The Perfect Newfoundland RV Trip

Aerial view of the bright blue waters crashing into the magnificent rocky cliffs of St. John's Newfoundland

Ready for the RV trip of a lifetime that you won’t be able to stop raving about? Newfoundland is the perfect summer destination for RVers looking for unique experiences, vibrant culture, rich history, and scenery so beautiful you will wonder why you hadn’t made the trek up to this northern island sooner.

After 5 weeks of RVing around Newfoundland and crafting the perfect Newfoundland RV trip and itinerary, we are breaking down everything you need to know to plan your perfect getaway RVing Newfoundland…from getting your RV to the island to where to stay and when and what to do.

Let our favorite RV trip become your next destination!

About Newfoundland

Gray rocky coast covered in bright green vegetation surrounded by bright blue waters
The landscape of Newfoundland is breathtaking

Newfoundland is an island province on the eastern side of Canada that joined the Canadian Confederation in 1949.

Or as the locals vehemently corrected us, Canada joined them!

Often called the “edge of North America” it is home to the easternmost point in North America, where you can see the first rays of light touch the continent!

With Viking history, the infamous iceberg alley, National Parks that are home to vast forests, dramatic fjords and ancient cliffs, and amazing wildlife (puffins, whales, and moose galore!), Newfoundland is a travel destination that will surely steal a piece of your heart.

Dubbed “the rock” due to its rocky terrain, rugged coastline, and cliffs, Newfoundland is full of raw, untouched beauty.

Not the photoshopped, airbrushed kind.

The kind that wears its scars loud and proud, unapologetically.

Unspoiled and one of the few gems that is not overly developed, it feels like one of those places you don’t want to share so that you can keep it all to yourself.

But lucky for you, we don’t gatekeep here!

And we know you will adventure responsibly, protecting the world’s most beautiful destinations for years of enjoyment to come.

Why Newfoundland Is The Perfect RV Destination

Aerial view of a red lighthouse sitting among a green landscape with sharp rocky edges where blue waters crash to shore in a white foam
Ferryland lighthouse on the Avalon Peninsula

While Newfoundland might not be the hot spot for luxury RV resorts, we believe it is the perfect RV destination for RVers who are looking for a unique nature-centric destination – without the crowds.

On “The Rock” you can hike amazing trails at top-rated National Parks and feel like you have the entire place to yourself, get lost in untouched wilderness, and see unique sights like icebergs, puffins, and even symphonies of whales spouting rainbows just offshore.

Here are just a few reasons Newfoundland is the best place for your next RV trip:

Culture

The people of Newfoundland are a proud and hardy bunch. Most are great storytellers, with strong roots in their seafaring history. We never met an individual who wasn’t open to chat and found the locals to exude warmth and hospitality, embracing visitors with open arms.

Their unique dialect, a melodic blend of Irish, English, and distinct Newfoundland phrases makes you appreciate the unique history of the island and the journey the rock and its people have been on over the years.

To visit Newfoundland is to be immersed in an authentic cultural experience that will help you appreciate not only the landscape but also the people that make this place so special.

Beauty & Hiking

If you love hikes along rocky coastlines with bright turquoise waters, camping on cliffs under a sea of stars, or thick forests teeming with wildflowers and wildlife, you will fall in love with Newfoundland.

Its landscape is soft and green yet jagged and gray, bright and sparkling blue, yet somehow raw and dull. You never know what a day might bring, but no matter what the weather there is beauty to be found.

With no shortage of hikes or outdoor activities, Newfoundland is an outdoor paradise.

Wildlife

If you love beautiful natural landscapes and also want the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife, you can get all of that in Newfoundland.

The emblematic moose reigns supreme here, with an impressive population estimated at over 120,000—more moose per square kilometer than anywhere else in North America. You will see signs warning you to look out for moose in the roads, but even still there is no guarantee you will see them… even if you make it your mission as we did!

Perhaps you will have better luck!

If you don’t see moose, there is plenty more to encounter! Along the rugged coasts, you can also catch a glimpse of adorable puffins, charmingly adorned with vibrant orange beaks, as they nest in the cliffs.

The waters surrounding Newfoundland also teem with life, hosting impressive whale migrations, (including humpbacks) offering breathtaking opportunities for whale watching.

Keep an eye out for bald eagles or osprey soaring overhead, caribou or black bears, arctic hare and ptarmigan, beavers, lynx, and more.

