The wonderful thing about an RV vacation in Quebec is the variety of scenery on offer. This tour takes you up the St Lawrence River, along the Saguenay Fjord and River, to the highest mountains east of the Rockies and into Lake Country. And if you have a hankering for some city activities, we'll take you to some of the most beautiful in the region. What more could you wish for?
Duration: 16 days Total Distance: 1620 km / 1006 miles
Rivers, Mountains, Lakes & fjords includes:
- Return UK flights
- First night accommodation in Montreal (recommended)
- Your choice of motorhome
Day 1 - Arrive in Montreal
Overnight hotel in Montreal (recommended) for a rest before departing on your motorhome holiday
Les Suites Labelle
Day 2 - Montreal to Trois Rivieres (151 km / 95 miles)
This city’s name, which is French for “Three Rivers”, is named for the fact that the Saint-Maurice River, which is divided by two small islands at the river’s opening, has three mouths at the Saint Lawrence River. The city’s inhabitants are known as “Trifluviens”.
Trois Rivieres is Canada’s oldest industrial city, with its first foundary established in 1738. It was the pulp and paper industry capital of the world from the late 1920s until the early 1960s when the city had four mills in operation. Today, only two mills are still operating and a visit to the Borealis History Centre will give you an insight as to how paper was made and allow you to feel the heat, smell, humidity and noise of the paper industry of the 20th century. Discount available to CanaDream Guests when vouchered through CanaDream. To discover the historic downtown core, take a walking tour along the Heritage Trail featuring 70 information panels recounting the history of a street or neighbourhood with its residents and buildings
Day 3 - Trois Rivieres to Quebec City (126 km / 78 miles)
The most direct route to tonight’s destination in Quebec City is on Autoroute 40 but, if you prefer a more scenic alternative you should take the historic Chemin du Roy (King’s Way) which, for most of its length, follows Route 138.
Here you will stumble upon some of the most beautiful villages in Quebec like Grondines, Deschambault, Cap-Sante and Neuville. Built in 1731 to link Quebec City with Montreal, this is Canada’s oldest highway. At Cap-Sante you will find one of the few remaining Quebec churches dating back to the French Regime while two historic monuments: Moulin de La Chevrotiere and Moulin a vent de Grondines are two ‘must sees’ nearby. During the summer months, look out for the numerous farm stands where you can buy fresh fruits, vegetables and sweet corn, berries and cheeses.
Visiting Old Quebec City is best done on foot as the streets are narrow and parking is difficult. Old Quebec is a UNESCO world heritage site and is alive with history. Take a visit to the Plains of Abraham, the Fortifications of Quebec and the Citadel, the city’s two main defensive works then take a walking tour or a horse-drawn carriage ride in the old town to get a true feel for this unique historic district. For shopping and fine dining, check out rue Saint-Jean and rue Saint-Louis, full of European charm. Visit Place Royale, Petit Champlain District and Old Port then take a ride from the Lower Old Town to the Upper Old Town on the cable car. Wander along Dufferin Terrace.
Quebec province is most definitely a province of churches. Each town and city, large and small, has its skyline dominated by a basilica or church. Quebec City is no exception. No visit to the city is complete without a visit to the stunning Notre-Dame-de-Quebec Basilica
Day 4 - Explore Quebec City
Venture a little further afield today by RV, perhaps taking in a little First Nations culture at the Traditional Huron Site in Wendake.
They offer three different packages, all including a traditional Huron meal and a discount is available with a pre-paid CanaDream voucher. Allow 3.5 hours for this visit.
Another suggestion for today is a visit to L’Isle d’Orleans. Just 15 minutes from downtown Quebec City, opposite the Montmorency Falls, this island is definitely worth a visit. Travelling counter-clockwise, your island experience starts in Sainte-Petronille where splendid views of Montmorency Falls, Beauport Bay and Cap Diamant make it one of the most scenic viewpoints in the Quebec City area. Stop at a local vineyard and chocolate store. Take a few minutes to visit the old blacksmith’s shop (La Forge a Pique Assaut) at Saint-Laurent. This shop is now an economuseum. Boat building was a big industry here in 1830 and the Parc Maritime de Saint-Laurent enables you to learn about the region’s maritime history. Gaze across the mighty St Lawrence River to the bluffs of Levis and admire the strawberry fields for which the island is renowned.
En route to the village of Saint-Jean, you’ll pass by a flour mill that dates back to 1715. In the centre of the village, the houses of the early St Lawrence River pilots and navigators, dating from 1825 to 1860, have been preserved. Here you can also take a guided tour of Manoir Mauvide-Genest, built in 1734. This manor is a great example of New France manor architecture.
