcohols and flavours in a port of call. A wonderful promotion for sponsors, hosts, and especially visitors to the New World’s first city. This can be an early evening event prior to a dinner or catered at each location to create a dine around event.
Call Dave at Wildland Tours to design this event to your group needs. (709) 722-3123 Toll free: 888-615-8279
Today begins with a drive down the Southern shore to Bay Bulls for a boat ride out to the Bird Islands to see the Puffins. On the way, they will scout for whales and icebergs and sing a few ditties. This tour is best suited for spring and early summer when the whales and birds are most prolific and the icebergs are often seen.
After lunch, we get on our floater jackets and survival suits for a trip along the Southern Shore. Today we travel in an exploration vessel normally used by scientists and photographers who come to the area to explore the caves and sea-stacks o on this wonderful shoreline. Today it is our turn! This trip which includes manoeuvring into sea caves and through sea stacks as well as a view at a naturally occurring fresh water geyser is a spectacular event that will be remembered for years to come. Zodiac trips are offered in Bay Bulls and Witless Bay.
Take a peaceful trip through the world famous wildlife sanctuaries in a sea kayak. A well trained guide will give you an orientation while on shore showing you basic paddle strokes and safety procedures of your top-quality, stable, two-person kayak before you even leave the beach. You will get to explore shorelines and hidden coves accessible only by sea kayak. You will enjoy unforgettable backdrops provided by the caves, arches, waterfalls, cliffs, and even icebergs.
Welcome Aboard! Today we will sail around St. John’s Harbour, the most easterly port of call in North America. This was the first stop along the way for most ships heading to the New World. We will go through the entrance of the harbour known as “the Narrows’ with three hundred foot hills towering on one side and four hundred foot cliffs on the other and marvel at how the early explorers ever found this almost enclosed harbour in the first place. Experience the feel the Atlantic Ocean beneath the keel as we look for whales along the rugged coast line between St. John’s and Cape Spear, the most easterly point of land in North America.
Touch an Iceberg (Available: May 1-June 30)
Have you ever heard an iceberg snap, crackle, and pop? Have you ever felt its cool aura? Bring visitors closer than anyone else; close enough to touch these 10,000 year old ice structures. Grab a piece to cool your drink!
Swim with Humpback Whales (Available: July 1- August 31)
Hundreds of whales spend their summer months feeding in Newfoundland waters. They’re playful, intelligent, and love to show off! That’s why getting in the water with them is so exciting! All the snorkelling gear provided (snorkels, fins, mask, and wet suit); moderate swimming skill is necessary.
Inside the Bell Island Sea Caves (Available: September 1 – April 30)
Bell Island erupts abruptly from the sea, and thousands of years of waves have carved towering rock formations and cathedral-like caves into its sheer cliffs. Take a trip around and in to Bell Island for this very intimate look at a true geological wonder.
Held at the Masonic Temple in downtown St. John’s, the day includes lunch and an opportunity to learn a new skill. We engage: a pewter smith, a stone sculptor, a quilter, and a mat maker. Each will speak to their craft in a general way to the entire group before we break out into sections:
The pewter smith will teach his group about the techniques used in pewter work.
The stone carver will teach his group how to work with local Newfoundland soapstone.
The quilter will teach her group how to do trapunto and each will be shown how to make a square featuring a whale, which can later be made into a cushion top or a wall hanging.
The mat maker will teach the group the technique for making mats and will get them started on a small piece with a Newfoundland Saltbox House to be worked in wool.
All artisans have been invited to bring samples of their work to show and some items may even be available for sale if guests are interested. Lunch will be served on site.
This is also a great team building event. The participants will be divided arbitrarily into teams of three or four. Each team is given a list of items (10-15) written in Newfoundland English (i.e. sleeveen, twacking), as well as a number of Newfoundland riddles, put in a taxi and given a time frame (approximately 2 hours) to search for these items. Each team will also be given a Polaroid camera and a 20-picture pack of film with which to take pictures of these items. The Taxi Drivers are allowed and encouraged to assist their “team”. All teams meet back at the designated venue to turn in their “goods” to the judges and to have their points tallied. Points will be awarded for the number of correct pictures, picture clarity, and team creativity.
This program is a great Team Building activity, while incorporating some of what Newfoundland has to offer. This activity will provide an opportunity to interact with some of the locals and offer them an emersion into Newfoundland Culture. We would break the groups into teams of 8-10 and explain the rules of the Race. Each team would be given a list of tasks to complete along with a tool kit (Polaroid camera, film, etc.) The teams would then have to determine how to use the tools wisely in order to complete all tasks.
Each team would start off at a specific task (at the start each task is different). Once each team has reached and finished their first task, it is then up to them to decide how to get to their next task. Check points are held during the event so that you get to see other teams and the event would conclude at a final destination chosen by organizer (i.e. Pub or Restaurant), with prizes being awarded to the team that completes all tasks in the shortest amount of time without going over budget.
Go “around the Bay” along the picturesque coastline of Conception Bay, the home of pirates of centuries ago. We will stop along the way for picture taking and to visit some of the more interesting villages such as Brigus, one of the historic sailing ports of Conception Bay and home of the late, famous Captain Bob Bartlett who took Perry to the North Pole. Our guide will regale you with the history, culture and language of the Newfoundland people.
Visit the National Park at Cape Spear, the most easterly point of land in North America. Here the lighthouse has been restored circa 1836. Explore the bunkers built by Canadian soldiers in the side of the cliffs here during the Second World War. Now you can say you have been to the other”far East” where you can stand with your back to the Atlantic and face every other being in North America.
Tour old St. John’s with plenty of time to see such National historic sites as Cabot Tower, Signal Hill, Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, and the Basilica. Hear the legends of Dead Man’s Pond and Government House and the history surrounding the Colonial Building. En route, we will also see such modern edifices as the campus of Memorial University, the Confederation Building and City Hall. This tour will orient you and give you a feel for the history, legend and lore of St. John’s, the oldest community in North America.
This is a leisurely drive along the Atlantic coast stopping to visit such highlights as the seals in Logy Bay, the beach in Middle Cove where you can put your feet in the Atlantic or lookout for “lucky rocks” to take home for paperweights or for a satiny smooth souvenir, and the lookout at Flat Rock where the rocks slope so smoothly to the sea that they make a natural slipway.
Head to Quidi Vidi village, a Portuguese fishing village in St. John’s, where we visit the Quidi Vidi micro brewery and have a refreshing sample of their wares. From Quidi Vidi we make our way to the historic Murray Premises for a sample of Rodriguez Newfoundland berry wines. The historic Murray Premises is the oldest collection of mercantile buildings in the province related to the fishing industry. Next we travel south on Water Street to the Newman’s Wine Valut for a a sample of famous Newman’s Port. According to tradition, a Newman’s ship bound for London in 1679 was driven far from its planned course by pirates and foul weather. The captain of the ship sought shelter in St. John’s, and as winter was closing fast upon them, it was decided to remain in the harbour until spring. The ship’s cargo of wine was stored in caves and when the ship returned to London the flavour of the port seemed to have improved.