Quebec’s jaw-dropping wilderness provides the perfect vacation spot for nature buffs, explorers and adventurers. Culture Trip’s local insiders share their tips on the best national parks for unparalleled views and unforgettable experiences.
This nationally protected site, in the Appalachians near the New Hampshire, boasts some of the clearest starry night skies imaginable. For budding astronomers there’s an AstroLab and astronomy observatory here, home to a 5ft telescope. The mountainous terrain affords hikers and walkers more than 37mi (60km) of trails, ranging from easy to difficult – all of which lead to panoramic views from the top of Monts Mégantic, Saint Joseph and Victoria (all more than 1,000m/3,281ft high). Recommended by local insider Caitlin Stall-Paquet
If towering mountains and deep-cut valleys are the surroundings you crave, then the Hautes‑Gorges-de-la-Rivière‑Malbaie National Park is for you. This provincial park, along the Malbaie River, is the crown jewel of the Unesco Charlevoix Biosphere Reserve. There are plenty of showstopping views to enjoy from the highest rock faces east of the Rockies. Enjoy a full day of fishing, canoeing, mountain biking or rock climbing. During the winter, this park is the perfect spot for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and dogsledding. Recommended by local insider Caitlin Stall-Paquet
Along the rugged coast and pebble beaches of Quebec’s eastern tip lies Forillon National Park, a n untouched wilderness where you can spend the morning hiking lush trails through maple groves, or take to the sea by kayak or kite. Stop for a picnic on the cliffs before going whale-watching or horse-riding along the Le Portage and La Vallée trails. You’ll also find red Adirondack chairs all around the park to unwind to sit and take a breather. Recommended by local insider Caitlin Stall-Paquet
Tucked away in the Laurentian Mountains, you’ll find the conifer- and hardwood-blanketed La Mauricie National Park. This sprawling natural landscape offers more than 150 lakes where you can swim under majestic waterfalls, canoe Laurentian backcountry or reel in a wild trout. Enjoy a quick hike or hours-long trek through mountainous terrain, orchids and carnivorous plants, and along the shores of Reid Lake. The national park is also home to diverse Canadian wildlife, including beaver, moose, black bear and more than 100 bird species. Recommended by local insider Tess Boissonneault
One of the world’s best whale-watching spots can be found at the Saguenay-Saint-Lawrence Marine Park. It’s the only Quebec park that contains a protected marine area. Here, you’ll find more than 2,000 wild species, including seals and blue whales. Wander the majestic trails along a 10,000-year-old fjord and through boreal forests, or spot beluga whales along the dramatic coastline. You’ll also find unbeatable whale-watching boat tours, snorkeling and scuba diving. Discover the area’s rich history by visiting the Hyman & Sons General Store and Dolbel-Roberts House. Recommended by local insider Tess Boissonneault