St. Lawrence Road Trips

| 3 to 7 days |110 km (70 mi.) to 525 km (325 mi.) | from La Pocatière to Tadoussac

In the maritime regions of Québec, ferries serve as extensions of the road network. In addition to allowing you to visit both shores of the St. Lawrence without needing to retrace your steps, they are a novel way to travel and offer unique perspectives on the surrounding scenery and marine mammals.

Four ferries link the north and south shores of the St. Lawrence in Eastern Québec, Canada. These sea routes increase your travel options. Depending on how much time you have, you can choose from the Escapade, Getaway, Discovery or Explorer itinerary. Keep your eyes peeled and you may spot whales or other marine mammals in the majestic St. Lawrence River.

Note: All of these routes can be explored in either direction, clockwise or counterclockwise.

Travel Itinerary

110 km (70 mi.) + 65 min by ferryEscapade – 3 days

La Pocatière – Rivière-du-Loup – Saint-Siméon – Tadoussac

The Escapade is ideal if you have relatively little time to spend in Québec. Take advantage of your stay in Bas-Saint-Laurent to discover the talent hidden in the coastal villages in the Kamouraska area. You can also head inland to enjoy a host of outdoor activities in Pohénégamook or spend some time in the Témiscouata area.

On foot or by bike, explore the magnificent scenery that surrounds the Petit Témis Interprovincial Linear Park in this beautiful area of Canada.

In Rivière-du-Loup, set off to explore the nearby islands. You can also opt for a whale-watching cruise with Croisières AML.

While you are crossing the St. Lawrence by ferry from Rivière-du-Loup to Saint-Siméon, keep your eyes peeled and you may spot seals or belugas! Note that reservations are required for groups and buses.

Once in Saint-Siméon, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence, it is worth your while to drive to Tadoussac, which is only 40 kilometres (25 miles) east. Every year, this popular Côte-Nord destination welcomes tourists from all over the world who come to observe the whales, explore the Saguenay Fjord by boat and enjoy the festive atmosphere found in one of Québec’s most beautiful villages.

150 km (95 mi.) + 90 min by ferryGetaway – 4 days

La Pocatière – Trois-Pistoles – Les Escoumins – Tadoussac

In addition to the activities suggested in the Escapade itinerary, here are our further recommendations to add pleasure of your stay in Québec.

While heading towards the ferry in Trois-Pistoles (reservations recommended in high season), be sure to visit Île Verte (Green Island)—the rural charm of this area will remind you of a bygone era. The island is home to Québec’s oldest lighthouse, built in 1809. If you are interested in historic buildings, stop in the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Church, in Trois-Pistoles, which dominates the landscape for miles. Its composite-style architecture and sumptuous interior make it well worth a visit.

The stretch between Les Escoumins and Tadoussac on the north shore is one of the best areas in the world to observe whales, either during a sea excursion or from land. Visit the interpretation sites of the Saguenay – St. Lawrence Marine Park as well as the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre (CIMM) to learn more about the whales of the St. Lawrence.

Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay is a great place to visit for fun outdoor activities: hiking, sea kayaking, wildlife observation and more. While in Sacré-Coeur, which is 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Tadoussac, stop in at the Ferme 5 Étoiles holiday resort where you can enjoy many outdoor activities including sea kayaking on the majestic Saguenay Fjord.

275 km (170 mi.) + 60 min by ferryDiscovery – 5 days

La Pocatière – Rimouski – Forestville – Tadoussac

In addition to the activities suggested in the Escapade and Getaway itineraries, here are our further recommendations.

On the way to Rimouski, be sure to visit Parc national du Bic, which borders the St. Lawrence Estuary and boasts magnificent coastal scenery. The park offers a multitude of activities: camping, sea kayaking, seal watching, hiking, cycling, geocaching and more. You can spend a night in a yurt or Huttopia tent, two glamping options that will please those who want a bit more comfort!!

The Rimouski area also offers attractions for every taste, including the first submarine in Canada open to the public at the Pointe-au-Père Maritime Historic Site, Québec’s highest suspension bridge at the Canyon des Portes de l’Enfer (Hell’s Gate Canyon), a treetop adventure park at Domaine Valga and more!!

After spending a few days exploring the south shore, zip across the St. Lawrence to Forestville in only an hour on Québec’s fastest ferry (reservations required)!

On your way to Les Escoumins on the north shore, you will drive through the municipalities of Portneuf-sur-Mer and Longue-Rive, both of which are popular bird-watching destinations.

525 km (325 mi.) + 2 h by ferryExplorer – 7 days

La Pocatière – Matane – Baie-Comeau/Godbout – Tadoussac

In addition to the activities suggested in the Escapade, Getaway and Discovery itineraries, here are our further recommendations.

Some 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of Rimouski, visit the Reford Gardens, which hosts the International Garden Festival every year. The festival presents contemporary gardens created by architects from all over the world, alongside Elsie Reford’s historic gardens, which showcase about 3000 species and varieties of plants.

Head next to Matane to take the ferry across the St. Lawrence (reservations recommended). Depending on where you want to go and when you need to leave, you have two options: you can head to either Baie-Comeau or Godbout.

On your way to Tadoussac, stop in Pointe-aux-Outardes, which is one of the areas with the warmest swimmable waters in Côte-Nord. This site is also a popular birding destination.

This itinerary is a great way to explore three of the maritime regions of Québec in one trip!

SIDE TRIP

Did you know that Canada is the world’s second largest producer of hydroelectricity? From Baie-Comeau, head north on Route 389 to visit the gigantic Manic-2 and Manic-5 dams. In addition to learning more about this renewable energy source, you will be impressed by the size of these facilities.