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BringFido’s Guide to Newfoundland and Labrador

Posted by Billy Francis

Separated by the Strait of Belle Isle, Newfoundland and Labrador make up Canada’s easternmost province. We can thank the rugged region for Newfoundlands, one of the oldest working dog breeds, and the Labrador Retriever, the world’s most popular pup. Bring your four-legged friend along to tread in her ancestral pawprints on epic coastal pathways, join you for the freshest catch on a waterfront patio, and sleep soundly at cozy lodgings that go all out for canine guests.

Things to Do

Man, this guy has got “stay!” down. Photo by @hbenjamin.photo.gallery

Welcome to your Labrador’s homeland, where natural beauty meets happy people and colorful towns.

Dog Statues on the Water

Harbourside Park pays homage to its most important residents with a bronze statue of a Labrador next to a Newfoundland. Snap a picture of your best friend attempting to sit as still as the statue, then continue walking to Signal Hill National Historic Site for an epic coastal overlook and watch boats entering the harbor.

Strike Out to Viking Town

Newfoundlands, or Newfies as they’re commonly referred to, are rumored to have evolved from the black “bear” dogs brought to the region around 1000 C.E. by Vikings. Fido can get a glimpse into the past at Norstead Viking Village in Saint Lunaire-Griquet. Located near The UNESCO World Heritage Viking Site, this hidden gem places history into the hands (and paws) of visitors. Join costumed interpreters in the Chieftain's Hall for mysterious tales, watch a blacksmith forging iron, step aboard a replica of the Viking ship "Snorri,” and learn skills like pottery.

“Ruff” on the Row

In the city of St. John on Newfoundland’s southeast corner, take your pooch for a walk down Jellybean Row and snap pictures of him next to the iconic chain of colorful buildings. Then continue to St. John’s Pedestrian Mall for an afternoon of shopping, snacking and hanging out with locals. The Bee’s Knees is one of the shops in the outdoor mall that allows pets inside with sustainable items to take home with you.

“There’s nothing gross about this morn’.” Photo by @jobin.gunnerthedoodle

Wag at a World Heritage Site

Gros Morne National Park on the west coast of Newfoundland is a mystical place to explore with your outbound hound. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site in the region, it’s home to incredible fjords, craggy cliffs, magnificent mountains, beaches and forestland lined with twisting trails that have to be seen to be believed. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, hike the Tablelands to see where the theory of plate tectonics sprung to life and walk over an ancient sea floor together.

“Fur-st” to See the Sunrise

See the first sunrise in North America at Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site. Constructed back in 1836, the oldest surviving lighthouse in the region is situated on a rugged cliff on Canada’s easternmost point. Leashed dogs are welcome to join their owners on the grounds surrounding the lighthouse to enjoy magnificent ocean views.

Enjoy lake life. Photo by NL Boat Tours

Mutt Meet Marine Life

Once you’ve toured the land, it’s time to explore the surrounding water with one of the pet-friendly boat tours in the area. NL Boat Tours welcomes well-behaved pups on board to help catch cod, view puffins in their natural habitat, and search the water for humpback whales. Just remember to bring your dog’s jacket along!

Unleash by the Lake

Let your dog loose at Quidi Vidi Lake Dog Park. This popular fenced space is divided into small and large areas, which allows smaller breeds to play freely away from overexcited Newfoundlands. Before you head back to your hotel for the night, go for a walk around the lake with your leashed pooch and admire the colorful buildings and boats in the marina.

Discover New Sights in Newfoundland

Learn all about the ins and outs of the region’s most populated city with St. John's Walking Tours. Sign up with your pup for the Signature Tour, the most comprehensive walking tour in town. Beginning downtown, the tour leads to Jellybean Row and back, featuring stories, oddities and a deep dive into the region’s history along the way. If 2.5 hours is too much for your pup’s little legs, book the shorter Core Tour instead.

Places to Stay

“Boutique with my bestie.” Photo by @nymeria_northern_inuit

Newfoundlands, the gentle giants of the canine kingdom, need a cozy place to lay their heads at the end of a long day. Fortunately, there’s room to sprawl out at these pet-friendly lodgings.

Boutique with your Bestie

The Hew & Draw Hotel is an elegant boutique getaway in the heart of Corner Brook that aims to make your pet’s stay as comfortable as yours. Four-legged guests can use a plush dog bed and bowls during their stay, and they’ll receive complimentary treats and belly rubs upon arrival. Slip on your dog’s leash and head to the lounge to warm up by the fireplace or head up to the rooftop to gather around the fire table and mingle with other guests. Pet-friendly suites are spacious and have hardwood floors for easy cleanup.

