Summer outdoor destination in Quebec?
August 22, 2015 3:51 PM   Subscribe

Where should I go in (or near) Quebec for some rural day hikes? Bonus constraint: driving from NYC.

In the next few weeks, I'm hoping to take a trip into Canada where I go further north than the familiar cities near the border. I live near NYC and I've been to Montreal, Kingston, and Toronto, but the rest of Quebec/Ontario is basically a mystery to me.

Ideally I'd like to find a smallish town where I can do day hikes, where there is a tolerable motel and at least one place to eat. Otherwise, I don't need much, so the more rural and scenic, the better -- I prefer off-the-beaten-path to touristy.

My upper limit for driving from New York is maybe 10 hours. Where should I be looking?
posted by zvs to Travel & Transportation around Quebec City, QC (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Coaticook is lovely. Great hiking, some beautiful waterfalls, and the world's longest suspension footbridge.
posted by 256 at 4:19 PM on August 22, 2015

Kamouraska is also a beautiful area.
posted by Flashman at 4:42 PM on August 22, 2015

Best answer: The Charlevoix region of Quebec is particularly pretty. The town of Baie-St-Paul is a gem.

Prince Edward County Ontario is another lovely place that's worth visiting.
posted by Jode at 6:10 PM on August 22, 2015

Best answer: You should aim to be near one of the national or provincial parks. You could try La Mauricie national park, about 2 hrs from Montreal. Lots of lakes and forests, it takes over an hour to drive through the park. Hikes are here. If you want to stay in a hotel/motel/B&B try nearby St Mathieu du Parc, maybe a place like this. However, if you want to stay in the park itself you can rent a ready made tent, just bring your food in a cooler and a sleeping bag. The "tents" (really a cabin with canvas walls) are very comfortable. No electricity though, beyond a solar light. They do have a wood stove and there is a great barbecue with burner outside for your personal use.

My favourite park in Quebec is probably the Saguenay Fjord. You'll have to drive a little further - google maps tells me it will take you 11 hours. But it is worth it, I promise. They have a similar tent set up (called Huttopia), but if I remember correctly they do have electricity, including a little fridge and a heater. There are three sectors to the park, I've spent the most time in Baie-Éternité. Here's the guide to the park with the hikes and other activities. Again, if you prefer a hotel or B&B there is a nearby village called L'Anse-Saint-Jean that has quite a bit of choice. Lots of kayaking too. If you want to go out with a guide I can recommend this place. You can also rent boats in the park. As a bonus if you drive up or back via Tadoussac (which you should) you will be right on time for the best whale watching season. The fjord is gorgeous, whether hiking or on the water.

Anyway, the suggestions above are all great as well. It's a beautiful part of the world. If you go to Coaticook there's a really cool forest light show thing going on (book in advance, they sell out)!
posted by Cuke at 6:59 PM on August 22, 2015 [6 favorites]

Best answer: There's a whole row of national parks ('national' here means run by Québec) in the Charlevoix and regions just to the north. Fjord-du-Saguenay is one of them, and definitely worthwhile. I've also done Grands-Jardins, which has some nice hiking.
posted by gimonca at 7:59 AM on August 23, 2015

Another option is the Gaspé area -- Forillon National Park, at the tip of the peninsula, has excellent hiking along sea-cliffs and the like. The town of Percé isn't too far away and is well-developed for tourists -- it's famous for the Rocher Percé (Pierced Rock) just offshore.
posted by irrelephant at 10:20 AM on August 23, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for all the recommendations! I stayed in the Hotel La Ferme in Baie Saint Paul, explored the whole area, hiked Hautes-Gorges, had an awesome time, and was too tired to do much else but drink beer and eat everything.

A stunning place. This was probably the last weekend of the year before it got too cold!
posted by zvs at 7:24 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

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