The far north isn’t far out of reach. Quebec is home to vastly beautiful vistas and year-round outdoor recreation opportunities.
Montreal is the civilized hub of Quebec, but there’s much more to this Canadian province than what this beautiful city has to offer. Quebec is vast and varied — there are countless delights to discover for those willing to explore a little further.
Whether you’re a local Quebecois wanting an escape from the city or a visitor looking to see what lies beyond the lights of Montreal, there’s a weekend getaway for you on this list. We’ve put together an eclectic array of outdoor excursions, resort experiences, and small-town getaways to jumpstart your road trip planning.
Mont-Tremblant is the quintessential Montreal weekend getaway, and that’s in part because it is four awesome locations in one: a mountain, a resort, a village, and a national park.
You can vacation any way you want at Mont-Tremblant — from refined to rustic, the possibilities are endless. Bonjour Quebec calls Mont-Tremblant “the perfect outdoor destination,” and it’s not hard to see why.
Renowned for its premier ski resort, the mountain is actually home to outdoor activities all year long. Snow sports, hiking trails, and unique experiences like the sensory night walk of Tonga Lumina can fill any weekend planner with experiences no matter when you visit.
At the foot of the mountain, the gorgeous resort area is awash with cafes, shops, and restaurants to indulge in. Nearby, the adorable town is ideal for a quiet stroll, and the immense Parc du national Mont-Tremblant lies just down the road. Whatever it is you’re looking for in your weekend, you can find it at Mont-Tremblant.
- Distance: 85 miles / 136 kilometers
- Drive time without stops: 1 hour 30 minutes
2. Gatineau Park
Gatineau Park is a popular outdoor playground of Ottawa locals, being that it’s just outside the city. That makes this a great stopping point for travelers en route from Montreal to the nation’s capital. However, it’s an amazing destination in its own right, especially with the idyllic vacation town of Chelsea at its doorstep.
First and foremost, Gatineau Park is known most for its Nordik Spa-Nature, the largest nordic spa in North America. You could spend your entire weekend soaking in the spa’s inviting pools and treating yourself to revitalizing thermotherapy.
But there’s so much more to uncover. Hundreds of miles of hiking, biking, and ski trails are yours to traverse. Camping, kayaking, and fishing are but a few of the activities to try.
In town, you could rent e-bikes from Nomades du Parc and cycle to your heart’s content in and around the park. What’s more, Ottawa is but an hour’s ride from Chelsea — the perfect length for a side trip into the city.
- Distance: 134 miles / 216 kilometers
- Drive time without stops: 2 hours 10 minutes
3. Parc Omega
Parc Omega is where you can experience Canadian wildlife up close. With over 2000 acres of natural spaces, you really do feel like you’re exploring the wilderness, though this park is packed with convenient accommodations.
Numerous walking and driving trails provide access to lush scenery and diverse animal species. Within the park, you can encounter wolves, elk, bison, moose, turkeys, beavers, and so much more.
And there’s plenty to do for the entire family. Such activities include venturing upon the illuminated night trail, traversing the aerial boardwalk, learning about the pioneers and first nation tribes, and playing at the playground.
Though you can see and interact with the on-site animals in numerous ways, the most unique experience is a night spent at the grey wolf observatory. You can rent a cabin, chalet, or lodge room at the observatory with access to large floor-to-ceiling windows looking out directly into the wolf habitat. Now that’s a weekend stay worth talking about!
- Distance: 80 miles / 130 kilometers
- Drive time without stops: 1 hour 25 minutes
4. Sentier des cimes
Newly open as of summer 2022, Sentier des cimes is a fantastic introduction to the Laurentians north of Montreal. Previously a fish farm, the grounds have been transformed into a stunning landscaped garden with tranquil water features and peaceful walking paths.
The standout highlight of the property is the panoramic tower which rises above the forest hills to provide a 360-degree view of the surrounding Laurentian mountains. The Path of the Peak is an interpretive walk up a wooden walkway to the grand vista at the tower’s zenith — it’s fully accessible for wheelchair users, too. Along the hike, you can learn about the flora, fauna, and history of the area. A wonderful restaurant and cafe are also located on-site.
Additionally, Le P’tit Train du Nord, a former railway turned bike path, passes by the property. This 150-mile multiuse pathway is a popular path for distance cycling, running, and cross-country skiing. The route winds through the foothills connecting multiple small Laurentian towns, each with a defunct train station that has been reimagined into a new business such as a museum, cafe, or art gallery.
