With an architecture that was influenced by shipbuilding, the villages in the Kamouraska area are among the most beautiful in the province of Québec. They are also home to many boutiques and art studios offering gourmet treats and handcrafted objects.
In Rivière-du-Loup, Croisières AML offers whale-watching cruises in the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park. You can also observe an abundance of marine wildlife during excursions with Société Duvetnor to the islands of the St. Lawrence.
Several other islands in this area are accessible to visitors. For example, Île Verte (Green Island) is home to Québec’s oldest lighthouse; the lightkeeper’s and assistant lightkeeper’s houses have been turned into a B&B.
As you continue eastward along the coast, you will reach Parc national du Bic. This easily accessible coastal park where land meets sea is an ideal place to come into contact with nature. For a unique camping experience, be sure to spend the night in a Huttopia tent or yurt.
Rimouski is an ideal home base for all kinds of adventures. If you are interested in nature (sea or mountains) or are a culture buff, you will find many activities in the city and the surrounding area that will provide enjoyment over several days.
In Pointe-au-Père, the Pointe-au-Père Maritime Historic Site presents the history of the Empress of Ireland, which sank in 1914. Its loss was the worst maritime disaster in Canadian history. While at the historic site, visit the lighthouse, one of the tallest in the country, and the Onondaga, the first submarine open to the public in Canada.
Next, drive through the picturesque Matapédia Valley, which is renowned for its salmon rivers and numerous lakes as well as for its many churches, heritage homes and covered bridges.
Route 132 will take you towards Chaleur Bay, a member of the select Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club. On the way, visit the Battle of the Restigouche National Historic Site, in Pointe-à-la-Croix, to learn more about the last naval battle between France and Great Britain, which sealed the fate of New France in 1760.
Stop also in Nouvelle to visit Parc national de Miguasha, a fossil-rich site some 378 million years old that has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Driving further east from village to village, discover Gaspésie’s unique cultural mosaic: English Loyalists, Acadians, the Basque, the Irish, Jersey Islanders and First Nations peoples along with their vibrant cultures are still present in this region.
The Bonaventure area offers a multitude of activities: days at the beach, hiking, sea fishing, salmon fishing, white water paddling on the Bonaventure River, visits to the Musée Acadien du Québec and Bioparc de la Gaspésie, and more!
A little further east, the Paspébiac National Historic Site presents the history of the area’s two largest Jersey Island fishing companies, the Charles Robin Company and LeBoutillier Brothers.
The village of Percé is a tourist attraction in its own right where you can enjoy exploring the local boutiques and art galleries. Why not spend a few days here? Percé has a reputation for comfortable lodging and fine dining... And of course the region’s star attraction is majestic Percé Rock!
Offshore, you will glimpse Bonaventure Island, which you can see up close during a sea excursion. A visit to Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé will give you the opportunity to observe over 200,000 seabirds, including 110,000 northern gannets in the world’s most accessible colony of these birds.
The tip of the Gaspé Peninsula offers magnificent scenery and activities for everyone. Spend a few days here to take advantage of all this area has to offer. Whale-watching and sea kayaking excursions depart from Gaspé Bay. Since Gaspé became the Cradle of Canada when Jacques Cartier erected a cross here in 1534, the town is also home to many interpretation sites and museums that will introduce you to this region’s fascinating history.
Forillon National Park is located at the easternmost tip of the peninsula. In this breathtaking landscape, learn about the gulf’s rich ecosystems as well as local fishing history. Forillon is also home to Canada’s tallest lighthouse, at Cap-des-Rosiers.
Past Forillon, the road curves back westward through spectacular sea and mountain scenery. Driving from lighthouse to lighthouse, you will arrive in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, the gateway to Parc national de la Gaspésie.
In Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, visit Exploramer to learn more about the St. Lawrence through a collection of live marine organisms and several exhibits. Sea excursions are also offered as are interpretive activities by the water’s edge.
In Cap-Chat, the sea and mountain scenery is dominated by 133 wind turbines, in one of North America’s largest wind farms. Here, you can visit the highest and most powerful vertical-axis wind turbine in the world.
Nature lovers will enjoy the activities offered by Valmont Plein Air. Kayak on the Cap-Chat River and try out all kinds of kites!
South of Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, in Parc national de la Gaspésie, hiking enthusiasts can venture up Mt. Albert or Mt. Jacques-Cartier in search of the caribou that inhabit the arctic tundra at their summits.
A detour to the Réserve faunique de Matane will give you the opportunity to encounter moose and black bear. Take part in guided excursions in the wildlife reserve to observe these two species.
About 50 km (31 mi.) west of Matane, in Grand-Métis, visit the fabulous Reford Gardens where history meets nature and culture. Every year, the International Garden Festival held onsite presents contemporary gardens designed by architects and artists from all over the world.
Take advantage of a same-day round-trip excursion on the St. Lawrence from Matane to Baie-Comeau (or Godbout), in Côte-Nord, by boarding the MV F.-A-Gauthier ferry. During the trip, admire the view from the exterior decks and panoramic lounges, visit the gift shop and enjoy a delicious meal at the bistro!
On the return trip, be sure to stop in boutiques and shops along the way to pick up souvenirs and delicacies to take home with you.
You may also want to head south to explore the hills of Témiscouata in Bas-Saint-Laurent via routes 232, 185 or 289. Visit Parc national du Lac-Témiscouata to enjoy a multitude of outdoor activities: hiking, cycling, canoeing (in a regular canoe or rabaska), exploring archaeological digs and more.