18 Unmissable Day Trips From Québec City, Canada
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Looking for some ideas to add to your growing list of day trips from Québec City? You’re in the right place!
Though you may be aware of the beauty that resides in the French-inspired charm of the streets of Old Québec City, you may also be curious to find out what’s a little outside the parameters of the beautiful cobblestone streets and European-influenced architecture.
From nature escapes, whale watching, quaint french towns, and islands on the beautiful St. Lawrence River let me share with you the beauty that resides just a few miles or a few hours outside of stunning Québec City.
Brimming with nature, culture, tradition, and beauty, let’s read some of the best day trips from Québec City that are unmissable and some even accessible if you don’t have a car.
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Nature Escape Day Trips From Québec City
1. Feel the breeze of cascading waterfalls at Montmorency Falls
Montmorency Falls is a waterfall that lies 15-20 minutes north of Old Québec City and offers you some of the best nature escapes nearby, making this stop one of the best day trips from Québec City.
Measuring 272 feet tall, making it slightly taller than Niagra Falls, various viewpoints surround the waterfall, but the most popular one is La Baronne viewpoint.
There are more than a few things to do at the falls, ranging from exciting zip lines that cross the width of the waterfall, hiking, bike paths, and walking paths and staircases that can take you around and near the waterfall – close enough to feel the breeze and cascading waters.
Step into the visitors center and learn a bit more about the waterfall, and get information on all the activities to do there.
We took an Uber from Old Town Québec City to Montmorency Falls and were swiftly dropped off at the park’s entrance with no problem.
Address: 2490 Ave Royale, Québec, Quebec G1C 1S1, Canada
>> Read More: Follow Me Around Québec City, Canada
2. Stare at the beauty of the St Anne’s Canyon Saguenay
*Spoiler alert I gave St. Anne’s Canyon Saguenay it’s own spot on this list separate from the picturesque town in which it is located (Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré). I will also share more about the town itself and St. Anne’s Canyon Saguenay separately just because there is SO much to do here alone*.
Enjoy the incredible 242-foot waterfall views at St. Anne’s Canyon Saguenay. Located 36 minutes north of Old Québec City in the city of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, is the outstanding site of a gushing waterfall that spews out of a million-year-old rock, creating an incredible natural sight to see for yourself.
Zipline above the beautiful waterfall on the Air Canyon, lifting visitors up 295 feet above the canyon. Get views of other natural phenomena such as the “giant cauldron” which is a bubbly river, the forested mountains, and even catch sight of a few wild animals.
Trek through one of the 3 giant suspension bridges, and step on the incredible viewpoints dotted around the park to snap your pictures or simply take the view in for yourself.
The entrance rate is $14 CAD, and don’t forget to bring comfortable, preferably waterproof shoes to comfortably trek the park.
I personally love my Women’s Vectiv Exploris Futurelight Shoes by the North Face for their lightweight feel, waterproof protection, and sleek style that can go with whatever outfits you’re going to pack for your trip to Québec City. I can’t recommend them enough!
Address: 206 Rt. 138, Saint-Joachim, Quebec G0A 3X0, Canada
3. Kayak and swim at Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier
Considered one of the most beautiful glacial valleys in the province of Québec, and overflowing with an incredible abundance of natural sights, adventerous and leisure activities is one of Québec’s best parks, Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier.
Located 30-40 minutes north of Old Québec City, the Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier offers visitors 62 miles worth of hiking trails, mountain biking, incredible swimming opportunities, boating options, kayaking, and so much more.
Guides are available to take you along the many walking paths to learn more about the local trees and plants that grow abundantly throughout the park, do some fascinating bird-watching, and skiing, skating and snowshoeing in the winter.
There is a lot more to do and experience in the park, and you can even plan to stay an entire weekend in the park’s incredible forest cottages and cabins, or rent a space to pitch a tent in one of the many camping spaces available.
Whether you’re planning a day trip from Québec or you’re trying to plan a weekend-long escape, rest assured you won’t be bored while visiting Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier. Entrance tickets begin at $7.19 CAD.
Address: 103 Chem. du Parc-National, Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury, QC G3C 2T5, Canada
*Spoiler alert I gave Mont-Sainte-Anne its own spot on this list separate from the picturesque town in which it is located (Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré). I will also share more about the town itself and Mont-Sainte-Anne separately just because there is SO much to do here alone*.
