Five Picture Perfect Places on the Irish Loop

One of the best ways to understand Newfoundland and Labrador and take it all in is by going for a drive along the Irish Loop. This roughly 300km km route will immerse you in coastal views, historic sites, and the traditional outport culture still alive in the province. 

The Irish Loop begins in Bay Bulls (located 30 km South of St. John's) and takes you on a journey along the coastline of the weathered Southern Shore through countless small fishing settlements such as Tors Cove and Ferryland. Upon reaching St. Mary's Bay you start heading back inland on Salmonier Line where you will connect to the Trans-Canada Highway near Holyrood, returning you to St. John's.

Home to a large part of the East Coast Trail, stunning nature reserves, and panoramic ocean views around every bend, it’s the perfect place to capture the beauty of this province on camera. Keep reading to find out more about five of our favourite picture-perfect places on the Irish Loop!

Puffins in Witless Bay

Wildlife photographers wanting to capture that perfect puffin pic should head out on the water in Witless Bay. There are many boat tour operators in the area who offer tours of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, a collection of small islands that is home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds, including over 250,000 of our beloved “clowns of the sea” – the Atlantic Puffin. Capture dynamic photos of these adorable creatures nesting along the sides of the island, swooping in flight, or floating alongside the boat.

The Cribbies

In the coastal community of Tors Cove, you’ll find a scene plucked straight from a Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism commercial. Located at the access to Tinkers Point Path on the East Coast Trail, the Cribbies is a group of colourful coastal homes nestled in a lush meadow. It’s the quintessential Newfoundland and Labrador scene and a favourite among photographers from here and away.

La Manche Suspension Bridge

Starting at La Manche Provincial Park, a 1.4 km access trail will bring you to the East Coast Trail’s La Manche Village Path and one of the trail system’s most unique features – a 50-metre suspension bridge boasting ocean views on one side and a cliffside waterfall on the other. This is the perfect place to snap a picture of your hiking buddy or capture a dramatic drone shot from above. Continue along the 6.4km path to take in more coastal views or turn back and continue your road trip along the Irish Loop.

Ferryland Lighthouse

 A short walk along a gravel path in Ferryland will guide you to a very photo-worthy scene: the Ferryland Lighthouse is an iconic structure along the Irish Loop, and one that you’ll want to capture from every angle. Be sure to set aside plenty of time to explore the lush coastline, and keep an eye out for whales, puffins, and icebergs!

Whales at St. Vincent’s Beach

If you’re looking to get that iconic whale shot, try your luck at St. Vincent’s Beach. The beach drops off sharply just meters from the shore making this the best place to see whales up close and personal without leaving land. July is generally when the capelin roll, attracting humpbacks, minkes, and other species of whales to this area to feed. As you take in the fresh ocean air, scan the water for dozens of whales feeding and playing along the shore. Keep your finger on the shutter – you never know when one of our finned friends will decide to leap from the water in a spectacular breach!

Share your best photos with us on Instagram using our official hashtag #ExploreNL and tag us @NewfoundlandLabrador

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