Get ready to enjoy the great outdoors at your own pace. The Avalon Peninsula is home to beautiful sandy beaches, challenging hikes, lush green forests, and much more. Now that the sun is shining and the days are warm, it is time to head outside and take in nature. Here are just 30 outdoor adventures around St. John’s and the Avalon Peninsula to get you started.
Explore the War Path to the Otter Rub
Also called The Warpath, the Otter Rub Trail explores Arnold’s Cove. Arnold’s Cove was used in World War II to defend Canada with anti-aircraft units and watchtowers. The trail has stairs to take you down on the grey sand beach.
Peach Street, Arnold’s Cove
Watch Birds at the Big Pond Bird Sanctuary
The Big Pond Bird Sanctuary, located in Arnold’s Cove, is a wonderful place to sit and watch saltwater birds come and go. The area is tidal and sandbanks appear that attract sea-gale and other birds to feed. It is an important migratory stop for birds all year, so it is protected by provincial hunting regulations.
Main Road, Arnold’s Cove
Spend a Peaceful Afternoon at Millbrook Garden
Spend a peaceful afternoon learning about the heritage plants from MUN when you go for a stroll through the Millbrook Garden. The garden has well-maintained ornamental trees and flower beds that will delight nature lovers. There is also a gazebo with seating, so you can listen to the gentle musical flow of both Horse and Mill Brooks while enjoying the beautiful flowers that are in season.
275 – 281 Seaforest Drive, Cupid
Free – Donations are welcomed
Hike La Manche Provincial Park
If you like going for peaceful walks in the woods, swimming, canoeing and wading through shallow streams, then a visit to La Manche Provincial Park is a ‘must-do’ for you. While you are there, make sure to see the lily-filled ponds, the waterfall, and the trail that goes to areas where avid birdwatchers can see over 50 species of birds that are known to live in this park.
Route 10, La Manche Provincial Park
Stroll George W. Earle Promenade
Take a stroll with the family on the beautiful George W. Earle Promenade. It is a 974m boardwalk that is set in the center of the Town of Carbonear and surrounds both the Carbonear and Rossiters Ponds. The promenade has a spectacular view of both Carbonear Island and Carbonear Harbour.
256 Water Street, Carbonear
Go for a Walk with your furry friend at Great Beach Boardwalk
The Great Beach Boardwalk stretches 1.4km across the Great Beach and has a fantastic view of Placentia Bay. The boardwalk is part of the Town of Placentia’s Heritage Trails and can be accessed from multiple entrances on Veteran’s Way. The only furry friends that are allowed on the boardwalk are licensed guide dogs.
14 Veteran’s Way, Placentia
Immerse in Nature at Avalon Wilderness Reserve
The Avalon Wilderness Reserve is 1,070 km2 of barrens, ponds, bogs, rivers, thickets, and small forests. This fantastic wilderness environment makes it an excellent place for hiking, canoeing, angling, hunting, photography, bird watching, and camping. However, there are no facilities, public buildings, amenities, or trail markers inside its borders.
Horse Chops Road, Route 10
Free, but permits for certain activities are needed
Have a Picnic at Bowring Park
A beautiful old-style English park just a short drive from Downtown St. John’s. Bowring Park is a popular location for families because it features an outdoor pool, splash pad, soccer field, and a playground. Ducks and swans are often found in the pond and there is bird feed available on-site.
305 Waterford Bridge Road, St. John’s
Spend the Night at Pippy Park
Get ready for an outdoor adventure without having to leave St. John’s. Explore hiking trails, tee off at the golf course, and spend the night under the stars. Pippy Park offers a quiet country setting, while being close to an urban setting.
15 Mt. Scio Road, St. John’s
$30 to $149
Go Waterfall Chasing at Cataracts Provincial Park
A hidden gem of a provincial park, Cataracts Provincial Park offers hikers views of 2 cascading waterfalls and a 1920’s style bridge. The boardwalk and stairs will take you into the gorge and over the river. This provincial park is often overlooked, but it’s worth the stop.