At the far end of the island, you’ll reach a rest area and observation tower at Saint-François-de-l’Ile-d’Orleans where you can admire the islands of the archipelago and the St Lawrence Estuary stretching eastwards.
Continue your drive on to Sainte-Famille, the oldest parish on the island. With its stunning views of the Beaupre shoreline and Mont-Sainte-Anne opening up onto expansive orchards, this area is a real feast for the senses. Nearby you can view the densest concentration of stone houses dating back to the French Regime, including Maison Drouin, one of the earliest 17th century dwellings.
End your drive in Saint-Pierre, the most populated part of the island. Be sure to visit the gift shops and artisans to sample their cider, terrines, confits, apple butter and other delicacies. An audio guide is available for purchase or rent from the tourist information office at the entrance to Ile d’Orleans to enable you to make the most of your drive around the island. You can also purchase a map for a nominal cost which shows all the points of interest on the island.
Leaving the island by bridge, you’ll find yourself very close to Montmorency Falls. Stop in for a visit while you’re here. Entry is free but there is a parking charge. Take a trail down to view the Falls or take the cable car up to Manoir Montmorency and then cross the bridge over the top of the Falls for a different view and to look out at the surrounding scenery. The Falls are also lit up at night and avid photographers may want to try their luck at getting that perfect shot
Day 5 - Explore Quebec City area
Today we suggest you take a drive out to Jacques-Cartier National Park (Parc national de la jacques-cartier).
En route you may like to stop at Arbraska Duchesnay in Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier to discover the joy of climbing trees, the challenge of new heights and the gentle breeze in the treetops. Activities are suitable for people 8 and older.
Parc national de la jacques-cartier is only 30 minutes by road from Quebec City and is home to some of Quebec’s most beautiful glacial valleys. This park is open year round and offers opportunities for canoe rentals, hiking, mountain bike trails, fishing, snow shoeing and skiing. Plan to spend a full day in the park as there’s so much to do and see.
Day 6 - Quebec City to La Malbaie (142 km / 89 miles)
If you didn’t already take the time to stop at Montmorency Falls, do this now then stop in Beaupre to visit the magnificent Sainte Anne-de-Beaupre basilica. This church is known for performing many miracles of curing the sick and disabled and receives about half a million pilgrims a year from all around the world. The original basilica was destroyed by fire in 1922 and the present day basilica was built on the site in 1926. Enter the shine on the top level then take the stairs down to the lower chapel. All through the shine are examples of beautiful mosaic work, stained glass windows, sculptures and paintings.
From Beaupre, Route 138 takes you north where we suggest you stop at Canyon Ste Anne. Here you can view the imposing 74m high Sainte-Anne waterfall as it rumbles into its 1.2 billion year old notch. Cross the canyon on one of the highest pedestrian bridges in Quebec and discover the giant potholes and cascades of the “little canyon”. Allow approx. one hour for your visit. Canyon Ste Anne is a CanaDream Club partner and discounts are available when booked and vouchered through CanaDream.
In Baie Saint Paul, take some time to walk along the main street and to visit the many small art galleries this town is known for. For panoramic views of the region and its landscapes, head for the Terrasse Felix-Antoine Savard in the Domaine Charlevoix nature park at 340 route 362. At Baie Saint Paul, the highway divides with route 138 becoming the Mountain route and route 362 continuing along the river and known as the River route. Today we’re taking the River route which flanks the shoreline of the majestic St Lawrence River and at every turn offers breathtaking vistas. At Misere, look for the turn off to Saint Joseph de la Rive. Here is where you’ll find the Charlevoix Maritime Museum, les Santons de Charlevoix and the Papeterie Saint Gilles Economusee, all of which are worth a visit.
Make sure you also take a break at Les Eboulements, a member of Quebec’s Association of Most Beautiful Villages. Visit the Moulin banal where you can view the interior of the mill and buy wheat and buckwheat flour. Inside the Forge du Village you’ll find home-made tools, a gift shop, art metal work, pottery and other handicrafts. Before you leave, stop by the chocolate factory where you can taste one of 40 kinds of fine hand-made chocolate.
Not far north of Les Eboulements, you reach Saint Irenee, another member of Quebec’s Most Beautiful Villages. In the summertime, numerous visitors are drawn to its inviting beaches which stretch along the river for kilometres.