Located 25 miles north of Old Québec City is the beautiful ski resort of Mont-Sainte-Anne, a deluxe ski resort situated in the Laurentian mountains, offering more than just incredible skating and skiing opportunities.
Whether you’re visiting in the summer or winter, there are always events happening in the ski resort.
The summer months include adventurous opportunities as do the winter months, such as paragliding, canoeing, hiking, and biking.
In the winter, you can expect skiing, ice skating, sledding, sleigh rides, and snowshoeing.
If you’re looking for a specific activity, make sure to head over to the park’s website to see exactly when the park opens for the different seasons, and what new activities they have planned for visitors wanting to escape from the city for a little while.
Did you know that you can take a boat tour from Québec City to Mont-Sainte-Anne?
One of the easiest and most entertaining ways to experience Mont-Sainte-Anne and Québec City is via the St. Lawrence River, which you can do easily with a river cruise to Mont-Sainte-Anne from the pier of Québec City.
Enjoy lunch while gazing at the lake views of the St. Lawrence River, and choose where you’d like to go once you arrive at Mont-Sainte-Anne: the Mont-Sainte-Anne peaks or the canyons.
Get transported via a comfortable bus, arrive at your activity, and enjoy to the max the best that this park has from cable cars to zip lines, to gazing out at the view of Québec City from the peaks of Mont-Sainte-Anne. Arrive safely back to the Old Québec City dock before dark, and relish those memories for years to come.
Address: 2000 Bd du Beau Pré, Beaupré, QC G0A 1E0, Canada
5. Rock climb and hike at Parc National des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie
Sitting smack dab in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Charlevoix biosphere reserve is the outstandingly gorgeous Parc National des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie.
The name roughly translates into “deep cuts from the valley” – which isn’t too hard to see when that is what takes many visitors breath away.
Kayak through the great white water rivers, take in the serenity and views of the abundant wildlife, rock climb, and reach new heights with incredible views of the valley below, and refresh yourself with the mist of the cascading waterfalls.
The Parc national des Hautes‑Gorges-de-la-Rivière‑Malbaie is located 2 hours north of Québec City, which makes it a little tricky to get there by public transportation, even Uber.
The best way to get to Parc national des Hautes‑Gorges-de-la-Rivière‑Malbaie from Québec City comes down to either driving to the park yourself or befriending a local and nice Québecian and seeing if they’re down to take you to Parc national des Hautes‑Gorges-de-la-Rivière‑Malbaie.
The entrance into the park is $9,25 CAD.
Check out the Riverboat Discovery Cruise, a 1-hour boat cruise taking you through some of the most breathtaking sites of the park, hop on a rabaska canoe (multi-person canoe), stand up paddling in the summer, and ice climbing, skating snowshoeing, and skiing in the winter.
Address: 500 Main Street, Saint-Aime-des-Lacs, QC G0T 1S0, Canada
🚘 🚗 Looking to rent a car for your day trips from Québec City? Check out Alamo Car Rental or Expedia Car Rental Options to find the best rates for your upcoming road trip from Québec City.
6. Experience the beauty of whale watching at the St-Lawrence Marine Park
Did you know that you could do some whale watching not too far from Québec City?
Located a little over 3 hours away is the incredible St. Lawrence Marine Park offering an abundance of activities, nature sights, and some serious whale watching.
The St. Lawrence Marine Park is considered to be a National Marine Conservation Area that is inhabited by 2,200 different marine species. Here, you can expect to see everything from seals, belugas, porpoises, and whales such as the Blue Whale, Humpback Whale, Minke Whale, the Fin Whale and so much more.
Aside from wildlife-watching activities, you can do some kayaking, fishing, swimming in designated areas, hiking, and of course, taking a cruise to see the best of everything around.
Since the St. Lawrence Marine Park is 3 hours away – so close yet so far, one of the best ways to experience this excursion is via a Whale Watching Excursion with ground transportation.
Leaving Old Town Québec City early in the morning, in 3 hours time you could be sitting on a boat in the northern region of the St. Lawrence River preparing to watch the first whale pop into appearance.
Address: 182 Rue de l’Église, Tadoussac, QC G0T 2A0, Canada
7. Explore the parks of Saguenay
Saguenay is a nature lover’s paradise, overflowing with rivers, hills, valleys, ski, bike trails, and so much more.
One of its unmissable sites is the famed Saguenay Fjord, which is the remnants of the glacial valley that created the beautiful Saguenay River in the Fjord-du-Saguenay National Park, an ideal place for kayaking, canoeing, taking a scenic cruise, or cycling around the coast.
