The best 2-week road trip for exploring Quebec and Ontario
Quebec and Ontario are neighbouring provinces with many must-see attractions to visit at least once in your lifetime, such as the famous Niagara Falls.
This 15-day road trip is a great way to explore at your own pace, providing an enjoyable combination of urban escapades and nature discoveries.
Here is a glimpse of what awaits you if you opt for this tour.
Map of Ontario / Quebec road trip
Summary of Quebec / Ontario road trip
Days 1-2 : Toronto
Dynamic and modern, Toronto is characterized by its green parks and dizzying skyscrapers.
To make the most of your stay on a reasonable budget, I suggest checking into the Hilton Toronto. It boasts an ideal location with many nearby restaurants where you can enjoy a good meal before tackling the city.
Then set out to explore the city's historical heritage from David Pecaut Square to Roundhouse Park, home of the Toronto Railway Museum.
At the end of the day, head to the CN Tower and treat yourself to dinner in the sky! The restaurant at the top of the tower offers an unobstructed 360° view of the city as it completes a full rotation every 71 minutes. Try to get there before nightfall and stay until after dark when the city lights are on for a one-of-a-kind view that you won't soon forget!
After a good night's sleep, enjoy a guided city tour. During this 2-hour tour, a guide will show you the main attractions of downtown Toronto. From the Old Town, formerly known as the “Town of York”, to the financial district and the administrative heart of the city, you will discover the culture, history, environment, daily life, and French influence of the city, among other things.
Why not continue on to the waterfront along the shores of Lake Ontario? You're sure to find something to eat there.
Before heading to HTO Park, I highly recommend stopping at Ice Creaminology for some homemade ice cream made daily from scratch using fresh local ingredients.
Day 3 : Excursion to Niagara Falls
Get an early start for your visit to Niagara Falls so you'll have time to do all the must-see activities.
Start your day with an unforgettable experience: a helicopter flight over the falls. This 9-minute flight will give you a bird's eye view of what you'll see throughout the day.
Did you know that the Rainbow Bridge connects Canada to the United States? From there, it's a 1.6 km walk along the Niagara gorge to Table Rock.
Your first stop is the Oakes Garden Theatre, where you can take some flowery photos of Niagara Falls.
Nearby, embark on a boat tour to the base of the falls and experience the thrill of being drenched by the tumbling waters of North America's most powerful waterfall.
After the boat tour, resume your walk and head to the top of the Skylon Tower which, like the CN Tower, offers breathtaking views from a height of 236 metres (which you'll climb in 52 seconds via a glass elevator).
Your walk ends at Table Rock, where you can take an elevator down to an underground tunnel leading behind the falls.
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Days 4-5 : Ottawa (450 km)
Head to Ottawa for the fourth day of your Ontario road trip.
Spend the afternoon discovering the Thousand Islands. The boat tour leaving from Rockport is a must. You will see the most beautiful attractions of the “Garden of the Great Spirit” such as Boldt Castle, Zavikon Island and the magnificent Thousand Islands Bridge.
After your boat tour, it's time to head to Ottawa. Just under 150 km to go .
Depending what time you arrive, spend the rest of the day exploring the area around your hotel or just relaxing. After all, you're on vacation!
The next day will be spent exploring Ottawa, one of the most beautiful capital cities in the world.
Start with the Parliament where you can see the Centennial Flame and watch the changing of the guard. Next, take a walk along Spark Street, a lovely pedestrian mall just perfect for strolling and shopping.
For lunch, I suggest the Mill Street Brew Pub, where you can try local specialties and seasonal beers.
In the afternoon, visit the Canadian Museum of History before continuing your exploration with the ByWard Market, which welcomes local producers throughout the year. Don't miss your chance to try a tasty BeaverTail, a local pastry that you can order to go and enjoy on your walk along the Rideau Canal.
In the evening, dine at Oz Kafé before taking in the sound and light show on Parliament Hill.
An enjoyable day of sightseeing and visiting the top attractions in the lovely city of Ottawa.
Day 6 : Mauricie (361 km)
Welcome to Quebec!
It's going to be a long and busy day! You'll want to get an early start.
On your way to La Mauricie, make a stop at Parc Omega. Unique in Quebec, this animal park lets you see animals in their natural environment, without getting out of your car. Along the 15 km of trails, you will see wolves, black bears, moose, deer, beavers, elk, snowy owls and more.
You can have lunch while you're there, at OmegaBon bistro, before heading for your final destination.
In the afternoon, set out to discover La Mauricie National Park by driving along Promenade road, which traverses the park for 63 km.
Be sure to make regular stops at lookouts that offer spectacular views:
- Le Passage Lookout, located halfway between the Saint-Mathieu entrance and the St-Jean-des-Piles entrance.
- Île-aux-Pins Lookout, reached via a 10-minute walk along a trail with stairs.
- Lac Edouard beach, the perfect spot for a picnic.
Once you've had your fill of the views, head for your overnight accommodation, Auberge le Bôme, in Grandes-Piles, just outside La Mauricie National Park.
