Do you dream of seeing the whales and admiring Québec’s vast landscapes? The Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park is one of the best places in the world to observe whales.
From May to October, you can admire magnificent whales throughout the day, regardless of the tides. Get your camera ready: the whales can appear at any moment! Since the wind coming off the sea is cold (around 5°C), dress warmly and wear closed shoes, even if you plan to stay on land.
Whale watching by boat
From late April to late October, private companies offer 2-hour to 3-hour whale-watching excursions in the marine park. Departure points, schedules and rates vary from one company to the next. Regardless of the size of the vessel, captains must comply with certain regulations regarding marine mammals. Plan your sea excursion by clicking on the “Visit” tab on the marine park’s website.
Whale watching from the shore
Whales and other marine mammals can be observed from the shore at several easily accessible sites bordering the park. The best time to do so is from May to October. How likely you are to see a particular species of whale depends on the location and the species.
From mid-June to mid-October, visit the Parks Canada centres that border the marine park (see links below): the Cap-de-Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre in Les Bergeronnes and the Marine Environment Discovery Centre in Les Escoumins.
From May to October, be sure to also explore the Pointe-de-l’Islet trails (Tadoussac) and the Baie-Sainte-Marguerite trails (Sacré-Coeur) in Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay.
What else is there to do?
Make your visit even more memorable by participating in a guided activity (sea kayaking, sailing, scuba diving or a whale-watching cruise on the Saguenay Fjord or around the islands in the St. Lawrence) and by visiting interpretation centres and historic sites (light stations, old Basque whaling station, fur-trading station). Be sure to also take in the many views of the sea. Plan your stay using the marine park’s website.
For more information, consult the Visitor’s Guide (which you can download from the marine park’s website or find in tourism information offices).
Sea excursions: late April to late October
Coastal sites (observation sites, museums and hiking trails): May/June to October (some sites are open year-round)
Consult the Visitor’s Guide for more information.
ScheduleVaries depending on the site and activity. Consult the Visitor’s Guide for more information.
CostVaries depending on the site and activity. Consult the Visitor’s Guide for more information.
ReservationsReserve your sea excursion directly with the excursion company.
How to get there
The Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park covers an area of 1245 km2 (480 sq. mi.), the equivalent of two and a half times the size of the Island of Montréal) and protects parts of the St. Lawrence Estuary and the Saguenay Fjord. You can get there by water or drive to the shores of the marine park. Its borders are only visible on maps.
- Take Route 138 from La Malbaie in the Saint-Fidèle sector of the Charlevoix region to Les Escoumins in Côte-Nord.
- Take Route 170 from Saint-Siméon to the town of Saguenay or Route 172 from Tadoussac to the town of Saguenay.
- Take Route 132 or Highway 20 from Rivière-du-Loup in Bas-Saint-Laurent to Trois-Pistoles.
Visitors travelling by boat can stop in any of the 10 marinas that border the park.
In the St. Lawrence:
- Cap-à-l’Aigle port
- Rivière-du-Loup yacht club
- Trois-Pistoles marina
- Les Bergeronnes yacht club
Affiliations and distinctions
- Parks Canada network
- Parcs Québec network (SÉPAQ)
- Tourisme Côte-Nord
- Tourisme Bas-Saint-Laurent
- Eco-Whale Alliance (members commit to responsible whale-watching practices in the marine park)
- Québec’s first marine protected area and one of the first in Canada, created in 1998
- Jointly managed by the governments of Canada and Québec in partnership with local community representatives
- Protects an exceptional marine region, including over 1800 species, from the surface of the water to the seabed
- Has the mission to preserve marine life while promoting scientific research and educational and recreational activities for the sake of today’s and tomorrow’s generations