In 1966 in his song, Island of Newfoundland, Burt Cuff wrote, “In the cold Canadian waters, north from the coast of Maine, there’s an island called Newfoundland, swept by snow, wind and rain; on the island there’s a village with its customs and its ways….”. On the island ‘the people make a living on the land and on the sea’. Cuff’s words remain as true today as they did in 1966 as visitors experience a unique lifestyle shaped by the sea for over 500 years in some spectacular places to visit in Newfoundland.
If planning a trip to the east coast of Canada this summer, it will be impossible to explore the more than 400, 000 square kilometres of land in one trip. Choose to explore the Avalon and Eastern regions and discover lighthouses that dot our coastline as some of the interesting places to visit in Newfoundland.
Fishermen have long relied on lights from lighthouses to guide them from the perils of the sea. On the Avalon Peninsula, visit the capital city of St. John’s and see the first lighthouse in Newfoundland, the Fort Amherst Lighthouse, a National Historic Site today, which was built on the south side of the entrance to St. John’s harbour in 1810. The lighthouse standing there today was built in 1951 and for a real adventure stay at the lighthouse keepers’ cottages which are now the popular newly renovated Fort Amherst Vacation Homes.
Among the worthwhile places to visit in Newfoundland, take a 20 minute drive from St. John’s to the National Historic Site and oldest original lighthouse in Newfoundland, Cape Spear Lighthouse. Surrounded by amazing scenery, this lighthouse is at the most easterly point in North America and has been restored to its 1839 appearance.
On the southern tip of the Avalon Peninsula sitting on the edge of a barren landscape, find the Cape Race Lighthouse, another National Historic Site. Manned year round, the lighthouse has one of the most powerful lights in the world and is the first and last light ships will see crossing the Atlantic. With so much interesting history, Cape Race lighthouse is a definite must when it comes to places to visit in Newfoundland. The location for Newfoundland’s first wireless communication station, the site was established a few years after Marconi sent the first transatlantic message from Signal Hill. For Titanic fans, this site received the distress signal after the Titanic hit an iceberg off Newfoundland waters.
Leave St. John’s and drive 3 ½ hours to Bonavista, one of the great historic places to visit in Newfoundland. This is where John Cabot first made landfall in Newfoundland in 1497. Just outside the town you will find the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse which operated from 1843 to 1962 and is one of the most visited provincial historic sites in Newfoundland where you can see the same seal oil fuelled catoptric light apparatus that was used in the 1800s.
When looking for places to visit in Newfoundland, come visit the lighthouses of Newfoundland for a study of history and architecture as well as the adventure of witnessing whales and icebergs.