Nicknamed “Québec City's Great Outdoors,” the sprawling regional county municipality of Jacques-Cartier, the Québec City area's green belt, lies just 20 minutes north of downtown. Here is an overview of the region, including both its well and less well-known attractions.
At the Water's Edge
Jeff Frenette Photography
Jacques-Cartier is home to some of the Québec City area's most popular lakes. To the east, Lac Beauport offers an ideal setting for kayaking, pedal boating, and sailing. Toward the center, the region is popular among bird lovers, who visit the area to observe the 160 species that inhabit the wetlands of Marais du Nord. If you continue along your way you'll come upon the Lac-Delage resort area.
At the northernmost point of the region, Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier boasts irresistible recreational opportunities on the famous Jacques-Cartier River, where you can let the current carry you in a canoe, kayak, or an miniraft. You can even go fishing!
A little further east you'll find Réserve faunique des Laurentides, a wildlife reserve known for its brook trout fishing and, in the fall, small game hunting.
Sépaq - Station touristique Duchesnay
Jeff Frenette Photography
The Jacques Cartier region is famous for its outdoor recreational areas brimming with activities for the entire family, all year round. Its mountains, forests, and wetlands are perfect for hiking enthusiasts, with many excellent trails and beautiful lookouts. The majestic Jacques Cartier River meanders through the forest encouraging the practice of water sports for all ages, such as rafting and whitewater kayaking.
At Stoneham Mountain Resort families and couples will certainly find what they are looking for; pool and spa, playground, tennis court, hiking trails and health center offering massages and treatments, all located right at the foot of the slopes. Once the snowflakes begin to fall, the resort plays host to skiers and snowboarders with its numerous runs and great night skiing!
Continue on your way toward Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier and you'll come to Village Vacances Valcartier. It's the perfect place to cool down on hot summer days with its many waterslides, a wave pool, and its adventure rivers. You can also go white-water rafting, canoeing, or karting, and even camp onsite. During the winter months, the park turns into the largest snow-slide destination in the Americas. There's no better way to get in touch with your inner child!
Cyclists can access the 60-kilometer Jacques-Cartier/Portneuf bike path from this sector, or ride all the way into downtown Québec City along Corridor des Cheminots.
To the west lies Station touristique Duchesnay, a great destination for rock climbing, archery, hiking, cycling, canoeing, kayaking, and segway. You can also observe black bears or go on an educational scavenger hunt in a giant wooden maze nearby!
The Jacques-Cartier region is also home to one outstanding golf course, Mont-Tourbillon in Lac-Beauport.
A Winter Wonderland
Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier, Francis Gagnon
Winter in the Jacques-Cartier region is a magical time. An abundance of snow make for exceptional outdoor fun at the area's two ski resorts and the snow slide parks. The white stuff also ensures great conditions on the snowmobile trails that wind through Réserve faunique des Laurentides, and the cross-country ski and snowshoe trails that criss-cross Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier and Camp Mercier.
Those who like to skate in the great outdoors will love the Shannon ice oval and the 3-kilometer rink on Lac Beauport. Or if you're itching for something new, you could also try out ice fishing or dogsledding, all of which are available locally. Dogsledding excursions are also available in Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier and Stoneham.
R & R
Village Vacances Valcartier
In the Jacques-Cartier region, relax and recharge your batteries at one of the local spas. At the Centre de santé du Manoir du Lac Delage Spa, you’ll find a wealth of esthetic and massage treatments, with pools, saunas, and hot tubs all onsite.
There is also the Aroma spa at the Hôtel Valcartier where you can have personal care services, as well as hot and cold baths, saunas and an indoor pool connected to an outdoor pool.
For more information, visit the Tourisme Jacques-Cartier website.
The Jacques-Cartier in images
Discover the largest playground in Québec. Located just 20 minutes from Québec City with its myriad of activities offered year-round.