Camping Opportunities

A large fifth wheel nestled among the trees in the Berry Hill Campground of Gros Morne National Park
Newfoundland is perfect for camping in the heart of nature

Despite the island being remote and mostly undeveloped, there are great opportunities for camping all over Newfoundland.

You can camp in the heart of National Parks, stay at private parks run by locals, or snag-free camping in parking lots or “gravel stays” along your route.

While there might not be a variety of camping options in each place worth visiting in Newfoundland, there are certainly places to stay in all of the places you might want to add to your Newfoundland RV itinerary.

The best advice we have, if you want to stay at campgrounds with hook-ups during your trip, is to book early! We will list each place we stayed and other great options we saw while touring the island throughout this article.

And for out-of-country visitors…especially when the conversion rate is in your favor…you will find camping in Newfoundland to be cheaper, on average than you might find in other locations.

Getting Your RV To Newfoundland

Marine Atlantic Ferry sitting at the dock in Sydney, Nova Scotia
The ferry to Newfoundland is a large ship with 3 decks of parking for cars, RVs, and semi-trucks!

A remote island on the easternmost edge of Canada, Newfoundland is not the most straightforward destination for your RV adventures.

You can fly to the island and rent a car, but as an RVer, the best way to arrive is by ferry.

There are 3 RV friendly ferry options for traveling to Newfoundland:

  • Marine Atlantic Ferry from North Syndey Nova Scotia to Port aux Basques Newfoundland: 7-hour ferry ride that takes you to the western side of the island where Gros Morne National Park is located
  • Marine Atlantic Ferry from North Sydney Nova Scotia to Argentia Newfoundland: 16-hour ferry ride that drops you on the eastern side of the island closest to St. John’s, the Avalon Peninsula, and the Irish Loop
  • Labrador Ferry from Blanc Sablon Quebec to St Barbe Newfoundland: 1-hour 45-minute ferry ride to the western side of the island (this requires about 30 hours of driving from Quebec City)

If you are a U.S. visitor, keep in mind that there will be certain boxes you need to make sure you check to get yourself, your family members (including the four-legged ones), and your RV into Canada.

There are strict regulations for what you can and cannot bring across the border (including restrictions on plants, certain food items, and alcohol) and you will need up-to-date passports for yourself and rabies and or health certificates for your furry friends.

Truthfully, the idea of RVing in Canada was overwhelming for us at first. After plenty of research though, we had a really smooth experience that was no big deal at all.

You can read all about what you need to know before RVing across the US/Canada border in our Guide to RV border crossing tips!

Getting Around The Island & How Long To Visit

Even though spontaneity can be the spice of life, planning ahead can give you peace of mind when taking on a big trip like RVing up to and around the island of Newfoundland.

There are a few different ways you can make your way around the island

  • From West to East, arriving in Port Aux Basques and departing from Argentia
  • From East to West, arriving in Argentia and departing from Port Aux Basques
  • A large loop, arriving and departing from the same port on either the eastern or western side of the island

To get an idea of how far apart things on the island are, check out this map with only a few destinations routed:

With the added effort it takes to arrive in Newfoundland, we highly recommend taking as much time as you can to explore the island. There is so much to see and you will be absolutely blown away by how diverse the rock is.

How long do you need to explore the island?

At a minimum, we recommend 3 weeks on the island. We had 5 weeks and even with that, we couldn’t see it all. You could easily spend 2 months or more enjoying the temperate summer weather or early fall crispness!

  • It is important to note here that we were working full-time while traveling in Newfoundland (hooray for remote jobs!) so most of our sightseeing and adventures happened on weekends and outside of daily working hours.
  • Another great thing about Newfoundland is that during the summer months, the days are long, giving you daylight until around 10 at night!

Best Time Of Year To Visit

Female hiker wearing a tan hat and a blue backpack looking out over a ledge to the trees and distant mountains in Gros Morne National Park
Looking out over Gros Morne National Park

As the locals tell it, Newfoundland has about 3 weeks of great weather a year in the month of July. From our experience, this was spot on.

Newfoundland gets on average over 60 inches of rain a year, with precipitation over 200 days a year.

May and June are popular months to visit for iceberg viewing along the northern side of the island, which can extend into July depending on the year.

We were lucky to visit in July, have great weather, and see icebergs, puffins, and whales during our trip!

Did the breathtaking scenery and majestic wildlife bring tears to my eyes?

Sure did.

Early summer to early fall will be your best bet for visiting Newfoundland, with earlier months being better for iceberg viewing, the middle of the summer potentially having the best weather and wildlife opportunities, and fall being quieter and filled with beautiful colors as the seasons turn.

