Beyond Montreal: Four Reasons to Explore Quebec’s Outdoors

By Cedric Lizotte / 05 August 2016

Beyond Montreal: Four Reasons to Explore Quebec’s Outdoors

By Cedric Lizotte

The province of Quebec is obviously known for the city of Montreal and all it has to offer. We tend to forget, however, that the province is actually roughly the same size as the whole of Mexico! This means that a lot of Quebec’s outdoors begs to be discovered. Camping, trekking, canyoning, caving, hunting and fishing are part of the fabric of the Quebecois countryside. Quebec vacations in the summer are sublime, within or outside of the city of Montreal!

In fact, four of the province’s regions are reason enough to explore Quebec’s outdoors, especially for those who who prefer lush forests to concrete jungles, and treks to clubs or museums. Live a true adventure and get off a tourist’s beaten path to a beaten path that goes straight into the woods!

The Eastern Townships: Scenic Routes and Golf Courses

The Eastern Townships have spectacular maple forests that are only surrounded by gigantic lakes and splendid mountains. The most picturesque villages of the province can be found in this region. It also has the most scenic roads, perfect for motorcycle enthusiasts who live life on the edge!

Riding a motorcycle, or a bike, or a car, on two of the most scenic roads of the province is a very popular activity. Provincial road 108, between Magog and North Hatley, is exquisite, while road 147, between Lennoxville and Coaticook, has two covered bridges that are still used today. These scenic roads can be weekend getaway destinations in themselves.

There’s even an abbey which provides quite a treat to visitors! Saint-Benoit-du-Lac, on the shores of the lac Memphrémagog, welcomes visitors year-round and makes great cheese.

Saint-Benoit-du-Lac Abbey in the Eastern townships
Photo credit: Cédric Lizotte

Another reason to spend your Quebec vacations in the Eastern Townships is the golf courses that can be found in the region. Among the many golf clubs in the area, two primarily stand out: the Royal Bromont and Owl’s Head. The Royal Bromont hosted the Canadian PGA championship in 1994. It is clear that the owners take pride in its upkeep and the course itself offers challenges that are compatible for even the most seasoned players. The clubhouse’s restaurant, Le Cellier du Roi, is headed by Jérôme Ferrer, one of Canada’s best chefs. Here you can indulge in delicacies such as oyster ravioli, pistachio crusted rack of lamb, and lobster with black truffles. The golf course at Owl’s Head was designed by renowned architect Graham Cooke, and features multifaceted challenges among the water hazards and silica bunkers.

Other vacation destinations in this region that are worth the trip are Mont Orford and Lac-Mégantic. You clearly have a lot of areas to choose from!

Côte-Nord – Manicouagan and Duplessis, Vast Virgin Lands

This strikingly vast area called the Côte-Nord (North Coast) is divided in two touristic regions, and for good reason: it’s so huge that it’s impossible to fit all the reasons for its appeal in a single article! From the town of Tadoussac to the island of Anticosti, from the Manitou river to the coast of the Saint Lawrence river, this place awaits to be discovered.

The island of Anticosti is a hunting paradise. People from all over the world flock to the secluded, uninhabited island for the most spectacular deer hunting in the world. The rivière Manitou and its grandiose waterfall, on the other hand, are a great stop on the scenic route 138 between Sept-Îles and Havre-Saint-Pierre.

Tadoussac is a beautiful small town with picturesque architecture. It’s also a great spot where you can take a boat trip and indulge in some whale watching. The best way to go see the huge marine mammals, however, is take a tour with the Innu, the Native Americans who have lived in the area for centuries.

Limestone Parc-de-la-Minganie
Photo credit: Cédric Lizotte

The Parc de la Minganie is a national park that features an archipelago of unique limestone islands that have been carved by water and time. Its colours and shapes are simply stunning and the tiny town of Baie-Johan-Beetz is one of the most picturesque on the East Coast of North America.

The above is just a taste. There’s so much more to do in Quebec’s outdoors…

Quebec and Charlevoix : Beer and Canyoning

The touristic regions of Quebec and Charlevoix include the city of Quebec, but there’s so much to do outside of it! From Baie-Saint-Paul to Île d’Orléans, this part of the province has plenty to offer.

Beer tasting can certainly be included as an outdoor activity, since so many of the craft breweries of the region have wonderful open-air terraces! Some of the best beers in the country are brewed in this region. The must-stops for amateurs of microbreweries include: the pub Mitan, on Île d’Orléans; the Saint-Pub, in Baie-Saint-Paul; and the Micro des Beaux-Prés, in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. All three offer beers brewed in-house.

It might come as a surprise to many Quebec outdoor enthusiasts, but canyoning is also a popular activity in these parts. There are four different canyoning destinations in Charlevoix. People who are in good physical shape and who seek challenges will fall in love with this activity!

View of the Saint-Lawrence in Baie-Saint-Paul
Photo credit: Cédric Lizotte

Finally, the picturesque town of Baie-Saint-Paul is an ideal location for anyone who’d like to sample the region and want to explore this Quebecois vacation destination.

Gaspésie : Out-of-This-World Fishing

Clearly, fishing is not the only reason to head to Gaspésie. The quaint town of Percé and its scenic views of the iconic rocher have been seen the world over. Hiking and camping are head and shoulders above the competition, but the fishing in Gaspésie is difficult to beat and the true gem of the region.

Grilling fish on the beach in Gaspesie
Photo credit: Cédric Lizotte

The golfe du Saint-Laurent is where the ocean and the river meet. Saltwater fishing in these parts is a very popular activity. Mackerel is the most sought-after species, not only is it delicious, it’s also an environmentally-friendly choice. Eel and capelin are also in abundance. There are also plenty of opportunities for river fishing, and fishing for salmon in the rivers York, Dartmouth and Saint-Jean is a wonderful Quebecois outdoor activity!

Finally, the scenic views of this part of the province can be taken in from a quaint little inn on the river called Manoir des Sapins. It’s affordable, and the communal atmosphere makes it an ideal stop for couples and families alike.

Relish in Quebec’s wonderful outdoors, escape from the stress of the city and breathe in that fresh air! Book your trip with no regrets!

Cover photo credit: Dennis Jarvis

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