Bonavista has the largest number of heritage structures outside St. John’s - the province's capital city. Not surprising given the fact that by the mid-17th century, it was habituated by early European arrivals hailing from the west of England and the southeastern counties of Ireland. By 1911, approximately 500 houses were built in the town and some of those remain today.

The moment you arrive in Bonavista, you become acutely aware of the importance of preserving the legacies of its past. History is part of everyday life in the town and you can feel it everywhere you look - from the locals walking down the street to the structures of days gone by and, of course, the accents. The cultural inheritance in this historic fishing town is pure gold.

A Whale of a Time

Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the most spectacular whale watching places in the world. 22 species of whales, including the minke, sperm, pothead, blue, orca, and the world’s largest population of humpbacks, feed on capelin, krill and squid along the coast. Between May and September, these whales can be seen breaching the surface of the water and playing along our shores. Catching a single glimpse of these huge and majestic mammals is an exciting and awesome experience whether it’s from the rail of a boat tour, the side of your sea kayak or hiking a seaside trail on land.

Just the Tip of the Iceberg

When it comes to viewing icebergs, this is one of the best places in the world. On a sunny day, view these 10,000-year-old glacial giants from many points along the coast– in every shape and size. With colours ranging from snow-white to the deepest aquamarine.

Despite their arrival from the Arctic every spring, our awe of them remains new, year after year. Their sheer size sends the mind racing, and that’s not even counting the ninety-percent still unseen below the surface. It was these types and sizes of bergs that sank the infamous Titanic, a mere 400 miles from our coast.

Icebergs are so plentiful around these parts, we actually put them to good use. Like Iceberg Water and our very own spirits like Iceberg Vodka, Gin, and Rum and, of course, the popular Iceberg Beer – all so refreshing, no matter what time of year

Huffin' and Puffin

Puffins are a seabird that call the Atlantic home, and are also Newfoundland’s provincial bird. The nearby community of Elliston is a  puffin viewing site that offers the closest view of puffins from land in the World. Puffins fly close to viewers and often land on the cliffs just several feet away

Gotta light?

Built in 1843, the light at Cape Bonavista is one of the few in the world where you can still climb up the stone tower and see the same seal oil fueled catoptric light apparatus that was used in the 1800s. Experience a light keeper’s day in 1870 – a 24-7 job of polishing glass, filling oil lamps, recording weather patterns and watching the waves from one of the most rugged points in Newfoundland.

A great destination to watch for whales, icebergs and puffins in summer.

Festivals + Events

Bonavista Days

Takes place: Last weekend in July

The town celebrates this multiple day event with food, fun, games of chance, a garden party, live entertainment and of course fireworks! Come out and enjoy the celebrations. You will have a chance to visit old friends and to meet new ones! Organized by Bonavista Days Committee, you can expect:



Garden party

Bobber race

Gospel concert

Live entertainment:  Entertainers change each year.

Fireworks to end the weekend – always Sunday night (weather permitting)

Saturday Summer Music Series

Takes place: June to October

Music Lovers get ready! The Garrick Theatre in Bonavista hosts a music festival each summer called the Saturday Summer Music Series. On Saturday nights from May to October, the Garrick will stage some of Newfoundland’s finest musicians. It will be a multi-genre festival with music of all types and something for everyone.

Canada Day

Takes place: July 1

A Special Ceremony to celebrate Canada's birthday and remember those who fought at the Battle of Beaumont Hamel. Cake, refreshments, games and activities for family and children.


Church Street Festival

Takes place: The week following Bonavista Days

Experience a celebration of historic Bonavista’s downtown core on Church Street. There will be something for everyone!

The Matthew Legacy

John Cabot’s famous voyage of dicovery to Newfoundland was made in a 65-foot caravelcalled the Matthew, almost certainly named for Cabot’s wife, Mattea. The Matthew was a decked vessel of 50 tons, with a high sterncastle and three masts. The two forward masts carried square mainsails to push the vessel forward. The rear mast was rigged with a lateen sail running in the same direction as the keel, which helped the vessel sail into the wind.

A full-scale replica of the Matthew made a transatlantic voyage in 1997 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Cabot’s discovery, arriving for a ceremony on June 24th, 1997, presided over by Queen Elizabeth II. The tradition continues in Bonavista as Matthew Legacy Incorporated has built another full-scale replica. The boat was officially christened and launched on June 24, 1998 in Bonavista.

The Matthew has its own dock in Bonavista and is available for tours during tourist season. The Legacy building serves as its home during the winter. This massive attraction gives Bonavista a unique opportunity to display its heritage, and provides tourists with the means to experience Cabot’s life and times first-hand

The Dungeon Sea Cave

Located at Cape Bonavista, the Dungeon Provincial Park, is a short but scenic route that winds along the rugged Newfoundland coastline. You can drive through this very small park, but for the more adventurous people there is a small sheep trail that runs from the road through 2km of the scenic coast. The dungeon itself was once two sea caves that were side by side, but over time the pounding sea eroded the rock so much that the top caved in creating a large sinkhole. The result is a very neat looking sinkhole that has two large sea arches connecting it to the ocean.

Cape Bonavista

Cape Bonavista is a headland located on the east coast of the island of Newfoundland in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is located at the northeastern tip of the Bonavista Peninsula, which separates Trinity Bay to the south from Bonavista Bay to the north. The nearby town of Bonavista takes its name from this historic landmark. The lighthouse on Cape Bonavista was built in 1843.

John Cabot may have landed at this site on June 24, 1497 with his second expedition to North America (or at another time in the 15th century).

Ryan Premises

The Ryan Premises is a National Historic Site of Canada located in the town of Bonavista. It is preserved as an example of a large-scale merchant operation in a Newfoundland outport.

For centuries, one species of fish clearly symbolized Newfoundland’s history of settlement and growth. The Atlantic cod. Ryan Premises National Historic Site commemorates the rich history of the Newfoundland cod fishery and tells the story of the Ryan family who pioneered generations of business success in the fishery.

Go for a Hike

There’s no better way to explore the natural beauty of Bonavista than to walk along the trails, tailor made for outdoor adventure. Bonavista has spectacular coastal walking trails, across the cliffs with spectacular ocean views. In season, an iceberg may be waiting around any corner!

The Garrick Theatre

The Garrick is a multi-use, 200-seat theatre and meeting space in Bonavista. Owned and operated by the Bonavista Historic Townscape Foundation, this year-round cultural facility offers comfortable theatre seating, state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment including full digital cinema, and exceptional acoustics. At The Garrick you can find the best in performing arts and film.

Be sure to check out their schedule of events.

Rising Tide

Formed in 1978, Rising Tide began by writing and producing political plays that addressed controversial issues for Newfoundland and Labrador. In 1993, the Company created the New Founde Lande Trinity Pageant, an outdoor theatre experience that takes audiences on a journey through the lanes and roads of Trinity. The purpose was to bring to life the rich history of the area while showcasing the acting talent of local Newfoundlanders.

In 1994, the company opened the Summer in the Bight theatre festival as a companion event to the pageant. Each year, the festival brings to the stage a new season of plays, dinner theatre and concerts that focus on the inspiring stories that make this province unique. The festival had traditionally run during the summer months, but in 2002 the company expanded the festival into the fall and re-named it “Seasons in the Bight”. Since then, Rising Tide has focused on developing new and innovative works by writers such as Des Walsh, Berni Stapleton, Kevin Major, Ed Riche, Ben Pittman, Petrina Bromley, Ruth Lawrence and many more.

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Phone: 1-709-218-0905

Email: info@bonavistavacays.com

Bonavista, Newfoundland


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