The Perfect Stops For Your Newfoundland RV Trip

RV Trip Wizard map with RV itinerary around Newfoundland
We planned our entire trip using RV Trip Wizard

Whether you go east to west, west to east, or do one giant loop, there are a few stops you won’t want to miss on your RV trip to Newfoundland!

Below we break down those must-see sights by geographic location:

Western Newfoundland

A hiking couple in red and white standing with their arms stretched high next to their brown down in front of a dramatic green cliff on the oceanside in golden hour
One of our favorite hikes in Gros Morne National Park was the Green Gardens Trail

If you have heard about the rugged fjords or otherworldly mountains of Newfoundland, chances are the image you have in your mind looks a lot like the more rugged and adventurous western side of the rock.

If you love epic hiking and backpacking with a more mountainous feel, this will be the spot!

The shortest ferry from Nova Scotia will also take you to the western side of the island, making it a popular destination for experiencing Newfoundland.

A few gems to visit in western Newfoundland include:

Yellow rocks of the Tablelands in Gros Morne National Park
The Tablelands, where you can walk on the Earth’s mantle
Two hikers standing below a sea arch covered in green grass at the Arches Provincial Park in Newfoundland
Arches Provincial Park

Pro Tip: There are larger stores and grocery stores (including a Walmart Supercenter) in Corner Brook. This can be a great stop for stocking up on the island before heading to the more remote areas between Gros Morne and St. John’s

Where To Stay

Best Eats & Drinks

  • Harbour Seafoods (fresh catch)
  • Whale’s Back Grub Hub (local fried fish and mooseburgers in Sally’s Cove)
  • Anchor Pub (you can get screeched in and see live music here)

Events & Tours

  • Western Brook Pond Fjord Boat Tour (the top thing to do in Gros Morne!)
A red and white Bon Tour boat sitting in front of the fjords at Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne
Western Brook Pond Fjord

READ MORE: Best Outdoor Adventures in Gros Morne National Park

Great Northern Peninsula

Bright blue iceberg floating in a blue bay outside of the town of Quirpon in Newfoundland
Icebergs make their way to the coast of Newfoundland from Greenland most years

After experiencing Gros Morne National Park, many people might choose to continue on the Trans Canada Highway and make their way east.

If you are ready for an adventure more off the beaten path, we highly recommend heading to the northernmost point of the island.

You will have to retrace your steps in order to continue on with your journey around the island, but we believe it is a worthwhile venture, especially during iceberg season!

Up here is a great place to see icebergs in late spring and early summer, explore the land of the Vikings, and see whales.

Bright green landscape stretching out to the cloudy, fog-covered sea at L'anse aux Meadows National Historic Site in Newfoundland
L’anse aux Meadows National Historic Site

Must-see spots:

  • St. Anthony
  • Quirpon
  • L’anse aux Meadows National Historic Site
  • Norstead (Norse recreation with actors across the way from L’anse aux Meadows)
  • Honorable mention that we missed on our trip: Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve (one of the most important botanical sites on the Island of Newfoundland)
Two icebergs floating in blue water surrounded by lush green vegetation on the cliffs near the waters edge

READ MORE: When & Where To See Icebergs In Newfoundland

Viking Trail

The Viking Trail in Newfoundland is a historic route that spans along the eastern coast, starting and ending at awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Starting at Deer Lake, travelers embark on a journey through Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its striking fjords and geological wonders.

Continuing northward to the very tip of the Great Northern Peninsula, L’Anse aux Meadows emerges, a UNESCO site and the only confirmed Norse settlement in North America. Here, reconstructed Viking buildings offer a glimpse into their remarkable past.

Along the way you will encounter dreamy scenery, plenty of quaint fishing villages, and coastal views that will make the drive along the very bumpy road completely worthwhile.

Where To Stay

Best Eats & Drinks:

Events & Tours

  • L’anse Aux Meadows Sagas and Shadows
  • The Great Viking Feast Dinner Theater in St. Anthony
  • Iceberg Viewing & Whale Watches (Quirpon, St, Anthony)

Central Newfoundland

Couple smiling on a wooden deck in front of Long Point Lighthouse in Twillingate Newfoundland
Long Point Lighthouse

As you make your way east across the island, mountain ranges and fjords transition to thickly forested stretches and bald coastlines covered in greenery marked by persistent ocean spray.

There will be more fishing villages to discover, as well as great coastal hiking, more whales, more icebergs (if you are lucky), and the cutest puffins!

