Getting Around Travel Within NLLearn More
With so many memorable places to see and things to do, finding the best way to travel around Newfoundland and Labrador is as important as figuring out where you want to go. Our province is much larger than most travellers realize, with lots of open country.
Approximately 29,000 kilometres of shoreline wrap around our communities, trails, forests, parks, and historic sites. It's a big place. You can't wake up in St. John's and have breakfast in Gros Morne National Park. Once you get the lay of the land, you’ll have no problem finding your way around.
There are two parts to the province – Newfoundland is the island and Labrador shares a border with Québec on mainland Canada. To connect to the island from Labrador and vice versa you can fly, or take a ferry across the Strait of Belle Isle.
When planning a trip here, remember: while there are many ways to travel around the province, it takes planning and forethought. Book as much in advance as possible and plan your itinerary; demand is high for car rentals, accommodations, and ferry services during peak season.
Getting Around Traveller’s Guide
Every year there’s an updated version of the Traveller’s Guide. You can order the printed version in advance here or call 1-800-563-5363. If you are already here, pick one up at any airport, Visitor Information Centre, or the ferry terminal. The guide makes an excellent reference when you’re travelling around the province. You can also download a PDF of the guide.
Getting Around Driving
Driving around the province – whether by car or RV – is an excellent way to experience Newfoundland and Labrador. The off-kilter nature of this place rewards the curious traveller who doesn’t stick to the well-travelled path. Make sure you take time to discover, and allow serendipity to play a role in your adventure.
To give you a better idea of the province’s size, Newfoundland and Labrador is more than three times the total area of the Maritime Provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island) and would rank fourth in size behind Alaska, Texas, and California if it were one of the United States. It's almost one-and-three-quarter times the size of Great Britain. Most of that open space is in Labrador, but even on the island, the nine-hour drive from the ferry at Port aux Basques to the capital city of St. John’s is longer than the drive from Toronto to New York or from Paris to Berlin. You can visit our Driving Distances page for more information.
Tour operators around the province offer self-driving packages, including car rental, accommodations, meals, and pre-booked tickets to attractions. This is a great way to be sure you don’t miss anything, while having the freedom to take the occasional detour.
View our Vacation Packages
If you’re bringing your accommodations with you, there are campsites and RV parks across the province. Many of these locations have services – both functional and mechanical – or can point you in the right direction for repairs if you have a problem. And if you like the idea of RVing, but don’t have your own, you can rent one for your trip.
View our RV Rentals & Service
Renting a Vehicle
One piece of timeless wisdom is to never assume anything. We get a lot of folks visiting from all over, and they all want to see the sites just as bad as you. This means that renting a car is not always a guarantee. Our advice is to book your transportation as early as you can.
View our Car Rentals
There are over 120,000 moose in the province, and all travellers need to be cautious and pay close attention to warning signs. Most moose-vehicle accidents occur between dusk and dawn. If you must drive during this time of day, slow down, scan both sides of the highway, and keep your lights on high beam unless overtaking other traffic.
The Trans-Canada Highway (Route 1) spans the island of Newfoundland from Port aux Basques to St. John’s – 905 kilometres. All highways off Route 1 are paved. Most coastal roads are paved with posted speed limits of 60–100 kilometres per hour. The first 533 kilometres on Route 500 between Labrador City and Happy Valley-Goose Bay is paved. Route 510 is partially paved between Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Red Bay, and paved between Red Bay and L’Anse-au-Clair.
511 Traveller Information System
NL 511 is your source of up-to-date information on winter driving conditions, construction and major incidents, highway cameras, ferry status, and more. Travellers can access 511 by using the free smartphone app (Apple, Google Play), visiting the website NL511.ca, or dialing 5-1-1 to hear key information over the phone.
All drivers must carry a valid Driver’s Licence, Vehicle Registration Certificate, and Proof of Liability Insurance Coverage.
Bus and Taxi
A web of traditional bus service and regional “taxis” covers the island for road travellers without their own vehicle.
DRL-LR has daily bus service across the island on the Trans-Canada Highway, connecting most major centres. Many local operators run a bus or passenger van between smaller towns and along the coasts, connecting to larger towns and the main highway. Larger towns and cities offer traditional taxi service for travel around town, and from airports.
View our Buses & Taxis
Getting Around Ferries
For many years, travel by boat was the only way to move around Newfoundland and Labrador. Even now there are many places in the province that are only accessible by the province’s intra-provincial ferry system.
Communities on islands along Newfoundland’s coast are accessible by automobile via passenger ferries. Remote communities on the province’s south coast and on the coast of Labrador are connected by coastal boats that carry passengers and freight, but not automobiles. The MV Kamutik W. does, however, carry automobiles to the communities on the North Coast.
Intra-Provincial Ferry Services
Saint-Pierre et Miquelon is a little piece of France just off of the Burin Peninsula. You can take a ferry across the 19 kilometres between Fortune and Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, but you’ll have to leave your vehicle in Newfoundland.
Getting Around Flying
With many airports – small and large – scattered throughout the province, flying is probably the fastest way to get around. Multiple airlines connect airports in Gander, St. John’s, Deer Lake, and St. Anthony in Newfoundland, and in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Wabush in Labrador.