The Québec maritime Blog

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 region boasting spectacular and varied landscapes, the maritime regions of Québec are a true sea kayaking paradise. Sea kayaking is actually one of the best ways to see 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 the maritime regions of 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 Corneilles Island to stretch your legs and observe numerous bird species along the shoreline. The SEBKA riverside park offers guided excursions departing from Kamouraska.

Parc national du Bic has a firmly established reputation as a sea kayaking destination. Its 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 murres or eider ducks, or a lone heron flying back to its nest. The launching ramp 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, and the experience is all the more memorable when you watch them from a kayak. In the Les Bergeronnes area, Mer & Monde Écotours offers guided excursions to discover the marine environment. With a little luck, you might get up close to a whale! The company even offers 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 enigmatic St. Lawrence.

The Saguenay Fjord is a classic destination for kayakers in Québec. Its remarkable scenery 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 has set up 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.

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, which is known for whale watching.

For experienced kayakers looking for a complete change of scenery in a remote environment, the Mingan Archipelago can’t be beat. 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 sea, adding to the unique character of the archipelago. As you paddle, you might see 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 the most popular and well-known attraction in this region. 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 and its famous northern gannet colony, which you can watch from front-row seats 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 the Cap-Chat area, you can rent sea kayaks from Valmont Plein Air. The access to the sea, just steps away, is perfect for a tour at the end of the day with the sun setting on the vast St. Lawrence Estuary.

Îles de la Madeleine

The Îles de la Madeleine have everything to please novice and experienced kayakers alike. Their coves and lagoons offer paddling areas sheltered from the wind, while their cliffs of various shapes and colours provide a perfect backdrop to explore this region’s natural sights. Perched on the cape from which it takes its name, Parc de Gros Cap offers excursions and expeditions along the cliffs and in the caves of the area, as well as lessons for paddlers of all levels. Aérosport also provides tours in four different locations so you can explore the archipelago’s unique geology, wildlife and flora from the water.

Finally, Auberge La Salicorne provides excursions along the cliffs at Old Harry. And if you’re adventurous, they offer introductory surf kayaking lessons, so you can tackle the waves of the Îles de la Madeleine!

 

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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