Do I need a car when visiting St John’s?

Jeep with kayak on top drives through Gros Morne National Park

There’s plenty to see in downtown St. John’s on foot...

…but if you want to explore further afield,  you do need a car when visiting St. John’s. If you’re flying into St. John’s you can use the downtown transit system (Metrobus) or taxis.  But seeing just downtown St. John’s, and perhaps a couple of short taxi rides to nearby sites is not really seeing Newfoundland.

Having your own means of transportation is the only way to really experience this amazing island.

Jeep with kayak on top drives through Gros Morne National Park

However, renting a car can be a little tricky, as they do sell out quickly. We recommend reserving your rental car as early as possible. Outside the city the traffic is light and the roads are clear, so you won’t have any problems exploring sites. Here’s some of our favourite places to visit and ones our guests love.

Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site is about 16 km (9 mi) from downtown St Johns and has been warning ships of impending land since 1836. There’s a fabulous tour as well as delicious refreshments at the café. You can even pre-order a sunrise or lunchtime picnic to enjoy on the barrens and cliffs of Cape Spear.

Interestingly Cape Spear was originally named Cabo da Esperança, meaning “cape of hope” in Portuguese, which became Cap d’Espoir in French and finally “Cape Spear”

If you love hiking, then the East Coast Trail, a 336 kilometres (209 mi) coastal footpath is right up your alley. It is made up of 25 linked wilderness paths and passes through more than 30 communities. It was named one of the best adventure destinations by National Geographic in 2012 and is extended and improved every year. The views from this trail are simply stunning.

With a car, you can easily access any one of the trails, including our favourite, Deadman’s Bay Path, where you can find an amazing swimming hole at Soldier’s Pond.

View of Signal Hill and Cabot Tower from Soldier's Pond
Globe-style theatre in the woods at Cupids

Another favourite day trip of ours is to Brigus and Cupids. Brigus is a sweet little fishing community about 85 km (50 mi) from downtown. It is a picture postcard reminiscent of an English village. Every summer over 12,000 visitors from around the world come to the annual Blueberry Festival enjoy three days of music, traditional food, dancing, and fireworks.

If you’re into theatre, Perchance Theatre calls nearby Cupids home. Every year the folks from the resident professional theatre company build a Globe-style theatre and present Shakespeare and other classical plays.

When will you visit St. John's?

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