The Québec maritime Blog

Percé: An Early-Season Stay Between Sea and Cliffs
  • Mathieu Dupuis

Percé: An Early-Season Stay Between Sea and Cliffs

Located at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, Percé is a destination that charms visitors. This area is very popular during the peak tourist season, but why not discover its attractions before everyone else? Enjoy all that Percé has to offer in complete tranquility as early as June! Here are some ideas for your trip.

A multitude of natural attractions

Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé is one of the area’s most famous attractions since Percé Rock draws visitors from every corner of the world! Whether you approach this iconic natural landmark from the east or the west, the sight of it is a feast for the eyes. The massive limestone monolith, which is 450 metres (1475 feet) wide, rises up out the Gulf of St. Lawrence looking like a ship in full sail. You can admire it from the Mont Joli lookout, the wharf or the boardwalk, which runs along a pebble beach. You can also soak up a breathtaking view of the surrounding scenery from the top of the observation tower located along the boardwalk.

A sea excursion to Bonaventure Island will give you the opportunity to see a different view of Percé Rock, from the water. Admire seabirds and marine mammals as you loop around the island: seals, cormorants and razorbills will usually watch the passing boats with curiosity. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a blue whale, the largest animal on the planet! But the island’s main attraction is of course the northern gannets, which you can see up close once you’ve landed. This colony, which is home to over 100,000 birds, is the most accessible in the world. Be sure to bring your camera—they won’t hesitate to pose for magnificent photos!

Featuring exceptional geology, the Percé UNESCO Global Geopark allows you to contemplate 500 million years of Earth’s history during the Tektonik multimedia interactive exhibition. Listen to the legends whispered by the rocks since the dawn of time and see how Percé Rock was formed. Then follow the trails through the geopark to discover various geosites, including the Magic Forest and a cave. Magnificent views await you along your hike—the most spectacular is from the suspended glass platform, which overlooks the area at an altitude of 200 metres (660 feet). A shuttle bus can take you to the platform.

Further east, Parc de la Rivière Émeraude was named after the emerald-green river that flows through the park. A trail gives you access to a waterfall and a magnificent natural pool. This is a great place to stop for a picnic!

Nearby, the Coin-du-Banc sector is a favourite destination for bird lovers. Stretching between the sea and a marsh, the barachois attracts many bird species in an environment where fresh and salt water mix. Be sure to bring your binoculars and camera to observe easy-to-spot residents such as Canada geese and great blue herons as well as more discreet ones such as kingfishers.

Located on a beach at the end of the barachois, Camp de Base offers a multitude of outdoor adventures both at sea and on land to help you discover the Percé area: stand-up paddle boarding, sea kayaking, sport fishing, fatbiking on the beach, mountain biking and trail running with a guide.

Local flavours

Discover the tastes of locally made craft beers and spirits in Percé! Hops lovers are sure to appreciate a visit to the Pit Caribou and Auval microbreweries where they can sample delicious craft beers. If you’re looking for spirits and liqueurs, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to visit La Société Secrète, an artisanal distillery housed in an old Anglican church!

If you choose to visit the Percé area before July, in addition to all the activities offered during the summer, you can immerse yourself in a local tradition that marks the beginning of spring: lobster fishing. Watch the boats haul in lobster traps offshore, usually accompanied by the plaintive cries of seagulls. Once they return to port, head to the L’Anse-à-Beaufils sector to see the fresh lobster being unloaded on the wharf. You’ll want to treat yourself to this delicacy at a local restaurant or buy some at a fish market for a picnic!

Throughout the Percé area, you can also meet local artisans who will welcome you with open arms and be happy to share their passion with you as they tell you about their products, inspirations and region.

Has this blog post inspired you to dream of lobster, our great outdoors and Percé’s many other attractions? Start planning your early-season trip to Percé today!

Author Ulrich Josserand

Originally from the French Alps, Ulrich Josserand is a nature lover and a big fan of outdoor expeditions. Passionate about the great outdoors, he’s proud to have chosen Eastern Québec as his new home. In fact, he’s constantly wowed by the regions of Gaspésie and Bas-Saint-Laurent, where he has lived in recent years. When he’s not seeking adventure in our magnificent mountains and forests or road-tripping along the St. Lawrence, you can find him writing or playing music while dreaming of his next expedition. In his blog posts, he plans to share sights and stories that will help you discover and fall in love with our beautiful regions!

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