10 Ways to Experience Québec's Islands and Gulf of St. Lawrence

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Québec Le Mag'
Published on March 21, 2022
Kayakistes le long des falaises du Parc de Gros-Cap
Mathieu Dupuis, Le Québec maritime

Answer the call of the majestic St. Lawrence and the islands of Québec on a trip that gets you out on the water and back to basics. As you explore Anticosti Island, Côte-Nord, and Îles de la Madeleine you’ll be immersed in Québec’s nature and culture. This trip promises authentic, responsible experiences that will expand your horizons.   

  • Îles de la Madeleine
  • Îles de la Madeleine


    Hike the Hills and Beaches of Îles de la Madeleine

    There’s no better way to explore this island archipelago’s stunning scenery than a hike on the Sentier entre Vents et Marées trail. Running along golden sand beaches and over verdant hills, with stops in villages along the way, this 230 km walking trail is divided into 13 safe, well-marked stages for hikers of every level. It’s an unforgettable and sustainable way to explore everything the island chain has to offer while protecting its unique environment.  

  • 2

    Paddle along Seaside Cliffs

    To experience sea kayaking along some of Île de la Madeleine’s most iconic stretches of coastline, head for Parc de Gros Cap. This gorgeous site is surrounded by the kind of cliffs and beaches you only find on the islands. Whether you’re a newbie or experienced paddler, you’ll love exploring the waters in the company of Gros-Cap Park’s seasoned guides. Don’t expect a simple campground: Gros-Cap is an oceanside holiday resort and watersports centre, complete with an inn where you can unwind after a day on the water. And to add some flavour to the beautiful surroundings, the nearby La Renaissance des Îles serves up sensational lobster rolls.  

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    Soak up the Sights with Some Local Beer

    It’s no secret that the islands are a treat for the eyes and the tastebuds. You’ll find plenty to please both at À l’Abri de la Tempête, a microbrewery that uses local ingredients like flowers, seaweed, spices, fresh herbs, and smoked malt from Fumoir d’Antan to craft distinctive beers rich in character. The brew pub is housed in a former crab processing plant overlooking the ocean at L’Étang-du-Nord. With its warm and friendly vibe, it’s an ideal spot to sample the wares—and enjoy the view. Pro tip: opt for the tasting glasses so you can try more brews. Cheers! 

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    Learn to Kitesurf

    Îles de la Madeleine is a mecca for wind sports, including kitesurfing. The guides and trainers at Aerosport, the islands’ pioneering kitesurf school, are consummate pros when it comes to introducing newcomers to the sport in safe, well-supervised conditions. With these guys, mastering the wind and waves is a breeze. Also available: kite buggying, acrobatic kites, and SUP and surfboard rentals. Where there’s a wind, there’s a way! 

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    Swim in Sea Caves

    Visitors to Îles de la Madeleine never tire of admiring the sea-sculpted cliffs skirting the archipelago. How about adding a few thrills to your cliff-gazing? Auberge La Salicorne has created a truly immersive way to experience this fascinating environment up close. Suited up in a wetsuit and a life jacket, ride the waves as you explore caves carved out by the sea. This activity is open to anyone age 14 of over in good physical condition and comfortable in the water—so long as Mother Ocean is in a cooperative mood. The inn also offers hikes—Île Boudreau is a classic—as well as bike and watersport equipment rentals, not to mention ocean-view lodging and dining. We love it!

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    Delve into the History and Culture of the Archipelago’s Anglophones

    Stop at the Historical Heritage Complex on Grosse-Île to learn about the culture and way of life of the Islands’ English-speaking community from a social economy enterprise run by the Council for Anglophone Magdalen Islanders (CAMI). With its old blackboard and original desks, the Little Red Schoolhouse Museum is a perfect photo op, while the Veterans Museum pays tribute to the Islanders who served in the First and Second World Wars and in Korea. And be sure to check out the Entry Island Museum, where everyday objects and photo archives offer a glimpse into the history of this secluded gem isolated from the rest of the archipelago.

  • Île d'Anticosti
  • Île d'Anticosti


    Explore Vauréal Canyon in Anticosti National Park

    Anticosti Island is like a destination out of an adventure novel, with sheer cliffs, caves, salmon rivers, seal haul outs, and incredibly abundant white-tailed deer. The Vauréal River Canyon in Parc national d'Anticosti is a must-see, with a trail leading between towering cliffs to the spectacular 76-metre (249-foot) Vauréal Falls. Visiting the falls is just one of the adventures that await in the untouched Anticosti wilderness, where the park inns and cottages all make great home bases for further exploring. 

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    Experience an Anticosti Outdoor Adventure in Total Comfort

    Created by Sépaq, the government agency that manages Anticosti National Park, this 5-night package at Auberge Port-Menier is a mix of easy-going adventure and culture in a beautiful natural setting on fabulous Anticosti Island. The package includes park access and a one-day guided shuttle tour, along with three meals a day and the loan of an electric bike and watercraft.  

  • Basse-Côte-Nord
  • Basse-Côte-Nord


    Take a Trip on the Bella Desgagnés

    The Bella Desgagnés is the coastal cargo ship that serves Anticosti Island and the villages along the Basse-Côte-Nord, all the way to Blanc-Sablon near the Labrador border. Climb aboard for an incredible journey combining spectacular northern scenery with stopovers in authentic coastal communities. It’s a unique opportunity to visit remote villages like Harrington Harbour and Tête-à-la-Baleine, with their mix of Innu, anglophone, and francophone cultures, as well as Natashquan, birthplace of Québec poet and singer-songwriter Gilles Vigneault. The Bella Desgagnés boasts 63 comfortable cabins, a cafeteria, and a dining room that serves great fish and seafood. There are weekly sailings. Leave the world behind! 

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    Immerse Yourself in the Age-Old Culture of the Innu

    Unamen Shipu is without doubt one of the best places to immerse yourself in authentic Innu culture. And for good reason. This Indigenous Basse-Côte-Nord community located far past the end of Highway 138 is only accessible by plane or boat. Here, the elders speak only Innu. The people of Unamen Shipu have maintained their traditions, crafts, and spirituality through their close connection with the natural world that surrounds them. Contact Tourisme Winipeukut Nature for information on opportunities for meeting with members of the community, plant and wildlife observation, Zodiac and canoe excursions, island and forest stays, fishing, and more. A once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

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Québec Le Mag'

Québec Le Mag’ is a French-language media outlet dedicated to the two types of people in this world: those who love Québec and those who will soon. Check out their website for great stories, articles, and recommendations.

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