What To See & Do:

  • Twillingate
    • Rockcut Trails, Sleepy Cove, Long Point Lighthouse, Auk Island Winery,
  • Fogo Island (requires an additional ferry)
  • Terra Nova National Park
  • Bonavista Peninsula & Trinity
    • Elliston Point (to see Puffins), Cape Bonavista Lighthouse, Dungeon Provincial Park, Ryan Premises National Historic Site, King’s Cove Lighthouse, Spiller’s Cove, Skerwink Trail
A bright green tent camping overlooking orange cliffs and ocean in Twillingate Newfoundland
Backcountry Camping on the Rock Cut Trails in Twillingate
Ryan Premises structures on the water in Bonavista
A couple standing on a cliff overlooking the bright blue waters of the Skerwink Trail in Newfoundland
Hiking the Skerwink Trail

If you are making your way from the Great Northern Peninsula to central Newfoundland and have a Harvest Hosts membership, a great overnight stop along the way can be found at Bumblebee Bight Brewery & Inn. Enjoy a great meal, wonderful drinks, and a serene spot overlooking a beautiful cove adorned with colorful houses.

Harvest Host Location: Bumblebee Bight Brewery & Inn on Pilley’s Island

A large fifth wheel RV camping at a Harvest Host overlooking the water in Pilley's Island, Newfoundland
Harvest Host at Bumblebee Bight Inn & Brewery

Where To Stay

RVs camping at Peyton's Woods Campground in Twillingate Newfoundland
Peyton’s Woods Campground in Twillingate

Best Eats & Drinks:

White and black puffins with bright orange beaks posing on the cliffside at Elliston Point in Newfoundland
Puffins on Elliston Point

READ MORE: When & Where To See Puffins In Newfoundland

Events & Tours:

Eastern Newfoundland

Colorful homes of The Battery neighborhood built into the cliffside in St. John's Newfoundland
The Battery nestled on the cliffside of the harbor in St. John’s

As you continue your trek and make it to the right coast of Newfoundland, you will find the island’s largest city and a wonderful scenic drive filled with iconic lighthouses, geological wonders, endless views, historical sites, and an impressive display of nesting seabirds.

Eventually, you will reach the Avalon Peninsula where you will find the capital city of St. John’s, some of the most picturesque hiking trails on the island, and Newfoundland’s famous scenic drive.

What To See & Do

St. John’s

  • Be sure to check out Quidi Vidi, Signal Hill, George Street, Cape Spear Lighthouse, The Battery, Jelly Bean Row, Forth Amherst, Cobbler’s Path trail, and The Rooms

La Manche Provincial Park

  • Don’t miss the suspension bridge! The hike is even dog-friendly!
A dreamy pink and orange sunset sky reflecting on Quidi Vidi Lake in Newfoundland
Quidi Vidi at sunset
Aerial shot of the trail system around Cape Spear, with the white Cape Spear Lighthouse standing tall on the edge
Cape Spear Lighthouse (North America’s easternmost point!)

READ MORE: 15+ Best Things To Do in St. John’s Newfoundland

Irish Loop Scenic Drive & Cape Shore

White lighthouse with a red top surrounded by a dramatic rocky coast with blue waters crashing to shore
Cape Race Lighthouse
  • Chance Cove Provincial Park
  • Mistaken Point Ecological Site (UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its impressive fossil record)
  • Cape Race Lighthouse
  • St. Vincent’s Beach
  • Ferryland
    • Colony of Avalon
    • Ferryland Lighthouse
  • Witless Bay Ecological Reserve
    • A great place for a whale-watching boat tour, humpback whales, and puffins during the summer months
  • Cape St. Mary Ecological Reserve
    • Have you ever wondered what 50,000 nesting sea birds sound like? You won’t want to miss the opportunity to check out Bird Rock
  • Castle Hill National Historic Site
    • Remnants of fortifications that played a role in the European colonization of North America
  • Cataracts Provincial Park
    • A short trail to a hidden cascading waterfall just off the roadside
  • Salmonier Nature Park
    • A chance to learn about and see Newfoundland’s wildlife up close in this rehabilitation center

READ MORE: The Perfect Itinerary For Driving Newfoundland’s Irish Loop

A couple standing in front of bird rock where thousands of sea birds come to nest at Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve each year
Bird Rock at Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve
Coastal views looking out from Castle Hill National Historic Site
View from Castle Hill National Historic Site

Where To Stay:

Bright blue waters meeting the lush green coast at Chance Cove Provincial Park in Newfoundland
Chance Cove Provincial Park

Best Eats & Drinks:

Honestly, there were so many drool-worthy restaurants to choose from in St. John’s that it was hard to pick. We do not consider ourselves foodies, so this guide might better help you choose your culinary delights in this vibrant city!

