This summer I spent ten great days in the beautiful province of Quebec on my first ever trip to Canada. Quebec City was the base for my visit, and I spent a lot of my time exploring the surrounding area outside of the city. The scenery is stunning and you definitely won’t lack things to do! Here are my six picks for a daytrip (or half-day trip) outside of the city:
Jacques Cartier National Park
This was by far my favorite daytrip from Quebec City! Simply put, the scenery is jaw-dropping. The park is only about a 30 to 40-minute drive north of the city, but you feel as if you’re in another world. There are a wide variety of hikes, ranging from 30 minutes to 9 hours, with varying difficulty levels. The Information Center has a free brochure with all the information for the hikes (and on the park facilities in general). I did the Les Loups hike, which took me through the forest up to two different viewpoints of the valley and river. The views were well worth the trek to get there! The park charges a per-person entrance fee, and separate fees for cabins, yurts, and other activities. Besides hiking, there are tons of other activities available in the park, from kayaking to rafting to ziplining. This is a can’t-miss trip from Quebec City!
This town, a 30-minute drive northeast of Quebec City, thrives off of its main tourist attraction: the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre. The Basilica itself is stunning, with a beautiful ceiling and intricate mosaics on the floor of the nave. The shrine of Saint Anne is said to have healed many people—and you can see the crutches and canes of those who found themselves cured on the wall at the start of the nave. There is a separate museum, as well as several other buildings and the garden walk. Don’t miss your chance to stock up on Holy Water!
Located in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, Ile d’Orleans is a popular daytrip for tourists with good reason. With quaint and charming scenery (the island is mainly a farming/pastoral area), Ile d’Orleans is great just for a drive or bike around the island. There are a large number of wineries and cideries that you can visit for a tasting, definitely enough to spend an entire day making your way through them all. The very southern point of the island has nice views of Quebec City on a clear day!
The most popular waterfall attraction in the area, Montmorency Falls is very wide and pools into a lake. There are a dizzying amount of stairs to climb in order to walk across the suspension bridge over the falls, so prepare yourself for a workout! There are great views of Ile d’Orleans and Quebec City from the lookouts though, so in the end it’s worth it. A furnicular will take you to the top and back, but will cost you, as will ziplining and climbing your way up. While the park itself is free, parking is an exorbitant $12 CAD. Save money on parking by driving past the turn-off, and parking for free on the street outside the row of houses between the church and the entrance to the falls. It is an easy 20-30 minute drive northeast from Quebec City, and is also visible from the highway.
St. Anne’s Canyon
While not quite as popular as its well-known cousin Montmorency Falls, I liked St. Anne’s Canyon a bit more. It offers visitors a more authentic experience by having several bridges over the canyon that you can cross (whereas Montmorency has only the main one). Less than 20 minutes up the road from Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre, the canyon has great opportunities for photos, and is tucked away in the gorge for a more intimate setting. You can zipline across the canyon from the second bridge, and it’s very possible to see a rainbow across the canyon during your visit! There are also fewer stairs to climb than Montmorency Falls, just saying…
This should be a go-to stop for everyone in Quebec, seeing as it is home to my one and only, Taco Bell!!!! In all seriousness though, the Chutes de la Chaudiere are worth a quick visit (although not quite on the same level waterfall-wise as Montmorency or St. Anne’s), and the town has a ferry across the river to Quebec City. The ferry lands right below Chateau Frontenac, and I’d say Levis is worth a trip just for the views of the city from the ferry! (Of course, it was rainy and foggy when I went, so the views weren’t as great.)
Have you ever been to Quebec City? What are your favorite daytrips? Let me know in the comments!