Newfoundland is known for many things: rough craggy coastlines and untouched boreal forests, a rich history and unique culture that stands out among Canadian provinces. Its beaches? Not so much.
Just to clarify: the Gooseberry Cove I am referring to in this post is the one in Placentia Bay. There is another Gooseberry Cove further north, in Trinity Bay.
Growing up in Eastern Newfoundland, just a couple of hours from the capital of St. John’s, Gooseberry the beach to me. It’s a rare thing—a beach in Newfoundland that has sand.
Originally settled by farmers, the town that existed in Gooseberry Cove peaked at 21 people in population. It was abandoned in the 1950s and designated as a recreational beach in 1983.
Next to the frigid North Atlantic (this is no bathwater beach) is a small pond which lets into the ocean. This tends to be a little warmer, but you’re not here with the expectation that this is a leisurely beach day. The water is cold and rough and the winds are probably pushing you over. A day at the beach here is an intense experience.
How to get there
From St. John’s: Take the Trans Canada Highway West until you reach Whitbourne—about an hour. You’ll see the turnoff to Placentia on your left. From here it’s another half hour or so to Placentia.
From Placentia: Follow the main road. You’ll drive over the bridge (and hope that you don’t get delayed here) and through the town. Eventually you’ll see the sign to turn right and head towards St. Bride’s. From here, it’s another 20-30 minutes to Gooseberry. You’ll pass other bays and small areas along the way, but you’ll see the sign to let you know when to stop.