Check out the world’s largest La Pulperie de Chicoutimi, a pulp mill turned museum where you can dive deep into the influence that the pulperie had on Saguenay’s development then, and beyond, as well as what it was used for.
Take a stroll in one of the many parks in Saguenay such as the Parc de la Rivière-du-Moulin, offering 7.2 kilometers of walking trails. Catch the sunset, bring a few snacks, and absorb nature’s abundance.
Step inside the Pyramid of the Ha! Ha!, built in 1996, which has an observatory opened in the summer inside, and in and of itself is a unique structure to see in the middle of Québec.
Lastly, check out Val-Jalbert Historical Village, a true step back in time where you can visit this open-air museum and see homes, buildings, and local culture that was prominent in the late 1920s. Go inside the general store, post office, and homes, complete with tour guides dressed in outfits of the time.
Island Escapes, Big Cities, and Charming Small Town Day Trips From Québec City
8. Be mesmerized by the multiple wildlife sightings at Baie-Sainte-Catherine
Situated 2.5 hours north of Québec City is the picturesque and quaint town of Baie-Sainte-Catherine, situated on the idyllic coast of southern Charlevoix.
With an abundance of things to do, mostly natural and involving wildlife watching, a visit to Baie-Sainte-Catherine is a perfect weekend trip from Québec City for ultimate peace and quiet.
The Centre D’Interpretation Et D’Observation De Pointe-Noire translated into English means Interpretation of the Interpretation and Observation Center of the Black Point, is a stunning viewpoint that offers indescribable views of wildlife, birds of different species, and the emergence of the St. Lawrence River with the Saguenay narrow strip.
Whale watching is also a major activity here, and with an abundance of different whale watching excursions available to make the 2-hour drive up there easier, definitely consider checking them out.
Be in the presence of belugas, whales, seals, and so much more, while breathing in the fresh air of the St. Lawrence River. A tour guide and marine life animal expert will share interesting facts along the way to further deepen your appreciation for what you’re seeing.
9. Try family-crafted ciders and freshly picked fruit at Isle-aux-Coudres
Check out Canadian island life inside Isle-aux-Coudres, located in the beautiful Charlevoix region, located in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, and a little over 2 hours north of Québec City.
A tight-knit community eager to welcome visitors to their beautiful island is the way to describe the vibe of the island, as the Marsouins (the locals) are ready to show you the best of their little island, which dates back to 1720 when the first Europeans settled here.
Go on a bike ride along the beautiful shores of the island, and pick your own fruit at the Cidrerie and Vergers Pedneault where you can try the family crafted ciders, and check out the Mills of Isle-aux-Coudres, which often do grain milling demonstrations in which guides will share the deep tradition of milling on the island.
The best way to get to the island is to travel from Québec City up to the town of Saint-Joseph-de-la-rive, and take a ferry from there to Isle-aux-Courdes, which is usually around 15 minutes and is completely FREE.
We like that word.
Make sure to head over to the ferry’s official website in order to get the ferry schedule.
Getting up to Saint-Joseph-de-la-rive however may be a bit trickier unless you befriend a local Québecian, but if that’s not the case, consider renting a car and driving up there yourself.
If you’re from the States, the roads are not that different from what we are used to, and it’s fairly easy (and freeing) to be able to go yourself in your own vehicle.
10. Check out local fishing culture and maritime heritage at Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive
Sainte-Joseph-de-la-Rive is a beautiful town located 1.5 hours north of Québec City and boasts hometown vibes with the most picturesque towns surrounded by panoramic mountains and the St. Lawrence River.
Speaking of nature, one of the things to do is hike the trails at Sentier de la Forêt Marine which means Marine Forest Trail, where sights of rivers, canyons, and waterfalls.
Right next to the hiking trails of the Sentier de la Forêt Marine is the Saint-Joseph-de-la-rive Maritime Museum, showcasing a collection of fishing and boating traditions and heritage of the local area.
With boat exhibitions, a sawmill, and more, you’ll learn about the importance of these traditions and the identity they symbolize for locals.
Visit one of the last types of flour mills that belonged to a Lord at Le Moulin Seigneurial de Les Éboulements, which has been maintained to appear as it has always historically.
Visit the grounds, check out how the mill still functions, and the history behind one of the few left of its kind.
11. Visit some of the most stunning French-inspired villages in Ile d’Orléans
Ile d’Orléans (Island of Orleans) is one of the most picturesque islands just east of Québec City, brimming with abundant nature escape opportunities, local charm, and friendly people.
