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Red Bay

(click here to find location on the map)

Red Bay is home to one of Newfoundland & Labrador’s four UNESCO world heritage sites. The remains of a 16th century Basque whaling station was discovered in the 1970’s.

When you get off the Labrador ferry at Blanc Sablon, Quebec, follow Highway 138 to the Labrador border. The highway number changes to Route 510 (Trans Labrador Highway). It’s only 80 km to Red Bay, but plan on a 1.5 hour drive. Much of the road is in very poor condition (June 2016). At Red Bay, where 510 continues inland you will stay to the right, on the paved road, to take you into town.

Red Bay is a beautiful coastal town on Labrador’s South Shore. The treeline is inland from the shoreline. There is a large natural harbour that is protected by two islands. Most of the town sits on the east side of the harbour. There is a ‘winter side’ of town on the north end of the harbour, that is a little more protected.

There is lots to see and do in Red Bay. You can easily spend a few days here.

National Historic Site

The National Historic Site in Red Bay has three main components:

Trails

We enjoyed three great trails while we were in town:

Shopping

For souvenirs, stop by the gift store at Whaler’s Station. There is a craft store in the lower level of the Interpretation Centre that has some really incredible made in Labrador items. When we were in Red Bay there was also some local kids selling items to the bus tours that stop at the Interpretation Centre.

Town Hall

The Selma Barkham Town Centre is home to a whale museum. You can also learn about Selma Barkham, who’s research in the Basque region of Europe led her to Red Bay and uncovered the town’s amazing past.

Boat Tour

Gull Island Charters in Red Bay can take you over to Saddle Island. They also do iceberg and whale tours depending on the time of year.

When to Visit?

We don’t try giving advice on when to visit, we can just talk about our experience. We were in Red Bay in mid-June. It’s a great time to see icebergs, it’s a little early to see whales. We watched some minke whales in Forteau, just down the road from Red Bay. The weather can still be cool. We were layered up for our hike on Saddle Island, I was wishing I had brought some gloves. The locals told us that we were leaving just in time to avoid black flies. We’ve always found that bugs are less of a problem when you are along the coast.

The main problem visiting any part of Newfoundland & Labrador is June is that quite often tourist places will not be open. This was not the case in Red Bay.

Where to Stay?

We camped with our trailer at BNL Enterprises. Whaler’s Station has some really cool looking accommodations. There are a couple of suites that are right on the shoreline next to the Interpretation Centre.

Cell Phone

There is no cell phone service in Red Bay. If you hike to the top of Tracey Hill, you’ll get a signal. You can drive towards L’Anse au Loup and you’ll pick up a signal down the road.

Red Bay Map

You can zoom in on our map and click the icons for a photo and page link to all the places to see around Red Bay.