A moose eating lily pads in a lake

St Anthony, Newfoundland, Canada

Near the northern tip of Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula, tiny St. Anthony (population: 2,418) predates even the famed navigator and explorer Jacques Cartier. Though he gave the town its name, it was already a seasonal camp used by French and Basque fishermen when he arrived in 1534. St. Anthony's fortunes have long been tied to the sea: Those fishermen were followed by whalers, and now tourism has become increasingly important, with whale-watching expeditions among the principal draws. Other opportunities for sightings include moose (the area has one of the world’s largest populations of them), polar bears in the spring, and icebergs as they drift south along the Newfoundland coast. For many travelers, however, St. Anthony is the gateway to one of North America’s most intriguing archaeological sites. While Christopher Columbus is popularly credited with being the first European to “discover” the New World, Viking explorers were there before him—more than four centuries earlier. The remains of an 11th-century village at L’Anse aux Meadows, located less than an hour north of St. Anthony, are the oldest evidence of a European settlement in North America. Today, the reconstructed sod houses at this UNESCO World Heritage Site give a sense of the hard lives of those early settlers. 

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