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Road-trip in Charlevoix : My recommendations to enjoy the road between Quebec and Tadoussac

Road-trip in Charlevoix : My recommendations to enjoy the road between Quebec and Tadoussac

Canada Québec Quebec activities Road-Trip

Are you planning to go on a road trip in Charlevoix? Specifically, along the coast between Quebec City and Tadoussac? I have the chance to have been there twice and have plenty of great recommendations to share with you.

Let me guide you to ensure you don’t miss anything on the journey! In this article, you’ll find:

the view on the saint-laurent river in charlevoix

Must-Visit Stops During Your Road Trip in Charlevoix

There are different ways to explore the Charlevoix area during a road trip between Quebec City and Tadoussac. I’ll detail them shortly, but here are some tips on the best spots to see along the way.

Petite Rivière Saint-François

This small town is the first stop on the road to Tadoussac from Quebec City in Charlevoix.

Petite-Rivière Saint-François is mainly known because it’s right next to Le Massif, a renowned ski resort in the region. I didn’t stay long there, just to enjoy the views, but if you wish, there are several activities available on-site.

What to Do in Petite-Rivière Saint-François?

Ride the Gondola to the Top of Le Massif

You can take the gondola to reach the top of Le Massif. You’ll have a sublime view of the Saint Lawrence River, Isle aux Coudres, and the South Shore. The ticket costs $30 per person.

Take a Stroll Along the Saint Lawrence

You can access the beach in Petite-Rivière Saint-François for a walk along the water.

Mountain Biking

There are plenty of mountain biking trails nearby. There are 23 trails on Le Massif and 40km of trails accessible to bikes. Access is paid, but you can find all the information here.

Get a Higher Perspective

If walking is more your style, I recommend the Sentiers de randonnées des Caps. You can also access walking trails after taking the gondolas.

Go Canyoning

We know it gets hot in the summer in Quebec. So what’s better than a refreshing plunge? There are 2 canyoning routes accessible from Le Massif.

Baie Saint-Paul

Just a few kilometers away from Petite-Rivière Saint-François, in the Charlevoix region, Baie Saint-Paul is a very nice village. The place isn’t very big, but the main street is lovely.

It’s exactly the kind of downtown area I love. You’ll find many restaurants and small shops to buy typical Quebec souvenirs. They are mostly art galleries, but there are also some artisans and of course, many restaurants.

If you’re a fan of beautiful buildings, the church in the heart of the city is really beautiful. However, if you prefer the maritime side, Baie Saint-Paul is bordered by the Saint Lawrence River. It’s particularly nice to stroll along the river.

What to Do in Baie Saint-Paul?

main street of baie saint paul in the charlevoix area
Explore the City’s Art Galleries

Baie Saint-Paul is an artist’s town! So there are a multitude of art galleries in the city. Don’t hesitate to stop by the tourist office on the main street to get the complete list.

Visit the Public Market

Every Sunday during the summer, a market sets up in Baie Saint-Paul. I love the festive atmosphere when I stroll among the stalls!

Treat Yourself at Chocolaterie du Village

A chocolate lover’s paradise. I visited the one in Les Éboulements (I’ll talk about it later), so I didn’t go here. But it’s highly recommended!

Visit the Azulée Lavender Fields

Lavender starts to bloom nicely in early July, so summer is the ideal time to stock up on products that remind us of Provence.

Take an Educational Tour of Ferme de Marie-Noëlle

I chose this activity because our friends were coming with a 3-year-old. I think it’s a visit to prioritize with children.

Good Addresses in Baie Saint-Paul

Here are some tried and tested addresses for dining or indulging during your visit to Baie Saint-Paul.

Microbrasserie Charlevoix

Quebec is becoming increasingly renowned for its beers. Personally, it’s not my thing, but my boyfriend, Seb, loves it! So, we made a little detour to stock up.

microbrasserie in quebec

The advantage? They have references that you can’t find anywhere else!

