Ideal for families as you self drive at your own pace while enjoying plenty of activities in the incredible natural environment of Quebec, enjoy this safe, comfortable and adventurous journey, on your quest for black bear, beluga whale, moose and caribou.
Explore Quebec’s wilderness at its best on this beautiful journey, experiencing the outdoor and great wildlife diversity with plenty of activities for adults and children alike. Come up close to beluga whales while kayaking, get nose to nose with caribou as you hike in the Gaspésie, and observe the black bear feasting at sunset from your safari vehicle. A new wildlife delight awaits for you at every corner.
Take a look at our blog page for a first-hand account of travelling in Quebec with a family.
Day1: Fly to Québec City
Fly from London to Quebec City via Montreal arriving in the early evening. On arrival at Jean Lesage International Airport, Québec City collect your rental vehicle (Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Caravan or similar, reserved for collection), then drive to your accommodation in the city (around 18 kilometres or roughly 30 minutes depending on traffic conditions).
The day is free to explore Québec City. You may wish to take a walk around the historic old city this morning; attractions include the Chateau Frontenac – surely the world's most photographed hotel – which dominates the skyline high above Cap Diamant, where you can stroll along Dufferin Terrace with stunning views of the lower city i.e. the Vieux-Port, Petit Champlain quarter and the Saint-Laurent River. You can also explore La Citadelle, an intact fortress that forms the centrepiece of the 4.6 kilometres of ramparts that surround the old city, or walk to the imposing National Assembly of Quebec (provincial legislature). The friendly atmosphere adds to the European feel – you'll find horse-drawn carriages, street entertainers, singers, and artists, particularly at the open-air art gallery in Rue du Trésor.
Day3: Explore Québec City then drive to Parc National du Bic
The morning is again free to continue your exploration of Québec City – there really is a lot to see, so it’s good to spread it out over a day and a half.
After an early lunch drive southward out of Québec to Parc National du Bic (300 km / 3 hours 30 minutes), some 15 kilometres or so before the town of Rimouski. En route you may like to stop in Kamouraska, a beautiful village by the river. On arrival at PN du Bic, settle into your accommodation and enjoy an opportunity to explore and get your bearings.
This morning we recommend a visit to the interpretation centre to see what’s on, before setting off to explore the park and its bays, coves, islands and mountains. Seabirds nest in the park, there are many owls, seals are commonly seen and rare plants bloom in its rocky surroundings to see the seals. A pleasant way to spend the afternoon is by taking a walk around the peninsula.
Day5: Drive to Réserve Faunique de Matane
This morning you can explore independently, or – if you wish – take an optional sea kayaking trip to see wildlife from the water. We recommend the optional self-guided kayak excursion in Havre-du-Pic which operates from mid-May until the end of September.
In the afternoon continue to Réserve Faunique de Matane (145 km / 2 hours) via Autoroute 20 E (Jean Lesage), turning right once you reach Matane.
After you have settled in, we recommend a visit to the Caribou Interpretation Centre (open 29 June until 24 August).
During your stay at Matane, you can participate in short hikes with a local guide and look for wildlife and birds. You’ll see several different types of vegetation from dense forest to tundra on mountain summits, and have a chance to see three members of the deer family which share this territory: moose, caribou and white-tailed deer as well as eagles, buzzards, falcons. In the late afternoon/early evening a guided black bear safari is included.
The next day, we recommend doing an optional self-guided excursion by kayak. This allows you to paddle in the two-kilometre-long lagoon. In the afternoon you can do a walk to pick wild raspberries (Jul-Aug). This evening another guided trip is included – this time a photo safari to see moose.
Day8: Drive to Parc National Gaspésie
Today you on the south shore of the Fleuve Saint-Laurent via Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, to enter the Parc National de la Gaspésie (2 hours 30 minutes).
Accommodation: Cottage at Parc National de la Gaspesie, 2-nights. Self catering
Day9: Explore Parc National Gaspésie
Enjoy an unguided walk along Mont Jacques Cartier Trail and half day guided caribou watching. The trail to Mont Jacques-Cartier reveals the habitat that is essential to the Gaspésie caribou – it is the best place to observe this large mammal.
Day10: Drive to Rimouski, take ferry to Forestville & continue to Tadoussac
Retrace your route back along the south shore of the Saint-Laurent as far as Rimouski (3 hours), we recommend you stop for lunch at the superb Jardins de Metis before to catch the afternoon ferry to Forestville (the crossing takes just under an hour, with a chance to spot whales on the way), then drive another hour to Tadoussac.
This morning board a zodiac for a whale watching trip (3 hours) on the Fleuve Saint -Laurent at the southern end of the Saguenay Fjord. Accompanied by a certified naturalist guide, you can experience an intimate and unique encounter with the whales. In the afternoon, you have some time to explore Tadoussac: walk along the shore, explore the beach.