Route 91, Colinet
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A magical and peaceful place, located in the wilderness of Newfoundland. After a short drive along a gravel road you finally reach Cataracts Provincial Park, and you can instantly hear the waterfall. It's a place that not too many people know of, which makes it even better! 🌲
Explore a Chapter of History at Castle Hill National Historic Site
Overlooking Placentia, Castle Hill National Historic Site was a battle site when the British and French battled for control of the lucrative fishery. Explore the stone fort and take in the view of the seaside town.
24 Castle Hill Road, Placentia
$3.90 to $139.40
Have a Beach day at Gooseberry Cove Provincial Park
A popular location for a beach day, Gooseberry Cove offers grassy shore that meets an attractive sandy beach. Camping is not permitted and high wave action usually restricts swimming.
Route 100, Gooseberry Cove, Placentia Bay
Enjoy a Coastal Walk Along Sheer Cliffs at Shoreline Heritage Walking Trail
Pay honour to the past while you reconnect with nature. The Shoreline Heritage Walking Trail is 6km long and will take you to sheer cliffs, beaches, coves, and craggy headlands. From the cliffs, you can see whales, squid, bald eagles, and seabirds.
Mad Rock and French’s Cove
Go Fishing at Outside Pond Park
Enjoy a fun day at the beach and a peaceful night under the stars at Outside Pond Park. Explore the hiking trails, take a dip in the pond, or go fishing, it’s your outdoor adventure.
Main Road, Winterton
$20 to $1600
Rediscover Nature at Hawke Hill Ecological Reserve
Hike through the most easterly alpine barrens in North America. The Hawke Hill Ecological Reserve protects low-growing plants, so watch where you are stepping if you are hiking in the reserve. The reserve is often covered by a cold fog even during the summer.
Route 1, Holyrood
Learn about Native Plants at Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden
You can spend a whole day walking through the beautifully cultivated gardens and well-groomed trails in the boreal forest at the MUN Botanical Garden. There are many spectacular displays of traditional and native plants, as well as the beautiful perennial and vegetable gardens for you to see. The cafe is a great place to have a snack before you feed the ducks at the pond.
306 Mount Scio Road, St. John’s
Adult (19+): $9, Senior (60+): $6, Student (5-18 or with ID): $6, Children (under 5): FREE, Family Day Pass (2 adults & their children): $20, MUN Students (with ID): FREE, MUN Employees (with ID): $6
Walk Salmon Cove Sands
The heart-shaped beach at Salmon Cove is the perfect place to spend a summer day. The warm river water and a 2km hiking trail offer activities for the whole family. There is a canteen on-site or you can bring a picnic to enjoy on the sand.
Beach Road, Salmon Cove
Vehicle $7, walk-in $3, child (under 10) free
Explore Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site
The Cape Spear Lighthouse is an iconic site because it is the oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland. Explore the lighthouse to see what life was like for the lighthouse keepers who lived there in the 19th century. When you stand at the cliff, you can spot Humpback whales, porpoises, and even icebergs at times.
Blackhead Road, Cape Spear
Adult:$3.90, Senior:$3.40, Youth (under 17):Free, Commercial Group, per person:$3.40
Reconnect with Nature at Butter Pot Provincial Park
Butter Pot Provincial Park is an outdoor adventure wonderland. The large park offers forests, ponds, bogs, and heaths to explore and reconnect with nature. The extensive trail system takes hikes through most of the park.
Route 1, Butter Pot Provincial Park
$10 for a vehicle day pass
Enjoy Sunset at Topsail Beach Rotary Park
A popular day-park, Topsail Beach Rotary Park offers a picnic area, a playground, a gazebo, and an amphitheatre. Visit during the evening to take in the famous sunset over Conception Bay. If you want a view from the top, hike the Topsail Beach Bluff Trail to enjoy a beautiful view of Conception Bay.
