RVing to Newfoundland: The Logistics

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Telling our friends and family that we were RVing to Newfoundland over the summer led to many sideways looks and pulling up of maps. This large island on the eastern side of Canada isn’t a destination many people have been to or even think of visiting. (Although they should, especially our fellow RVers). Even the locals asked us what made us choose Newfoundland for our big RV adventure. But, if you know us at all, the fact that it is so off-the-radar only fueled our interest.

rving to newfoundland

So, Why Newfoundland?

When we decided to become full-time RVers, we knew we had to plan an epic trip for the summer. And since we love remote, out-of-the-way places I searched the map to find a destination that would provide us with the rugged nature and unique experiences we craved. And, of course, it had to be somewhere we could also drive the RV to.

rving to newfoundland

Since we liked the idea of finally seeing the fall leaves along the East Coast in autumn, the eastern part of Canada seemed like a great option for summer. It would be safe from the worst of the heat, offered some unique outdoor fun and would be the perfect starting point for our leaf-peeping road trip in fall.

But, as I researched the area more, the island of Newfoundland kept popping up. It seemed to have the best hikes, most epic wildlife watching and more remote areas than all of Atlantic Canada.

rving to newfoundland

On a whim, I decided to see if there was a way to get the RV there. And there was, thanks to our awesome friends at Marine Atlantic. Turns out, it is actually a very popular place for RVers with lots of great boondocking spots, campgrounds and easy-to-navigate roads. Logically, I became completely obsessed and decided we had to spend an entire month there during our travels through Atlantic Canada over the summer.

rving to newfoundland

RVing Over the Ocean

Yet, the idea of taking our new home-on-wheels on a 7-hour ferry trip was a bit daunting. And the fact that the Titanic sunk around the corner did not help. (Okay, it was still pretty far away – but, same general area). However, the photos of Gros Morne National Park, puffins, humpbacks and small fishing villages were on a permanent slideshow in my head. So, I booked our tickets and prayed for good weather and no icebergs (on the ferry crossing at least).

rving to newfoundland

Another worry of mine was what the heck we would do with the cat. She would not be a fan of staying in her carrier during that entire time. I was thankful to find out that she was allowed to stay in the RV and would be perfectly fine with a few cracked windows and plenty of food and water. Crisis averted!

When our much-anticipated departure day arrived, we drove over to the North Sydney Marine Atlantic terminal from the nearby Walmart we had crashed at the night prior. And we made sure to get there more than two hours early as required, in order to get checked in with no problems.

rving to newfoundland

Getting Onboard

All we had to do was shut off our propane tank before boarding and follow the instructions to park. I was also on try-not-to-panic duty. I had never been on a boat for that long before, and it made me very nervous. However, the perfect weather was helping lessen my stress by the minute.

rving to newfoundland

And once we got on the ferry and settled into our cabin, my worries went away. Getting the private cabin was a fantastic idea and made for a really comfortable crossing. Taking some anti-nausea meds was also another one of our genius ideas.

rving to newfoundland

However, we didn’t spend all of our time lounging in our room. We loved wandering around the beautiful ship and getting to chat with fellow travelers. And we spent a lot of time walking around outside enjoying the views of the ocean and ports while looking for whales.

rving to newfoundland

Once we got a bit chilly from the sea breeze, we were able to leave our camera gear in our room while we grabbed some food. This made the trip much more enjoyable. And the food was great!

rving to newfoundland

It was such a relief that our ferry crossing was so stress-free and comfortable. It gave us a great sneak-peek of the peaceful moments we would cherish in Newfoundland.

RVing in Newfoundland

Once we reached Port aux Basques, we were excited to begin our Newfoundland adventures. We had no idea how many amazing experiences the month would bring. And we were surprised how easy it was to drive our RV around the island.

rving to newfoundland

Our 26-footer handled most of the roads like a champ. (Except a logging road we accidently turned down). And we rarely had trouble finding a parking spot we could fit in – even in the national parks. We also found it funny that it wasn’t nearly as busy as we thought it would be. Yes, there were other travelers – and a lot of fellow RVers. But, it wasn’t as bad as the internet made it sound like it would be in the summer.

rving to newfoundland

Maybe it was because we drove the famed (and insanely popular) Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia before our trip to the island, so the traffic just didn’t compare. But, for the most part, we were always able to find our own little peaceful place to enjoy.

