Rich with culture and history, Quebec City itself is worth a multi-day trip. At the same time, the surrounding region consists of some of the most beautiful scenery and villages in the province. Whether you go by car, train, or tour bus, here are some of the best day trips that you can take around the area.
Île d’Orléans is a large island, located just a 15-minute drive from downtown Quebec City. It’s a popular gourmet travel destination—with numerous local shops where you can sample locally produced wines and beer, chocolate, ice cream, maple treats, strawberries and other fruit, and much more. You can reach the island by car, taking the bridge from Quebec City, and follow the main road that circles the entire island. You can also try a guided scooter tour to get more insight into the rich local history.
Parc de la Chute-Montmorency
Located directly in front of the bridge that leads from Quebec City to Île d’Orléans, Parc de la Chute-Montmorency is the home of the imposing Montmorency Falls—one hundred feet (30 meters) taller than Niagara Falls. It’s a popular family destination, mainly during the warmer months. Visitors can ride a cable car up the falls and walk across a suspended bridge to admire them up close. For a complete tour of the area, you can take a bike tour from Old Quebec to the falls, or for something extra exciting, try a local helicopter tour.
Le Train de Charlevoix
Running through magnificent scenery, the Train de Charlevoix offers different stops along a 90-mile (144.8-kilometer) track, from Montmorency Falls and Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré to La Malbaie. Passing through beautiful scenery, taking the train is a unique way to become acquainted with the local agriculture and landscapes.
Baie-Saint-Paul is the main town in Charlevoix, located in a valley that opens into the St. Lawrence River—about an hour from Quebec City. Explore the village’s many art galleries along the main street, Saint-Jean-Baptiste, and support the active local creative community. You can also hike in the mountains surrounding Baie-Saint-Paul, and finish the day with a pint and a meal at Le Saint-Pub, a renowned microbrewery in the region.
Grosse Île is a national historic site open to the public from early May to mid-October and is just a short drive from Quebec City. The island has a fascinating history, especially since it was a quarantine site and the entry point for immigrants coming to Canada—many of whom were of Irish descent—from 1832 to 1937. Here, you can hike Mirador Trail, take a village tour, and explore the monuments.
Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier
Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier is just a 30-minute drive from Quebec City. Encompassing a valley that is up to 550 meters (1,804 feet) deep, the park offers visitors the opportunity to partake in a number of outdoor activities, including hiking through some of the 60 miles (96.5 kilometers) worth of paths and trails that crisscross the park. In the winter, you can also go backcountry cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and more.
Located three hours northeast of Quebec City, Tadoussac is the primary destination for whale-watching in the province. The village lies at the mouth of the Saguenay and St. Lawrence Rivers, creating the perfect mix of fresh and salt water. The species often seen here are mainly blue, minke, humpback, and beluga whales, along with grey seals.