Elliston: The Best Spot for Puffin Watching in Newfoundland

Warning: This post is filled with photos of atlantic puffins. Stop reading if you happen to hate these adorable birds! You've been warned!

Atlantic puffins, the adorable, almost clown-like birds with beautiful, bright orange and grey beaks and cute orange feet, are the official bird of Newfoundland. Seeing them was one of my top 3 reasons for visiting Newfoundland, and I was very happy to spot them 3 times on my 9-day trip to this beautiful island. The first time I saw them was at the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, the second in Bonavista, and finally the third and best spot out of the three - the puffin viewing site at Elliston. 

Elliston is a town located a short 10 minute car ride away from Bonavista and is famous for its root cellars and of course, puffins! Driving into Elliston, you'll see small signs on the side of the road with hand-drawn puffins on them, enticing you to follow their lead. Soon enough, you'll see cars parked on the side of the road, sort of like a make-shift parking lot. Park your car there and follow the signs for a short 5 minute walk out to the puffin viewing site.

The walk is not paved but is mostly flat. There is a really short bit of uphill which might be a bit difficult for those who have mobility issues, but should not be a problem for most. While you're walking, see if you can spot the Puffin King - a rock formation that fittingly looks like a puffin!

At the end of the walk, you'll come to a spot across from a rocky island that the puffins have made their home. They're smart creatures - their colony isn't accessible by us humans, but it's close enough that you can watch them, and if you're lucky they may even fly over closer to the viewing site. Remember to bring a camera with a zoom function or binoculars for the best viewing experience! 

Enough of me blabbing on. Let's get to more photos of these lovable birds!

The Elliston puffin viewing site tops my list of the best place to see puffins from because it's easily accessible (you don't need to get on a boat to see them), the spot is free to visit (can you believe it?), and puffins were around even in the daytime (unlike the colony at Cape Bonavista where I saw them at sunset but couldn't spot them at all the next morning). For a puffin-enthusiast, the Elliston puffin viewing site was a highlight of my trip and I highly recommend it for others who are hoping to get a glimpse of these charming birds. But before you hop on a plane to make your way out here to see them, keep in mind that they are only here nesting between May and September, and the best months to see them are between June and August. The rest of the year, they are out at sea!

Want to get here?

Hours: Open 24 hours! But again, puffins only nest here between May and September, with the best months to see them being June to August. The puffins will be most active here at around sunset, but there were plenty to see too in the daytime when I went.
Address: Plug Maberly Rd, Elliston, NL A0C 1W0 into your GPS. It'll take you nearby, and you'll see the puffin signs directing you to the site.
Getting here: It's easiest to get here by car. 
Admission: Free! But they do accept donations.
Estimated time to spend here: This truly depends on how long you want to spend puffin watching! I personally could easily spend an hour here!

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