Last Updated on December 24, 2023 by Pamela MacNaughtan
If you’re searching for day trips from Quebec City to help fill out your travel itinerary, then I have ten suggestions for you that will take your breath away!
It’s true, I am head-over-heels in love with Quebec City, but we are also equally obsessed with the surrounded regions. From the islands to the lakes and rivers, mountains and charming small towns, Quebec, the province, has a lot to offer.
Especially within 2-3 hrs driving distance from Quebec City.
here are the 10 best day trips from quebec city that will take your quebec vacation to the next level!
Located roughly 17 km (10.5 miles) from Old Quebec City, Ile d’Orleans is one of the more popular day trips from Quebec City – we certainly spend a lot of time on the island!
Comprised of six communities, Ile d’Orleans is the ideal day trip from Quebec City for both foodies and outdoor lovers.
Rent a scooter or cycle (you can rent in Quebec City or on the island) your way around the island. Explore its beautiful nooks and crannies, stopping at local boutiques and chatting up friendly locals. When it’s hot, stop at the beach in Saint-Jean for a dip in the Saint-Lawrence River.
Food and wine lovers are sure to fall head-over-heels in love with Ile d’Orleans, as the island is full of farms, artisans and producers – many of whom work closely with some of Quebec City’s best restaurants. Buying a chocolate-dipped ice cream is a must. Pop by Casse-Crôute Chez Mag for lobster rolls or La Roulotte du COIN for duck fat fries. Taste wines at Vignoble Ste-Pétronille, ciders at Cidrerie Verger Bilodeau, and craft beers at Pub le Mitan.
ile d’orleans tours
Long before Samuel de Champlain travel from France to establish the colony of New France (now Quebec City), the Huron-Wendat people lived in the area, along with other indigenous tribes.
Located 18 km (11 miles) from Old Quebec City, a visit to Wendake is highly recommended. Go to the Huron Traditional Site to learn a little about the history of the Huron-Wendat people, how they lived, and their culture.
Continue your journey at Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations, and explore their fascinating museum on the history of the Huron-Wendat people. Top off your visit with Myths & Legends, a traditional storytelling experience inside the National Longhouse Ekionkiestha.
Love the outdoors? Go canoeing on the Saint-Charles River or visit Kabir Kouba Falls.
Feeling peckish? Pop by Casse-Croûte L’Usine à frites for yummy poutine, or treat yourself to an Indigenous cuisine experience at La Traite.
Note: A shuttle is available from Old Quebec City to Wendake. Book your tickets through the Tourist Information office on rue Sainte-Anne.
- Guided tour of Huron Traditional Site
- Take an audio tour of the museum at Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations
No, really, Montreal is a great day trip idea! Take a train with VIA Rail in the morning (about 3.5 hrs) and return on the last train. You can also travel from Quebec City to Montreal by bus, or by car.
Montreal is a large cosmopolitan city with intriguing neighbourhoods, a vibrant food scene, history, art and so much more. Honestly, you could spend 6 months in Montreal and barely scratch the surface of this breathtaking city.
Pick a neighbourhood and spend your time exploring, shopping and eating. We recommend neighbourhoods like Old Montreal, Mile End, Mile-Ex & Little Italy, or Plateau-Mont-Royale.
If you want to learn more about the city’s history and culture, consider doing a walking tour. Context Travel offers some of the best private and semi-private tours in Montreal. There are excellent group tours as well, see below for suggestions.
- Private or Semi-Private Tour with Context Travel (receive 10% off your first tour with booking code: DC9872A5)
- Jewish Neighbourhood Food Tour
- Walking Tour of Old Montreal
Travelling on the Charlevoix Train to La Malbaie is one of the best ways to travel to La Malbaie.
Located 114 km (71 miles), the drive to La Malbaie takes about 2 hours, depending on traffic. As you drive down the big hill, turn left onto Chemin du Havre and you’ll find yourself in a charming little nook filled with a couple of artisan shops and restaurants.
Casse-Croûte Chez Chantal is good for fast affordable eats. Travelling back towards the main road, a stop at Musée Charlevoix is highly recommended for learning the history and culture of the region.
A stop at the fascinating La Maison du Bootlegger is a must, as is their guided tour. For buttery croissants and light meals, go to Pains d’exclamation! on rue Sainte-Étienne.
Of course, many come to La Malbaie to visit the casino or dine at Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu‘s Le Charlevoix, a superb fine dining experience.
côte de beaupré
Another of our favourite day trips from Quebec City is Côte de Beaupré (Beaupre Coast), a region comprised of seven towns beginning just 13 km (8 miles) from Old Quebec City.
Montmorency Falls, while not technically in Côte de Beaupré, is a popular stop along the way. Standing 30 m taller than Niagara Falls, Montmorency Falls is beautiful no matter what time of year you visit, but it is drop-dead gorgeous in autumn!
Leaving Montmorency Falls, consider stopping at Aux Trois Couvent, a museum dedicated to sharing the history of the region, as well as the three convents which helped shape Côte de Beaupré.
Travelling along Avenue Royale (one of the oldest roads in Canada), take time to admire the old house, and the outdoor cellars and bread ovens by the side of the road. Stop by Chez Marie for homemade bread.
Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica is another intriguing stop, a highlight for religious tourists, as well as those who wish to admire its beauty outside and in. This is another breathtaking stop in autumn.
Outdoor adventurists will love places like Canyon Sainte-Anne, as well as dog sledding, snowshoeing, skiing and other winter sports on Mont-Sainte-Anne and throughout the region.
côte de beaupré tours
- Bike Tour to Montmorency Falls from Quebec City
- Private tour of Côte de Beaupré with Steeve Gaudreault
About an hour’s drive from Old Quebec City, Baie-Saint-Paul is a popular day trip choice. Take the Charlevoix Train, which drops off at Le Germain Hôtel Charlevoix, or enjoy a breathtaking drive around the Laurentian mountains.
The centre of town is everyone’s go-to choice in Baie Saint-Paul, especially rue Sainte-Anne which is lined with galleries, boutiques, restaurants, cafés and a handful of bars. The Baie-Saint-Paul Museum of Contemporary Art on rue Ambrose Fafard is a recommended stop.
Mousse Café (63, rue Ambrose Fafard) can be hard to find, but it’s well worth a stop for some coffee, sweet snacks and a little shopping in its boutique which features products by local artisans. Le Mouton Noir on rue Sainte-Anne with its French cuisine and river views is also a good choice.
Outdoor adventurists will love the half-day sea kayaking tour which takes in parts of the Gouffre river valley. Or give the Cani-Scooter experience a try which is sort of like dog sledding, but in summer, and with a cani-scooter (a cross between a bike and a scooter). It’s fun!
baie saint-paul tours
- Half-Day Sea Kayaking Tour
- 2.5 Hr Mini Bus Tour with Tours Guides Charlevoix
- Cani-Scooter tour experience
An absolute gem, l’Isle-aux-Coudres is another one of our favourite day trips from Quebec City. It’s a small island packed with activities for foodies and outdoor enthusiasts.
The drive from Old Quebec City will take about 90 mins, depending on traffic, and there is a 15 minute (free) ferry ride involved as well. In summer, it is best to make your way to the island first thing in the morning, before the cars start lining the ferry dock.
Once you’re on l’Isle-aux-Coudres, make a stop at La Fabrique de L’Isle for some coffee or a light snack, then begin your adventures on the island. Shop at Boutique Charlotte!, visit Les Moulins de l’Isle-aux-Coudres and enjoy a cider tasting at Cidrerie et Vergers Pedneault.
Consider ditching your car and renting a bike to explore the island. On a windy day, kite surfing is a popular sport.
In winter, ice canoeing is recommended for those who love adrenaline and have strong legs!
baie-sainte-catherine & tadoussac
The drive along the Saint-Lawrence River and around the Laurentian mountains in Charlevoix makes the 3 hr (215 km / 133 miles) journey worth it. No, really, it does!
Tadoussac and Baie-Sainte-Catherine are the go-to spots for those wishing to do some whale watching during their time in Quebec. Minke whales are often spotted in this section of the Saint-Lawrence River as well as the Saguenay Fjord. Humpback whales have been known to make appearances as well.
In Tadoussac, park your car and walk through town. Consider taking a break at Café Bohème, and wandering the old cemetery with its views of the bay and Saint-Lawrence River. Wander down towards the marina and visit the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre.
Getting hungry? Le Pick Up Grillé has a succulent lobster sandwich, Le Gibard is charming in all its pink glory, and Microbrasserie Tadoussac has some pretty good craft beer.
A 2-hour drive from Old Quebec City, Chicoutimi is a beautiful city in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec. A popular destination with Quebecers in summer, Chicoutimi transforms into pure #natureporn in autumn.
Downtown Chicoutimi, along the Saguenay River, is our favourite place to begin. After the long drive, a quick stop at Fabbrica for gelato gets us going.
Walking down towards the river and strolling along the trail is lovely on a sunny day, and absolutely breathtaking in autumn. Make time to visit Le Musée de la Petite Maison Blanche, a house famous for withstanding multiple floods over the years.
Afterward, spend some time at La Pulperie de Chicoutimi, visiting the museum, as well as the grounds. For a lovely view of Chicoutimi, drive up to the corner of rues Legrand and Saint-Léon.
Outdoor sports and activities are plentiful in this region of Quebec, from hiking and canoeing to kayaking, paddle boarding, fat biking, and more.
Not far from Old Quebec City, about 30 km (19 miles), is the charming village of Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, home to Village Vacances Valcartier.
A large family-oriented resort, Village Vacances Valcartier has an outdoor waterpark in summer which is quite popular on hot sticky days. In winter, however, it becomes an outdoor snow tubing park! As you may imagine, both are absolutely thrilling.
Within the resort are restaurants and shops, but the true gem is Bora, the huge indoor waterpark which is open all year. It is the perfect reward after dragging kids through the historic streets of Old Quebec City!
In winter, the world-famous Hôtel de Glace is built on the ground of the resort, close to the tubing park. Spend time wandering through the rooms, admiring the snow carvings and ice pillars. Grab a drink at the ice bar, or suck on some maple taffy. Sit on ice benches covered with fur in the chapel.
- Hôtel de Glace visit and transportation
- Hôtel de Glace & Snow Tubbing
- Bora Indoor Waterpark
- Outdoor Waterpark