As Canada’s largest province, there’s no shortage of cool things to do in Quebec. From the cosmopolitan city of Montreal to the whale-watching splendors of Tadoussac, Quebec has it all. This is what makes Quebec road trips such a great experience. Whether you’re looking to explore the cities, the wilderness, the small French towns, or everything in-between, there are lots of great road trips in Quebec.
The Gaspé Road Trip
When it comes to Quebec road trips, the Gaspé region is at the top of our bucket list. Known for its seaside vacations and stunning mountains, this amazing road trip will take you all the way from the major cities to the Easternmost tip of the province. Following Route 132 from the quaint villages of Bas-Saint-Laurent and many others that line the Gaspé coastline, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for savouring local cuisine and wine, observing wildlife, exploring the rich history, and getting outdoors in one of the many national and provincial parks where you can enjoy hiking, deep-sea fishing, boating, and more. Whatever it is you choose to do, don’t miss the legendary Percé Rock at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula. Taking a photo here will prove that you’ve explored this incredible region of Quebec, which was named one of National Geographic Traveller’s 50 Places of a Lifetime in Canada.
Where to Start?
You can start this road trip from either Montreal or Quebec City. If you start from Montreal, you’ll simply follow Route 132 up towards Quebec City, continuing all along the St. Lawrence River and up the coastline. From Montreal, you’re looking at approximately 920 kilometres one-way and from Quebec City, you’re looking at 700 kilometres one-way.
New France Road Trip
Known locally as the Route de la Nouvelle-France, this is one of the shorter Quebec road trips but combines some stunning destinations such as Quebec City and some smaller communities leading up to Côte-de-Beaupré. Once a supply road connecting the capital of New France (Quebec City), you’ll get to visit numerous small communities lined with old homes, churches, and farms, as well as a variety of local museums.
The road trip is only 50 kilometres and winds its way along the magnificent avenue Royale (Route 360) and consists of the communities of Boischatel, L’Ange-Gardien, Château-Richer, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Beaupré and Saint-Joachim. You’ll find many attractions that reveal the culture, heritage, and history of the area.
Where to Start?
This road trip starts in Quebec City and is just over 50 kilometres in length, making it an incredible day trip from Quebec City.
The Magnificent Fjord Road Trip
There are very few inland fjords in the world but one of them is the Saguenay fjord in Quebec. Not only is this Quebec road trip a great adventure for witnessing some spectacular scenery but it’s also home to some of Quebec’s most beautiful villages. Surrounded by 300-metre tall cliffs, this 105-kilometre journey takes you into one of the longest fjords in the world.
In addition to the historic small towns you’re bound to fall in love with, there are also some incredible whale-watching opportunities in Baie-Sainte-Catherine as well as a plethora of options for biking, hiking, or camping. Another cool feature is that you can pick up audio guides and learn more about the towns and attractions along your drive.
Where to Start?
This road trip starts in Baie-Sainte-Catherine and has a distance of 235 kilometres. You’ll want at least a day, if not two or three or ten, and you won’t want to miss the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, Musée de la Nature, the Musée du Fjord, and the Saguenay Fjord National Park.
The Whale Lover Road Trip
Speaking of whales, one of the best Quebec road trips is the Whale Tour, which consists of Route 138 between Tadoussac to Kegaska in the region of Côte-Nord. Having been whale watching in Tadoussac, I can tell you first-hand that you have a great chance of seeing humpback whales, seals, porpoises, and even beluga whales from time to time. The area, which consists of the St. Lawrence Seaway, is actually home to 13 species of whales, which is what gives this road trip its name.
You’ll truly have a whale of a time (pun intended) as you stop at all the little blue signs that have a little white whale mark, showing you the places where you might be able to spot whales right from the shoreline. But aside from the whales, you’ll also find beautiful views, colourful towns, lighthouses, shipwrecks, wildlife, and delicious seafood cuisine. But whatever you do, don’t miss the chance to jump on a boat or in a Zodiac for some incredible Tadoussac whale watching.
Where to Start?