La Malbaie was one of Canada’s first vacation resorts, attracting wealthy tourists including a former US president. Stroll the Chemin des Falaises to view the stately villas that continue to stand and others that have been converted into inns. Try your luck at the Charlevoix Casino, located near the prestigious hotel Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu or play a round of golf at the Richelieu or historic Murray Bay Golf Course. Art and culture are also prominent in the town with historic churches and the Musee de Charlevoix showcasing a permanent exhibition called “Belonging”, tracing the heritage of Charlevoix
Day 7 - La Malbaie to Tadoussac (70 km / 44 miles)
The road winds past farms with sheep in the fields to a weathered dock. Stroll across the beach to the seaside church where, if the door is open, you can admire the paintings on the wall and great sea views out the windows. Return to the main road, checking out the pottery atelier and shop in the wooden barn (Poterie de Port-au-Persil), before continuing on to St Simeon.
St Simeon is made up of four villages namely St Simeon, Baie-des-Rochers, Port-au-Persil and Port-aux-Quilles. This area is a mecca for rock climbers with the Mountaineering Adventure Park of the Palissades close by. The adventurous can take part in a guided climb involving a Via Ferrata, a Tyrolean traverse and rapelling. The centre is open year round and includes trails offering exceptional viewpoints along their routes. Here you can also swim, canoe, fish, picnic and much more.
Highway 138 then travels north through Baie-des-Rochers and Pointe-au-Bouleau to Baie Sainte Catherine. Baie-Sainte-Catherine is the west terminus of the Baie-Ste-Catherine / Tadoussac ferry, which offers free and frequent service across the Saguenay River to Tadoussac. The ferry is part of Highway 38. Baie-Saint-Catherine is a gateway to the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park where you can observe the rich marine ecosystem of the St Lawrence estuary and Saguenay Fjord. Other outdoor activities are also plentiful in the region including horseback riding, hiking, whale watching, canoeing and kayaking. You should have plenty of time to explore before boarding the ferry to Tadoussac for your overnight stay.
Day 8 - Explore Tadoussac
Spend the day in Tadoussac. This is a great place to take a whale watching excursion on the St Lawrence River as many species of whales call the river home
The whales are attracted by the river’s wealth of shellfish, which they feast on, and by its impressive depth. CanaDream Club partner, Croisieres AML, offers daily zodiac and covered boat cruises between May and October to observe the whales in the St Lawrence. See belugas, blue whales, fin whales, porpoises, seals, dolphins and more. Mer et Monde Ecotours also offer whale watching opportunities in sea kayaks. Half and full day tours are available between late June and early September.
If whale watching doesn’t appeal, how about a 20 minute flight over the fjord in a Beaver type seaplane or a six hour discovery cruise of the Saguenay Fjord on board the Cavalier Royal. Discover the escarpments, islands, spectacular waterfalls and more and stop at Parc national du Saguenay to learn the history and legends of this picturesque region.
There’s also a lot to see and do by just staying on dry land and exploring Tadoussac. Stroll the boardwalk, beginning in front of the historic Tadoussac Hotel. This offers an excellent view of the beach below and the marina and you may even catch sight of some seals in the bay at high tide. Walk around the town and admire the colourful well-maintained heritage houses, each with it own unique character. Visit the oldest wooden church in North America, built in 1747. Now a museum with a small admission charge, the church has exhibits showing artifacts from the 18th century. An easy walk from the church will take you to the Old Trading Post and the Maritime Museum of Tadoussac.
We recommend you finish your day in Tadoussac by checking out one of the many restaurants in town offering superb French Canadian cuisine. Overnight at your chosen Tadoussac campground.
Day 9 - Tadoussac to Sainte-Monique (Point Taillon National Park) (203 km / 127 miles)
Today’s journey takes you north on 138 for a short while before heading west on Highway 172. This highway follows the northern shores of the Saguenay Fjord but don’t expect to see much of the fjord.
You will find yourself crossing the Saint-Marguerite river many times but it’s won’t be until you get to Saint-Fulgence that you meet the fjord again, just before it converges with the Saguenay River. West of the small township of Sacre Coeur, you might like to take a short detour to photograph the Pont Louis Gravel, a covered bridge across the St-Marguerite Nord Est River. This is one of many covered bridges in North America, built in 1934 to give access to the first village of “Bay Mill” and to a local fishing club.
