The Québec maritime Blog
The maritime regions of Québec are one of the best places in the world to observe marine mammals. From May to October, the waters of the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence are home to 13 species of whales, including spectacular humpbacks! Are you interested in admiring these giants of the sea but would prefer to stay on land? Here are several places where you can enjoy whale watching from the shore!
Tadoussac is probably the most famous and popular whale-watching destination in Côte-Nord. Along the shores of the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park, you can spot minke whales and belugas from Pointe-de-l’Islet or the top of the dunes. Belugas are also frequently sighted at the mouth of the Sainte-Marguerite River in Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay. Visit the Halte du Béluga lookout in the park to learn more about this endangered species.
A little further east, you’ll find two Parks Canada sites that are ideal places to observe whales from the shore: the Cap-de-Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre (Les Bergeronnes) and the Marine Environment Discovery Centre (Les Escoumins). You’re very likely to see minke whales emerging only a few metres from the shore at both these sites and may even spot humpbacks or fin whales if you keep your eyes on the horizon! Interpreter guides are on site to answer all your questions. If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, spend the night camping along the St. Lawrence at Mer et Monde Écotours (Les Bergeronnes), where you can wake up to the sounds of these majestic marine mammals!
Even further east, where the estuary has widened into the gulf, a hike on Grande Basque Island in the Sept Îles Archipelago is bound to offer opportunities for you to spot marine mammals. Whales are also abundant in the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve. Keep your eyes peeled!
The best place to admire whales in Gaspésie is at the eastern tip of the peninsula. In the Gaspé sector, along the shore or in Forillon National Park, you’ll easily spot the blows of several whale species, including humpbacks and fin whales. In Percé, you can see these same species while hiking on the trails found on Bonaventure Island.
Along the coast in the Haute-Gaspésie and Coast sectors, Route 132 also provides opportunities for sightings. Look carefully at the horizon at the various rest areas along the way and you may spot the backs of whales glistening on the surface of the water!
The many islands that dot the waters of Bas-Saint-Laurent are prime locations for observing marine mammals. A hike along the shores of Île aux Lièvres (Hare Island), off Rivière-du-Loup, may lead to sightings of minke whales and belugas. On Île Verte (Green Island), in addition to these two species, you may also spot harbour porpoises, fin whales and even humpbacks, depending on where you are.
If you’d rather stay on the mainland, a stroll along a local wharf or marina may be a good way to see whales. Keep your binoculars ready!
Are you looking forward to seeing marine mammals in our regions? Which of these sites will you add to your next vacation itinerary in Eastern Québec? Where else in our regions have you seen whales? Let us know in the comments below!