This Quebec road trip starts in the charming town of Tadoussac. The entire road trip is about 850 kilometres, so you’ll definitely want at least a few days to fully enjoy it. Why not a week? After all, you don’t want to miss the Cap-de-Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre, Daniel Johnson Dam and Manic-5 Generating Station, Pointe-des-Monts Lighthouse, Vauréal Canyon and falls, and one or two trips out to see the whales.
The King’s Road Trip
Quebec’s two biggest cities are Montreal and Quebec City and this Quebec road trip connect them! The King’s Road dates back to 1737 when officials decreed that a ‘royal road’ be built to connect the two biggest settlements in what was then New France. Although the road trip is only 280 kilometres, it was once the longest road north of the Rio Grande. Hard to believe when you think of Canada as a whole and the Trans-Canada Highway, which is the longest road in the world. But hey – history!
Although you’ll no longer pass stagecoaches and ox-drawn carts, you will be able to stop at a variety of historical landmarks along the way. You’ll want to visit old towns such as Repentigny and Trois-Rivières, where you can visit beautiful churches and eat local Quebecois cuisine. Then, of course, there’s the cities of Montreal and Quebec City, which can easily take up many days of exploration. Plus, if you’re into cycling, the King’s Road is a Green Route, which means it’s safe for bikers!
Where to Start?
You can start this road trip in Montreal or Quebec City. As mentioned, it’s only 280 kilometres and can easily be done in a day, not including time spent in the big cities of course. While there, don’t miss Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade church, the Quebec Folk Culture Museum, the Old Prison of Trois-Rivières, and Lake Saint-Pierre.
The Wine Lovers Road Trip
Although this road trip consists of copious amounts of delicious wine, do not drink and drive. The Winery Road Trip is one of the top Quebec road trips and consists of 21 vineyards that you can easily enjoy by car, by bike, or by tour. Located in the Brome-Missisquoi region, you’ll find two of the oldest wineries in Quebec as well as some new ones as well. In addition to the liquid grapes, you’ll also find amazing restaurants, artisans, and outdoor adventure too.
Where to Start?
For this road trip, you’ll want to start in Farnham, which is just outside Montreal. The road trip is approximately 138 kilometres, but if you’re on a bike and drinking wine, you may get lost half a dozen times. Aside from the many vineyards, don’t miss Mont Sutton, Brome Lake, and the wonderful Centre de Santé Euro-Spa.
The Island Road Trip
When it comes to island life in Canada, most people probably think of places like Vancouver Island and Prince Edward Island. But another one of Canada’s beautiful postcard-perfect islands is the Magdalen Islands of Quebec. In French, they are called Îles de la Madeleine and in English, they are called the Magdalen Islands. Located in the middle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, this green archipelago is surrounded by white-sand beaches and stunning red cliffs. In addition to its scenic beauty, it’s also quite famous for its people as they’re known to be warm and hospitable and often chefs, artists, and artisans.
This is another area of Quebec that was voted by National Geographic Traveler as one of Canada’s 50 Places of a Lifetime. Popular activities include wind sports, sea excursions, art galleries, hiking, and indulging in some delicious seafood. There are seven inhabited islands and each has its own features and attractions. However, the entire Route 199 that crossed the entire island is only 85 kilometres long, so you don’t need to worry about any long drives. Instead, it’s recommended to base yourself in one place and explore the other islands as day trips. But, this all depends on how much time you have.
Where to Start?
The total distance of the Magdalen Islands is approximately 88 kilometres but if you’re driving from Quebec, you’ll need to cross through New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island before boarding the ferry to the islands from Souris. From Quebec City to Souris, PEI is about 1,000 kilometres, so you’ll want an entire day without stopping just to make it to the ferry. Instead, take some time to explore PEI and New Brunswick along the way. Make it a fun Canadian road trip!
Road Trips in Quebec
As you can see, there’s no shortage of incredible Quebec road trips. Whether it’s cruising between the two major cities or going far up the coast to spot whales and lighthouses, there’s a road trip in Quebec for everyone. But certainly, there are more than eight of them. If you know of some that we haven’t mentioned, please let us know in the comments…or let us know which of these 8 you love the most or hope to do in the future!