Note: with the Milo subscription, you get a 25% discount! I explain how it works in this article (in French).
Cidrerie Vergers Pedneault

Maybe you don’t like beers, but cider is your friend? Well, it is for me! So, we stopped by the Pedneault cider farm shop for a little tasting and left with 4 bottles!

We especially loved the apple and pear must, a non-alcoholic sparkling juice!

Le Saint-Pub

If you want to taste the beers from Microbrasserie Charlevoix, you have to go to Le Saint-Pub!

Sebastien had a beer tasting platter with his burger, and it was very nice. I also ordered a burger from the menu. A good brasserie meal as we like it!

It cost us $47 before tax for 2 burgers, a beer tasting platter, and a mocktail (with the Milo discount).

Note: Milo allows you to get a 25% discount on the bill! We saved $16, which is the price of a dish! It's really worth it.
Café Arômes & Saveurs

During our stroll, we felt like stopping for a snack. It was quite hot, so all the ice cream vendors were busy. We ended up at Café Arômes & Saveurs, which offered waffles, and we didn’t regret it!

We shared a fruit waffle, and it was excellent! Don’t forget to dip the waffle in the maple syrup served with it; it’s even better! The price was $20 for a waffle and 1 apple juice.

Les Éboulements

Les Éboulements is one of the most beautiful villages in Quebec. It’s really small. There isn’t really a downtown area to stroll like in Baie Saint-Paul, but the views of the St. Lawrence River are lovely.

Les Éboulements is also where you reach Saint-Joseph de la Rive, the starting point for the ferry to Isle aux Coudres.

What to Do in Les Éboulements?

museum in les eboulements in the charlevoix area
Visit the Maritime Museum of Charlevoix

This museum is quite nice. It focuses heavily on schooners, wooden sailboats. You can see many miniatures and visit several full-scale ones. There’s also a large outdoor course.

Note: You get 1 free ticket for 1 ticket purchased with Milo.
Visit the Seigneurial Mill

Located at the entrance of Les Éboulements, the Seigneurial Mill is a bit of the town’s main attraction.

Indulge at La Chocolaterie du Village

The shop is not very big, but the chocolate is excellent! You can buy individual chocolates or small bars. We didn’t wait until we got home to eat the chocolates we bought!

Note: You get a 20% discount with Milo.
Admire the View of Isle aux Coudres from the Municipal Stop

On the road descending towards Saint-Joseph, a municipal stop (with toilets) offers a superb view of the St. Lawrence. There are also benches and picnic tables.

rest area in les eboulements with a nice view on the saint laurent river
Stock up on Local Products at Jardins du Centre

We stumbled upon this address somewhat by chance, and it’s really worth it. It’s a small shop that sells only locally grown or locally produced products.

Isle aux Coudres

Isle aux Coudres is right across from Les Éboulements. You can only access it by ferry (or by boat if you have one!).

During the summer, there’s a ferry every 30 minutes, and it’s free. Just head to the embarkation point. The crossing takes about fifteen minutes.

Since we were with a baby, we opted to go by car, but you can choose to leave your vehicle on the mainland and board with your bike only. However, note that arriving at Isle aux Coudres starts with a steep hill!

It’s very easy to go around the island as it’s only 23 kilometers in circumference. We spent a few hours there and returned to the mainland after lunch. However, I think it’s entirely possible to spend the whole day there.

Again, there isn’t really a small downtown area for walking around. The shops are scattered along the main road.

What to Do at Isle aux Coudres?

isle aux coudres in quebec
Take a Bike Tour Around the Island

You can rent bikes, tandems, or rosalies on-site. However, the bike rental shop is located on the east tip of the island, so you’ll need a car to get there or a good hour of walking, I think.

Visit Cidrerie Pedneault

I mentioned it earlier, but it’s on Isle aux Coudres where the fruits used to make Pedneault ciders are grown. So, it’s possible to learn more about the production process right there.

Explore the Mills of Isle aux Coudres

It’s quite rare and worth noting that there’s a windmill and a watermill on-site. Don’t miss the miller’s explanations, or else the visit might feel a bit too brief. The ticket costs $12 per person.

mills on the isle aux coudres in charlevoix
Take a Lunch Break at La Fabrique de l’Isle

This small café is very nice. Not only do they offer sweet and savory products (sandwiches, tortillas, pastries…), but there is also a small shop.

