As the weather gets warmer all around Canada, cabin fever can really get the better of many of us. However, there is one sure cure for the frustration brought on by cold weather and that is a wonderful spring picnic. There is no more refreshing, romantic and wonderfully affordable way to spend an afternoon. Newfoundland, with its picturesque ocean views and dramatic cliffs, is perfect picnic country. However, Newfoundland's best picnic spots are often it's most hidden locales.
Signal Hill, St. John's
Outside of Newfoundland's capital city sits the historic Signal Hill that overlooks St. John's harbour. This rocky, rough hill is the prime location for a beautiful picnic that offers spectacular views over the city, ocean and coastline. So many people come up Signal Hill to learn about its history and enjoy the view, that the city has even placed picnic tables up there. This historic site is where the first transatlantic wireless signal was received in 1901, but visitors today are more likely to enjoy it as they look for whales or icebergs in the distance.
Northern Bay Sands, Northern Bay
Anyone who has been to Northern Bay knows their secret. They host a long stretch of fine, sand beach within the privately owned Northern Bay Sands Park. This area is famous for its sand and when Northern Bay receives a few days of sunshine in the summer months, it feels more akin to Florida or California than Canada. The park hosts picnic and washroom facilities for day visitors, but most choose to set up right on the sandy beach. If the sea water is too cold, there is a freshwater brook that runs down to the sea just begging to be wadded through. However, the biggest visual attraction in the area continues to be the rocky ledge that towers over the beach, gathering cool clean water in a pool at its top and letting it tumble over the edge into the sea below.
Seven Island Lookout, Placentia
Although it's a bit of an adventure to get to, Placentia provides the perfect view of the seven islands off Placentia Bay's Northeast Arm. Heading up to the picnic spot, visitors get to soak in the excellent views on the Sir Ambrose Shea lift bridge. Once across, a picnic area has been set up so visitors can take their time to enjoy lunch and savour the view. This is one of the rare spots where visitors can see all seven islands grouped together in one picture perfect-scene. Even on foggy days over the bay, it is still a wondrous sight and a great place for a picnic.
Cape St. Mary's Bird Sanctuary, Cape St. Mary's
Located at the very southwestern tip of the Avalon Peninsula is the Cape St. Mary's Bird Sanctuary, one of the most accessible seabird nesting sites in North America. Within the skies and on the cliffs of this bird sanctuary is thousands of razorbills, murres, northern gannets, and black-legged kittiwakes that come here to sire the next generation. Visitors can get up close and personal with all things feathery at the 100-metre high sea stack that has been hailed Bird Rock, but those solely in the area for a picnic won't have to travel far. Near the parking lot along the park's interpretive trail is a large meadow carpeted with soft moss, grass and wildflowers where it overlooks some of the most popular cliffs for birds. Visitors can sit down for a picnic and watch the birds or scan the skies with binoculars. However, those sitting down for a nice lunch should keep a watch on their food; one never knows when a hungry bird could decide to join them.
Gallow's Cove Torbay
Located on the outskirts of St. John's, Torbay is a lovely little town where rolling meadows meet steep sea cliffs. Although it is so close to Newfoundland's capital, few visitors to the province every find their way here. Unfortunately, they are missing out on one of the most beautiful picnic spots around. From Gallow's Cove Road, it is just a short walk down to the meadow that overlooks the cove. This is one of the most refreshing spots in Newfoundland's countryside, but the Torbay area actually has many beautiful vistas that cover the area from all angles. This area is a playground for visitors that are willing to hike the eclectic collection of hiking trails that host wonderful picnic spots alongside them.
Heart's Delight, Islington
For those who have romance in mind for their Newfoundland picnic lunch, what better place to visit than a small crescent-shaped beach named Heart's Delight? This little strip of sand neat the Ocean Delight Cottages is the perfect place to spread out a blanket or enjoy a boil-up. It is a great place to wade in the gentle ocean water and look for seashells while lucky visitors might just have this hidden little beach all to themselves at times.