Coastal Cabin with your Canine

Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve is a protected area that boasts a variety of unique plants due to abundant limestone and a harsh climate rarely found elsewhere. Burnt Cape Cabins in Raleigh offers incredible tours of the area and a cozy place to stay in the heart of the reserve. Dogs are invited to join you in this secluded corner of the region.

“Water, water everywhere and a bowl of it to drink!” Photo by @oceanviewgrosmorne

Pet-Friendly Pub and Stay

Ocean View Hotel is a striking building in Rocky Harbour just a stone’s throw away from Gros Morne National Park. The colorful waterfront hotel offers a variety of pet-friendly rooms with hardwood floors and easy access to outdoor areas. Once you’ve settled into your spacious room, make your way to the pet-friendly patio at the hotel’s Anchor Pub where Fido can rehydrate and you can fill up on lobster sandwiches, mussels and more.

A Historic Stay Awaits

Glynmill Inn is an elegant place to stay with your four-legged travel companion in Corner Brook. Built in 1923, the inn retains its historic charm and is decorated in the “old English style.” Take a walk with your dog around the grounds and down to the pond before settling into your grand room for the night.

“So many ways to relax.” Photo by Airbnb

Otter and Fox Cottage

Otter and Fox Cottage in Happy Valley Goose Bay offers breathtaking views of the water to wake up to every morning. With lots of privacy, the house is located through a luscious forest at the end of a lane. If your dog has great recall and won't split if he sees wildlife, let him loose to join you by the fire pit or down by the water for a bracing dip in Gosling Lake from the private dock.

Comfort in St. John’s

Holiday Inn Express & Suites St John's Airport provides visitors with pet-friendly affordable accommodations in a convenient location. Pets are assigned to rooms on the ground floor for easy access to the property’s large, outdoor pet relief area. But, if Fido needs more room to stretch his legs, you’re just a short distance to Rennie’s River Trail, a paved walking path that follows the banks of Rennie’s River.

Gros Morne Glamping

This Gros Morne dome is a unique glamping getaway next to gorgeous natural features like Trout River, Tablelands and the Elephants Head mountain formation. If you’ve ever wanted to glamp with your dog in an Airbnb, this geodesic dome is a perfect place to start. Shoes aren’t allowed inside, so bring along your slippers for Fido to fetch every morning.

Dog-Friendly Restaurants

“The usual, please.” Photo by Facebook.com/thebatterycafe

Pubs, grub and hearty meals await you and your pooch when hunger strikes in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Recharge at the Cafe

Battery Cafe boasts “good vibes, great views and amazing coffee,” but most importantly, a walk-up window and pet-friendly patio. Peckish pups can beg for the last bite of your warming porridge for breakfast or grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. If you don’t feel like sharing, distract your hungry hound with a treat of his own.

A Hop, Skip and Jump Away

Skipper’s Restaurant claims to be a “port of comfort on your voyage of discovery.” Watch the sunset with a plate of traditional Newfoundland cuisine, followed by homemade desserts on the beautiful deck located on the Bonavista Harbour Front.

“We’re on a pup crawl!” Photo by Facebook.com/thetrinitypubnl/

Pub + Pup = Good Times

Escape the chill with your Chow Chow at The Trinity Pub & Oderin Hall. Bring your furry best friend inside this popular dive bar that hosts live music every Friday and Saturday night. If you’d prefer some space outside, hang out on the pet-friendly patio with a beer instead.

Cozy Chalet Dining

Gather around the heating lamp on the pet-friendly deck at Red Ochre Cafe on the shore of Conception Bay. Here, you can dig into a succulent chicken sandwich on a homemade pretzel bun or taste fish and chips made with the freshest local catch.

“If I stare long enough a treat will appear.” Photo by @bear.thepup2021

“Paw” Another One

Set sail with your Saluki to Port Rexton Brewery + Tap Room. Located in the rural town of Port Rexton, dogs are invited to join in the fun outside in the beer garden and on the outdoor patio. If you’re planning on working remotely, log onto the free WiFi with a beer in hand and a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich from the on-site Oh My Cheeses food truck.

Brews and views with Fido at Dildo. Photo by @mackenziechambs

Brews and Views

Like the famous Hollywood sign, there are big white letters spelling out “DILDO” on the mountainside of this Newfoundland island to let you know you’re in the right place. Head to Dildo Brewing CO. and Museum to learn about the quaint fishing village from the “Dildonians” who live there. Order a refreshing beer and menu items that include seafood and enjoy them on the waterfront deck overlooking Dildo Cove.

A Viking Feast

The Norseman Restaurant in L'Anse aux Meadows is situated near the site of a Nordic settlement from over 1,000 years ago. Dine outside with a steaming bowl of clam chowder, butternut squash soup or a fresh lobster from the enclosed crate in the ocean just steps away from the restaurant.

What are your favorite dog-friendly things to do in Newfoundland and Labrador? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

Banner photo by iStock/mariakbell.