17 Ways to Explore Mother Nature in Quebec

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Awesome Tips   Bucket List Worthy  

You don’t need to speak the language to fall head over heels in love with La belle province (a popular nickname for Quebec meaning “the beautiful province”).

Whether you’re a rugged explorer, weekend warrior or peaceful naturalist, Mother Nature’s gift to you are these beautiful landscapes across one of Canada’s founding provinces.

1. Vallée Bras-du-Nord

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Credit: Keith Edwards, Homefront Magazine

At Vallée Bras-du-Nord, via ferrata (Italian for “iron way”) is a mountain scaling experience built for rookies and experienced climbers alike. A route is created by bolting in long lengths of steel cable into the mountain face, with natural climbing holds in the rock face supplemented by steel, plus manmade steel and wooden holds and perches. Though securely harnessed, there’s an element of danger that will keep your heart beat raised higher than the physical exertion warrants.

2. Lachine Canal Nautical center

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Credit: H2O Adventures

At the Lachine Canal Nautical center, you can rent eco-friendly electric boats, kayaks, pedal boats and even 13-passenger voyageur canoes. Spot the many birds, turtles and beavers that reside in the canal, and take in a lovely view of the Montreal’s world-famous Old Port.

3. Mont-Tremblant National Park

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Credit: Christian Savard

Pedalheads will love taking to the trails in Quebec’s oldest national park, Mont-Tremblant National Park in the Southern Laurentians. Breathtaking scenery complements the over 50 km of mountain bike trails for riders of all skill levels.

4. Surfing at Habitat 67

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Credit: www.danieldesmaraisphoto.com

River surfing at Habitat 67, a standing wave in Montreal, is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. The perpetual flow wave, situated near the iconic building of the same name, reaches as high as two metres, and this internationally-renowned wave can be surfed nearly year-round.

5. Green Island

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Credit: Christian Savard

In an estuary of the St. Lawrence River, Green Island is inhabited by fewer than 100 people, and connected to the coast by a ferry during the spring, summer and fall. Each summer, visitors participate in Sentier de la Bouette, a walk across the river during low tide, to reach the island and enjoy its tranquil beauty.

6. Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean

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Credit: Jean-François Hamelin

In the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, discover Aboriginal culture through participating in various traditional activities. Experience the simplicity and beauty of the lifestyle of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nations people in a teepee or prospector tent.

7. Îles de la Madeleine

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Credit: Jean-François Hamelin

Imagine the heavy hand of the wind at your back, pushing you across frozen rivers, lakes, snowy fields or an ice shelf, downhill skis or a snowboard attached to your boots. That’s kite skiing! A popular pastime in Îles de la Madeleine, it’s also found in various other regions across the province.

8. Bas-Saint-Laurent

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Credit: Christian Savard

Bas-Saint-Laurent has some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world, and enjoying them from a kayak built for two can be an incredibly romantic way to spend an evening. The sheltered coastal waters are suitable for even the most timid beginner.

9. Charlevoix

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Credit: Pilon-Lalande Maxime

The Charlevoix region is a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts, regardless of the season. If you enjoyed kayaking in the summer, it’s time to take a sea kayak out on one of the many lakes or rivers in the winter months, and enjoy a peaceful or rigorous paddle, depending on your route.

10. Parc Jean-Drapeau

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Credit: KSF

Try your hand at the trendiest water sport around, Stand Up Paddleboard. It’s a fantastic work out for your core, and your neck, as you’ll be swivelling to take in the beautiful scenery. Take a class and learn the basics, or set off on your own in Lachine Rapids Park or Parc Jean-Drapeau.

11. Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve

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Credit: Société de vélo en libre service

Urban bicycling is a breeze in Montreal with Bixi, the city’s public bicycle rental system. Rent a bike for just a few dollars and pedal through Parc Jean-Drapeau. Don’t miss the 4 km long Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, home to the Grand Prix du Canada.

12. Québec City dog sledding

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Credit: Jean-François Hamelin

The Québec City region is home to numerous dog sledding companies. This thrilling outdoor adventure takes place in scenic, woodlands on groomed trails, led by experienced and knowledgeable guides.

13. Jacques-Cartier River

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Credit: Luc Girouardc

Take a tumultuous  trip on the Lachine Rapids on the Saint Lawrence River by raft or jet boating. Join an experienced guide just a few minutes from downtown Montréal, or set out on your own in a river kayak on the Jacques-Cartier River in the Laurentian mountains.

14. Clock Tower Beach

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Credit: Old Port of Montréal

The Clock Tower Beach is an urban oasis featuring fine sand, chairs, parasols and misters. While swimming isn’t permitted, it’s a place to see and be seen on a beautiful summer day.

15. Gaspésie

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Credit: Raphael Ouellet

Honoured as One of Canada’s 50 Places of a Lifetime by National Geographic Traveler, Gaspésie includes four beautiful national parks, the world’s most accessible northern gannet colony and one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Near the village of Cap Chat, the adventurous can fly over cliffs by zip line.

16. Saguenay Fjord National Park

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Credit: Christian Savard

Over 100 km of picturesque hiking trails await exploration at Saguenay Fjord National Park. Book your accommodation at one of the cabins, huts and campgrounds to truly immerse yourself in the Canadian Laurentian mountains.

17. Place D’Youville

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Credit: Jean-François Hamelin

Is there a prettier place to ice skate than with the historic buildings of Old Quebec City in the background? Lace up your skates for a twirl around Place D’Youville, with its old-world charm and quaint view of St-John’s Gate, Palais Montcalm and Le Capitole Theather.

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About the Author: Sarah Deveau

Sarah Deveau is a prolific freelance writer, and her work has been published in Today’s Parent, Parents Canada, Style at Home and most major Canadian daily newspapers, including the National Post.

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