Experiencing Québec’s Natural Beauty

Charlevoix, just one of many attractions in Quebec
Charlevoix landscape

Québec is recognised by many as being one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world, and after visiting it, it soon becomes apparent as to why it has this reputation.

Why Quebec Is Your Next Vacation Destination

A Natural Beauty

Despite being the second largest country in the world, after Russia, Canada is one of the most sparsely populated, meaning there is a lot of untouched land left to discover and awe at. In the area of Québec itself, there is so much to discover. From hidden waterfalls that can be discovered through hikes or adventurous mountain bike sessions through bear-dominated forests to wonderful lakes hidden up peaks of mountains hidden by clouds. There truly are aspects of so many natural landforms that you can discover within a few miles of each other.

Here are just some of the many gems that you can discover if you are staying near Quebec City…

Mont Sainte-Anne

Mont Sainte-Anne is only approximately 40km (roughly 25 miles) north of Québec City, located in a town in Beaupré. In winter, Mount Sainte-Anne is used as a ski resort, yet in the summer months is used for mountain biking and hiking. It truly is a place to delve into new activities, and what better moment to try them than when in a new country? Although, of course, remember to have insurance and be aware that you need to pay for access to this beautiful natural area.

Lac Saint-Joseph Beach

This is, in fact, the largest lake in the Québec City area, and is well worth the visit. There is a campsite on one part of the lake designed specifically for travellers; it offers a perfect camping environment with direct access to the beach. On their website, they advertise that they are a family campsite and provide activities on the beach to keep children entertained throughout the day.

It truly is a wonderful location to enjoy Québec’s natural beauty and have that well-deserved summer holiday you have been waiting for all year. Nearby, there is also a place you can go with a guide to spot some bears with a more or less 100% guarantee of seeing a bear when you go. I was lucky enough to see an entire family of bears—a mother, father and three babies—within seconds of arriving at the location.

Charlevoix

This is a must see. It is such a beautiful area and will most definitely leave your mouth gawping with the sheer amount of trees surround you; it is truly unlike anything I have ever seen, with trees as far as the eye can see. If you are very keen on spotting the local wildlife, this is also the place to go given its frequent bear sightings and regular ‘beware of moose’ signs along the highway – so you should go and try your luck! However, there are two places in particular that I recommend you visit if you get the chance to go to the enchanting Charlevoix:

Baie-Saint-Paul

This place is the go-to place in Charlevoix; however, unlike many of the other places mentioned in this article, it is not due to its natural beauty. Despite it being located in an undeniably gorgeous setting, it is first and foremost its quaintness and adorability that makes it stand out for fellow tourists. With its main high street lined with cute shops stocked with local products and clothing sourced locally, you are able to discover a lot about the culture of the Québecois people through window shopping alone.

Equally, the town itself has a lot to offer. It is most definitely the place to go if you are looking for somewhere to get inspired as it is notorious known amongst artists and artisans. This means that the area is flourishing with artistic pieces, festivals and other cultural events, particularly throughout the summer months. For more information about the area (which I could most definitely go on for the rest of this article about), do go on the Charlevoix tourism website.

Le-Mont-du-Lac-des-Cygnes

If you are active, enjoy immense views, and are not afraid of heights, you have NO EXCUSE not to go to this absolutely breathtaking location. Hiking up to the simply spectacular view found at the summit is 100% worth it and proves to be an unforgettable family day out. The views at the top are unlike anything you have ever seen before, from lakes to scars left in the land by glaciers to greenery as far as the eye can see. It truly is breath-taking.

Equally, if you want to see bears, this is another place at which you may be lucky enough to spot any, with bear-sightings being reported regularly by hikers. I truly cannot highlight enough how necessary it is to do this hike if you have the opportunity. Go, go, go!

Québec City

For those of you who do not want to stray far from Québec city itself, you will be happy to know that it offers a lot to the nature searchers, as well as the city-breakers among you…

Ile D’Orléans

An absolute gem in the centre of the St. Laurence River. A small island located just a 20-minute drive away from the centre is the perfect place to spend the day, with many locals going to the island specifically at the weekend to do the ‘tour de l’île’, translating literally to the tour of the island.

The island is notorious for its picturesque houses, its adorable villages, and the stellar views from its beaches. In terms of food, it is known for having delicious strawberries, which are exported to the local areas, and potatoes.

In fact, Ile d’Orléans make their own crisps, and apparently, even the Doritos company comes to the island to stock up on potatoes for their own crisps. All in all, if you have time to spare this is definitely a must-go, at least for one day.

Chute de Montmorency

This waterfall is spectacular and can be viewed just as you leave the Ile d’Orléans, directly opposite the bridge. It is located between Beauport and Boischatel and is 83m tall – a full 30m higher than Niagara Falls! There are various places that you can park at the top of the waterfall, and there is a bridge linking one side to the other that provides an amazing aerial view of the waterfall. However, if you want to get up close there is also a way… A ZIPLINE. There is a zipline going directly in front of the waterfall, providing an adrenaline rush experience and allowing you to see the waterfall from a brand new perspective.

Equally, a free video of you on the zipline is provided as a souvenir, so this unique opportunity is permanently documented – what more reasons do you want to go? I would fully recommend this experience, and it is all about facing your fears in order to accomplish a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Architecture and Old Québec

Last but not least, what all tourists do without a doubt is visit the beautiful old Québec. Favourites include Petit-Champlain, Plains d’Abraham and the terrace by Château Frontenac – all beautiful. Walking through the city, you can marvel at the impressive architecture, reflecting its influences from Europe; for anyone who has gone to Europe, you will most definitely draw parallels between the two. Therefore, if you have never been to Europe and live in the American side of the world, this might the perfect destination to get your first taste of it.

Last Word on Québec

This is truly one of the most beautiful places to visit. Not only is it naturally breathtaking with its beauty, but it is abundant with activities to do at all times of the year. It is a must-see destination. Next time you think of Canada, do consider going to this Francophone province, instead of going to the more traditional Western Canadian cities such as Vancouver; I assure you, you will not regret it.

For more ideas about how to plan your Canadian vacation, check out Thomas Tittley’s Guide to Ontario.

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