The next day you head off for an exciting included excursion – kayaking with whales. This starts from Bergeronnes, approximately 20 minutes drive outside Tadoussac, where you’ll meet a guide for a half-day sea kayaking with a small group. The afternoon is free, but while you are in Bergeronnes, you can also visit Cap Bon Desir Interpretive Centre, where biologists organise talks and activities directly on the shore of the Saint Lawrence.
The following day is free for you to pick your favourite activity form another whale watching adventure, some scenic hikes. In the afternoon, if you don’t mind more driving you can head inland to visit the Beluga Whale Interpretative Centre and/or go for a walk in Saguenay National Park for beautiful views over Saguenay Fjord.
Day14: Drive to Québec City and depart
On your final morning there is still ample time to take in the CIMM (international Centre for Marine Mammals), with its fascinating interpretative displays and wealth of information about cetaceans and other marine mammals (not included).
Then, after an early lunch you to Québec (approx. 4 hours without stops), passing through the lovely Charlevoix region and the towns of La Malbaie and Baie-St-Paul, with their many art galleries and antique shops, on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence.
On arrival in Québec head directly to Jean Lesage International Airport to return your hire vehicle and check in for an overnight flight back to the UK, via Montréal.
Day15: Arrive UK
You should note: The minimum age to join this itinerary (based on the activities involved) is 9 years old. We can tailor an alternative itinerary suitable for younger children if required.
Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 15 daysfrom £3,095 pp: Child: from £2,445
Duration and price excluding international flights: 14 daysfrom £1,795 pp: Child: from £1,295
Single supplement: From £810
When to go: Jun-Sep
The Parc National de la Gaspésie is home to the highest peaks of the Appalachian Mountains in Québec, the only caribou herd south of the Saint Lawrence, a large moose population, arctic-alpine flora and spectacular scenery on every side! Over 150 species of bird are found here.
Ideal for viewing: great horned owl, moose, caribou, grey fox, striped skunk
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Wildlife for families, Self-drive, Walking with wildlife
The Parc National du Bic hosts seabirds nesting, owls and grey seals. Half of the park is a coastal marine environment, the terrain is typical of the south shore of the Saint Lawrence, alternating low-flow rivers, salt, rocky hills with a very steep northern slope and a relatively gentle southern.
Ideal for viewing: grey seal, white-tailed deer, American beaver, harbour seal, North American porcupine
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Wildlife for families, Self-drive, Whale watching
Recognized first and foremost for its exceptionally rich wildlife, this wildlife reserve offers nearly 1,300 square kilometres of breath-taking panoramas, combining mountains and deep valleys crisscrossed by numerous waterways. Over 150 species of birds can be seen in the reserve.
Ideal for viewing: golden eagle, moose, American black bear, black-backed woodpecker, caribou
Excellent for: Wildlife for families, Self-drive, Bear watching, Birdwatching
This village on the Saint Lawrence, beside its confluence with the Saguenay River, was once a major fur trapping centre. It lies inside Canada’s first marine national park, where the rich environment attracts numerous whales – including belugas – and is home to CIMM (the Centre of Marine Mammal Interpretation).
Ideal for viewing: beluga whale, blue whale, fin whale, humpback whale, minke whale
Excellent for: Whale watching
This monument to North American history perches high above Cap Diamant overlooking the Saint Lawrence River. Having prospered as a fur trading post in the early 1600s, it is now a dynamic port and a thriving research centre. The Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
Excellent for: City stopover, History & culture
Suggested accommodation options are shown below.
for further recommendations.
The charming auberge La Galouïne offers a warm and comfortable stay with a friendly and familial atmosphere combining personal attention and delicious cuisine - a home away from home. It is located right in the heart of Tadoussac, which allows you to explore this small town on foot.
The Auberge Saint Pierre’s distinctive two-hundred-old exterior recalls a stately hotel, in contrast to the contemporary interior, whose warm interiors are enhanced by hardwood floors, stone walls and brickwork – making it one of Québec’s most sought-after boutique hotels.
A Huttopia experience is a family holiday that’s all about simplicity, authenticity, nature and wide open spaces. Each Huttopia village is a tranquil natural setting in a forest or preserved area with a view of a mountain, body of water or majestic trees – offering a chance to get back to nature.
The cabins at Réserve Faunique de Matane are located on either the edge of a lake or river, with all the amenities you need for a peaceful and comfortable stay i.e. propane gas (for heating, lighting, water heater, cooker and fridge), everything you need to prepare and serve meals, and a shower and toilet.
Being the first hotel opening in Tadoussac and welcoming holiday makers almost two centuries ago (1864), Hotel Tadoussac hasn’t lost any of his authentic and atmospheric look while offering a high level of comfort. It is is now known as the most famous landmark in the bay and surroundings.