Last week, thousands of eager visitors were drawn to the picturesque waterways of St John’s in Newfoundland for the region’s biggest event of the year – the Royal St. John’s Regatta.
North America’s oldest annual sporting event dates back at least as far as 1816 – if not further – and is held on the smooth waters of Quidi Vidi Lake each year.
In total 25 races took place this year, and in keeping with tradition, the spectators joined in with picnics, drinks, wheels of fortune and games of chance. In what’s been dubbed “The Largest Garden Party in the World”, socialising is as much a part of the regatta as sport is.
The excitement of the event now commonly attracts up to 50,000 people, and you’ll find many visitors hiring a car in Canada and driving miles just to see the races. With 2017 holding the 199th Royal St. John’s Regatta, you could cheer on the competitors with the locals on your next holiday.
St. John’s has a rich history in boating, and you can make the most of the waters of this region in a number of other ways besides the regatta. Check out our suggestions below.
Kayak trips around Newfoundland & Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador boasts 29,000 km of coastline – perfect for kayaking. Kayakers can see a range of wildlife from eagles to dolphins, including close encounters with breaching whales if you’re lucky. Exploring by paddle power lets you visit stunning fjords, bays, coves and inlets as well as rivers, lakes and ponds.
There are plenty of kayaking adventures on offer in St. John’s for all levels of ability and experience, such as the ones provided by Stan Cook Sea Adventures.
These trips usually allow visitors the chance to get up close to the most beautiful parts of St. John’s and learn about the area’s geology, forestry, outdoor pursuits and natural history.
Boat tours off St John’s
A more relaxed way to see the natural beauty this province has to offer is on a boat trip. As well as stunning coastline, Newfoundland and Labrador boasts 22 species of whales including minke, sperm, orca and the world’s largest population of humpbacks.
Tours such as Iceberg Quest’s ocean tours depart from downtown St. John’s where you can journey through pristine waters that are home to the giant humpback whales.
Tours go past 12,000-year-old icebergs and inform visitors about the great maritime history of St. John’s. In the early summer months, a special weather window allows visitors to see icebergs, whales and migratory seabirds all at the same time.
Sailing in Newfoundland
If you are a thrill-seeker then there are many places around St. John’s where you can try your hand at sailing. The Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club is just 20 minutes away from the city and offers lessons to beginners.
The great sailing winds of the area mean that St. John’s and its surroundings are perfect for people looking to try sailing. If you’re already an experienced sailor, the option to charter a yacht could offer you your own Newfoundland and Labrador adventure.
Image Credit: Shutterstock, Matt MacGillivray.