Crisp snow prints and wild orchids, Innu and Mi’kmaq stories and legends, and Northern Lights. On Canada’s east coast, at the edge of the Atlantic, Newfoundland and Labrador live in step with nature. Explore this region with eight local operators who welcome you as guests.

By Jane Burgess

 

“Perfect weather, sunshine, fresh polar bear tracks, the quiet. For me, it’s my heaven, and my guests are blown away.” Based in Goose Bay, Gordon Rendell, owner and operator of Blue Spruce X, leads all-season guided adventures through central Labrador and northern communities. Here, the Nunatsiavut are quiet people, proud of their heritage and happy that guests are getting to learn and live their land and ways. — bluesprucex.com

 

Fly into Happy Valley-Goose Bay from St John’s, Halifax, Montréal or Québec City and explore; then, continue your North Atlantic adventure heading south along the scenic Labrador Coastal Drive. In Port Hope Simpson, the Alexis Hotel, a family-run business, welcomes you with local knowledge and hospitality. Backcountry hiking among moose, foxes and porcupines, trophy fishing, and a ferry ride up Iceberg Alley spotting dolphins, whales, polar bears and bergs are on the itinerary! — alexishotel.ca

 

Across the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, in Newfoundland, lies Gros Morne National Park. With Gros Morne Adventures, spend days hiking the Big Lookout, Tablelands, and Gros Morne Mountain, kayak the clear waters of Bonne Bay with Paddle Canada certified guides, and immerse yourself in ancient Mi’kmaq hunting and gathering techniques. Glide through glacier-carved fjords and backpack arctic-alpine barrens—land or sea? Here you don’t have to choose. — grosmorneadventures.com

 

Continue exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site with Wild Gros Morne. Explore fjords by Zodiac, wander along interpretive trails, or try their fresh-baked goods—toutons with bakeapple jam comes highly recommended by operator Alex Chafe, who reveals “Newfoundland Culture and Indigenous Culture go hand in hand: here a lot of people live off the land, we all go hunting for moose, rabbit, partridge, fish, and pick berries. It’s a blend. Sometimes you’re experiencing something Indigenous without knowing it. We live on a cold and unforgiving island in the North Atlantic. If you want to make it here, you need to know how.” — wildgrosmorne.com

 

Further down the coast in Cox’s Cove, Darren Park’s Four Seasons Tours will create an experience just for you: winter, spring, summer or fall. Choose from bald eagle photography, spot water and shoreline wildlife such as whales, foxes, ospreys, and moose, or ride the waves cod-fishing with the only Transport Canada-approved traditional Dory. (Fit for high seas, a Dory is a flat-bottomed boat twenty feet long, eight feet wide, with flared sides.) When your guide’s business enjoys 90% repeat guests, you know you’ll be back to the Bay of Islands. — fourseasonstours.ca

 

After a long day of fresh air and fishing, settle in for an epic, self-caught meal cooked in your own east coast cabin. Arrive by car, ATV, snowmobile or on foot, Appalachian Chalets & RV welcomes guests year-round. From your self-contained chalet, or your personal RV, you’re minutes from gentle walks and extreme hikes along Lark Harbour, the sea caves around Bottle Cove, snowshoeing at Blow Me Down and Copper Mine Falls trails, and skiing at Marble Mountain. — appalachianchaletsrv.ca

 

Explore the Southwest Coast’s Three River Regions, wander miles of white sandy beaches, stumble upon unique lighthouses and experience Mi’kmaq Culture. From your base at Pirates Haven RV Park and Chalets, overlooking the Robinson River, surrounded ATV-friendly trails, the Qalipu First Nations family invites you to join in a Jigg’s Dinner, a traditional Sunday family meal of salted beef, cabbage, carrots, turnips and pudding. Or, fill yourself with moose burgers and molasses buns and soak in the scenery. — pirateshavenadventures.com

 

In George’s Brook, where the roads take you up the Bonavista Peninsula or away to St John’s, retreat to the ShaMaSha Centre. Learn from Mi’kmaq Culture, meditate on nature and companionship, and relax. The word ShaMaSha, often heard as a child by owner Daphne March, conveys comfort and the spirit of human connection, just like the welcome Newfoundland and Labrador offer guests and new friends. — shamasha.ca

Jane Burgess

Jane Burgess is an award-winning producer, writer, and content strategist who specializes in travel and tourism, current affairs and niche subjects such as wellness, Star Trek and regional recipes.

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