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The Maritime Regions of Québec: A Sea Kayaker’s Paradise
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    Marc Loiselle / Tourisme Côte-Nord - Manicouagan

The Maritime Regions of Québec: A Sea Kayaker’s Paradise

As a sea-oriented territory boasting spectacular and varied landscapes, the maritime regions of Québec are a true sea kayaking paradise. This activity is actually one of the best ways to observe seals and a multitude of seabirds while peacefully admiring the coastline from the water. Explore our numerous memorable destinations and, if you don’t have your own equipment, take advantage of the many guided excursions offered throughout Eastern Québec.

Bas-Saint-Laurent

The Kamouraska archipelago is a very picturesque setting for sea kayaking. Facing the mountains of Charlevoix on the north shore of the St. Lawrence, it offers multiple kayaking routes with unique views of the mountains to the north and the village of Kamouraska to the south. Take a break on Île aux Corneilles (Crow Island) to stretch your legs and observe numerous bird species along the shoreline. The SEBKA site offers guided excursions departing from the village of Kamouraska.

Parc national du Bic is a well-known sea kayaking destination. The park’s coves and islets are a perfect playground for paddlers, inviting them to discover the park’s seaward side. Seals are very common in the park—if you’re lucky, one might pop out of the water to say hello while you’re watching a flock of seabirds, such as black guillemots or eider ducks, or a lone heron flying back to its nest. The boat launch in the Havre-du-Bic sector provides easy access to the water in all conditions. Guided excursions are offered from this location. Just one tip: to make the most of your kayaking experience, opt for a sunset excursion and don’t forget your camera!

Côte-Nord

The Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park is one of the best spots in the world to observe whales! In the Les Bergeronnes area, Mer et Monde Écotours offers guided sea kayaking excursions to discover the marine environment, including winter kayak tours through the ice floes, which adventurous kayakers are sure to enjoy! Paradis Marin also offers guided kayak tours to introduce you to the mysterious St. Lawrence.

The Saguenay Fjord is a classic destination for kayakers in Québec: the remarkable scenery in this area will leave you speechless. From the water, the fjord’s sheer rock faces, majestic capes and rugged shoreline look even more impressive! Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay offers 13 primitive campsites along the fjord, some of which are only accessible by kayak. Fjord en Kayak, a company based in L’Anse-Saint-Jean, provides you with the perfect opportunity to explore the waters of the legendary Saguenay River at your own pace. It offers everything from tours lasting a few hours to kayak camping trips lasting several days. Another option is to paddle the waters of the fjord during an inclusive stay at the Ferme 5 Étoiles holiday resort.

In Saint-Pancrace Bay in Baie-Comeau, follow the passionate guides at Attitude Nordique to discover all the beauty and serenity of the St. Lawrence in this area. Several packages are available during the day or in the evening and include other outdoor activities as well as the opportunity to taste local gourmet products.

If you have your own kayak, be sure to stop in Sept-Îles along the way to explore the archipelago that gave the city its name. Paddle to Grande Basque Island, where you’ll find hiking trails and a primitive campground, and extend your stay in this area known for whale watching.

For experienced kayakers looking for a complete change of scenery in a remote environment, the Mingan Archipelago is the place to visit. If you own a kayak, the islands and islets of this archipelago offer countless possibilities for exploration lasting from a few hours to several days. Sea-sculpted limestone monoliths stand guard over the water, adding to the unique character of the archipelago. As you paddle, you may spot Atlantic puffins, one of the many bird species found in this area. The Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve also offers 42 campsites in six campgrounds on the islands to make your trip in this unique corner of paradise truly unforgettable.

Gaspésie

Located at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, Forillon National Park is another very popular sea kayaking destination, thanks to its rich wildlife (seabirds, seals and whales) and impressive cliffs on the northern side. Explore the beauty of Gaspé Bay during a sea kayaking excursion with Cap Aventure in the Grande-Grave sector of the park.

Percé Rock is without question Gaspésie’ most popular and well-known attraction. A kayak tour around the cliffs of this colossus emerging from the sea will make you appreciate its size all the more. And let’s not forget the rock formations and rugged shoreline of Bonaventure Island, home to an impressive northern gannet colony that you can observe from up close in a kayak. Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé also offers sea kayaking activities in partnership with the Percé yacht club.

In Haute-Gaspésie, explore Mont-Saint-Pierre Bay in a kayak by renting equipment from Carrefour Aventure. Observe the bottom of these shallow waters as you paddle and take in a completely different view of the surrounding mountains. In the Cap-Chat area, Valmont Plein Air also offers sea kayaks for rent. You can access the sea nearby, which is perfect for a kayak excursion at the end of the day as the sun sets over the vast St. Lawrence Estuary.

Îles de la Madeleine

The Îles de la Madeleine are an ideal destination for both beginner and experienced kayakers. Coves and lagoons offer paddling areas sheltered from the wind, while cliffs of various shapes and colours are a perfect backdrop to explore this region’s natural sights. Perched on the cape for which it is named, Parc de Gros Cap offers kayaking excursions and expeditions along the cliffs and in the nearby caves, as well as lessons for paddlers of all levels. Aérosport also offers excursions in four different locations so you can explore the archipelago’s unique geology, wildlife and vegetation from the water.

Finally, Auberge La Salicorne provides excursions along the cliffs at Old Harry. And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can participate in their introductory surf kayaking lessons and tackle the Islands’ waves!

 

As you can see, there are many sea kayaking options in the maritime regions of Québec! Come and explore them during your next vacation in any of our regions.

Author Jean-Pascal Côté

A certified translator and avid outdoorsman, Jean-Pascal Côté works as a freelance writer and translator in Bas-Saint-Laurent, the region where he was born. He regularly escapes his daily life by going road biking, cycle touring or cyclocross racing, skiing in the mountains of Bas-Saint-Laurent or Western Canada, or sea kayaking on the St. Lawrence River. He is constantly dreaming up new travel plans. He also blogs (on an admittedly irregular basis) about his cycle touring adventures.

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