This little island has around 6 villages to explore, and each offering something to do and/or see.
Sainte-Pétronille for instance is located on the north side of the island. Showing off some of the most beautiful, picturesque architecture and homes on the island, the region has been recognized by many as one of the most beautiful towns in Québec.
For stunning French-style architecture, much like you’d see in Québec City, visit Sainte-Famille, as well as different farms and specialty dairy shops showcasing workshops on how to make certain island delicacies.
For great birdwatching and unruly nature, check out Saint-François. Stop by the multiple viewpoints, directing the gaze of the traveler to a new corner of the island, or one of its magnificent views and sunset sights.
Make it a weekend trip to get to Ile d’Orleans and explore the French heritage yourself by renting a car and driving there.
However, if that is not an option, you can also consider taking a tour that will take you alongside other curious travelers, while making other stops along the way.
12. Learn about the Irish heritage at La Grosse Île
Making up one of the 21 archipelago islands, La Grosse Île is an important city in Canadian history, as it used to be an immigration port when they arrived in Canada.
Today, the naturally beautiful island retells the story of its rich Irish heritage via the Irish Memorial, commemorating the unfortunate devastation of the famine that the Irish immigrants faced and suffered.
Tours are offered of the Irish Memorial, which is a towering Celtic cross, to guide and educate visitors on the tragedy, and the lasting impacts of the famine on the future of the island.
The tour allows for easier access to the island, as ground and boat transportation are included, as opposed to driving yourself from Québec City if that is not an option for you.
Located on the St. Lawrence River, north of Québec City, the island is a beautiful natural escape with a fascinating and tragic history worth learning about.
13. Try a few locally crafted treats in Baie-Saint-Paul
Naturally, a beautiful sight to see, the cultural city of Baie-Saint-Paul is a city a little over an hour north of Québec City and is most commonly known for its abundant art galleries and varied cultural scene.
The mountain and river scenery will impress you, as you take in the scene of nature and history with one gaze.
Book a bike tour or just a bike and ride at your own pace through its forested paths, take your shoes off and feel the sand between your toes on one of the many beaches on its east coast, or simply stop into a specialty food store and get a taste for the delicacies of Baie-Saint-Paul.
The good news about Baie-Saint-Paul is that it is accessible via public transportation if that is something you’re interested in.
Buses are making the trip between Québec City and Baie Saint Paul every day, just make sure to check the bus schedule.
>> Read More: 37 Great Must-Have Car Accessories For Your Next Road Trip [Updated 2022]
14. Learn about the Huron-Wendat Nation at Wendake
Learn and educate yourself on one of the First Nation Tribes called the Huron-Wendat Nation.
Wendake, which is the name for two reserves, is a First Nations “open air” museum space, that welcomes visitors to witness first-hand the traditions and rich heritage of the Huron-Wendat Nation.
Though their original home is in central Québec, Wendake is located 22 minutes west of Old Québec City, and visitors can learn and appreciate the culture here.
Some of the enriching activities include canoeing and kayaking activities, storytelling, Huron traditional dance performances, and more.
Enjoy dinner at the lovely NEK8ARRE restaurant offering traditional delicacies based on game and fish.
Step into the boutique, and explore some of the handmade crafts created by a variety of First Nation people, or step into one of the craft-making workshops, and immerse yourself in the practice of making certain arts.
Wendake is open all year round, offering different activities based on the season, so consider a trip here.
15. Explore endless activities in beautiful Montréal
Montréal is a beautiful city where new meets old, and both co-exist beautifully. I’ve been lucky to have visited a couple of times, and each time I visit I relish every moment I’m there.
From exploring Old Montréal and getting lost in its French Charm to the hipster Mile End neighborhood and all the poutine shops and beautiful diversity recognized in the varied neighborhoods.
Check out a walking tour of Montréal before doing anything else to really get the essence of the city, its buildings, the French influence, and the current-day Quebec-ian efforts to preserve their distinct culture.
Another amazing tour I have to recommend is the Fantômes Montreal Ghost Tour, which I personally took while I was visiting and LOVED it.
Not only is it spooky and creepy to wander the streets of old Montréal at night, going through little alleyways and learning about the dark past, but it’s also super informative and historic.
Plus the tour guides come in full dress, adding their own flair, and describing the tour in character, making the experience even better. I can’t recommend them enough.
