5 Picture Perfect Locations on the Southwest CoastBy: Newfoundland & Labrador
The southwest coast stretches from Port aux Basques to Stephenville, including all communities in between, and encompasses the Port au Port Peninsula. The boreal forest of the Long Range Mountains rises up from peat bogs that meet coastlines of sand and rock strewn with rivers and brooks rushing out to the sea.
This melange of landscapes is ideal for farming, salmon fishing, birding, and ATV adventures. And as humans have proved over the decades, it also makes for strategic placement of a wide array of infrastructure from lighthouses to military bases.
Need to capture a perfect moment? Here are some picture perfect locations on the Southwest Coast.
J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park
It's hard to take a bad photo of J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park! This park is just 10 kilometres from Channel-Port aux Basques, the gateway to the island of Newfoundland for those travelling by the Marine Atlantic ferry. The photo centrepiece here is the spectacular beach and its expanse of fine sand. Mind the cautionary signs, though—this place is a breeding habitat for the endangered Piping Plover.
Rose Blanche Lighthouse (Route 470)
The restored historic granite lighthouse, a registered heritage structure, was constructed overlooking Cabot Strait in 1871. Its white light once protected fishers and sailors from the dangers of stormy and foggy seas. Now a red light flashes as a dedication to light keepers and mariners of days gone by.
Order a picnic from the nearby Grub Box to dine on the rocks with the lighthouse above you. For an added historic element to your photos, ask lighthouse staff about renting traditional period costumes.
Main Street, Stephenville
Stephenville's charming Main Street is the shopping hub of the town and is reminiscent of days gone by. Once an American military base, the town is the perfect backdrop for classic photos and annually hosts The Friendly Invasion festival. Red brick sidewalks, street signs bearing the names of American states, and the replica F-102 Delta "Dagger" fighter jet all make for fun photo ops. Take a guided tour of the Regional Museum of Art and History, a tactile museum that tells the story of Stephenville.
Use the town's Walk-A-Ways trails to explore beyond Main Street or visit the ancient carboniferous fossil trees of Blanche Brook to see the evolution of trees preserved in stone.
Our Lady of Mercy Heritage Church
Located at the beginning of the Port au Port Peninsula in the community of Port au Port West, this epic weather-beaten wooden church has stood the test of time. Taking 11 years to complete, from 1914-1925, the church stands tall at 35m (115 ft) and is a testament to the ingenuity of Newfoundlanders. The alter rail was patiently hand carved by an elderly fisherman and the ceiling was crafted in the same fashion as a schooner's hull. Stained glass windows gaze across Port au Port Bay towards the Long Range Mountains. Both a spiritual and romantic setting, many couples choose to take their wedding photos here.
Park-Boutte du Cap
On the western edge of the Port au Port Peninsula just outside the town of Cape St. George, the waves from the Gulf of St. Lawrence crash against a rocky formation known as the "boot of the Cape." Park-Boutte du Cap is a favourite picnic area for locals to bird and whale watch. To reach this spectacular backdrop of unspoiled natural scenery and steep cliffs requires only a short drive along a dirt road. No hiking required!
Have an image from the SouthWest Coast you would like to share with us? Tag us on Instagram @newfoundlandlabrador and use #ExploreNL
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