Days 7-8 : Quebec City (145 km)
This morning, drive to Quebec City, with a detour to Chute-Montmorency Park to see one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Quebec.
Then head to Ile d’Orléans, just a few minutes away. There you will discover magnificent St. Lawrence landscapes, a rich cultural and historical heritage, and local products derived from traditional agriculture. Take the time to stop at the Ste-Pétronille winery, where you can taste their wines in an enchanting setting.
Arrive in Quebec City at the end of the afternoon and check in at Hôtel Château Laurier, ideally located on Grande-Allée, just steps away from the Porte Saint-Jean gate. An integral part of the old city's fortifications, the gate leads to Rue Saint-Jean where you can enjoy a stroll before dinner.
The next day, explore Quebec City, starting with the changing of the guard at the Citadelle at 9 a.m., followed by the Promenade des Gouverneurs. Brave the many stairs to enjoy a remarkable view of the river before reaching Dufferin Terrace, which offers a breathtaking view of the Château Frontenac.
As lunchtime approaches, make your way to Rue Saint-Louis, home to many bistros and restaurants including La Bûche, which serves traditional Quebec "sugar shack" cuisine.
The afternoon begins in the artists quarter with Rue du Trésor, which ends at the legendary Notre-Dame-de-Québec Basilica. Walk down Rue de la Montagne to the oldest staircase in the city, which leads to another must-see photo spot on Rue du Petit Champlain. Then make your way to Place Royale, also known as the "birthplace of French America" because it was here that Samuel de Champlain built the first permanent settlement in New France.
After this busy program, take the Quebec-Lévis ferry to admire Old Quebec from a different angle. At sunset, with the reflections of the city lights in the water, it's simply magnificent.
Days 9-10 : Saguenay Fjord (229 km)
Your Quebec road trip continues with a park that is a personal favourite of mine: Fjord-du-Saguenay National Park.
An ancient glacial valley, the Saguenay Fjord is home to the Saguenay River, offering spectacular landscapes of dizzying cliffs and lovely shorelines.
You're free to explore this magnificent region as you like. There is something for everyone: hiking, water sports, aerial activities (Via Ferrata) and more...
To make the most of this little corner of paradise, opt for ready-to-camp accommodations in Saguenay National Park or a bed and breakfast in the charming village of L'Anse-Saint-Jean.
Days 11-12 : Charlevoix (149 km)
This morning, head to Tadoussac for a whale-watching cruise. This 3-hour excursion on the St. Lawrence River is narrated by a passionate guide who will teach you all about the different species of whales and seals.
After your cruise, set a course for Charlevoix, a beautiful region for hiking.
I highly recommend the following stops along your route:
- Baie-des-Rochers, which you can admire from the municipal park of the same name, accessible by several trails. This bay surrounded by rocks is completely uncovered at low tide.
- ZEC Buteux-Bas-Saguenay (just over 2 km from Port-aux-Quilles) for a hike at Montagne des Pas-de-Géants, a 3.4 km loop through maple groves and rare red oak forest.
- La Malbaie, the birthplace of resort vacationing in Canada. You will find many local restaurants there for dinner.
For the night, opt for the Ready to Camp - Hautes-Gorges, which is close to tomorrow's activities.
After a good night's sleep, set out to discover Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park and the region's most popular hiking trail: the Acropole-des-Draveurs trail. This hike is one of my favorites in Quebec. It's a steep climb, but what a reward when you reach the top!
After the effort of the hike, enjoy a boat cruise on the river: an opportunity to relax, admire the scenery, and take some beautiful pictures.
Days 13-15 : Montreal (349 km)
It's time to head to the final destination of your Ontario and Quebec road trip: Montreal.
Over the next two days, you will have the chance to discover the city's main attractions on foot or using public transit.
Old Montreal, located along the river, is where the city was founded. Peruse the cobblestone streets of this historical district, which is home to artists' studios, restaurants, bars and tourist shops, as well as numerous heritage buildings such as Notre-Dame Basilica and Place Jacques-Cartier.
For lunch, I recommend Olive et Gourmando cafe on the oldest street in Montreal, Rue St-Paul.
Then make your way to downtown Montreal via the underground pedestrian network (RESO), starting at Place de la Cité internationale (OACI) until you reach the Eaton Centre. The RESO stretches over 33 km underneath the streets of Montreal, connecting shopping centres, universities and hotels.
Next, take a walk along Rue Sainte-Catherine, Montreal's most commercial street.
As you head east, you will pass through the Quartier des Spectacles, the Latin Quarter, and finally the Gay Village.
The next morning, take a stroll through Mount Royal Park. Considered the lungs of the city, the park has many walking trails and is home to the famous Beaver Lake. Climb up to the Kondiaronk lookout and enjoy one of the most beautiful views and best photo spots in Montreal.
Finish your tour of Montreal with Avenue Mont-Royal and the charming alleys of the Plateau.
The road trip is coming to an end! I hope this itinerary has inspired you and will help you plan your next trip!
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