Our Favorite Overnight Spots

We have become very fond of boondocking, but it is much more difficult on the east coast of the U.S. Luckily, that isn’t the case in Eastern Canada – at least not in Newfoundland. We found tons of great overnight spots with sweeping views. But, there are also lots of gorgeous, affordable campgrounds and RV parks. We decided to do a mix so we could be close to activities and trails some days, then out on our own when we wanted some quiet time.

rving to newfoundland

Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Pirate’s Haven ATV-Friendly RV Park in Robinsons
  • Berry Hill Campground in Gros Morne National Park
  • Staying with a local family through our Boondockers Welcome membership
  • Boondocking by a trailhead near Twillingate
  • Town of King’s Point RV Park in King’s Point
  • Newman’s Cove Campground in Terra Nova National Park
  • Celtic Rendezvous by the Sea RV Park in Tors Cove
  • Boondocking in an open gravel area off the highway. (About 30 minutes from the Port aux Basques ferry terminal).

rving to newfoundland

Heading Back to the Mainland

Before leaving, we had to get “Screeched In,” so we could leave as honorary Newfies! And we highly recommend this to fellow travelers.

It is also necessary to make sure you aren’t bringing back anything that is against the rules. Before boarding the return ferry, your rig will be checked for potatoes, plants and soil. So, make sure you get rid of any of these things beforehand. They may spray you off if there is a lot of dirt on your rig.

rving to newfoundland

And once you are back in Nova Scotia, don’t fret – there are many beautiful and interesting places to see in this province as well.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park and the rest of the Cabot Trail are a bucket-list road trip for many. And don’t miss the nearby Fortress of Louisbourg for some unforgettable hands-on history.

A Few Extra Tips for a Smooth RV Trip

  • Schedule plenty of time to enjoy Newfoundland, because there is so much to see! We recommend at least two weeks, but you could spend months exploring if you want. Gros Morne National Park alone is a multi-week adventure.
  • Fill up your propane tank before you leave for Newfoundland. There aren’t many places on the island that provide this service to RVers. Luckily, the Canadian Tire next to the ferry terminal does.
  • Make sure to get to the ferry more than two hours early as the rules stipulate.

rving to newfoundland

  • Remember that you will have to turn off your propane tank before boarding the ferry, so plan accordingly if your fridge runs on propane.
  • Before leaving any pets inside during the ferry crossing, make sure they have plenty of food and water. And don’t forget to crack a few windows for ventilation.
  • While on the ferry, if you are planning to eat at the on-board restaurant, check the hours first. It may not be open during your entire crossing, so you may need to plan around that.
  • Once on the land, make sure to have cash on you for some of the smaller campgrounds and markets.
  • Boondocking is pretty open if you aren’t drawing attention to yourself. We had luck in roadside pull-offs, parking lots and Walmarts.

rving to newfoundlandWe enjoyed working with Marine Atlantic on this trip to provide content for both our sites. To read the shorter version of this article posted on their website, click here.

For more stories and tips, check out our other Newfoundland blog posts. For a list of where we stayed overnight during our trip, take a look at our RV Camping Reviews page.Taking our home-on-wheels on a 7-hour ferry was a bit nerve-wracking, but RVing to Newfoundland was the best decision we\'ve made since buying our rig! And Marine Atlantic made it a breeze!#canada #newfoundland #grosmorne #maritimes #rving  #atlanticcanada


  1. very well written, a lot of information that I can use. I’m saving this story as a reference for our trip to Newfoundland.

  2. Hello,
    We have a 45 foot motorhome and tow vehicle. Are the roads/campgrounds able to handle large vehicles? Did you make reservations for camping or “fly by the seat of your pants”? Lots of good information!


    • Hi, Sue! Our motorhome was 25-feet and we did not tow a vehicle, but we did see larger RVs that seemed to be fine. From what I remember, roads were fine. Just avoid turning down any dirt ones you may come across and keep an eye on the weather. We did book ahead about a month for most campgrounds – especially for the weekends. Canadians love to camp, so it can get busy! Glad this article helped. Hope you have a great trip!

    • Hi Sue – I just read your question about your 45 foot RV and was wondering if you made the trip and if so, could you recommend any RV campgrounds that you visited. We will be traveling in a 42 foot class A Motorhome. Thanks for any info you could offer!

      Cindy Fournier

  3. Hello, my wife and I are looking to purchase a Sprinter motorhome and was wondering what make and model you have. We are looking at a Coachmen Prism and a winnebago.

    • Hey Billy, we had a Winnebago View and loved it. We sold it to pursue international travels via house sitting, but it worked great for the year we had it. In hindsight, we wouldn’t buy brand new again, but rather find a used RV in good condition, have an RV inspection done to ensure it is good (something we learned about AFTER buying), consider an extended warranty, and have way less to lose if we decide to travel another way (which we obviously did). RVing was a great way to travel though and we especially loved Canada. Best of luck!


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