The Québec maritime Blog
Are you keen to enjoy the great outdoors? Undoubtedly, your first thought is to visit our national parks! But did you know that these parks also offer a wide range of interpretive activities focused on local biodiversity and culture? Here’s a glimpse at what our national parks have in store for you during your vacation in the maritime regions of Québec…*
Are you intrigued by Percé Rock? You can admire this iconic landmark from a completely different angle during a sea excursion! Accompanied by a naturalist park warden, find out a host of fascinating facts about this limestone rock sculpted by the sea and wind. Another interesting aspect of the park is the famous northern gannet colony on Bonaventure Island. By closely observing these thousands of birds, you’ll learn to decode their language! While on the island, you’ll also want to visit the restored heritage buildings, which will immerse you in the daily lives of the islanders during the heyday of the cod fishery.
Located at the heart of the Gaspé Peninsula, this national park is home to impressive mountains. Discover the natural treasures of this protected environment during interpretive activities that will take you to the top of these mountains or across a lake in a rabaska canoe. The naturalist park wardens will be happy to share everything they know about the park’s flora, fauna, climate and geology. You can also take part in activities that will introduce you to the moose and caribou that live in this park. You may even be lucky enough to encounter one of these animals during a hike. If you do, remember to stay motionless and quiet to avoid disturbing the animal and for your own safety.
Learn about the history of Land’s End by visiting the heritage sites in Forillon National Park! At the Dolbel-Roberts House, an exhibition recounts the lives of the people of various origins (French Canadians, Italians, English, Scottish, etc.) who once inhabited the Forillon Peninsula. In the same area, visit the Hyman & Sons General Store to understand how fishing company stores typically operated. You’ll be impressed by the vast inventory of period objects found in this building. In the Blanchette House, costumed interpreters bear witness to the fishermen-farmers’ traditional way of life at the turn of the 20th century. Be sure to also visit Fort Peninsula, the only completely preserved World War II shore battery open to the public in Québec! A variety of interpretive activities focused on the park’s flora and fauna are also available, depending on the time of year.
Although this national park only covers an area of one square kilometre, what it lacks in size, it makes up for in rich history! Visit the exhibitions in the museum to admire some of the most beautiful fossil specimens in the entire national collection. This fossil-rich site is also included on the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List. You’ll be impressed by the sight of Elpistostege watsoni, a fossil fish that would have amazed Charles Darwin himself! Take a walk along the fossil-rich cliff for a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes at the national park and maybe even make some new discoveries!
Step back in time up to 10,000 years ago by participating in the interpretive activities offered in this national park. Traces left by nomadic groups and hunter-fisher-gatherers, including the Maliseet (Wolastoqiyik), will provide you with a wealth of information about their way of life. You can also explore the lake in a rabaska canoe, participate in archaeological digs and learn how to carve arrowheads! Several other activities are offered to introduce you to the rich diversity of the Notre-Dame Mountains and the park’s iconic animal, the bald eagle.
Do you like stories? This park located on the shores of the St. Lawrence Estuary has so many to tell! The park’s headlands, bays, coves, islands and mountains have witnessed the lives of many people over time: Indigenous people, explorers, seigneurs, settlers, etc. Exhibitions and guided activities showcase these different periods as well as the evolution of the landscape. If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, naturalist park wardens can provide you with information about harbour seals, common eiders and birds of prey during migration.
This national park in Côte-Nord showcases the St. Lawrence, the Saguenay Fjord and the natural wonders found in this area, including beluga whales. Get to know this little white whale by visiting the exhibition in the Discovery and Visitors Centre. Want to watch these whales swim in Sainte-Marguerite Bay? Visit the Halte du Beluga lookout, where a park warden will answer all your questions.
Recognized as one of the best places in the world to see marine mammals, the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park is teeming with life. Participate in a sea excursion and visit the park’s interpretation centres (the Cap-de-Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre and the Marine Environment Discovery Centre) to learn all about whales and the seabed. Don’t miss the “St. Lawrence Live” activity, which gives you the opportunity to ask divers questions and touch the animals they find at the bottom of the St. Lawrence!
The Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve showcases the geology, flora, fauna and history of the Mingan Archipelago. To learn more before you visit the islands, stop in at the interpretation centres in Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan and Havre-Saint-Pierre where interesting exhibitions await you. From monoliths and Atlantic puffins to lighthouses and rare plants, you’ll be amazed by everything you learn from park wardens during island excursions!
Located on Anticosti Island, in Côte-Nord, this national park protects several natural and cultural treasures, including the Vauréal Falls, Grotte à la Patate (Potato Cave), the Chicotte Canyon and more. So many adventures await you here! You’ll find interpretation panels near most of the island’s main attractions, which explain each site’s history. Whether you access the park from Port-Menier, the McDonald Visitors Centre or Chicotte-sur-Mer, don’t hesitate to speak with park staff. They’ll be happy to answer your questions and tell you stories about this legendary island!
Have we piqued your curiosity? If so, don’t forget to include national parks on your vacation itinerary! The staff in these parks will be happy to chat with you and share their knowledge of these important protected areas.
*Please note that all activities described in this blog post are offered in French, although some may be available in English upon request, depending on staff availability. Enquire with park staff for more information.