Topsail Beach Road, Topsail
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First hike this year…Topsail Bluff overlooking Conception Bay. The incredible view from here is the reward for a bit of a challenging upward trek. This hike is about 20 minutes up (if you are like myself and require a breather or three haha), roughly 75 flights according to my fitbit 😁 Unfortunately these pics don't do the scenery justice! * * * #conceptionbaysouth #topsailbeach #hike #scenery #outdoors #view #islands #yyt #beautyday #livelife #bestie #nature #naturalbeauty
Hike Signal Hill National Historic Site Trails
An iconic location in St. John’s, Signal Hill offers more than just the Cabot Tower to visit. The site is home to multiple trails that connect to other trails around St. John’s.
230 Signal Hill Road, St. John’s
$3.40 to $139.40
Go Honey Tasting at Adelaide’s Honey Bee, Pollinator and Wildflower Reserve
Honey Bees are an important part of gardening and the Honey Bee Hike is like no other. The hike is different because it includes opening the beehive and tasting honey, as well as observing honey bees and other pollinators foraging the wildflowers. Walk the wilderness trail to see songbirds, wildflowers, honey bees, and the boreal flowers.
274 Back Line, Goulds
Adults $48.00, Children under 12 years $20.00 (HST included). This is a guided experience
Stroll Chamberlains Park
Designed for all ages and abilities, Chamberlains Park is a wonderful option for families, seniors, and the mobility challenged. The trails are well maintained and made from gravel and wooded boardwalks that go through the forest.
17 Chaytors Road, Chamberlains
Camp under the Stars at Bellevue Beach Campground
Spend the night under the stars beachside at Bellevue Beach. Boarding on Broad Lake and Trinity Bay, the park is home to a wonderful beach. If camping on a beach doesn’t sound fun, there are also campsites available in the forested area.
Route 102, Bellevue
Bird-The-Rock Bird & Nature Tours
Newfoundland is home to spectacular seabird colonies, arctic migrants, and the northern songbird. Learn where to find these local birds on a unique, customized bird and nature tour. You can choose to follow the tour guides or head off on your own with their independent tour options.
Rates vary depending on the type, size and duration of the custom tour
The Outfitters Adventures
Pick up your equipment for your outdoor adventure, or get ready for a sea kayaking tour. The kayaking tour features soaring seabirds, puffins, whales, and sometimes magnificent icebergs. The Outfitters Adventure makes outdoor adventuring easier with their equipment rentals.
220 Water Street, St. John’s
18 Southside Road, Bay Bulls
Rentals $5 to $60 per day, Tours $69 to $189
Snorkel with Whales
Go on the adventure of a lifetime when you take a ‘Snorkel with the Whales’ tour with Ocean Quest. This amazing experience allows you to swim alongside the majestic whales in the beautiful Petty Harbour region. Although it is possible to see the whales from May to September, July is the best time to see them because they are more active then.
Trail’s Edge Tours
Go off the grid and explore what the “backcountry” has to offer on a three and a half hour side-by-side tour. Practically next door to the UNESCO Mistaken Point Site and the East Coast Tail, tours explore the unique landscape and culture.
33 – 35 Lower Road, Trepassey
Varieties on the tour
Bay de Verde Codfish Experience
Cod fishing is ingrained in Newfoundland’s history and culture, and you can learn how to codfish on this tour. Travel to traditional fishing grounds, learn how to fish, and even catch your own cod. Once back on land, the cod is boil up for traditional stewed cod to enjoy in the Heritage House or outside in the fresh salt air.
7 Blundon’s Point, Bay de Verde
$150 per person
Iceberg Quest Ocean Tours
Take an Iceberg Quest Tour and have an amazing ocean adventure. During the tour, you will see whales, dolphins, eagles, puffins and other seabirds, and majestic icebergs floating in Iceberg Alley. You may even get to sample Iceberg Beer on the tour.
135 Harbour Drive, Pier 6, St. John’s
Adults: $70, Seniors: $65, Children (2 – 12): $30, Children under 2: Free, Private Charters and group rates available