Parc National du Bic - Seal Watching
Parc National Du Bic - Bic's National Park
Bas-Saint-Laurent. This activity was part of our 3-Day Road Trip in Bas-Saint-Laurent designed for families and individuals interested in unique travel experiences.
Located in the St. Lawrence Estuary, Parc national du Bic proudly showcases the capes, bays, coves, islands, and mountains which has made it a popular destination. Its breathtaking sunsets are considered to be one of the world's finest.
In the summer and early fall, seal watching is one of the park’s major attractions. The harbour seal, also the park’s animal emblem, stays in the estuary year-round, while the grey seal arrives in about mid-July. The opportunity to watch the seals from the shore makes the experience accessible to everyone.
Seal watching at Parc National du Bic is on our travel bucket list and we were able to spot some seals - the park's emblem animal - from the shore as part of our trip to the region of Bas-Saint-Laurent.
Parc National du Bic is perfect for nature, camping, wildlife enthusiasts, and anyone who appreciates scenic views and natural landscapes. We arrived at the park in the later afternoon and could only stay a few hours before heading out to our "tiny house" at Domaine Floravie. Although our time spent at the park was limited, we basked (kids included) in its beauty. It's almost as if spending time at the park had a lulling effect on the kids. We were also able to spot some seals albeit at a different location from where we first anticipated. All in all, we plan to one day stay in one of the cabins at this park for a chance to experience its numerous trails, gorgeous sites, and wildlife.
Be sure to dress for the weather. When we visited in late August, it was a tad on the chilly side. When I was checking the weather while packing for our trip, I noticed the temperature tended to be colder in the region of Bas-Saint-Laurent than in Montreal. This slight temperature change is something to keep in mind when visiting the region if you want to dress comfortably.
Bring binoculars or a camera/camcorder with a significant zoom if you want a closer look at the seals. We forgot to bring our kids' binoculars but a nice lady at the park offered hers so the kids could take a closer look.
Respect the signs around the seals. The signs mark the nearest spot you can approach the seals without scaring them off. If you come any closer, the seals in fear may leave which will interfere with their ability to nurse their pups and thereby disrupting important life cycle stages. You can watch the seals, take photos, but do respect their space.
There are two locations where you can find the seals depending on the time of day (from half tide to high tide at Pointe Aux Épinettes and at Cap Caribou during low tide). We were advised by the park attendant to visit the Pointe Aux Épinettes area when we arrived around 3:30 pm to catch the park warden-naturalist and the seals. The seals, however, at this point hadn't made it to this area of the park yet. We spent some time there, nonetheless, enjoying the gorgeous view, the shore, and ultimately decided to visit the other area - Cap Caribou - where we finally spotted the seals. Unlike the short walk to Pointe Aux Épinettes from the parking lot, be prepared for a steep downhill hike and uphill climb when visiting Cap Caribou. It was nothing the kids couldn't handle but don't expect a leisurely stroll towards the area either. We drove to both locations so it's something to keep in mind as well. Thus, I cannot comment on how long it would take to hike from one area to the next and the difficulty of the trail.
For those of you needing to know where the washrooms are before visiting the different areas of the park (yes, we can relate with young kids), there are pit toilets available at both seal watching locations. At Pointe Aux Épinettes, I noticed there were washroom facilities with flush toilets complete with sinks for handwashing. You can also find all the washroom locations and other facilities by obtaining a map of the entire park from the park attendant.
Park is open all year round. For seal watching, the harbour seal, also the park’s animal emblem, stays in the estuary year-round, while the grey seal arrives in about mid-July.
3382, route 132 Ouest Rimouski (Quebec) Canada (approximately 5h+ from Montreal)
Children under 17 yrs old are free to enter the park. Daily entrance rate for an adult is $8.60CDN.
Parc National du Bic
Disclosure: All or a portion of this event was sponsored or provided at a reduced cost in exchange for coverage on our site. All opinions expressed on our site are our own - no pretenses here!
Photo: Jean-Pierre Sylvestre