The food is very good, however, it’s a bit expensive. We paid $45 for 2 sandwiches and a beer.

You can also dine in their small garden, which is very picturesque.


Here too, we have a cute little village, but it doesn’t really have a city center.

Nevertheless, I recommend stopping there just to admire the viewpoints and the architecture of the houses. Sainte-Irénée is also one of the most beautiful villages in Quebec.

La Malbaie

La Malbaie is the second major city on the road from Quebec to Tadoussac.

Unfortunately for us, the city center was under construction, so we couldn’t walk around. However, we were able to take a stroll along the Saint Lawrence River, and it was very nice.

There are quite a few things to see in La Malbaie, so if you have the time, I recommend spending a day there.

What to Do in La Malbaie?

nice view of la malbaie in quebec
Stroll along the Saint Lawrence River

The Samuel de Champlain Promenade is 3km long and runs alongside the Saint Lawrence River. It’s nice to walk along the river. However, it’s also bordered by the road, so it can be a bit noisy.

At the beginning of the promenade, there is a pier and a park for children. We had a picnic there, and it was very enjoyable.

The Cap à l’Aigle Gardens

This lilac park is located on the heights of La Malbaie and is very beautiful. We went there at the end of the lilac bloom, and it was still very nice. There is a lookout that overlooks the Saint Lawrence River, offering an exceptional view.

cap a laigle garden in la malbaie during our road trip in charlevoix
Visit the Charlevoix Museum

This museum allows you to learn more about the history of Charlevoix. There are several exhibition rooms, including one outdoors. With Milo, you can get up to $15 off.

Check out the Quai de Pointe à Pic and its colorful houses

A quick stop, but quite nice to see a very charming aspect of La Malbaie. I think you can walk around it in 15 minutes, but it’s worth it if you want to see the colorful small houses typical of the region.

colorful houses in la malbaie
Learn more about space at the Astroblème Observatory

While visiting Charlevoix, I learned that the region is established in the crater formed by an asteroid that fell hundreds of thousands of years ago. At the Astroblème, you can learn more about this event. At nightfall, it’s possible to admire the stars with their telescopes.

Visit the Manoir Richelieu

The Manoir Richelieu is a luxury hotel, but it’s entirely possible to visit just to stroll around and admire the surroundings.

Good addresses in La Malbaie

We only made one stop in La Malbaie for lunch. If you have other good addresses, feel free to share them!

Exclamation Breads!

We were highly recommended this bakery. Indeed, the bread is good, but nothing exceptional! I mention it because it’s well located, right in front of a park. So, it’s ideal for grabbing a sandwich and going for a picnic along the Saint Lawrence River. However, it’s a bit pricey. We paid $46 for 2 sandwiches, a dessert, and a bottle of water.

Port-au-Persil: an adorable Quebecois village

If I had to recommend only one stop during your road trip between Quebec City and Tadoussac, it would be this one. You have to venture a little off the main road to reach Port-au-Persil, but the detour is really worth it.

port au persil village in charlevoix

After leaving the main road, we drove for about ten minutes to reach this charming village. Upon arrival, we were charmed by a waterfall cascading into the Saint Lawrence River.

In fact, some young people were enjoying swimming there. We didn’t really explore the surroundings because the viewpoint we stumbled upon was so captivating.

This stop allowed us to take in the stunning views and take plenty of photos.

Baie des Rochers

I’ll be honest, I didn’t get a chance to stop at Baie des Rochers because my son was asleep when we passed by, and we didn’t want to risk waking him up!

But I’ve seen that the views of the Saint Lawrence River are truly magical from Baie des Rochers.

There are several hiking trails that allow you to gain some elevation and see the beautiful colors of the water. Some are very short, so don’t hesitate if you’re short on time. You can find the routes and starting points here.

Baie Sainte-Catherine

Just before reaching the ferry terminal that will take you to Tadoussac, I recommend stopping at Baie Sainte-Catherine.

