Québec, also known as La Belle Province, is full of charm and wonder. I’ve been to Québec many times but most of the time it’s been either Montreal or Mont-Tremblant. Most people don’t realize that Québec is the largest province in Canada, – it’s larger than Ontario in size but less populated. Bordering on Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, Québec stretches even into the Bay of St. Lawrence. Another misconception is that the capital is Montreal when it’s actually Québec city. From natural wonders like Îles de la Madeleine to one of the oldest European settlements in Canada in Vieux Québec, it’s one of the most charming places to go in Canada. You should visit Québec for the culture, for the food, for the vibrant European feel, for the natural experiences, for the nightlife, and did I mention the food?
Two of the lesser known regions are Lanaudière and Laval. Lanaudière is about an hour outside of Montreal and has a great mix of outdoor adventures, cultural events, and incredible food experiences. There are seven regional parks and two wildlife reserves in the region and two thirds of the Parc national du Mont‑Tremblant is located in the Lanaudière region.
Lanaudière region is great for outdoor enthusiasts. A great option for somewhere to stay that gives a bit of everything is L’Auberge du Vieux Moulin. From fishing on canoe or paddle boats, to Stand up Paddleboarding and everything in between, this family property has everything for a well rounded adventure experience for the whole family.
One of my favourite things about this property is that there is an indoor swimming pool and spa area for days when the weather isn’t cooperating and lake activities are not available. After a busy day exploring nature, you can relax and revive before dinner at the on site nordic spa. The food here is all homemade and delicious! There are many local delicacies to try and you have the option of doing a package that includes breakfast and dinner.
Our itinerary for Lanaudière region included a visit to La Terre des Bisons a dynamic and hospitable bison farm offering interpretation, shop, and many activities. They offer guided tours and explain the difference between many of the animals who look similar such as bison and elk. Kids will love the chance to see these majestic animals up close.
Québec has many wonderful outdoor spaces and Parc régional des Chutes Dorwin is one of them. It’s considered to be one One of Québec’s most spectacular sites! There is a 2.5km ecological trail that runs along the gorge where the Ouareau River flows and there are two observation points on the trail.
Families looking for a bit of adventure and adrenaline rush will love Arbraska Rawdon With more than 120 games for you to enjoy in the trees, you can try many activities including zip line, rope bridges, climbing nets, and great Tarzan-style lianas. Arbraska is an entire world in the treetop. There is a dedicated area just for younger children as well.
Laval is just 20 minutes outside of Montreal but it’s more than just a suburb area. It has its own charms and is very lively with lots of things to do without all of the downtown traffic. If you do want to go into downtown Montreal you can avoid driving and take the subway. Laval is a great place to stay whether you want to spend time in Montreal or explore this hidden gem on it’s own. For accomodations, the Sheraton Laval is a great choice with 244 spacious guest rooms and 12 suites with a choice of one king-size bed or two queen size beds.
In early summer months a visit to Ferme Vaillancourt for berries is always fun and gives you a healthy afternoon snack as well. It’s been in operation for over 185 years and has lots of great activities during harvest season.
If you’ve got adventurous kids and aren’t afraid of heights, make sure to check out Clip n’ climb. They have 34 themed climbing walls ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert. It’s a great way to burn off some of those delicious meals you’re bound to enjoy while in the area.
If you’re looking for an interesting evening activity that adults and kids alike will enjoy, you can’t go wrong with Premier Joueur. It’s a pub with over 1000 board games to choose from so you’re bound to find something the whole family enjoys.
Whether you go for the fishing or just enjoy the rabaska (indigeneous birch bark canoe) ride you will have a wonderful time at Parc de la Rivière-des-Mille-Îles I like the guided fishing tour because it gave me a chance to brush up on my basic fishing techniques. You can enjoy a full day here including a picnic lunch. I recommend booking a guided tour of the Exploration Center visit as it helps you understand the river and the environmental issues facing it.
For those who are looking for a mental, rather than physical challenge, test your skills and work together as a team to escape at Escaparium these games are newly renovated and has escape rooms for players of all ages and experience.
If you like beer, I recommend booking your trip during Festival des Bières de Laval. The festival is a big family-friendly, country-style celebration of Québec’s brewing industry and regional food products. This festival was created by a husband/wife team who loved beer and wanted to do something that would cater to families as well. Now in its 5th year and having over 30,000 visitors it’s a great way to combine things for the adults and kids in the family. There is even a family area with bouncy castles.
When it comes to food in Québec the options are limitless. Québec is known for its food. I can’t say enough good things about la Bête à Pain. More than just a bakery, La Bête à pain also houses a restaurant and sells ready to serve dishes. The bakery alone is worth going to though.
If you’re looking for destinations in Québec that are beyond Québec city, Montreal, or Mont Tremblant, look no further than the Lanaudière and Laval regions for food, fun, and a great family vacation.