Following the winter months spent in our snowy Newfoundland bubble, the opportunity to take advantage of the long-awaited warm weather is amplified with the excitement of provincial plans to begin lifting COVID-19 restrictions by reopening the borders to vaccinated Canadians this summer. While vaccinated individuals are now given the opportunity to travel throughout Canada, those still waiting to get both shots may have to continue to find recreational opportunities on the Island. Due to vaccine wait times and financial needs, many students may fall into this category, with expectations to remain on the island for yet another summer. Although some students may feel like they’ve experienced just about everything there is to do on the island, I will argue that students aching with wanderlust to get off the island can quench their thirst for summer adventure by becoming a tourist in their own province this summer.
The potential for affordable adventure is totally possible as we enter the second summer of “staycations”. In fact, many businesses on the island have even set aside discounts for locals to encourage people to take advantage of the recreational opportunities on the island that we often take for granted. Travelling on a dime in any country is undoubtedly doable with a little creativity. Listed below are five opportunities to become a tourist in your own backyard this summer.
#1 Leave the city!
Although St. Johns has lots of activities to offer, for many students looking to branch out and try something new this summer, there are plenty of small towns although both the west and east coast of the island offering totally different experiences from the city. For example, countless hikes, beaches, ocean tours, breweries, and restaurants are waiting to be explored in communities along the Bonavista Peninsula. The Bonavista Peninsula is catered to both tourists and locals to provide affordable summer activities for all age groups. The tailoring of these communities to the pre-covid tourist population has created the perfect opportunity for student travel post-pandemic as seen by the multiple accommodations, restaurants, affordable tours, and transportation options available. The opportunity for students without a vehicle to travel around to area is accessible through the different shuttle services travelling between St. Johns and Bonavista every day.
#2 Free Yoga at the St. Johns Farmers Market
If you’re looking to find an affordable activity that allows staying active in addition to maintaining a positive mindset and healthy wellbeing, then look no further as this summer the St. Johns Farmers market is offering FREE yoga classes outside the market to all skill levels. These classes will take place each Saturday during July and August between 10 am and 11 am. Updates on these classes will be posted in the “Free Yoga at The St. John’s Farmers Market” Facebook page.
#3 Classes at the Clay Café
Sometimes finding the time, motivation, or skill to attempt a new art project can totally outweigh the potential price and time commitment to DIY projects. Although art classes can often be pricy, the Clay Café is offering a diverse range of crafty art classes all summer at very reasonable prices. Whether you’re looking to turn a blank canvas into something beautiful to put up on your wall or attempt a totally different project such as glass staining or wheel throwing, the Clay Café will be providing multiple classes all summer to appeal to many types of creative projects.
#4 The East Coast trails
Arguably the best form of exercise during the summer months, hiking gives the opportunity to see spectacular views and get outside to enjoy the weather. The East Coast trail has over 336 kilometres of trail to explore across the Avalon Peninsula. This trail association can lead to whale sightings, potential swimming holes, and views that remind us why we love living on this cold island.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Looking for more student-friendly information on hiking? Check out this article featured on our website.
#5 Explore the Ocean
Living on an island gives us the advantage to experience some of the most incredible marine wildlife in the world. During the summer months, the migrating caplin fish draw in thousands of dolphins, cod, whales, puffins, and other marine life to our waters. The opportunity to experience marine life in such close proximity makes a perfect chance for students to see the surrounding St. John’s area, as well as Newfoundland at large, from a totally different point of view. Companies like Ocean Quest located in both CBS and Petty Harbour offer boat tours, snorkelling, diving, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboard yoga every weekend. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the company is offering locals a 10% discount on any tours booked online. In addition, select tours are also offered at a reduced fee for large groups so students looking to explore the ocean with a group of friends may be particularly in luck. Whether you’re interested in paddling through the Bell Island sea caves or want to test your chances of having a whale swim right next to you, access to exploring Newfoundland from the water is available all summer.