Do you love nature, the outdoors and fresh air? There is nothing like a stay in the Mingan Archipelago to recharge your batteries! The park reserve is made up of about 20 main islands as well as a string of beautiful granitic islets. Hiking, picnics and camping will give you the opportunity to make the most of what the islands have to offer. You can also enjoy boat or sea kayaking excursions as well as stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) in the park reserve. Admire and photograph the archipelago’s unusual limestone monoliths, which have been sculpted by the sea, as well as two light stations, rare plants and astonishing birds. Several islands offer boardwalks, marked trails, shelters, picnic areas and more. Follow your guide to find out more!
Many interpretive activities are offered daily from mid-June to late September on five islands and in the Eastern Sector of the archipelago. Special activities may also be added to the program, to help you discover the treasures of the archipelago from a different angle. Note that all interpretive activities are presented in French, although some are available in English upon request, depending on staff availability.
During the “Islands’ Treats” guided hike, discover and taste a different species per ecosystem: creeping snowberry, balsam fir, cloudberries, lingonberries, Labrador tea, etc. Enjoy appetizers made from local products and let a heritage presenter tell you about the history, toponymy, terrestrial wildlife and birds.
Discover Innu culture during the “Mingan Archipelago: Witness to a Great Nation” activity, which blends the wonders of the natural world with the rich heritage of the Innu. You will be accompanied by a Parks Canada heritage presenter and by members of the Ekuanitshit community.
Enjoy the popular “Capailloux Hike: Under the Light of Marteau.” Step back in time and join a theatrical walk in which you will play a part! At dusk, follow the path to the lighthouse and meet characters that once lived on the island. Don’t forget your capailloux (homemade lantern) to light your way back.
You can also go hiking on your own on nine islands in the archipelago. Trails vary in length, type and degree of difficulty. Boardwalks are found on Niapiskau and Quarry islands. Niapiskau also has a marked path that is not groomed. You can also walk along the water’s edge on the following islands: Île du Fantôme, Grosse Île au Marteau, Grande Île, Île Nue de Mingan and Quarry Island. Short trails will take you to the light stations on Petite Île au Marteau and Île aux Perroquets. Hiking will allow you to explore the water’s edge and discover the various natural habitats found in the archipelago, from barrens and boreal forest to peat bogs.
Reception and interpretation centres
During your stay, don't forget to visit the reception and interpretation centres in Havre-Saint-Pierre and Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan to meet the staff, visit the exhibits and attend evening talks. Take advantage of your visit to ask any questions you may have; the park staff will be happy to answer you!
The permanent exhibit at the Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan Reception and Interpretation Centre offers you a virtual and sensory excursion to the westernmost islands in the Mingan Archipelago. Discover the outstanding features of these islands as well as the people who marked their history, Indigenous artefacts, sealskin, interactive games about the islands’ food chain and seabirds, and more.
The permanent exhibit at the Havre-Saint-Pierre Reception and Interpretation Centre (in the Portail Pélagie-Cormier Building) will give you a taste of the outstanding natural and cultural features of the islands. Immerse yourself in island history and the poetry of Roland Jomphe, who won several prizes for his writing. Discover 465-million-year-old fossilized marine organisms that are now extinct. You can observe them with magnifying glasses in display cabinets and on a handling table.
Bird watching and wildlife observation
During breeding season, the Mingan Archipelago shelters thousands of seabirds of 13 different species, including passerines, birds of prey, red knot rufa and Atlantic puffins. It is also home to the largest concentrations of terns and common eiders in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Two migratory bird sanctuaries are located within the park reserve: Betchouane and Watshishou. A visit to the Eastern Sector gives you the opportunity to approach Île à Calculot in the Betchouane sanctuary to observe nesting seabirds.
You may also encounter various mammals during excursions in the archipelago. Keep your eyes peeled and you may spot fox during your stay on an island. In addition, minke whales, dolphins and seals live in the waters surrounding the archipelago.
Do you want to discover the natural wonders of the Mingan islands? Several private companies recognized by Parks Canada offer sea excursions to the Mingan Archipelago, with departures from Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan and Havre-Saint-Pierre.
If you would rather participate in a sea kayaking excursion, the park reserve gives you access to over 100 km (60 mi.) of navigable waters within the islands and islets of the Mingan Archipelago. A local company offers sea kayaking excursions as well as rentals; kayaking excursions are also available from Montréal or Québec City.
And why not try stand-up paddle boarding (SUP)? Enjoy a memorable experience surfing the crystal-clear waters that surround the islands in the archipelago and observe some of the underwater life found in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Excursions and rentals are offered in the park reserve.
Petite Île au Marteau is home to a light station built in the early 1900s. Although not all of the outbuildings are open to the public, you can learn more about the history of the island and the people who once lived there during interpretive activities. During special activities, you will be able to visit the foghorn shed and the lightkeeper’s house.
You can also enjoy a unique island experience by spending the night in the light station on Île aux Perroquets. Packages include exclusive access to the lighthouse, meals featuring local ingredients and more. Every aspect of this experience complies with the principles of sustainable development. You can also visit the permanent exhibit in the foghorn shed and participate in an interpretive activity with a Parks Canada heritage presenter. Day excursions to the island are also available.
June to September (contact the park for exact dates and times)
ScheduleVaries depending on the service
Cost$5.90/adult, $5.00/senior, free for children (under 18). Additional fees apply to some services. Free admission to exhibits.
ReservationsRecommended (note that maritime transport service is offered by private companies recognized by Parks Canada)
- American Express
- Picnic area
- No pets allowed
- Free parking
How to get there
To drive to the park reserve, take Route 138 (the Whale Route) to the gateway to the Mingan Archipelago. This drive will take you through some of the beautiful villages found in the Minganie region.
The region is also accessible by plane, via the Havre-Saint-Pierre or Sept-Îles airport. If you land in Sept-Îles, you will need to rent a vehicle or take the bus from there.
Several boat operators offer service to Havre-Saint-Pierre. Enjoy being rocked by the sea as you explore various ports along the St. Lawrence during short stops.
Once you arrive in the Minganie region, there are several options for travelling by boat or water taxi to the islands, with daily departures from Havre-Saint-Pierre and Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan. Inquire directly from the companies to find out their schedules.
Affiliations and distinctions
- Parks Canada network
- Tourisme Côte-Nord
- Corporation de l'île aux Perroquets
- Escale Havre-Saint-Pierre
- Winner of a regional Québec Tourism Award for their oTENTik tents (2014)