What to do in Baie Sainte-Catherine?

Visit the Pointe Noire Observation and Interpretation Center

This was my second time visiting this park, and I loved it once again. Personally, I was fortunate to see several belugas (a type of white whale).

pointe noire observatory in baie sainte catherine

The first time I went there, there were about ten of them swimming near the coast. It was my first time seeing them, and I loved it! This time, we saw one or two and some porpoises as well (like small black dolphins).

If you’re lucky, you might see some small whales! The ticket costs $6.75 per person.

Take a cruise to see the whales

If you’re not crossing the Saint Lawrence, know that Baie Sainte-Catherine is also the starting point for cruises to go whale watching a bit further away.


The final stop on your trip, Tadoussac is the ideal place to go whale watching. Apart from that, Tadoussac is rather uninteresting. There’s a nice hotel facing the Saint Lawrence, but otherwise, the downtown area is really small.

The few artisan shops allow you to stock up on postcards or souvenirs. However, for food, there isn’t much. You’ll either find expensive and poorly rated restaurants or small, unimpressive snack bars. I recommend preparing a picnic if you plan to eat in Tadoussac!

What to do in Tadoussac?

Take the whale-watching cruise

You have two options, take the ride in a zodiac boat or a large boat. I chose the second option because it’s less shaky, and we could benefit from the explanations of a naturalist guide throughout the tour.

If you’re interested in taking the same cruise as me, you can buy your tickets here*. The excursion lasts 3 hours, but it’s really worth it! The zodiac ride is a bit shorter (2 hours), but it’s a bit more bumpy! The tickets are available here* if you prefer this option.

*These are affiliate links. This means I will receive a small commission if you purchase your tickets through this link. It’s free for you, but it helps support the blog, so thank you!

whale watching in tadoussac

I was lucky to see lots of animals: belugas, seals, porpoises, and of course, whales! If you’re interested in having the same experience, I highly recommend booking in advance. During peak season, they are often fully booked!

Visit the Tadoussac Dunes

You can take a 1 km long trail to explore the dunes surrounding the town. If you’re lucky, you might spot whales while comfortably seated in the dunes.

Go Sea Kayaking

Technically, it’s not really the sea, but the Saint Lawrence River, but the sensations are the same as in the sea!

If you’re interested in the activity, you can do a 1-hour and 15-minute initiation or a more than 2-hour tour. Booking is available here.*

*This is an affiliate link. I earn a small commission if you order through this link. It’s free for you, but it’s a great support for the blog, so thank you!

Hike in the Saguenay Fjord National Park

Tadoussac marks the entrance to the Saguenay Fjord, so there are several hiking trails that are easily accessible from the town. The Pointe de l’Islet trail is particularly nice. It’s a 900m loop that takes about 25 minutes. The list of Tadoussac trails is available here.

saguenay view from baie sainte catherine
Observing Black Bears

We know there are bears in Quebec! Sometimes, you can see them while hiking in national parks, without really planning for it. But if it’s an experience you really want to have, you can also be accompanied by a guide near Tadoussac.

It’s not 100% guaranteed that you’ll see one, but at least you’re accompanied by someone who knows the region well, their habits, and knows how to react if you come face to face with a bear!

Excursions are organized near Tadoussac. You can book your tour here* starting from $26.

*This is an affiliate link. I earn a small commission if you order through this link. It’s free for you, but it’s a great support for the blog, so thank you!

Discovering the Charlevoix Region

We’ve just seen the different points of interest to visit in Charlevoix between Quebec and Tadoussac. But there are different circuits to make the connection.

The River Road

The River Road is probably the most traveled route. It’s on the River Road that you see part of the small towns I mentioned above.

river route in charlevoix

This small road indeed runs along the Saint Lawrence River between Baie Saint-Paul and La Malbaie, and a little detour to l’Isle aux Coudres is also possible.

The River Road stretches for 78 kilometers. It’s not very long, but I think 2 days are still necessary to fully enjoy it.

