Fall is a perfect time to go outdoors in Québec by the Sea
Québec by the Sea boasts some of the country’s most spectacular scenery.
With 10 national parks, some of the highest mountains in the province, 13 species of whales, 40 lighthouses and countless islands and archipelagos to discover, the regions of Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie, Côte-Nord and Îles de la Madeleine that make up Québec by the Sea boast some of the country's most spectacular scenery and fall is one of the best times of year to experience it.
Discover Québec by the Sea's national parks
Whether you opt to explore the coast, the forest or the mountains, one of the best ways to appreciate the fall splendour in Eastern Québec is by visiting its incredible national parks.
One of the finest examples in Bas-Saint-Laurent is Parc national du Bic which offers stunning landscapes of mountains, bays and coves while Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park in Côte-Nord is the perfect place to take a sea excursion to observe whales or you could discover mysterious limestone monoliths in the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve.
In Gaspésie, you shouldn't miss the stunning natural gem of Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé which is home to the iconic Percé Rock as well as North America's most accessible northern gannet colony.
Also in Gaspésie, you'll find Parc national de la Gaspésie which boasts 25 mountain peaks towering over 1,000 metres.
Travel on two feet or two wheels
With cooler temperatures and less traffic on the roads, fall is a great time to take advantage of the myriad of hiking and cycling opportunities available in Québec by the Sea and not just those available in its national parks.
In Bas-Saint-Laurent, you can visit the Canyon des Portes de l'Enfer (Hell's Gate Canyon) which has a hiking trail leading to the highest suspension footbridge in Québec or in Gaspésie you can trek the 650-kilometre segment of the International Appalachian Trail that traverses the magnificent Chic-Choc and McGerrigle Mountains or just sample the section that follows the coast.
In the Côte-Nord region, explore the trails of Parc Nature de Pointe-aux-Outardes which protects nine different ecosystems and is one of the top bird-watching sites in Québec where 255 different species have been spotted.
For a change of scenery, the red cliffs, rolling green hills, dunes and golden-sand beaches of the Îles de la Madeleine archipelago attract visitors who come to hike some of the 13 sections of the 230 kilometres of the Sentiers entre Vents et Marées or simply to cycle along its windy shores.
Other cycling options include the scenic section of the Route Verte bike route in Bas-Saint-Laurent from La Pocatière to Sainte-Luce or the challenging climbs on the mountainous roads of the Gaspé Peninsula. Meanwhile, the Côte-Nord offers many top-notch cycling routes, including secondary roads off of Route 138 where you can visit authentic coastal villages like Les Bergeronnes and Portneuf-sur-Mer.
Whale watching and wildlife observing
Whether it's on land, sea or in the air, Québec by the Sea teems with wildlife in the fall.
The region is especially famous for whales and while they can be observed in the St. Lawrence Gulf and Estuary from May to October, most years they're actually more plentiful during September and October as they come here to feed before making their way back to the ocean.
Companies in places like Tadoussac and Gaspé can take you on an excursion to see everything from humpback whales to fin whales, but there are many places where you can even see these magnificent sea mammals from land like Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park or Forillon National Park.
As you hike through the region's national parks and natural sites, you're likely to catch a sight of moose and white-tailed deer which are plentiful, but if you want to see an animal that's harder to spot in the wild, places like the Ferme 5 Étoiles Holiday Resort and Vacances Essipit offer you the chance to observe black bears while learning more about these reclusive creatures.
Fall is also the migratory season for seabirds and other bird species and as the St. Lawrence is an important migration route for birds, many interesting species can be observed in different habitats across Eastern Québec every fall.
To plan your outdoor adventure in Québec by the Sea this fall, visit here.
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