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Gaspésie, Quebec
Gaspésie, Quebec | © hebdromadaires / Flickr
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The Most Stunning Coastal Road Trips in Quebec, Canada

Picture of Emily Paskevics
Updated: 30 March 2018
Quebec is known for the breathtaking natural beauty of its landscapes, and some of its most celebrated geography can be found along its coasts. Here are some of the regions that offer the most stunning coastal road trips in the province.

Follow the St. Lawrence River

The St. Lawrence is the main artery that leads from the Atlantic Ocean deep into eastern North America. Many of Quebec’s major communities lie along its shores, including the major urban centers of Montreal and Quebec City. Its shores range from rocky beaches to towering cliffs, surrounded by the striking geography that gives Quebec its provincial motto: la belle province. Visitors can make use of the four ferries that link the north and south shores of the St. Lawrence in Eastern Quebec, offering extensions of the road network. The St. Lawrence can be taken as a long road trip in its entirety, or explored through a series of shorter excursions—as highlighted below.

Saint Lawrence River, QC, Canada

Sunset over the St. Lawrence
Sunset over the St. Lawrence | © Benson Kua / Flickr

Gaspé Peninsula

La Gaspésie, or the Gaspé Peninsula, is known for its dramatic and stunning landscapes, encompassing pinewoods and tall cliffs that overlook the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Situated along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, you can drive through the numerous beautiful towns along the rocky outcroppings and shores. A popular regional destination is Percé, with its famous pierced rock, and the breathtaking Parc de la Gaspésie is always worth a longer visit for its views and outdoor activities.

Peninsule de la Gaspésie, Mont-Albert, QC, Canada

Îles-de-la-Madeleine

The Îles-de-la-Madeleine archipelago covers a series of islands located at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, around 105 kilometers (65 meters) north of the province of Prince Edward Island. The islands are a destination for cycling, kayaking, camping, as well as windsurfing and kitesurfing. The largest island, Île-du-Havre-Aubert, is home to indigenous archaeological sites and the historic La Grave quarter, which includes historical fishing buildings, an aquarium, and a museum, along with cafés and boutiques. You can drive along the coastlines and take a ferry across from the mainland to the islands.

Les Îles de la Madeleine, QC, Canada

Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec
Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec | © Seyemon / Flickr

The Whale Route and Côte Nord

The north shores of the St. Lawrence are beautiful and windswept, covering 1,250 kilometers (775 miles) and offering plenty of outdoor adventures. Driving through this region is characterized by scenic views as the St. Lawrence River widens into the sea. Checkpoints along the way include Tadoussac, Blanc-Sablon, Baie-Comeau, and Schefferville. The waters along this route are home to around 13 different species of whales, including the blue whale; therefore, whale watching is one of the most popular activities here. Depending on the time of year, whales are visible from some shorelines, or you can participate in sea excursions by boat, Zodiac, or sea kayak to observe them.

Tadoussac to Côte Nord, QC, Canada

Whale Watching in Quebec
Whale Watching in Quebec | © Olivier Bruchez / Flickr

Follow the Borders

Heading into eastern Quebec, the scenic Route 289 follows a series of borders between Quebec, Maine, and New Brunswick. The landscapes of the Bas-Saint-Laurent include everything from picturesque coastal farmland to woodsy plateaus, with breathtaking views of lakes and rivers. Looping from the Saint Lawrence and back, you can explore local attractions from Saint-André-de-Kamouraska to Saint-Jean-de-la-Lande via Pohénégamook and Rivière-Bleue, learning about the fascinating cultural histories of these borderlands—which include tales of bootlegging, smuggling, and cultural exchange through the centuries.

Quebec, Maine, New Brunswick border route

Hautes-Gorges-De-La-Rivière-Malbaie National Park, Quebec
Hautes-Gorges-De-La-Rivière-Malbaie National Park, Quebec | © TCY / WikiCommons