In the mood for some adventure? Sleep in a giant inflatable ball curled up like a kitten or suspended in the air between trees in a camouflaged round nest. Climb into a rustic tree house or retreat to a transparent dome. Opt for a night or two in a cabin overlooking the historic Saguenay Fjord, camp with caribou, or chill in a beautifully renovated suite in a ghost town.
Wild accommodations are a huge draw in Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean and Quebec Maritime. Quebec excels at creating magnificent spaces to explore and engage with the mountains, rivers, and fjords. It is a province rich in nature and rife with reasons to get outdoors.
While visiting the tiny village of Tadoussac in May last year on a girlfriend’s getaway, three other Canadian travel writers Aeryn Lynne, Vanessa Chiasson, Margarita Ibbott, and I spent our first night at a bed and breakfast. From the dining room window of the Auberge La Sainte Paix Bed and Breakfast, we could spy the flash of a shiny white beluga head in the bay as we sipped that first coffee of the day in comfort. In the morning, we took a whale watching tour on the St. Lawrence River and through the Saguenay Fjord. Whales are most active in the summer months, but we counted half a dozen belugas and minkes even in May.
Driving through the Côte-Nord, we investigated options for future stays, and the numerous ways to elevate our stay amazed us.
Wake Up on the Wild Side
We entertained our wild side by getting spiritual at Ferme 5 étoiles in Sacre-Couer-Saguenay, Côte-Nord Region of Quebec. This family-friendly destination is comfortable, unique, and open all year long. Cabins on site are rustic but relaxing, and they come with kitchens. Plan ahead and have a guided spiritual encounter with rescued wolves and a team of sled dogs on the working farm.
Looking to up the ante on a family trip, or a couple’s adventure? These are my picks. Each one nets you street cred as a serious adventure travel sleuth.
Heighten any trip with a stay in one of the fun spheres, cabins, or tree houses in Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux. One of the most popular accommodations is a transparent dome overlooking the fjord. With a cozy kitchen, large bedroom, and deck for morning coffee, these domes are the best of two worlds. They are private enough that no other travelers will see you, protected from weather by the see-through roof, and have an open view of trees, sky, stars, and fjord. Domes are sometimes booked as far as a year in advance.
After a picnic lunch at Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux, suit up for a memorable couple of hours with a guide and tackle some of the most challenging sea kayaking you’ll ever attempt. You can also experience a rock-climbing adventure and two separate high ropes/ obstacle courses—one for children and another for adults.
Go Climb a Tree
Indulge your inner child with a weekend spent in a tree house perched eight metres above the ground. Nestled in the trees overlooking the fjord, these well-equipped tree houses are family-friendly, too, and have a small outhouse nearby.
Spheres suspended by cables anchored in the trees are some of the quirkiest accommodations you might ever see. Traverse a short suspension bridge to enter the shiny angular spheres. They are not for the claustrophobic, perhaps, but the use of space is brilliant.
Not far from Tadoussac, Canopée Lit boasts bubbles perched on a cliff and tree houses deep in the forest. Canopée Lit is ecofriendly, and Quebec’s Côte-Nord is the ideal spot to explore the outdoors. Go hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and whale watching. There are 13 species of whales nearby including belugas, humpbacks, and minkes.
Get Spooky With It
Does the supernatural make the hairs on your neck stand on end? Then Val-Jalbert, Canada’s most intact ghost town, is the place for you. Today, you can book a stay in one of their modernized period homes, park your RV on one of the 190 camp sites, or stay in one of 15 mini cottages. During the day, cycle through the Blueberry Trail (Velouroute de Bleuets).
In the early 1900s, Val-Jalbert Historical Village was a thriving pulp mill. By the 1920s, Val-Jalbert fell on hard times when the owner passed away. Val-Jalbert recovered briefly when American investors purchased the mill and updated it to make it the first spot in Quebec to have electricity. Eventually progress caught up to the area, the pulp mill ceased making money, and workers fled and left the village behind.
Zoo sauvage de Saint-Felicien is one of the largest zoos in the province of Quebec with 1000 animals and an extensive Boreal Forest wildlife area. Take the train and watch the animals as they roam freely. Did you know that there’s an exclusive experience—Walking Adventure in The Land of the Caribou—here as well? Accompanied by a guide, you can eat, sleep, and live among the caribou for 26 hours. Picture glamping overnight in safari style tents and wake up to caribou grazing just 15 feet away!
From Quebec City, Tadoussac is roughly a three-and-a-half hour drive, but memories of the city fall away fast while you watch whales swim the St Lawrence, sit beside grey wolves Jacob and Luna, or sea kayak in the Saguenay Fjord.
Why would anyone choose to stay in traditional accommodations when the options are so colorful, memorable, and fun?