From Old Québec to whale country

Location: Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park, Fortifications of Québec, Saint-Louis Forts and Châteaux and Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Sites
Distance: 545 km round trip from Québec

Immerse yourself in the history of Québec and explore whale country on this 7-day trip. Visit a fortified city, follow in the footsteps of thousands of immigrants who passed through the Grosse-Île quarantine station and discover one of the best places in the world to whale watch in the Tadoussac area.

Day 1

Location: Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site, Québec, Québec

Start off by exploring the historic district of Old Québec! Hear fascinating tales as you walk along the Fortifications of Québec ramparts with a Parks Canada guide. Discover the lesser known streetscapes and heritage of the Old Town only accessible on this guided tour.

Location: Saint-Louis Forts and Châteaux National Historic Site, Québec

In the afternoon, explore the remains of the Saint-Louis Forts and Châteaux. located below the Dufferin Terrace. Head down the stairs under the Lorne Kiosk and discover the rich history of this archaeological crypt. Marvel at more than 120 artifacts dating back to the time of Samuel de Champlain. Retrace more than 200 years of diplomatic history with the First Nations through relations with the Huron-Wendat Nation, learn more about the governors and Huron-Wendat diplomats, and find out about the alliances between these nations at the very place where decisions that left their mark on North America were made. Enjoy the river view as you cross Dufferin Terrace and don’t forget to take a family photo with a cannon and the famous Château Frontenac in the background!

Day 2

Location: Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site, Berthier-sur-Mer
Distance: 70 km from Québec

Head to Berthier-sur-Mer! Take a boat ride to explore Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial. Follow in the footsteps of four million immigrants who made the long voyage across the Atlantic and live their arrival experience with Nurse Sarah Wade’s Medical Examination.

As you continue your journey, arrive at Rivière-du-Loup by day’s end. Follow the road along the river and discover some of Québec’s most charming towns. There are so many great places for tourists, including some serving excellent local cuisine.

Day 3

Location: Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park, Baie-Sainte-Catherine
Distance: 180 km from Berthier-sur-Mer (ferry from Rivière-du-Loup to Saint-Siméon)

All aboard! It’s time to cross the majestic St. Lawrence River. Be on the lookout for beluga whales and other marine mammals. Your first stop is Pointe-Noire Interpretation and Observation Centre, the ideal spot for a picnic and for observing beluga whales at the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord.

The tail of a whale with a whale watching boat in the background.

Day 4

Location: Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park, Tadoussac
Distance: 10 km from Baie-Sainte-Catherine

Slip on your windbreaker and hop aboard a whale watching cruise. You’re gazing at the horizon when you hear a loud splash! A whale! The excitement is at its peak. You’ll never forget the wonder in the eyes of those by your side. Spend the afternoon strolling through Tadoussac, playing on the beach, or finding the perfect place to chill out as you explore the Pointe-de-l'Islet Trail. Not tired yet? Explore the Fjord and go hiking in the tranquil Sainte-Marguerite Bay. Equipped with your backpacks or your bicycles, a 3-km trek will lead you to a panoramic lookout. Be patient, you might be lucky enough to spot some beluga whales.

A visitor scuba diving at Les Escoumins.

Day 5

Location: Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park, Les Escoumins
Distance: 40 km from Tadoussac

Immerse yourself in the heart of the St. Lawrence as you make your way to the Marine Environment Discovery Centre. There are plenty of activities presented throughout the week. Which one will you choose? Looking for an adventure? Head down to the dive base and explore the cold waters and the cool species that live in the St. Lawrence River. After listening to the safety instructions, slip into your wetsuit, flippers and snorkel. Get ready to submerge yourself and keep your eyes wide-open. Prefer scuba diving? Dive into an underwater oasis with an experienced guide. Considered one of the best scuba diving destinations in North America, the Escoumins sector will blow your mind!

Rocks along the St. Lawrence River near the Cap-de-Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre.

Day 6

Location: Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park, Bergeronnes
Distance: 20 km from Les Escoumins

Play low-tide hide-and-seek at the Cap de Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre. In the company of an interpretive guide, look for crustaceans, molluscs and algae! Feel the rough skin of a starfish and see a real live crab up close. Head to the rocks at Cap de Bon-Désir, and see if you can observe all 14 species of whales, including the endangered St. Lawrence beluga or the blue whale, the largest marine mammal that has ever existed on the planet! Enjoy unforgettable moments and guaranteed thrills at this Marine Park!

Photo: Christiane Arsenault

Day 7

Head home via the riverside highway, one of the most scenic drives in Québec along the majestic St. Lawrence. Enjoy magnificent seascapes, mountain scenery and views of steep cliffs, riverside coves, imposing country houses and pretty villages along this winding route. Watch for the many lookout points with breathtaking views.

As you cross through the beautiful Charlevoix Region, make a stop in the picturesque town of Baie-Saint-Paul.

Distance: Return to Québec City, 215 km

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