One day to cover the section between Baie Saint-Paul and La Malbaie. A second day to explore l’Isle aux Coudres.

The Mountain Route

The Mountain Route goes through the inland areas. It forms a sort of U-shape as it allows access to 2 national parks located to the North.

mountain road in charlevoix

We mainly explored the lower section of the U-shaped route, and I must say we didn’t see many mountains! But there are some good spots to try.

La ferme Basque de Charlevoix

If you like duck-based products, I highly recommend making a quick stop at La Ferme Basque.

They have a variety of rillettes, gizzards, foie gras, as well as local products made nearby like jams from l’Isle aux Coudres, for example.

Parc National des Grands Jardins

Another national park located on the other side that offers numerous hiking trails. The views are just as majestic, but they focus more on landscapes of land and forest. It’s a must-see during your road-trip in Charlevoix!

the grands jardins park in charlevoix
Source : Depositphotos

Parc national des Hautes Gorges de la Rivière Malbaie

When you think of a national park, you think of hiking.

But if you’re like me and hiking isn’t really your thing, you can take a 1-hour cruise in the Malbaie River Gorges.

The cruise is guided by a naturalist, allowing you to learn more about the park while enjoying the stunning views. The cost of the cruise is $38.50 per person.

Of course, you can also hike, kayak, canoe, or mountain bike there.

It’s worth noting that the famous Acropole des Draveurs hike is located in this park.

Le Musée de la Drave

I didn’t get a chance to visit it, but friends who did highly recommended it!

drave museum in charlevoix

The museum displays numerous tools used by loggers and river drivers. It’s a real leap into the past to discover how the work of a river driver was done.

You might be wondering, what’s a river driver? It’s the person who was responsible for placing the logs on the Malbaie River to float them down to the paper mill.

La Route des Saveurs

La Route des Saveurs follows a bit of the Route des Montagnes and the Route du Fleuve. But this one is really focused on gastronomy.

If you’re interested in having the complete list of recommended addresses, you can check out Charlevoix’s official website which lists everything.

Where to stay during your road trip in Charlevoix?

If you’re doing a real road trip between Quebec and Tadoussac, you’ll probably want to take breaks in the big cities along the Saint Lawrence River, one night at a time.

We were more in a mindset of exploring the region, so we started by staying 3 nights in La Malbaie in a very modern chalet with a magnificent view of the Saint Lawrence River.

I invite you to check out my Instagram reel for a video of the chalet.

The chalet had 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and cost us $800 for 3 nights. You can find it on AirBnB.

chalet in la malbaie

For the second part of our stay, we went to Les Éboulements, to a cosier and very comfortable chalet.

It also had 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and a spa. It cost $1400 for 3 nights. We also rented it via AirBnB.

chalet in les eboulements

How to Make the Most of Your Road Trip in Charlevoix?

When we planned our road trip in Charlevoix between Quebec City and Tadoussac, we were a bit worried about the distances. But in the end, the road is really enjoyable.

road trip in charlevoix between quebec and tadoussac - view on the saint laurent river

My first tip would be to get a map from a tourist office. Whether it’s in Quebec City, Baie Saint-Paul, or La Malbaie, it’s really great to have the freshest advice and a paper map. Sure, GPS is useful, but nothing beats following local advice.

My second recommendation would be to make regular stops. I’ve recommended a few, but depending on your interests, there are surely other things to see.

Finally, take your time! If you have the opportunity, enjoy each stop to explore the surroundings thoroughly. Quebec is a beautiful region with a lot to see!

I hope this discovery itinerary from Quebec to Tadoussac allows you to explore the lovely Charlevoix region. Feel free to let me know in the comments what you enjoyed most or your favorite spots!

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Sarah - Carnets Vanille

Hello! I’m Sarah, a Malouin at heart, living in Montreal for a few years. Carnets Vanille is an opportunity for me to combine my two passions, writing and travel, by sharing with you about the two corners of the world that excite me, Quebec and Brittany. I share my discoveries, provide tips to help you plan your visits, and also offer recommendations on the best restaurants and accommodations.

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