Events & Tours:

Iceberg Alley

One bright blue iceberg sitting in front of another lost in the fog off the coast of Newfoundland

If you have never experienced them before, come to Newfoundland during iceberg season (typically spring through May, June, or July)! It was truly one of the main highlights of our trip.

Iceberg Alley stretches from the coast of Labrador to the southeast coast of the island of Newfoundland.

Some of the more popular places to experience the icebergs from shore, or from tour boats, are: St. Lewis, Battle Harbour, Red Bay, Point Amour, St. Anthony, La Scie, Twillingate, Fogo Island, Change Islands, Bonavista, St. John’s / Cape Spear, and Bay Bulls / Witless Bay. 

Other Places To Stop While RVing Newfoundland

Female hiker and her brown dog looking over the cliff side while hiking in St. John's Newfoundland

Despite all that we did during our 5 week RV trip around Newfoundland, there were 2 notable stops that we did not make that we believe are worth mentioning:

South Coast

Once only accessible by boat, the South Coast is a rural part of the island home to the rock’s oldest inhabitants. With one road in and one road out, it can be a bit out of the way, but we have heard it is breathtaking.

With fjords, beaches, and cultural centers there is plenty to do in this remote community on the south side of the island.

Stops to consider:

  • Mi’kmaq Discovery Centre
  • Rocky Point Lighthouse
  • Harbour Breton Bay Fjord

St. Pierre & Miquelon

One place we did not get to during our time in Newfoundland is the French-owned St. Pierre & Miquelon.

Keep in mind that this is yet another international trip – and your RV won’t be going with you. This will require a ferry or a 45-minute plane ride from St. John’s and passing through customs.

This unique slice of France just off the coast of Newfoundland, is a captivating blend of European charm and North American influence.

The archipelago stands as France’s last territory in North America. The islands boast colorful streets lined with French-style buildings, offering a taste of European culture in a North American setting.

Visitors can explore the quaint town of St. Pierre, with its cobblestone streets, bistros serving French delicacies, and intriguing museums detailing the islands’ history of smuggling and Prohibition. Outdoor enthusiasts can relish in the islands’ natural beauty, from rugged cliffs to scenic coastal trails perfect for hiking and breathtaking vistas.

You can read more about traveling to these islands here. Rates start at around $27 dollars for a round-trip ticket and you will most likely need to plan for an overnight trip based on ferry schedules

Want To Explore More of Atlantic Canada?: Plan The Perfect East Coast Canada Road Trip In Your RV

RVing Newfoundland Map

READ MORE: 31 Amazing Things To Do In Newfoundland

Tips & Packing List For RVing Newfoundland

  • Fill propane before heading to the island for peace of mind. You will come across propane filling at some campgrounds and RV parks. You are also more likely to find it in more populated areas (Corner Brook, Deer Lake, St. John’s) that offer larger stores (like Canadian Tire).
  • Avoid driving at night or at dawn when possible due to wildlife
  • Reserve campsites early, both for private campgrounds and Canada Parks sites
  • Be prepared for rain and fog
  • If you plan to travel off main highways, expect rough roads
  • If you need connection, consider Starlink (most campground wifi is poor or non-existent)
  • Bring a screen tent and/or head net for spending time outside in the evenings to avoid bugs
  • Expect RVing in Newfound to be expensive but also cheap depending on your conversion rate (in general, there are lower rates for campgrounds with hookups). Note that 50-amp electric service is more rare on the island!
  • Produce can be hard to come by (and expensive) and you can’t bring plants, potatoes, or soil off the island. They will check for this before leaving the island and heading back to the mainland. To save money and have more options try to stock up in the larger towns and cities.
  • Consider a travel credit card (we love our Chase Sapphire Reserve as it has 0 international fees and helps us build travel points for future trips) or have Canadian money on hand (most places accept credit and have tap to pay, even the toll booths. Go Canada!)
  • Be prepared for higher taxes; 15% HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) can sneak up on you

Packing List

  • Up-to-date passports for all family members
  • Up-to-date rabies certificate for all pets
  • No fresh produce or plants
  • Bug spray, screen tent, head net
  • Rain gear and waterproof hiking shoes
  • Quality spare tires and spare parts

More Resources To Plan Your Perfect Trip To Newfoundland:

You’ll also want this Canada Parks information:

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