Many small towns, wineries, and cideries can be found nearby. Let the Sentier des cimes serve as your reason to get out and explore the pastoral countryside of the Laurentians.
- Distance: 77 miles / 123 kilometers
- Drive time without stops: 1 hour 20 minutes
5. Kenauk Nature
Kenauk Nature is a 160+ square mile private nature reserve — one of the largest in North America. There are multiple private chalets for rent across the property, each with its own lake to enjoy, and there are glamping opportunities as well. If you’re looking for solitude in nature within a couple hours’ drive from Montreal, this is your best bet.
At Kenauk, you can separate yourself completely from the outside world during your off-grid stay. However, there are many accommodations and experiences to enjoy on the property should you feel so inclined. Aside from the wealth of independent outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and kayaking, you could also participate in a Land Rover Experience ride, dog sledding, clay shooting, and so much more.
On location, you’ll also find the Whitefish Lake Activity Center, a fish hatchery, and a marina where many different styles of watercraft are rentable for fishing and for fun. Local produce and prepared meals can be provided during your stay. You won’t have to leave Keanuk all weekend long, though there are multiple points of interest nearby if you want to see even more of the area!
- Distance: 86 miles / 138 kilometers
- Drive time without stops: 1 hour 30 minutes
6. Village de Labelle
A small, bucolic town situated on the eastern bank of the Red River, Labelle is the type of place that feels like home as soon as you arrive — even if you’ve never been before. The picturesque village invites you to walk its lovely streets and along the scenic river’s edge.
Allow yourself to slow down when you visit Labelle. You’re in for a rejuvenating weekend of calm and quiet should you decide to spend the majority of your weekend touring this quaint town. Alternatively, you can use Labelle as a base camp to explore the more northern stretches of the Laurentians.
Minutes from town lie multiple lakes, including the breathtaking and large Lac-Labelle. All sorts of water-bound activities can be enjoyed year-round on the bodies of water surrounding the village. From summer kayaking and rafting to winter ice fishing and ice skating — the fun never ends.
If you’re up for a sky-high adventure, Air Mont-Laurier offers exciting and unbelievably scenic seaplane rides over the vast expanse of lakes to the north. There’s no better way to see the rural Quebec landscape!
- Distance: 97 miles / 157 kilometers
- Drive time without stops: 1 hour 40 minutes
Eco-Odyssee is a unique experience and place to stay. It’s akin to an outdoor theme park in how it presents itself.
There are multiple adventures to embark upon at Eco-Odyssee, with the biggest attraction being the smartly-designed water labyrinth. Eco-Odyssee resides in the wetlands. As such, the water labyrinth is a maze through the reeds, active beaver dams, and water-logged copses of trees on the property. It’s a fun excursion for the entire family — you can maneuver the maze by kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard.
The property is a spectacle itself. The wetlands have a wonderful natural beauty to them, of course, but the decorative lights, rustic buildings, and lively atmosphere add a magical charm to the place. It’s really something special. Adding to the magic is the nightly show of Eco-Noctura, in which a beautiful story is told through lights and images projected onto the nearby mountainside.
Eco-Odyssee offers glamping opportunities, cottage rentals, and lodge rooms for those interested in staying on the property. It’s open year-round. When the waters of the wetlands freeze over in winter, the water labyrinth is transformed into an ice labyrinth that you can skate upon.
- Distance: 141 miles / 227 kilometers
- Drive time without stops: 2 hours 30 minutes
8. Montagne du Diable Regional Park
Montagne du Diable Regional Park is a rugged and wild escape from the city, and its design is much like that of a traditional American national park. There is a plethora of lodging options ranging from backcountry lean-tos and rustic mountain cabins to well-appointed and accessible chalets. And, of course, there are plenty of camping opportunities.
This park is a few hours north of Montreal. As a result, it really is a tale of two seasons. During the summer, you can swim in the lakes and walk to waterfalls, but in the winter, you’ll need to strap on snowshoes or ride a snowmobile to get around.
That said, many accommodations are available throughout the year, and both visitor centers are open no matter the season. It’s an outdoor wonderland where you can learn about history and nature, and play to your heart’s content.
During the winter, you can find warm food and refreshments at the summit of Montagne du Diable. The Relais is a restaurant and bar that serves any who brave the journey through the snowy park to the mountain’s summit via snowmobile, skis, or any other way you make it happen!
- Distance: 163 miles / 268 kilometers
- Drive time without stops: 3 hours
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