Ecotourism in Québec City: Places to Go & Things to Do
All the culture and natural beauty in the area make the two a perfect pair for a perfect ecotourism stay. From gorgeous parks and wildlife areas to great local shops and restaurants, the stage is set for eco-friendly tourism in Québec City.
What Is Ecotourism and Why Is It Important?
- Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier, Jeff Frenette Photography
Ecotourism is about travelling in a way that’s culturally respectful and environmentally friendly, with the aim of supporting conservation and sustainable development. Eco-friendly travellers are mindful of their environmental and socioeconomic impact before, during, and even after their trip.
So how does ecotourism help the environment? By minimizing the carbon footprint of each trip, all while giving the local economy a boost and helping visitors come away with a profound sense of gratitude. For tips on how to embrace the trend, read on!
Choose Eco-Friendly Accommodation
Finding low-impact, short-term accommodation can be a bit of a balancing act, but there are plenty of good options out there. Look for businesses with sustainable practices, like water- and energy-saving initiatives, a strong recycling program, eco-friendly products, and local suppliers.
Such measures help protect the environment and preserve the natural beauty of the region for future generations. Choosing eco-friendly accommodation helps us travel more responsibly while enjoying everything nature has to offer.
Many establishments in the area are Green Key certified and use sustainable practices to reduce their carbon footprint. For a comfortable stay that’s good for the planet too, why not choose an eco-friendly, Green Key-certified hotel?
In Wendake, Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations offers a unique experience that celebrates Huron-Wendat culture while prioritizing the environment, with sustainable practices like geothermal heating, rainwater collection, and responsible waste management.
The Québec City area has a ton of great options for a stay that’s off the beaten path. Each offers a unique way to commune with nature. Sleeping in a treetop cabin, a yurt, or any another type of eco-friendly shelter can be an unforgettable experience that’s also respectful of the environment.
Camping is the sustainable accommodation option par excellence and a great way for outdoorsy types to reconnect with nature.
Hot tip: For even more sustainable places to stay in the Québec City area, check out Vaolo.
- Laurence Baker
Visitors looking to enjoy fresh food and support local farmers are in for a treat. The first stop we recommend is Québec City’s Grand Marché. With its abundance of fresh ingredients and tasty home-cooked meals, it simply can’t be beat.
There’s also a great selection of sustainable restaurants that serve mouth-watering terroir fare while looking out for the environment. Choosing vegetarian meals and restaurants is another good way to reduce the environmental impact of eating out. And for a picturesque picnic, be sure to pack reusable utensils!
Pick Sustainable Activities
- Winery Isle de Bacchus, Jeff Frenette Photography
Ecotourism is also about choosing environmentally friendly activities. And there’s no shortage of low-impact options for connecting with nature in and around Québec City.
Visiting some of the many beautiful parks in the city is a great place to start. A little further afield, Île d’Orléans is a country dream: an island full of farms and vineyards where skilled growers and makers turn out some of the finest products in the area. Many are open to visitors, and it’s a mere 15-minute drive from the city centre! We love driving to the tip of the island to watch the sunset.
For outdoor adventures, Jacques-Cartier National Park has great hiking trails for all levels. The scenery is stunning and there are lots of animals typical of the boreal forest.
Ecotourism in Old Québec
- Pierre-Nic Lessard
Visiting Old Québec can also be very eco-friendly. Why not book a walking tour to learn about a fascinating slice of North American history? Another option is to rent a bike and pedal out to Montmorency Falls or along Samuel-De Champlain Promenade. There are beautiful places to stop and enjoy the scenery on both routes.
Discover the Huron-Wendat Community
- Longhouse in Wendake, Jeff Frenette Photography
Ecotourism is also about exploring local communities and culture. Kwe! In Wendake, locals will welcome you in their own language, which is still spoken today. It’s an incredible opportunity to discover a First Nation just 15 minutes from Québec City. Once in the village, there are many different options for learning about the community’s roots and traditions.
- Jeff Frenette Photography
Buying local helps foster environmentally friendly practices and short supply chains. So step into a world of authentic experiences and great finds and support Québec’s small businesses. Here are our favourite places to buy local in Québec City.
Get Around Sustainably
With all its bike paths and pretty pedestrian streets, Québec City makes active transportation a no-brainer. It’s a wonderful place to visit on foot or on a rented e-bike. If the weather isn’t cooperating, there’s always the RTC public transit network
Using public or active transit are two great ways to reduce GHG emissions while travelling. Some attractions also have shuttles that run from the city centre. Choosing sustainable transportation options adds to the travel experience while minimizing GHG emissions and reducing that carbon footprint!
Travel in the Off Season
- Marche de Noël allemand, Kerstin Winkler
Travelling in the off season is a great way to avoid crowds, have a more authentic cultural experience, and help protect the environment by reducing the impact of mass tourism. Choosing less popular dates means less time in traffic and line-ups, more time getting off the beaten path, a more relaxed vibe, and a more affordable and authentic experience. It also helps make the tourism industry more sustainable and keep more people employed year round.
Slow Down and Take Time for Self-Care
- Auberge Triangle d'été
Slow travel is another way to have a more meaningful and enriching travel experience—to really get a feel for the local culture and enjoy the present moment. Travelling slowly leaves more room for spontaneity, flexibility, and unexpected discoveries. It opens the door to connecting with others and taking the road less travelled.
There’s also wellness tourism, which enhances the physical and mental health of the traveller and is also good for the host community and the environment. Having a positive impact while travelling and coming home with head and heart full are the essence of this healing tourism trend.
Bring Those Good Habits Along
- Bluewater Sweden
Along with following our travel tips and advice, it’s also a good idea to pack a water bottle, travel mug, and reusable bags. Limiting and sorting waste is just as important on a trip as it is at home!
By travelling well and embracing ecotourism, we can all be part of the solution and help build a more sustainable future.
Offset Your Trip
Use this tool to calculate and offset the carbon footprint of your trip to Québec City. The money will be used to plant trees in the boreal forest, which plays a vital role in the fight against climate change. Details