Visit the beautiful Montréal Botanic Garden, and spend a few hours absorbing the beauty of the Japanese Garden, the variety of flowerbeds, and exotic flowers adorning the paths.
Not too far off is the Olympic Stadium, where the 1976 Olympics took place. Get a tour guide to share with you all the impressive details, and enter the stadium where all the activities and closing ceremonies took place.
For an added dose of fun, consider taking a bike tour to not only explore Montréal, but also go inside the little neighborhoods, smaller streets, and outside of the city center just a bit. I can’t recommend it enough, it was so much fun!
>> Read More: 7 Helpful Things To Know Before Going To Montréal, Canada
>> Read More: How To Easily Book and Take The Train From Québec City To Montréal Using Via Rail Canada
16. Enjoy slipping down slides at Village Vacances Valcartier
With a number of slides, water games, activities, and lazy rivers, both indoor and out, the Village Vacances Valcartier is one of the best water day trip activities to do only 20 minutes away from Québec City.
Counting on 35 water slides, over 90 water games and activities, and 2 thematic rivers to enjoy during the summer, the water amusement park also has a few winter activities as well.
Open all year, if you’re visiting in the winter, check out the indoor water park “Bora Parc” as well as a few outdoor activities like 35 tobogganing runs, snow rafting, and more.
Considered to be the CONTINENT’S largest water park, this is a must-visit site near Québec City not to miss.
If you’re visiting in the winter, make sure to check out the unique but super interesting Ice Hotel, said to be the only one in North America boasting an all-ice-made hotel.
Purchase tickets ahead of time on their website, and select your time, date, and how many tickets you’d like to buy.
Address: 2280 Bd Valcartier, Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, QC G0A 4S0, Canada
17. Tour the historic Old Town of Lévis
A popular place to visit sitting across the St. Lawrence River from Québec City is the picturesque town of Lévis.
Check out the Lévis Forts National Historic Site, where you can check out 3 separate forts that were constructed between 1865 and 1872 against a potential American invasion. Explore the underground firing tunnels, vaulted architecture, and castmates.
Stroll by the Maison Alphonse-Desjardins, and take in the beauty of the beautiful mansion which used to be the home of the founder of the Desjardins Group.
Step in for a free tour of the mansion, and get the history behind it. Groups of 7 or fewer do not have to make an online reservation, but if you’re planning on bringing a larger group, head on to their website to make a FREE reservation.
Tour the historic neighborhood of Le quartier St-Romuald, right next to the St. Lawrence River, and step back in time as you walk past beautiful old buildings, quaint homes, and more. Take a tour of the neighborhood to further deepen your understanding of the area, and the history behind the buildings.
18. See why half a million people visit Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré every year
As you may have already seen, there is an abundance of natural sites to visit in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré as per #2 and #4 on this post, but here I want to highlight a bit more of the culture of the town.
Situated 30 minutes north of Old Québec City is the town of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre, most commonly known for the St. Anne Basilica/ the Sainte Anne Sanctuary and Shrine. Named one of the 4 major shrines in Canada, and one of the oldest pilgrimage sites in North America.
The shrine was dedicated to Saint Anne, believed to be the grandmother of Jesus, and is a beautiful work of art to explore and get lost in the details of the mosaics, paintings, the light that comes through the stained glass windows, stunning architecture, and the wooden sculptures inside.
The shrine receives approximately half a million pilgrims each year and is known by many believers to be a holy site to ask for miracles to bring healing to the sick.
If you’re visiting around the end of July, you may catch the annual Feast of Saint Anne, which is a feast to celebrate St. Anne with a mass, procession, and other celebrations.
Getting to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre is quite easy with a river tour that will not only take you from Québec City to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, but will also include lunch, a cable car ride to the Mont-Sainte-Anne peak, and many other stops along the way.
Address to Sainte Anne Sanctuary and Shrine: 10018 Ave Royale, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Quebec G0A 3C0, Canada
The Wrap Up: 18 Unmissable Day Trips from Québec City, Canada
Québec City has an abundance of beauty, charm, history, and fascinating things to do on its own, but sometimes it’s just as great to explore a little further outside of the city center, to see the beauty and marvels that reside just a few miles out.
I hope that you enjoyed this list of 18 unmissable day trips from Québec City and that it served you with some inspiration and places to add to your itinerary.
Have you been to any of these places near Québec city?
Let me know if I missed any other sites that you may know of that should be included in the list so we can all take advantage of the different day trips available from Québec city.
To more travel like these.