12 Aug, 2022 ·
By Marie-Pier Leduc - Nomade Magazine
The North Shore is one of my favorite regions in Quebec for a thousand and one reasons, but the main one is the variety of unique and memorable experiences that can be had there. Along the river then fork towards the Groulx mountains, this is a road trip itinerary that will delight all outdoor enthusiasts like me! I therefore suggest 5 experiences not to be missed on this trip to fully enjoy it.
Who says stay on the North Shore, of course says whales! Indeed, the region is well known for the presence of marine mammals in the waters bordering Route 138. There are therefore many opportunities to see them in different ways. For my part, I opted for the inflatable boat cruise to observe them offshore. It was mission accomplished! I had the chance to see several of them in addition to breathing the salty air and enjoying the ride on the water.
If you prefer to stay with both feet on the ground, the Cap-de-Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Center is also an excellent place to observe various marine mammals from the shore. I love laying down on a blanket there and just enjoying the view!
I had a real crush on the Pointe-aux-Outardes Nature Park, which is mainly frequented for its hiking trails. The icing on the cake was for me the possibility of pitching my tent directly on the beach and falling asleep to the sound of the waves. What a memorable experience!
Of course, I also took the opportunity to explore the park to discover its different ecosystems and it was a most interesting ride! A guided hike is offered free of charge to visitors and allows you to learn more about the flora and history of the park. I was even able to taste certain edible plants and learn about their virtues. It was a very pleasant moment!
A little further up Route 138, near Baie-Comeau, Saint-Pancrace Bay can be easily explored by kayak and it is definitely an essential activity to appreciate all its beauty. It is thanks to Attitude Nordique that I was able to paddle on the river to explore this surprising bay and see the waterfalls hidden there.
The Between Sky and Sea excursion also allows you to navigate in a second bay to finally land on the shore and enjoy two zip line descents. Flying over the river is quite special and concludes this dynamic activity very well! I highly recommend including a nautical excursion like this in your itinerary to discover the coast in a different way. And who knows, maybe you'll be lucky enough to spot a whale or a seal!
Few travelers make the detour to the Monts Groulx via Route 389, and yet it is an absolutely incredible place for hiking. North of the 51st parallel is Uapishka Station which is an excellent base camp for venturing into the nearby mountains. After a day on the trails, you can enjoy a comforting meal, a cold beer, a hot shower and above all a cozy bed. The resort offers different types of self-catering or full-board accommodation to meet your needs and desires.
Once your stay is booked, all you have to do is climb the peaks that catch your eye! It is even possible to cross the Monts Groulx independently, but this requires several days and a good understanding of the territory. If, like me, you only have a day or two, I suggest the Mont Harfang Sud trail, which is accessible and magnificent! The view from the top of the Manicouagan Reservoir surrounding René-Levasseur Island, the surrounding mountains and the boreal forest is breathtaking. It is worth the detour on its own!
Finally, to taste the flavors of the region and also bring them back in your luggage, why not stop at the region's microbreweries that you will come across on your way? I love discovering good gourmet addresses when I visit a new area of Quebec and I particularly love beers from the Côte-Nord. It was therefore unmissable for me to combine good food and aperitif on the terrace of the Microbrasserie St-Pancrace in Baie-Comeau. A true delight!
I also made a stop at the Microbrasserie Tadoussac for a tasting of their white and sour beers, my favorites! The view of the bay is splendid and the atmosphere friendly.
In addition to these two favorite addresses, take advantage of your visit to meet local producers and eat in the charming cafes and restaurants all along the road. Tasting the region is an unmissable experience in itself!