We had yet another beautiful weekend getaway in the scenic gulf of Saint Lawrence just 4 hours northeast of Montreal. The region is mostly known for the scenic ski slopes at Le Massif but there is so much to do here over the summer. Aah where do I start:). Sea kayaking, hiking, horse back riding, paddle boarding, whale watching, it’s outdoor activities heaven.
We drove from Montreal to Quebec City along a boring highway, but from Quebec City all the way to the last town we visited, Tadoussac, it is a beautiful windy road up the hills and down the valleys with gulf views all the way. We kept stopping every 15-20 min or so to admire the beautiful scenery. There are little towns all along the Gulf, and they somehow give the vibe of European seaside towns. Baie St. Paul in particular is cute and artsy and also the original home of the world-famous Cirque du Soleil.
We stayed at the charming auberge des Falaises in La Malbaie tucked under the trees and overlooking the Gulf with a view that seemed to stretch to the Atlantic. This cute place had the most amazing menu, every meal we had was prepared to perfection. The auberge also had the nicest nordic spa open 24/7, so naturally we spent our evenings circulating between saunas, hot and cold water tubs while counting the stars. La Malbaie is also called Murray Bay in English and back in the day steamers would come up from Montreal and Boston with wealthy families staying there for the summer. Our Auberge was nestled amongst old country places of some of these families.
On the following day we drove to nearby Baie St.Catherine for our whale watching excursion. It was my first whale watching trip, so I had big expectations but boy are they overrated. It’s just a few hours of waiting around in the sea hoping a whale crosses your path :), and if you are lucky you will get to see a tip of its tail. We saw Belugas and Minke whales. At the end of trip you sail back to shore soaking wet and smelling like fish, so dress accordingly. The whale tour company also took us up the Saguenay river, running between scenic fjords and waterfalls, and that was just breathtaking.
We also took a ferry to Tadoussac, a town just across the Saguenay Fjord from Baie St. Catherine. Tadoussac is basically the last town in Charlevoix after that it’s basically just trees and wilderness except for a couple towns, all the way to Labrador.
We had big plans of going for a hike at the Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Riviere but we bailed on that for more rest and relaxation at the nordic spa.
The Gulf of St. Lawrence is definitely an underrated summer destination, I highly recommend and will most definitely return. Ironically there were more European and Asian tour groups here than Canadians or Americans.
Now please enjoy the pics below 🙂