Road Tripping Around the Burin PeninsulaBy Newfoundland & Labrador
If you look at a map of Newfoundland and Labrador you'll see a collection of some of the most interesting places to visit in the world. On the island portion of the province, your eye cascades across bights and coves, harbours and bays. One of the many out-croppings of land on the eastern half of the island is the Burin Peninsula, with its sandy beaches, welcoming locals, historic fishing towns, and plenty of hidden gems everywhere in between. These are just a few of the reasons that the Burin Peninsula (also known as “The Boot,” for its very specific well-heeled shape) might just be one of the most underrated peninsulas in Newfoundland and Labrador.
One of the best ways to take it all in, you ask? On a leisurely road trip. Give yourself the freedom to drive around the peninsula with lots of pauses to pop into some of the many seaside communities and coves (especially those with quirky names, like Spanish Room, Calmer, and Lawn), and you’re guaranteed to find an adventure or two along the way. Here are some must-dos for your journey.
Explore Marystown and Burin
Marystown and Burin, two neighbouring towns, serve as a hub for the Burin Peninsula. While here, check out the Burin Heritage Square to learn about the history and the lives of seafaring people that settled in the area over hundreds of years. In the market square, people often gather to sell fish, berries, and arts and crafts.
If you’re ready to stretch your legs, take a stroll along the oceanfront boardwalk in Burin. Keep an eye out for the giant lobster trap serving as a photo prop.
Spend time in Grand Bank
The Grand Banks, located just off the coast, are home to the richest fishing grounds in the world. The area’s fishing roots go all the way back to the 1650’s, so take the time to walk along the historic waterfront lined with centuries-old buildings from the salt fish trade. Admire the lighthouse and then head over to the Provincial Seamen’s Museum, where you’ll get an in-depth look at how the locals lived here from the 1800’s to the mid-1900’s.
Tour the George C. Harris House, admired for its restored Queen Anne-style architecture. Visit the Mariner’s Memorial in the garden, and then pop into Sharon’s Nook just across the road. Sharon has dozens of different flavours of cheesecake on offer—everything from bakeapple to key lime to pineapple—and her collection of antiques and curiosities will keep you occupied as you’re waiting for your tasty treats.
Visit St. Lawrence
This former mining town has had its fair share of tragedy, including the likes of shipwrecks and tsunamis. On a tour with Laurentian Legacy Tours, you’ll learn about the 1929 tidal wave that devastated the area, and about how many of the men turned to a new future in mining after their livelihoods were destroyed.
Then there’s the story of Truxtun and Pollux—two American military ships that went off course in 1942 and smashed into the rocks in Lawn Point and Chambers Cove. Over 200 officers and crew lost their lives, but residents of St. Lawrence and Lawn managed to pull 186 survivors from the frigid waters. Your tour leader will recount the harrowing details of the infamous event, all while strolling through the rescue site at spectacular Chamber Cove.
Before leaving, be sure to visit the St. Lawrence Miner's Memorial Museum to learn more about the miners that lived here.
Lounge on the Beaches
One of Burin’s best-kept secrets is Sandy Cove Beach in Lord’s Cove. After a slow drive down an unpaved road, you’ll find yourself on a long, wide swath of sandy beach overlooking the Atlantic. On the other side of the beach is Sandy Cove Pond, where you can cool off in the stream that trickles into the ocean. For the perfect day, pick up a picnic from a nearby before you spend the rest of your time lounging in the sun.
In St. Lawrence, Shoal Cove Beach is a popular sandy spot for relaxing, whale watching, or playing beach volleyball.
And if you feel like camping out on a beach, book a cabin or a tent site at Golden Sands Resort located just outside of Marystown. The entire resort looks out onto a seemingly endless stretch of silky-soft sandy beachfront wrapped around a freshwater pond. Swim, kayak, paddle board, or just relax around a fire as the sun sets over the Burin Peninsula.
Tips for Road Tripping Around the Burin Peninsula
- Keep in mind that the Burin Peninsula covers a huge expanse of land, and driving times between communities can be lengthy; you don’t want to overdo it in one day.
- The weather can change on a dime, so come prepared for all of it! Fog may be dense in some parts as well.
- Keep an eye out for moose—it’s not uncommon for them to wander onto the road.
- Don’t forget to download our Road Trip Playlist!
Be sure to share your photos with us on Instagram @newfoundlandlabrador and tag them with #ExploreNL
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