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5 Good Reasons to Visit Gaspé
  • Gaspé
    François Rivard/Tourisme Gaspésie

5 Good Reasons to Visit Gaspé

Gaspé, or Gespeg in the Mi’gmaq language, means “land’s end” and also marks the beginning of an exhilarating adventure! Located at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, this town offers a host of activities combining nature, culture and history. The area is a popular destination for outdoor lovers since it’s home to a vast bay, world-class salmon rivers, fine-sand beaches, a national park and many wildlife species. It will also appeal to history buffs, who will want to visit the many local museums and interpretation sites. Here are five good reasons to visit Gaspé!

1. Explore Land’s End

Marking the eastern end of the Appalachian mountain chain, Forillon National Park invites you to discover picture-perfect landscapes featuring tree-covered mountains, impressive cliffs and water as far as the eye can see. Outdoor lovers can enjoy hiking, wildlife observation (seabirds, whales, seals, black bears, beavers, moose, etc.), sea excursions and more! If you’re interested in local history and heritage, visit a typical fisherman’s house and the general store in the Grande-Grave sector as well as the coastal battery dating from the Second World War at Fort Peninsula. The park also offers several camping options, from backcountry wilderness and RV sites to glamping in an oTENTik tent or MicrOcube unit!

2. Enjoy a sea excursion on the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Want to test your sea legs? Gaspé Bay is the departure point for several different types of sea excursions. From Grande-Grave, in Forillon National Park, you can board a Croisières Baie de Gaspé sightseeing boat and set off towards the Gulf of St. Lawrence to observe up to six species of whales. During the 2.5-hour excursion, an interpreter guide will tell you more about fin whales, humpbacks and blue whales, the largest animals on the planet. If you’re interested in seeing grey and harbour seals, you’ll want to participate in a 3-hour sea kayaking excursion with a guide from Cap Aventure. While you paddle, these curious animals are very likely to come out to greet you! Zodiac excursions are also available, departing from the Gaspé marina. You can also board the Mathilde in Cap-des-Rosiers with Griffon Aventure to discover a breathtaking coastal landscape, observe wildlife and even try your hand at sea fishing! Whatever excursion you choose, keep your eyes on the coast: the cliffs of Forillon are even more impressive from the water!

3. Visit three unique lighthouses

Three fascinating lighthouses are found in the Gaspé area. The Cap-Gaspé Lighthouse in Forillon National Park stands guard on a cliff that’s 95 metres (310 feet) high. As you can imagine, the tower offers an amazing view of the sea! Find out about the fascinating history of this lighthouse by reading the interpretive panels on site. The Cap-des-Rosiers Lighthouse is the tallest in Canada. Climb to the top of the 34-metre (112-foot) tower during a guided tour and learn all about how the lighthouse functions. Finally, you can visit the Pointe-à-la-Renommée Lighthouse, the most travelled in the world! After 20 years of exile in the Port of Québec, it was returned to its original site in 1997. In addition to learning more about the lives of the lightkeepers, you can discover North America’s first marine wireless station, which was installed on this site by Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company.

4. Soak up local history

History buffs will be delighted by a visit to Gaspé! In addition to the interpretation sites found in Forillon National Park, you can also visit several other sites that showcase the area’s rich heritage. At the Micmac Interpretation Site of Gespeg, tour a reconstructed 17th-century traditional village and learn more about the Mi’cmaq Nation from yesterday to today. If you’re interested in fishing history, you’ll want to visit Manoir Le Boutillier, which was first owned by John Le Boutillier, a major cod exporter from 1850 to 1860. Finally, the Birthplace of Canada offers a representation of the heart of the village of Gaspé as it was in 1900. Wander from the general store to the tavern and be sure to also visit the navy base and a typical residence while interacting with interpreter guides in period costume who represent some of the people who marked the history of this area.

5. Celebrate world music with local and international artists

Every summer in August, Gaspé hosts the Festival Musique du Bout du Monde, a world music festival. During this event, the village is transformed into a giant celebration, bringing together about 20,000 festival-goers and over 200 performers, including local artists, big-name world musicians and promising new talents. The festival features live concerts as well as dance performances, live theatre and activities for the whole family. All these events take place under a big tent and in the streets of the village as well as in cafés, bars and even backyards! The highlight of the festival is the outdoor concert at dawn at Cap-Bon-Ami, in Forillon National Park. You won’t want to miss it!

So, what do you think? Which of these attractions do you plan to visit during your road trip along the Bas-Saint-Laurent – Gaspésie Tour? Be sure to book your accommodations in the Gaspé area in advance and enjoy your stay!

Author Anne-Josée Pineau

Born in Bas-Saint-Laurent, Anne-Josée Pineau loves this region and is delighted to introduce others to it. Never far from the sea, she’s fascinated by lighthouses and could live on seafood alone! On this blog, she likes to write about our regions’ unusual attractions, make your mouth water by describing local delicacies, and pique your interest by revealing some of the hidden beauty found in Québec by the Sea. In other words, she wants to provide you with lots of ideas for an unforgettable vacation!

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