In Saint-Fulgence, you’ll find the main entrance for the Parc national des Monts Valin. This park consists of 900 metre high peaks, spectacular viewpoints, rivers and numerous opportunities for hiking, fishing or canoeing. Look out for the Parc Aventure Cap Jaseux. Here you can discover the secrets of the Saguenay in a sail boat, see the fjord in all its splendor by sea kayak, have an amazing view over the Saguenay from the Via Ferrata or the high ropes or arrange for a farm visit. They even have a campground should you decide to spend more time here.
If you prefer to continue on to Lac St Jean, route 172 hugs the river as far as the northern shore of Chicoutimi before veering northwest through more small towns and villages and converging with route 169 just north of Delisle. From there it’s only a short drive to Saint Monique where we suggest you find a campground if you’re planning to spend some time in the Pointe Taillon National Park. While the park offers camping, it doesn’t have a campground for RVs.
Day 10 - Point Taillon National Park
Today’s a day for relaxation and to discover the many activities Point Taillon National Park has to offer. Water sports fans will adore the 15 km of sand beaches. Supervised swimming is available near the Discovery and Visitors Centre between June 17 and August 14. You can rent canoes, kayaks and pedal boats near the supervised beach. Point Taillon National Park has a total of 45 km of cycling paths, 16 of which are linked to Veloroute des Bleuets. Bicycles are available for rent at the park rental centre. There are very few slopes so the paths are easy and accessible to all age groups. Hikers can use the same paths. The park itself is open year round and is divided into three sectors. Most of the services are available during the Summer months in the Taillon Sector.
Day 11 - Sainte Monique to Roberval/Chambord via Saint Felicien (124 km / 78 miles)
No trip to the area would be complete without circumnavigating Lac St Jean by road. The highway skirts the river as far as Peribonca before veering sharply north-west through fertile farmland and meeting the water again in the Dolbeau-Mistassini area.
Dolbeau-Mistassini is the commercial hub of Lac-St-Jean and a good place to stop to stock up on food should you be running low. If you’re in the area in early August, the blueberry (the symbol of the Lac Saint-Jean region) is celebrated with a big festival which includes exhibitions, animation, performances, giant games, blueberry contests, a night parade and the baking of a giant blueberry pie. August is harvest season for the blueberries.
Continue south across the river to St Felicien. Here we suggest you stop at Zoo Sauvage de St-Felicien. This is no ordinary zoo as it’s dedicated to wildlife conservation of the boreal climate and, as such, it showcases North American animals. The animals roam freely and visitors are transported through the park in a caged train, enabling them to observe and photograph bears, caribou, musk ox, moose, bison and other animals from a very close distance.
From Saint Felicien, it’s a short drive to either Roberval or Chambord for your overnight stay. Our recommended campground partners here are Camping Mont Plaisant and Village historique de Val-Jalbert. No discount at Val-Jalbert but the campground will waive the booking fee on advance reservations which are strongly recommended during Summer months.
At Chambord, take a walk through the historic ghost town of Val Jalbert. The town features waterfalls, a fascinating industrial history and a large number of historical buildings. A small admission fee is charged
Day 12 - Chambord to La Baie (99 km / 62 miles)
Today you can decide whether to spend the day in the Chambord area or travel on to La Baie, stopping en route to experience the surrounding countryside.
Your journey today covers only 100km so you’ve lots of time for activities to please the whole family.
The town of La Baie was once a city in its own right but now a borough of Saguenay. Activities here include relaxing fishing trips on the Saguenay River, golf on emerald green courses and lots of bike trails. En route to La Baie, you may like to take a small diversion into the towns of Chicoutimi and Saguenay. Back en route, we suggest you take the time to visit the Musee de la Defense aerienne de Bagotville – the only museum in Quebec dedicated to the history of military aviation. Take a guided tour of the military installations and learn about the history of the Canadian Forces base at Bagotville.
Overnight in La Baie
Day 13 - La Baie to Saint Simeon (158 km / 99 miles)
Today’s drive has you winding your way through the southern part of Quebec’s Fjord route.
Before leaving La Baie however, consider a visit to the Musee du Fjord where you can explore the captivating world that is the Saguenay Fjord. Pet starfish, sea urchins and sea cucumbers and meet many fascinating species of fish in their giant aquarium. Allow 3 hours.
Continue east on Highway 170. A side trip off this highway onto Chemin de la Batture will take you to the captivating town of Saint-Felix-d’Otis where you may like to visit Site de la Nouvelle France. Here you’ll be transported back in time to life in the 17th Century and the beginning of colonization in the world of New France. This road rejoins Highway 170 near Lake Valerie where you can continue your journey to Riviere Eternite. Located in the heart of the Saguenay Fjord, this municipality is named after the river that runs through it.
