The advantages of going somewhere during the off-season are simple—better deals, smaller crowds —and they derive from the premise that off-peak travel must involve lowered expectations and certain compromises. A few rare places, however, hold hidden allure in the quiet months: castles on a rainy day, fishing-boat fairy lights, the braying of amorous penguins. As local experts make clear in the following year-round selection, you don't need to go peak to hit the heights.
Newfoundlanders are fond of any activity that’ll get the whole community together, especially in the bleaker months. Just ask Joyce Morgan, co-chair of the annual holiday boat lighting at Port de Grave.
“The boat lighting has been a tradition now for 13 years. Thousands of people come from all over the province and from mainland Canada. All the fishing boats are tied up for the winter. Sixty boats, some with 4,000 lights on ‘em. It’s absolutely beautiful.
“My husband and I went away last year to visit our daughter. It was my first time away from home for Christmas, and the boat lighting is what I missed most—walking around and talking to people, the sense of community pride.
“I think Newfoundland’s remoteness makes the traditions of Christmas mean more to people. You make your own fun.”