Last updated: 06:00 AM ET, Tue October 03 2017
St. John


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St. John's, capital of Newfoundland Labrador, NL, Canada, harbor and downtown seen from signal hill (Photo via Pi-Lens / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
St. John's, capital of Newfoundland Labrador, NL, Canada, harbor and downtown seen from signal hill (Photo via Pi-Lens / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Far to the north, the large and relatively empty Canadian province of Labrador is a getaway for outdoor enthusiasts. Not much in the way of modern culture, having no cities and few towns, Labrador is an escape. Summer or winter, Labrador offers outdoor sights and adventures hardly available throughout the rest of the world. The region’s native populations, too, exist in a state unlike that of most Canadian aboriginals. The Innuit, Innu and other native peoples of Labrador are well represented and their history can be traced over 8,000 years by way of landmarks, including the oldest funeral monument in North America in L’anse-Amour. Labrador is a land of wild, wide-open adventure, with a history to match.

The western side of Labrador backs up onto the border of Quebec (the source of some dispute, but we’ll leave that issue alone). It was the region’s great hunting highlands and home of the great Churchill Falls. Hunters will still find a destination in the area, though the Churchill Falls hydroelectric power plant has diverted the flow of the river. Currently, water hardly every drops over the falls. The area is more a fisherman’s and canoeist’s spot now, as it is defined by its numerous lakes and rivers.

The Torngat Mountains of northern Labrador are a fantastic winter destination. Snowmobiles, boats and planes are the most common transportation in this remote area, and the rewards for getting there are fantastic. Snowmobilers will find miles upon miles of wilderness and path to ride. Hikers, mountaineers and climbers will find plenty to occupy their time in the Torngat Mountains.

Labrador sees the world’s largest caribou herd passing through it every year and a few polar bears in its northern regions. However, it is the eastern side of the Labrador region that offers maybe the region’s most spectacular wildlife viewing. Over 300 species of sea bird can be found on the Labrador coast and a whopping 22 different species of whale.

Icebergs float off the shores and are just as breathtaking. Labrador may be the greatest place in the world for watching them. Every spring the naked eye can catch icebergs floating off the northern and eastern shores.

For all it lacks in urban culture, Labrador makes up for with an abundance of open land and wildlife. Be prepared for cold though. Labrador is not arctic, so the summers can be nice, though hardly ever breaking 70° F., but winters in Labrador can still be cold, often dropping well below freezing.

Travel into and around Labrador is difficult. Ferrys from Newfoundland cross the Strait of Bell Aisle to parts of Labrador and roads do run from Québec into the region, as do rails, though not many. Traveling to most parts of Labrador requires a plane (some major airlines will fly into smaller Labrador airports, though on small planes and infrequently) or boat, or snowmobile in the winter.