“Don’t count the days. Make the days count.”
If there’s one thing I’m grateful for in the midst of the COVID-19 situation, it’s discovering the beauty of my home province! Last week, my friends and I embarked on a road trip to Gaspésie – a trip that, under normal circumstances, may have never happened. The world is a vast and wondrous place, with so many destinations on my bucket list. But until recently, I had never considered exploring Quebec.
My Gaspésie adventure was a truly rejuvenating experience. I had the chance to unwind, breathe in fresh, unpolluted air, and let loose a little. Simply looking around and taking in the stunning beauty that surrounded me – from the vastness of the forest to the brilliance of the sky – opened my eyes and lifted my spirits.
In the first installment of this series, let’s start with some key things you should know about Gaspésie before embarking on your own adventure.
This map shows the main road that circles the Gaspé Peninsula. To reach it from Montreal, take Highway 20, which becomes Route 132. Follow this route north along the stunning coastline of the St. Lawrence River. The peninsula is bordered by the St. Lawrence Gulf to the east and Chaleur Bay to the south. If you’re coming from out of province, consider flying into Quebec City and driving your way through the region.
While there are smaller airports closer to your destination, following the map will take you through many popular tourist destinations, such as Charlevoix, Rimouski, St-Flavie, Gaspé, Percé, Bonaventure, and Carleton-sur-mer. Each of these cities offers a wide range of activities to help you fully discover and appreciate the beauty of the region.
While there are different inns available along the road, given the current conditions, it’s best to reserve everything beforehand. This is especially important if you plan to stay in popular cities like Gaspé, Percé, and Carleton-sur-mer. To avoid any surprises, we personally reserved everything two months in advance. Some people we spoke to were unable to book any hotels or inns just two to three weeks before their vacation and had to camp on-site (which can be a fun option if you’re into camping!).
For a recommended timetable, I suggest at least five days to fully explore the area. If you’re looking to truly relax and take in the sights, consider extending your stay even further.
Gaspesie is a destination you can visit all year round, with different activities available depending on the season.
Summer is the most popular season, perfect for relaxing and enjoying the outdoors with friends and family. Activities such as hiking, kayaking, beach-going, and more are available. It’s the ideal time to visit Percé, with the water warm enough for swimming and the chance to explore the massive rock formation at the tip of the peninsula.
Fall is a fantastic season for wildlife observation, with opportunities to see majestic whales as they migrate south and witness the stunning fall foliage. The forest also provides ample opportunities to see other wildlife species, whether it’s caribou, white-tailed deer, or mooses making it an ideal time to explore the natural beauty of the region.
Winter in Gaspesie offers the perfect opportunity for winter sports enthusiasts and lovers of the season alike to indulge in a range of thrilling activities. With fantastic slopes and trails to explore, skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, backcountry skiing, snowboarding, telemarking, and snowkiting on the frozen sea are just some of the exhilarating winter sports available. Renting a cozy chalet further adds to the peaceful and relaxing winter experience, making it the perfect destination for winter sports enthusiasts and those looking for a winter getaway.
Spring is a season of rebirth, with the whales returning and fishing resuming. The weather improves, making it a great time to explore the region’s many charms.
No matter the season, be sure to bring warm clothes, as Gaspesie can be quite breezy due to its northern location and proximity to water.
I hope you enjoyed this first article and can’t wait to tell you more!
Until next time,