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Newfoundland-Labrador: You don’t need a Viking long boat to enjoy this historic trek

Steeped in history and proud of its heritage, this rugged province celebrates its past with gusto. Walk with Vikings, hike a tall mountain and then drop a line in beautiful Deer Lake.

Drive 270.2 miles, 5 hours, 17 minutes


1. L’Anse aux Meadows

Starting Point

Dating back 1,000 years, L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site is the first known European settlement of the New World. Braving the Atlantic Ocean in their legendary long boats, a group of Vikings led by Leif Erikson founded a small outpost among these rugged cliffs and marshy bogs, but their settlement wasn’t constructed like a typical Norse encampment. Four Icelandic-style buildings with heavy sod roofs dominated this encampment; you can take a guided tour of the ruins, explore eleventh century Norse artifacts and wander the grounds talking with re-enactors who play village characters and help bring the everyday existence of the Vikings to life.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

2. Gros Morne National Park

195 miles, 3 hours, 49 minutes

Welcome to the second-largest National Park in eastern Canada, a wonderland of dramatic cliffs, desolate lowlands, epic glaciers, deep gorges, alpine meadows and freshwater fjords. The primordial landscape serves up beauty and adventure and equal measure. Gros Morne Mountain, Newfoundland’s second-highest peak, is a hiker’s dream; keep an eye out for moose, caribou, black bear and snowshoe hare. Explore the coastal waterways where whales and Harbor Seals reside.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

3. Deer Lake

75.2 miles, 1 hour, 28 minutes

Nestled in the Humber Valley, Deer Lake is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, with plenty of lake and river angling opportunities for salmon. Deer Lake is perfect for boating, kayaking, canoeing, sailing and swimming with sandy shores and sunny beaches, but be sure to wrap up your day on the north shore for gorgeous views of the lake. Winterfest celebrates the colder months where groomed and backcountry snowmobile routes are accessible, and snowshoeing and hiking are always popular. Listen up for the Deer Lake Whistle, located on the roof of the Deer Lake Power Company hydro plant; this 1920s English air raid siren used to sound off six times a day; today the whistle can still be heard on special occasions.