Where to Stay in Newfoundland This Summer
The Baycation is here to stay. The cleverness of this portmanteau may be lost on non-Newfoundlanders, but the exponential popularity of a bay-vacation (meaning taking a vacation anywhere outside St. John’s) has been spamming my Instagram feed for a few years. Since we moved back to Newfoundland we’ve done at least a dozen weekend trips exploring the island, something I felt ‘too cool’ to do in my 20s. Now I’m chomping at the bit every Friday. And the best part? We aren’t staying in any shabby digs — while there are still plenty of less than, shall we say, modern accommodations across the island, there are now modernized saltbox vacation rentals, drop-dead gorgeous boutique inns and even hostels. There are a plethora of Newfoundland accommodations for baycations with friends, glamping honeymoons or fancy hotel stays.
Here’s where to stay in Newfoundland this summer.
Glamping at Ome
How about some glamping? Another favourite portmanteau of mine, glamorous camping is right up my alley as someone who loves a good hotel bed, so I appreciated the comfy beds at ‘Ome! The nine glamping tents are nestled on the coastline and are ideal for a family camping trip with all the comforts of home or for a different kind of honeymoon like we did last summer. You can read about our stay at Ome then head to Burlington for a glamorous camping experience, complete with solar power for your coffee maker and a fire pit for marshmallows a la s’more.
Beach House in Sandy Cove
When we were kids we spent a few weeks in Sandy Cove every summer. Our family would rent a big house and spend days running down the bluffs into the ocean, having swim races at the pond in Crooked Tree Park or playing board games at the kitchen table. Now that my sister and I are both married, the tradition lives on with an annual Peyton family weekend at the prettiest beach in the province. This is still one of the hardest of Newfoundland accommodations to score, so book early for Sandy Cove! We stayed at The Beach House last summer which we booked via Airbnb. It overlooks the famous bluff and has three good-sized bedrooms with room for the whole family.
Soak up history at the George House Inn
A few years ago I was researching for my North American Traveller article 24 Hours in Dildo, I discovered one of the nicest inns in Newfoundland. You can read about Todd’s awesome hospitality at George House Heritage Bed and Breakfast which offers up exemplary service, gorgeous views and the best breakfast around!
As if the town of Dildo needed more features to attract tourists than its name (which isn’t what you think btw) and gorgeous scenery, a brewery opened there last summer. You can read all about Dildo Brewing Co. & Museum here.
Baycation in a saltbox
We stayed at Gertie’s Place in Twillingate at the end of March when the harbour was still socked in with ice, but we could still appreciate the views. The Old Salt Box Co. has a dozen souped-up saltbox homes across Newfoundland emanating luxury from every beam of their modernized historic salt boxes. Claw-foot bathtubs, crystal chandeliers and all the necessary kitchen gadgets are just waiting to be enjoyed while trying not to constantly gasp at the views.
Daydream (and sleep well) in Trinity
The elegant Artisan Inn offers up beautiful rooms with turndown service and views of the ocean in Trinity, making for a dreamy stay in one of their three restored historic homes. Breakfast is served up at the Twine Loft which is also home to the three-course dinners devoured nightly paired with a thoughtfully Canadian wine list. Artisan Inn also has several vacation homes you can rent out: stay at the 4-bedroom Admiral’s House jutting out over the harbour as I did with my friend Candice of Free Candie while iceberg hunting or the smaller 2-bedroom Gover House, a 1840s saltbox.
Adam and I also spent a weekend enjoying Cove Cottage under the Artisan Inn banner during the Roots, Rants and Roars festivities in Elliston last summer. The master overlooks the ocean and sitting in bed I could almost feel the morning waves swell.
Vacation at Raspberry House
Like I mentioned earlier since I was a kid my family has taken a vacation to the Eastport peninsula for some fun in the sand but a few years back we missed the boat of Newfoundland accommodations. But as luck would have it, our stay at Raspberry House, a Burnside Airbnb just a few extra minutes from the beach ended up being one of our favourite spot with lots of charm and of course, raspberry bushes! Linda was the most awesome host and even gave us some fresh cod to take home with us!
Splurge on Fogo Island
The Fogo Island Inn is literally world-famous — everyone from Trudeau to Gwyneth has stayed there and there’s a reason (actually, many): the daybreak service basket outside your room filled with coffee and pastries, the breathtaking architecture, the personalized island tours with a community host and local music in the bar at night. I was born here in Newfoundland and I felt more connected to the island after my stay last year. I’ve been lucky enough to stay at the inn in the winter AND in the summer the food is as different as the seasons: read about the food at the Fogo Island Inn in the winter or the new menu in the summer here.
Whale watch from bed
My cousin Rhonda has owned her vacation home in Witless Bay for some time now but has only recently started renting it out as an Airbnb, so we jumped at the chance to stay there over the May long weekend. The gorgeous historic home overlooks the bay and you can even whale watch from the master bedroom or the giant clawfoot tub for that matter. This Witless Bay Historic Home is perfect for a group of people to escape St. John’s easily (its only about 40 minutes from the city). Read about our long weekend stay in May here.
Stay in bed all day at Alt Hotel St. John’s
The Alt Hotel St. John’s is right downtown with fantastic views of the narrows and award-winning neighbours — Raymond’s is right next door (plus there’s a buzzworthy restaurant in the lobby, check out the details on Terre here). Pristine guestrooms have high-tech amenities, great coffee and no check out time, yea you heard right, you get to sleep in as late as you want! Check out my staycation at the Alt Hotel St. John’s.
Pod Glamping in Bonavista
A three-hour drive from St. John’s, the town boasts the alleged landing site of John Cabot when he discovered North America and there are whale-watching and hiking trails galore. Charming B&Bs and vacation homes abound when it comes to Bonavista accommodations, but there is nothing like Bonavista Living’s eco glamping pods. We stayed in Pod 3 where relaxing is an understatement: there’s nothing between you and the ocean, so at night, the waves crashed against the rocks and soothed us both to sleep.
Escape to this Fermeuse Salt Box
Our besties Chelsea and Mike came home for an early summer visit so I knew we had give them a good Baycation! This Fermeuse Salt Box was the perfect weekend getaway, complete with all the kitchen gadgets required for our ornate dinners as well as a BBQ and fire pit looking out at the charming little harbour.
Did I miss any of your favourite Newfoundland Accommodations? Tell me about them!
Hike, eat sleep at Skerwink Hostel (CLOSED FOR THE 2020 SEASON)
Skerwink Hostel in Trinity East is the first hostel I’ve stayed at in Newfoundland, but it certainly won’t be the last. Martha and Gavin make guests feel at home within walking distance of some of the best hiking in the province — the hostel is named after Skerwink Trail — as well as Port Rexton Brewery. Since we stayed there last fall (read about our stay at Skerwink Hostel here) they’ve added two more bathrooms and washrooms so there’s no waiting for the shower after a big hike.