HELENE’S TRIP TO Quebec, Canada
15 DAYS/7 STOPS
Majestic Lakes, Breath-Taking Landscapes, and Pristine Wildlife
Helene created a beautifully 15-day family road trip with 7 stops for her husband, their twin boys Edouard and Cedric (8 years old), and their daughter Julie (10 years old) in August 2012. The purpose of this trip was to discover natural parks, the countless lakes and the wildlife while avoiding touristy paths. They wanted to experience Quebec’s pristine locations and hike in the magnificent surroundings. To compliment their time in the wilderness, their last destination was in Quebec City. Unique locations, road trip authenticity and minimum comfort were key points when planning this 1,600 km road trip. They stayed an average of two to three nights per location and spent 24 hours on the road in total.
Arrival and departure airport: Montreal
Flights from Europe and the US.
We drove there from New York (6h drive).
1,600 km in 15 days
24 hours on the road
Total/person: 1,500 $ for 15 days
Lodging: 1,500 $/pp for 15 days
no flights : 0 $/pp
no rental car: 0 $/pp
gas total: $280 USD
St Alexis des Monts
Parc des Grands Jardins
Ville de Québec
By car from New York
2800 km in 15 days
32h on the road/7 stops
New York to Stop 1: 730 km/ 7h30
By car from Montreal
1650 km in 15 days
22h on the road/7 stops
Montreal intl airport to Stop 1: 140 km/ 1h45
Stop 1 to Stop 2: 120 km/2h
Stop 2 to Stop 3: 315 km/4h
Stop 3 to Stop 4: 150 km /2h15
Stop 4 to Stop 5: 370 km/5h30
Stop 5 to Stop 6: 130 km/1h30
Stop 6 to Stop 7: 320 km/3h20
Stop 7 to Montreal Airport: 115 km/1h45
Stop 7 to New York: 600 km/6h30
Hotel Sacacomie in Saint-Alexis-des-Monts (1.5-hour drive from Montreal) : Nestled in the heart of the forest and bordering the Mastigouche wildlife reserve, this log-built lodge overlooks a majestic lake. Sacacomie lodge is a get-away destination where nature is up close and personal.
We enjoyed all the activities offered by the hotel : canoeing and kayaking on the lake, hiking on the trails, enjoying the beach and swimming in the lake (which was surprisingly warm !). Restaurant is very nice.
The first morning we met our guide and prepared everything for our canoe-camping trip. We put everything in the canoes and kayak and then the adventure began ! After paddling a few hours we made a first stop to lunch, the kids enjoyed playing in the river. Then we continued to our camping spot. There we build up the tents and made a fire, enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by our guide and watched shooting stars (we were there in August during the Perseid meteor shower). Magical.
The next day we enjoyed our camping spot and the river before going back in our canoes, this time it was easier as we went river down ! We arrived at the end of the afternoon after 2 incredible days in the middle of the nature without crossing any other human being.
We spent the next 2 nights in an eco-chalet, we hiked the Mattawin trail, picnicked on the river and played in the water with the kids.
PN DES GRANDS JARDINS
We spent 2 nights in a rustic cabin in the middle of the park (Beaumont sector) on Turgeon Lake. Don’t forget to bring your food and drinking water.
sentier La Chute (and saw our first black bear !) and finished the day swimming and rowing on the lake in front of our cabin.The first afternoon, after dropping our stuff at the cabin, we went hiking on the
On the second day we hiked the Mont-du-Lac-des-Cygnes trail, it is a very well maintained 8,5km trail that is easily accessible despite the 500m elevation gain. The view on the top of the mountain is stunning. In August there were also plenty of blueberries, perfect snack when you are climbing !
PN DES GRANDS JARDINS TO
In a cottage at Ferme 5 étoiles in Sacré Coeur (close to Tadoussac). It is a nice place to stay with kids, with the discovery of domesticated and wild animals. The farm is a refuge for wounded or abandoned wildlife found in nature. It is, therefore, possible to observe a diversity of representative animals of Canadian wildlife. Every morning it’s possible to take part in the care of animals with the company. Our kids helped bottle-feed a orphan baby moose, it was a unique experience.
The first afternoon we stayed at the farm, the kids enjoyed watching the animals (the farm animals as well as the rescued wildlife
The second day we hiked a part of the fjord trail (starting in Tadoussac) and enjoyed grandiose scenery along the summits of the capes. After lunch, we walked around in the village of Tadoussac before embarking on a zodiac to watch the whales on the St-Lawrence River. Magical !
RESERVE DE MATANE
We stayed in a rustic cabin at Etang-à-la-Truite. It is a 1-hour drive from the entrance of the parc, far away from civilization, at the edge of a lake (there’s a rowing boat). Heaven !
On our way to Matane we took the ferry (Traversier) from Baie-Comeau to Matane to cross the St Lawrence River. It is a 2h20 very relaxing trip with nice news of the river. When you arrive in Matane, don’t forget to go to the supermarket to pick up enough groceries for your stay in the park (breakfast-lunch-dinner and enough water and drinks) as there is no grocery store in the park. And stop at a fishmonger on the harbor to buy some “Matane shrimp” (crevettes de Matane), they are delicious !
The entrance of the park, Accueil John, is at 40km south of Matane. They gave us the key of our cabin and a map of the park and then it was a 1-hour drive on dusty roads through the park to Etang-à-la-Truite where our cabin was. After getting installed, we took a tour on the lake on the rowing boat and enjoyed some s’mores after dinner. Such a peaceful place !
The next day we started our day by visiting the little Interpretation Center on moose at Etang-à-la-truite, after this visit we knew everything about moose ! Then we went hiking and finished the day with a moose safari. This guided activity takes place at the end of the day. A trip by minibus is planned in the most suitable locations in the reserve for moose observation. We saw about 10 majestic moose.
The next day we went for a little hike in the morning and enjoyed swimming in the lake in the afternoon. At the end of the day we went to a special outlook to watch black bears. The guide helped us understand the biology and habits of this fascinating species. Again we were very lucky as we saw 7 black bears.
RESERVE DE MATANE TO
We stayed at Hotel Rimouski in downtown Rimouski, a conventional hotel with nice views of the river (and an indoor pool with water slide for the kids).
Rimouski was a 1-night stop on our way to Quebec City. We drove down Route 132 that follows the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River. We made several stops to enjoy the beautiful views and walks on the beaches.
The next day we continued Route 132 to Quebec City and enjoyed the great sceneries of the River.
We stayed at the Palace Royal Hotel, in the heart of downtown Quebec City, at a 150-metre distance from the city’s historic district and fortifications. It is a luxurious yet modern environment where coziness meets high standards. The hotel provides many on-site amenities including an indoor garden with swimming pool and palm trees, a restaurant, and an indoor parking lot.
We explored Quebec’s Old City. Quebec was founded by the French explorer Champlain in the early 17th century. It is the only North American city to have preserved its ramparts, together with the numerous bastions, gates and defensive works which still surround Old Québec.
The last day it was time to say goodbye to this lovely Canadian Province and make the trip back to New York.
GOOD TO KNOW
We found a lot of inspiration on Aventure Canada for this trip.
August is the perfect time to go to Quebec. Weather is usually warm which made swimming in the lakes a lot of fun.
The Quebecois are very nice and helpful people (especially if you speak French with them).
Be mindful and aware of the wildlife and especially the bears and moose in the parks. Don’t forget to keep an eye out but remember to be respectful of their environment!