The peninsula just north and west of St John's is known as the Killick Coast, a 55km one-way journey that makes a good day trip. About 8km north of St John's, Memorial University's Ocean Sciences Centre has outdoor exhibits in summer. Secluded and rocky, Middle Cove and Outer Cove are a bit further north on Rte 30 – they're perfect for a beach picnic.
North at the head of Torbay Bight is the enjoyably short Father Troy Path, which hugs the shoreline. The view from Cape St Francis is worth the bumpy gravel road from Pouch Cove. There's an old battery and you may see a whale or two.
West of St John's on Topsail Rd (Rte 60), just past Paradise, is Topsail Beach, with picnic tables, a walking trail and panoramic views of Conception Bay and its islands.
To reach Bell Island, go 14km northwest from St John's to Portugal Cove and the ferry.