Experiencing Quebec

13+ Family-Friendly Road Trips from Montreal (2023)

Need some family-friendly road trip ideas from Montreal? Here is a list of places to visit near Montreal, and short road trip ideas from Montreal, suitable for the entire family to enjoy. 

For the road trip ideas presented on this list, each suggestion links to a separate article which provides some tips on how to prepare your family for the experience, as well as information relating to nearby accommodations. For dog owners, the articles also contain useful information regarding pet accessibility. 


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Watch seals from the shore

Activity: Seal Watching at Parc National du Bic
Region: Bas-Saint-Laurent
Distance: Approx 5 1/2 hours from Montreal

Parc National du Bic is perfect for families interested in nature, camping, and wildlife, as well as families who have an appreciation for scenic views and natural landscapes. Young kids in particular will enjoy walking around, investigating, and playing on the park's sandy shores.

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.

Photo: Jean-Pierre Sylvestre

Whisper a Wish to the Forest Fairies

Activity: Experience the magic of Forest Lumina
Region: Eastern Townships
Distance: Approx 2 hours from Montreal

Forest Lumina is perfect for families interested in nature and the outdoors, as well as families who have an appreciation for mythological beings and magical settings. 

Foresta Lumina is a multimedia nighttime experience along Coaticook’s Canyon. Seven beautiful manuscripts introduce the cast of fictional characters presented through sophisticated lighting, mapped media and original sound tracks. Foresta Lumina invites you in a variety of theatrical effects that create a moody but magical setting. Visitors enter an imaginary heritage of the region and capture the mythology of the Quebec forest.

Photo: Forest Lumina

Board Canada's First Publicly Accessible Submarine

At the Pointe-au-Père Maritime Historic Site, visitors can board Canada's first publicly accessible submarine - the Onondaga - and discover the daily lives of the 70 men who lived for months at a time in this 90-metre (300-foot) submarine.

Visitors are also given the opportunity to dive into the story of the Empress of Ireland through a four zone multisensory experience. The Pointe-au-Père Lighthouse, the second tallest lighthouse in Canada, is also located at the site and visitors can enjoy the panoramic view from the top.

Photo: Mathieu Dupuis/Le Québec maritime

Explore a Giant Playground of Conceptual Gardens

A national historic site of Canada, the Reford Gardens has been a cultural space and must-see destination for over 50 years. The Reford Gardens provide visitors with varied multisensory experiences, housing approx 3000 species and varieties of plants, including the famous Himalayan blue poppy.

Starting in late June, the International Garden Festival presents innovative contemporary gardens designed by landscape architects, architects and artists from around the world. Conceptual gardens give visitors the opportunity to experience contemporary art and offer children a giant playground in which to explore fun and interactive installations. Photo: Reford Gardens

Visit a "Haunted" 19th century Quebecois Village

The Village Québécois d’Antan was created in 1977 by historian Claude Verrier at the request of the Drummond County Chamber of Commerce. The objectives of the corporation were to recreate a Québécois village and its surroundings, over a century-long period (19th to 20th century) and showcase everything that made up this heritage.

The Village now offers activities through four seasons, with the Village in Summer (in the summer), the Haunted Village (Halloween), the Desjardins Village in Lights (Holiday season) and the Sweet Village (sugar shack).

Photo: The Village Québécois d’Antan

Reconnect with Nature and Stay in a Mobile "Tiny House"

Domaine Floravie offers “tiny house”-style mobile eco-cottages with stunning views of the St. Lawrence. Perfectly integrated into an enchanting site, their 7 non-smoking 20’ by 10’ cottages are mobile to minimize their environmental impact.

At the enchanting site of Pointe à Santerre, le Domaine Floravie offers both the conditions and the facilities that promote healing, renewal of self with nature and with environmental, social and spiritual core values.

Photo: Domaine Floravie

Board Historical Ships and Relive Quebec's Maritime History

The Musée Maritime du Québec (MMQ) allows visitors to relive the daily lives of sailors and explore events and places that have marked the maritime history of Quebec.

At the museum, visitors can board historical ships, learn about the brave men who dedicated their lives to protecting the lives of fellow sailors and the unique lifestyles they lead aboard lightships, explore the St. Lawrence River's strong connections with the lives of seafarers and river shore inhabitants, and view the museum's collection of 200+ scale models of the ships that have marked Quebec's history.

Photo: Musée Maritime du Québec

Admire the World's Most Majestic Creatures

A major feeding ground for marine mammals, the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park is dubbed as one of the best whale-watching sites in the world. From May to October, visitors can admire these majestic creatures on land or on one of Croisières AML's whale watching cruises.

Aboard the AML Levant, the Rivière-du-Loup cruise takes passengers past scenic rugged coasts, heritage lighthouses, and picturesque islands on the way to vantage points where passengers can spot seals, whales, and belugas. Croisières AML even offers a whale guarantee for those who choose to embark on one of their tours.

Photo: Croisières AML

Retrace the Footsteps of Irish Ancestors

Located in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, Grosse île was a quarantine station for the port of Québec from 1832 to 1937. Grosse île is known for its evocative landscapes, inspiring nature, and moving history. Visitors to the village and hospital sector (accessible by trolley or by foot) are given the opportunity to delve into the lives of past inhabitants, employees and immigrants of the island. Visitors can also admire the impressive Isle-aux-Grues archipelago by taking the Mirador Trail.

For those interested in retracing the footsteps of their Irish ancestors, Grosse île houses the Irish Memorial which bears the names of people who died either on Grosse-Île or on the boats: immigrants, employees and sailors. Photo: Grosse île and the Irish Memorial

Chaudière-Appalaches: Unique, Quirky, & Magical Experiences

A 2-day travel itinerary for the Chaudière-Appalaches region for families and individuals interested in unique, quirky, or magical experiences. This itinerary has been tried, tested, and reviewed by the Circus Living crew.

Photo: Chaudière-Appalaches

Explore Bas-Saint-Laurent: Unique, Quirky, & Magical Places

A 3-day travel itinerary for the Bas-Saint-Laurent area for families and individuals interested in unique, quirky, or magical experiences. This itinerary has been tried, tested, and reviewed by the Circus Living crew.

Photo: Philippe Delisle

Stay in an Eco-Friendly Zoobox in the Woods

The Zoobox is an eco-friendly cabin nestled in the middle of the woods in Eastman, Quebec. Equipped with a king sized bed, enough sleeping areas to fit six guests, a bath tub you can wheel to the deck, an outdoor shower, a fully equipped kitchen, and a play area (climbing wall, firefighter's pole, etc.), the Zoobox is glamping at its finest.

Nearby Activities: Swimming in a private lake, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, biking, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing.

Visit the Most Prestigious Wood Carving Museum

The Musée de sculpture sur bois des Anciens Canadiens is the largest interpretation centre and most prestigious wood carving museum in North America. The museum which showcases over 250 sculptures is located in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli - a picturesque village known for its attention to craftmanship and the arts.

Located on the banks of the St. Lawrence, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli is known as the "Mecca" of sculpture and holds a special place in Québec's cultural landscape.

Photo: Musée de sculpture sur bois des Anciens Canadiens