cape spear coast

On a recent trip to the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador, I journeyed to my favorite spot, Cape Spear.

You can escape from everything as you watch the waves melodically crash into the rocky shoreline. I found a comfortable place to sit and began to photograph a series of waves. Just as I thought I had captured the perfect wave, the next one was even more gorgeous.

Cape Spear is a captivating tourist destination in Canada that continues to charm visitors from around the world. Situated on the easternmost point of the North American continent, Cape Spear holds great historical and geographical significance.

cape spear visitor centre

With its rugged cliffs, breathtaking panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, and iconic lighthouse, Cape Spear offers a truly unique experience for travelers seeking natural beauty and cultural heritage.

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Historical Background

Cape Spear holds significant historical importance as the easternmost point in North America and has witnessed various notable events throughout history. Here is a brief historical overview of Cape Spear:

Cape Spear has been inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous peoples, including the Beothuk and Mi’kmaq. The area later became an important fishing and trading location for European settlers in the 16th and 17th centuries.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Cape Spear played a crucial role in maritime navigation. In 1836, the Cape Spear Lighthouse was constructed, making it the oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland and Labrador. The lighthouse served as a crucial beacon for ships navigating the treacherous Atlantic coastline.

Cape Spear also played a significant role in World War II. In the early 1940s, Battery Construction No. 2, a coastal defense battery, was established to protect the entrance of St. John’s Harbor from potential German U-boat attacks. Today, remnants of this battery can still be seen at Cape Spear.

rugged coast of Cape Spear

Notably, during World War II, the sinking of the SS Caribou off the coast of Cape Spear in 1942 was a tragic event. The ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat, resulting in the loss of many lives. This event is remembered as a significant wartime tragedy in Newfoundland and Labrador’s history.

In addition to its historical events, Cape Spear offers breathtaking natural beauty and stunning panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can explore the Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site, which provides insights into the region’s maritime history.

Overall, Cape Spear’s historical background encompasses its role in maritime navigation, its significance during World War II, and its natural beauty. It stands as a symbol of Newfoundland and Labrador’s rich history and serves as a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

Lighthouse at Cape Spear

The historic lighthouse at Cape Spear is located in Newfoundland, Canada. It holds significance as it is recognized as the easternmost point in North America, making it a popular tourist attraction.

Canada - Cape Spear lighthouse

The Cape Spear lighthouse was first constructed in 1836 and has undergone several renovations and updates throughout its history. It stands tall at approximately 30 meters (98 feet) and overlooks the rugged Atlantic coastline.

One interesting fact about the lighthouse is that it was initially lit by oil lamps and later upgraded to electric lights in 1955. Today, it is equipped with a modern automated light system, but visitors can still see the original light source on display.

The lighthouse at Cape Spear has witnessed many maritime stories and played a crucial role in ensuring the safety of ships navigating the treacherous waters off the coast. It has witnessed numerous shipwrecks and rescue missions, adding to its historical significance.

Visitors to Cape Spear can explore the lighthouse, learn about its history through informative exhibits, and enjoy breathtaking views of the coastline. It is a must-visit destination for those seeking to experience the beauty and history of the easternmost point in North America.

waves at Cape Spear

Natural Beauty of Cape Spear

Cape Spear boasts a captivating natural beauty that is sure to leave visitors in awe. The coastal landscape here is nothing short of stunning, with breathtaking scenic views that are a feast for the eyes.

The rugged cliffs that line the coastline create a dramatic backdrop against the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. These cliffs, carved over thousands of years by the relentless power of the waves, stand as a testament to the relentless forces of nature. The sheer magnitude of the cliffs is a sight to behold, with their towering heights and mesmerizing rock formations adding to the allure of Cape Spear.

As you gaze out at the horizon, you’ll be treated to the sight of crashing waves that pound against the cliffs below. The rhythmic sound of the waves crashing onto the shore creates a symphony of nature, immersing you in the tranquility of the surroundings. The dynamic interplay between the ocean and the cliffs is a true spectacle, providing an ever-changing display of natural beauty.

cape spear coastline view

One of the remarkable aspects of Cape Spear is the diverse flora and fauna that call this area home. The surrounding landscape is adorned with a rich variety of plant life, ranging from vibrant wildflowers to hardy shrubs and grasses. This creates a colorful tapestry that adds to the visual appeal of Cape Spear.

In addition to the plant life, Cape Spear is also a haven for various species of wildlife. Keep an eye out for seabirds soaring through the sky, their graceful flight patterns adding an element of elegance to the already picturesque landscape. Seals can often be spotted lounging on the rocks, basking in the sunlight. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of whales breaching the surface of the water, a truly awe-inspiring sight.

waves crashing into the coast at cape spear

Nearby Attractions

Cape Spear, located in Newfoundland, Canada, offers a variety of nearby attractions and points of interest to explore. Here are some noteworthy attractions and their proximity to Cape Spear:

  1. Signal Hill – Just a short drive from Cape Spear, Signal Hill is a historic site with panoramic views of St. John’s and the Atlantic Ocean. It is known for its iconic Cabot Tower and offers hiking trails and picnic areas.

  2. The Battery – Situated below Signal Hill, The Battery is a charming and colorful neighborhood that showcases traditional Newfoundland architecture. It’s a great place to explore narrow streets, enjoy stunning views, and take memorable photographs.

  3. Quidi Vidi Village – Located minutes away from Cape Spear, Quidi Vidi Village is a picturesque fishing community surrounded by rolling hills and a lovely harbor. Visitors can stroll along the waterfront, visit the Quidi Vidi Brewery, and experience the village’s rich history.

  4. East Coast Trail – Cape Spear is also the starting point of the East Coast Trail, a scenic coastal hiking trail that spans over 300 kilometers. Explore breathtaking landscapes, rugged cliffs, hidden coves, and enjoy encounters with wildlife along the way.

  5. Petty Harbour – A short drive from Cape Spear, Petty Harbour is a quaint fishing village offering a glimpse into Newfoundland’s fishing heritage. Visitors can enjoy fresh seafood, take boat tours, and soak in the peaceful ambiance of this charming community.

These attractions are just a taste of what the Cape Spear area has to offer. Whether you’re interested in history, natural beauty, or cultural experiences, there is something for everyone.

waves at cape spear and the rocks


Cape Spear offers a unique experience with its stunning natural beauty and historical significance. As the easternmost point in North America, it provides breathtaking coastal views, picturesque landscapes, and opportunities for wildlife spotting.

Visitors can explore the historic lighthouse, walk along scenic trails, and immerse themselves in the rich maritime history of the area. Cape Spear is a must-visit destination for those seeking a memorable and awe-inspiring experience.

Canada begins here! … or ends. Depending on which way you are going!

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  1. Gorgeous pictures! Haven’t made it out to that part of Canada yet but I definitely get wait till the day I make it there. Canada has so many beautiful places, it’s a gorgeous country

    1. Tina Dean says:

      Thanks Tara. Agree – I would enjoy going a cross Canada Photo Journey when I retire!

    1. Tina Dean says:

      Thanks Brian. Agree – I always make sure it is the last stop before I head back home.

  2. I was at Cape Spear today (the day this was posted) for four hours. I then went to Signal Hill and the Cabot Tower. It was completely fogged in all day. It was cold (8 degrees), wet and foggy all day. Would have loved to have seen weather like this today.

    1. Tina Dean says:

      Thanks Robert. 🙂 I had to leave when it started to rain. One day I will get out there when it is sunny!

      1. Calogero Mira says:

        Yes, really when it is sunny.

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