From this town, there’s a road which takes you into Saguenay National Park. The park, whose mission is to preserve the Saguenay Fjord, has 100 km of short and long range hiking trails allowing views of glacier sculpted rock and marine terraces. Cruises, sea kayaking, rabaska, canoeing, fishing and sailing are available as well as campgrounds with or without amenities. One of the main attractions of the park is the trail of the statue, which leads to the statue of Notre-Dame-du-Saguenay which affords one of the best views of the fjord. Depending upon your interests, you may find you’d like to stay longer in the park and extend your vacation by a day or two. Sepaq has an RV campground in this park which offers a discount to CanaDream guests provided you have booked in advance.
If you decide to continue on to Saint Simeon today, be sure to drive in to the small town of L’Anse-St-Jean, another member of the “Most Beautiful Villages in Quebec”.
Nestled in the mountains with an outstanding window on the Saguenay Fjord, L’Anse-Saint-Jean has some fine specimens of ancestral homes plus a covered bridge. Outdoor activities abound here with opportunities for kayaking, sailing, boat tours, fishing, hiking and horse riding, to name but a few.
Every year, the village of Saint-Simeon welcomes thousands of guests, attracted to the region by its lush forests, majestic river and a warm welcome from its inhabitants. It’s from here that you will board the ferry to Riviere du Loup tomorrow morning and experience the thrill of crossing the mighty Saint-Lawrence River.
Overnight in Saint Simeon
Day 14 - Saint Simeon to Riviere du Loup to Drummondville (334 km / 209 miles)
A 65 minute ferry ride this morning will take you across the river to Riviere du Loup. If it’s fine outside, go out on deck and see if you can spot seals and beluga whales (seasonal).
Riviere du Loup is renowned for its beautiful sunsets. You may like to take time out to visit Riviere du Loup Waterfall Park which offers 5km of walking paths, gardens and marshes along with a 30m waterfall which can be viewed from either of two bridges which cross the river.
Those interested in learning about the region’s history and culture can visit the Musee du Bas Saint Laurent which preserves and exhibits contemporary Quebecois art.
Take Highway 20 south, catching glimpses of the river as you pass by small towns along the way. Should you choose to take a more scenic route south, try taking route 132 which skirts the coast back to Quebec City.
Tonight’s destination is Drummondville, originally established to protect the shorelines from an American attack during the war of 1812. Explore the Village Quebecois d’Antan, a heritage town where costumed staff, restored buildings and antiques are used to demonstrate how regional communities matured throughout the 19th century. Other places worth visiting are the Popular Photography Museum and the Union Life Art Gallery
Day 15 - Drummondville – Chambly (92 km / 58 miles)
As the driving distance today is short, we suggest you spend more time this morning exploring Drummondville and surrounds before continuing on to Chambly.
Chambly is a pretty city located on the shores of the Richelieu River, at the foot of the Chambly rapids. Chambly is home to both the Fort Chambly National Historic Site and the Chambly Canal National Historic Site. The canal was built in 1843 to bypass several kilometres of rapids between the towns of Chambly and Saint Jean sur Richelieu as part of a series of waterways connecting Canada and the United States. Today the canal is enjoyed by more than 7000 pleasure boats in the summer and ice skaters in the winter.
Fort Chambly was built between 1709 and 1711 and was the largest in a series of fortifications on the shores of the then Iroquois River (now known as the Richelieu River). It was intended to protect New France and Montreal from attack from hostile natives and the English. A small local population clustered around the fort and the entire area eventually became known as Chambly. The Fort is open daily to the public between mid May and early September. A small admission fee applies.
Overnight at Camping la Cle des Champs, St Phillipe (approx 30 minutes from Chambly) or, if you prefer a shorter drive back to your drop-off location tomorrow morning, continue on to Saint Jerome and Camping Lac Lafontaine.
Day 16 - Chambly- Montreal (Drop off RV) (73 km / 45 miles)
If you stayed in St Phillipe last night, you’ll need to be on the road by 08:00 to ensure you reach the Montreal station in time for drop-off. If you camped in Saint Jerome, you should easily reach the drop-off location within half an hour. Sadly this brings your RV vacation to an end. If you’re planning to stay in the area longer, we are happy to recommend a hotel for you to stay at, either downtown or closer to the airport.
Les Suites Labelle
Ideally located in the heart of Montreal, Hotel Les Suites Labelle offers affordable quality accommodations that will meet expectations of both leisure and business travellers.
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