The Québec maritime Blog

6 Picnic Spots in the Îles de la Madeleine
  • Fromagerie du Pied-De-Vent, Îles de la Madeleine
    Mathieu Dupuis

6 Picnic Spots in the Îles de la Madeleine

The Îles de la Madeleine are an ever-popular destination for lovers of wide-open spaces and local flavours from the land and sea. Not surprisingly, the Islands offer a multitude of ideal settings for memorable picnics. As you explore the region, you’ll have no trouble finding THE perfect spot! Keep reading to discover the best places to purchase picnic fixings and where to enjoy outdoor feasts on this archipelago. Are you ready to hit the road?

Sandy Hook

Located on Havre Aubert Island, Sandy Hook is a magnificent 12-km (7.5-mi.) beach offers breathtaking views of Entry Island. Claim one of the picnic tables on site and enjoy your meal while breathing in the salty sea air. Once you’re happily fed, go for a stroll along the water’s edge. If you’re feeling up to it, you can hike all the way to the tip of Bout du Banc: allow at least three hours to get there and back. With any luck, you’ll spot seals along the way. And if you’re a sandcastle enthusiast, be sure not to miss the world’s biggest amateur sandcastle competition, which is held on this beach every summer!

  • Foodie stops: Would you like some locally made apple cider and cheese for your picnic? Visit Le Verger Poméloi, which makes ciders and elixirs as well as fruit jellies and butters. Then stop by Fromagerie Les Biquettes à l’Air, the only goat farm on the Islands, to purchase some of their fresh goat cheeses. The salty sea air adds a little je ne sais quoi to their products!

Site de la Côte

Looking for a fun atmosphere on Cap aux Meules Island? You’ll love the Site de la Côte, a unique park along the water. Enjoy your picnic, then have fun with the giant chess set or on one of the pétanque courts. You can also explore the walking trail, which features period photos retracing the history of this site. As a bonus, several cultural events take place here throughout the summer, including musical performances by local artists. Bring your own picnic fixings and leave with unforgettable memories!

  • Foodie stop: The ultimate stop for quality local food products on the Islands is Gourmande de Nature. You’ll find everything from condiments, terrines and jams to prepared food, including sandwiches, salads and desserts. Enjoy!

Borgot Lighthouse

Near the Site de la Côte but offering a completely different atmosphere, you’ll find the Borgot Lighthouse. Enjoy a picnic on a blanket or eat on a bench near this sentinel of the sea as you soak up a stunning view of the water and the nearby red cliffs. In the evenings, this site attracts sunset lovers: it’s an idyllic place to admire this natural light show. Be sure to include this spot on your itinerary!

  • Foodie stop: Stop at the Boucherie Côte à Côte, a butcher shop and gourmet food store, to purchase a variety of food items made in Québec and around the world. You’ll find everything you need for your picnic here, including deli meats, gourmet treats and prepared dishes made on site.

Sentier du Littoral

Also on Cap aux Meules, you’ll find the Sentier du Littoral, a 2-km (1.2-mi.) bike and pedestrian path along the coast that will lead you to a lookout accessible via 185 steps. It’s well worth the climb—once you get to the top, you can soak up a magnificent view of the archipelago! Along the way, you can admire several beaches and capes and can stop at one of the picnic tables along the path to enjoy your lunch. There’s nothing like a bit of exercise to work up an appetite!

  • Foodie stops: To meet a host of local food producers, head to Le Marché du Village, a farmers market held every other Wednesday evening starting at 5 p.m. in Place des Gens de Mer at the heart of Cap-aux-Meules. You can also purchase various items at the L’Îlot café and the Madelon bakery and café, including coffee, sandwiches, salads and various baked goods.

Dune du Sud Beach

The Islands are obviously surrounded by a multitude of beaches, so why choose Dune du Sud on Havre aux Maisons Island in particular for a picnic? Well, it’s the only beach in the area where you can observe the red cliffs and caves along the coast at low tide! Offering 22 km (14 mi.) of shoreline protected from the wind, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a meal featuring regional products. Sit at a picnic table and marvel at the heavenly setting, where you can feast your eyes as well as your taste buds!

  • Foodie stops: Stop in Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent to discover the unique taste of this cheese factory’s products, which include cheese curds, cheddar and other soft and hard cheeses. Looking for seafood? Visit the Les Cultures du Large sea farm, which specializes in oysters, and the Le Fumoir d’Antan smokehouse where you can discover fish that’s been smoked using traditional methods. You’re sure to want to treat yourself!

Grande Échouerie (Old Harry) Beach

Are you ready for some peace and quiet? Head to the Grande Échouerie Beach (also known as Old Harry) on Grosse Île. Less crowded than other beaches, this is a good spot to enjoy a picnic in complete tranquility. Afterwards, you can go for a walk lasting several hours on the fine white sand. You may even spot seals basking in the sun near the water’s edge! Set up your blanket on the beach and allow time to stand still…

  • Foodie stop: You can’t visit the Islands without trying a lobster guédille (roll) at least once, and a great place to do so is at Cap Dauphin’s Fish Shack. Coming straight from the fishing boat to your plate, their seafood is as fresh as it gets!

Are you drawn to the flavours and scenery of the Îles de la Madeleine? No matter where you go, every corner of this region will offer you incredible taste and visual experiences. So put together a picnic spread and let yourself be carried away by the magic of these exceptional places, where every bite is a discovery and every view is like stepping into a postcard!

Author Annick Beauchemin

A native of the Montérégie countryside, Annick Beauchemin grew up near the St. Lawrence River and has always felt very attached to this waterway. In addition to her love of water, she has a passion for all things having to do with Québec. In fact, she set herself the goal of visiting all the province’s regions, an achievement she will soon reach. Since 2020, she has been publishing Bouche à Oreille, an online magazine that promotes Québec culture. It features her favourite themes: local products to taste, places to explore and works of art to discover. As a freelance writer, she also loves collaborating with organizations that reflect her values and interests.

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