When you think of Quebec, French fur traders and cosmopolitan Montreal may come to mind. But we’ve discovered a side of French Canada you may not be as familiar with: Quebec has some of North America’s grandest natural landscapes, vibrant autumn foliage and rich wildlife habitat. Just beyond Quebec City, mountains, gorges, glacial valleys, dense forests and the St. Lawrence estuary converge. A host of wildlife inhabits these varied ecosystems, from five whale species, porpoises, seals and scores of birds to black bear, gray wolf, red fox, moose and woodland caribou. UNESCO has granted World Heritage status to the entire region, creating the Charlevoix Biosphere Reserve that encompasses three of the five national parks and reserves we visit. And it's all easily accessible, just north of Maine. Explore it with us on an early autumn adventure as the leaves begin to turn.
Four Dramatic National ParksHike, canoe and kayak in the glacier-carved terrain of four diverse parks: Saguenay Fjord, Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Riviere Malbaie, Grands-Jardins and Jacques-Cartier
World-Class Whale WatchingOn two private Zodiac outings, look for whales and porpoises in Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, including endangered belugas and giant blue whales
Scenic Autumn Train JourneyRide the Train de Charlevoix along the St. Lawrence River and wooded Laurentian foothills on a 78-mile trip from charming Baie-Saint-Paul to La Malbaie
Most tours to Quebec focus on its cities (and our trip starts and ends in Quebec City, whose 400-year-old French colonial Old Town is certainly beguiling) as part of a much wider swing through Eastern Canada, usually including Toronto, Ottawa, etc. For the nature traveler, however, Quebec’s greatest treasures lie in less civilized realms. And there’s no lovelier time than autumn to discover them...as only Nat Hab will show you!
An International Journey…Just Over the Border
Though Quebec is right above Maine, it’s one of Canada’s most distinctive provinces by virtue of its French heritage and French-Canadian identity. French is the first language of Quebec, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in Europe when you travel within Quebec! Quebec offers a unique North American travel adventure, with close proximity for U.S. travelers.
An Itinerary Focused on Nature & Fall Foliage
The section of Quebec we explore is a dramatic realm of mountains, deep gorges, glacial-carved valleys, wild rivers, lakes brimming with trout, and a major estuary that’s home to whales, porpoises, seals and other marine life where the Saguenay Fjord meets the salty St. Lawrence River. On this compact, week-long trip, you’ll experience it all! We travel in September, when the weather cools down and early autumn color begins to brighten the deciduous forests.
Five Major Parks & a World Heritage Site
In just eight days, we visit four national parks and a marine reserve. Yet you’re not rushed, as most of our destinations are relatively close to each other. Three lie within the UNESCO-recognized Charlevoix World Biosphere Reserve, which encompasses tremendous ecological diversity, with river ecosystems, estuarine tidal marshes, coniferous and mixed forests, stunted vegetation (krummholz) and mountain tundra.
Two Private Whale Watching Excursions
Many people aren’t aware that Quebec is noted for some of the world’s best whale watching, with five different species congregating in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park—including the endangered St. Lawrence beluga. We make two private Zodiac outings in search of them, with chances also to see porpoises, seals and seabirds.
Scenic Train Ride on the St. Lawrence Coast
Conventional tours on motorcoaches don’t give you this special opportunity! Aboard the small Train de Charlevoix, enjoy a leisurely 3-hour, 78-mile rail journey along the St. Lawrence River at the base of the Laurentian Hills, passing through charming coastal villages en route.
The Smallest Groups—No More Than 7 Travelers Per Vehicle
Our group is capped at 14, but you’ll travel with no more than seven: that’s the maximum we take per vehicle, and each is accompanied by an Expedition Leader, for the best guide-to-guest ratio you’ll find. You can also Make It Private: select any departure just for you and your personally selected traveling companions.
Distinctive Accommodations with Historic Character
No cookie-cutter chain hotels for us—we’ve chosen only the most unique, interesting and exceptionally comfortable lodgings for our Quebec nature adventure. From the classic, red-roofed Hotel Tadoussac at the mouth of Saguenay Fjord to the chateau-style Le Manoir Richelieu surveying the St. Lawrence River from high on a hill, our accommodations are as much a highlight of your trip as our nature destinations.
Two Expedition Leaders Mean More Choices for You
Not only does traveling with two Expedition Leaders ensure the ultimate in personal service and attention, but with two guides, we can divide up the group to pursue different activities, accommodating varied interests (canoeing vs. hiking, for instance) and physical ability levels (a nature walk vs. a more challenging hike). Two guides ensures the utmost in flexibility!
Expert Naturalist Guides Enhance Your Experience
Our Expedition Leaders are professional naturalists who know these landscapes intimately, including where and when to be in order to maximize your experience of nature and solitude. They are experts on the geology, flora, wildlife and natural history of Quebec, as well as its cultural history, too. We can't emphasize enough what a difference their knowledge makes to your overall experience. See Expedition Leader bios with traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
Our Quality-Value Guarantee Stands Behind Your Quebec Adventure
With Natural Habitat Adventures, you receive our exclusive guarantee, stating clearly that we will meet the lofty expectations we set forth in our promotional materials. We think this is the most ambitious guarantee made by any adventure travel company. Read our important promise.
Feel Good About Your Carbon-Neutral Journey
We care deeply about our planet, as we know you do. When you travel with us, the carbon emissions from your trip are 100% offset—including your round-trip flights from home. Natural Habitat Adventures has been the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company since 2007.
Natural Habitat Adventures is WWF's Travel Partner
Because of our commitment to environmentally friendly travel, as well as the exceptional quality of our adventures, World Wildlife Fund—the world's leading environmental conservation organization—has named Natural Habitat Adventures as its worldwide travel partner, a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!