Ready to road trip through Quebec? Good call! Quebec is a beautiful province for a road trip. You will find everything from vibrant cities with delicious food to landscapes that will take your breath away. I have done a couple of Quebec road trips myself! It is fun, but also a big endeavor to plan a Quebec road trip. I have taken some of the work out of it for you with this guide. Discover road trip destinations, scenic stops to break up long drives, and tips for navigating Quebec.
I have included Google Map links to every location and a big map of the entire trip at the end!
What to Expect on a Quebec Road Trip
Language. The furthest East you progress through Quebec, the less English you hear. Many people in Montreal speak French and some in Quebec City, but then it is unusual to meet people who speak English. Be prepared to use Google translate on your phone if needed. If you are traveling from abroad, this means you may need a data plan.
Roadside stops. Quebec has done an incredible job of making it easy to drive across the country. There are periodic roadside stops where you can park, have a picnic lunch, and use a clean and well-maintained washroom. These are indicated by signs with symbols and are clearly marked from the main roads so you will have no problem finding them.
Driving. If you are not from Quebec, you may find the driving style in Quebec (particularly East of Quebec City) a little different. I am from Ontario and I find driving in Quebec very different, for two main reasons. First, in Quebec, many drivers will drive in the left lane on two-lane highways (rather than using it as a passing lane). More rural areas of Quebec are single-lane with periodic passing lanes. There can be intense moments leading up to the passing lanes as drivers prepare to overtake one another or speed up in an attempt to not get passed.
Duration. I recommend at least a week for a Quebec road trip! There is so much to see and do and a week will allow you several days that do not involve any driving so you can stretch your legs and just enjoy your trip.
Quebec Road Trip Destinations and Scenic Stops
I started my Quebec road trip from Ottawa, Ontario – which is right on the Ontario and Quebec border. I have ordered the stop moving from West to East across Quebec but I recommend shuffling them up slightly so that you have places to explore on your way out and on your way back. I have included cities and towns to visit and others that make great scenic stops to break up the drive.
Chutes de Plaisance
Chutes de Plaisance is an incredible waterfall located partway between Ottawa, Ontario, and Montreal, Quebec. Whichever way you are headed, this is a great scenic stop on a Quebec road trip. The waterfall huge and very impressive and the visiting area includes beautiful picnic tables and three observation points where you watch the falls. This would also make a great day trip from Ottawa or Montreal. We spent about 2 hours here.
Quebec Road Trip Recommendation for Chutes de Plaisance
Make this a scenic stop. Spend the night in Montreal or Trois Rivères.
Montreal is one of my favourite cities in the world. It is beautiful, vibrant, the food is amazing, and there is always something happening. My partner has done internships in Montreal so I know the city very well. Montreal is very multi-cultural and most people speak English. It can be busy and congested so stay in an area that is close to what you want to see. If you are moving around the city it will likely be easier to take the metro than to drive. The metro is easy to navigate (except Barrie station, which is big and confusing at first).
I recommend a minimum of two nights in Montreal so that you have a couple of days to explore. If you only have one day, explore Old Montreal using this guide. Got two days? Make your way to the Plateau-Mont-Royal area to discover beautiful places and take yourself on this self-guided Montreal food tour (kid-approved, according to my readers). If you want to spend a few days in Montreal, refer to my 3 Days in Montreal Itinerary.
Quebec Road Trip Recommendation for Montreal
Stay. You need at least a couple of days to really enjoy Montreal.
The charming town of Trois Rivères is one of the oldest towns in Quebec and it makes a great stayover or scenic stop. I have already spent a lot of time in Montreal so decided to stay here instead. We had a great time exploring the area near the harbour. There is a main street with lots of delicious food options. Near town hall there is a beautiful fountain that is lit up at night and by the waterfront, a staircase tells the history of the town.
Quebec Road Trip Recommendation for Trois Rivères
Stay or scenic stop. If you have not been to Montreal, prioritize going there, but if you have then Trois Rivères is a nice alternative.
Quebec City is an exceptional place and very unique as Canadian cities go. It has a fortified colonial core, containing an area referred to as Old Quebec that sits above the Old Port. This is the site of Château Frontenac Hotel, the most photographed hotel in the world. Outside of the downtown, you will find a waterfall taller than Niagra Falls – yes, you read that right. There is a waterfall taller than Niagra falls and there are suburbs and grocery stores built around it. Check out my guide to Quebec City for my recommendations of where to go and what to see during your visit!
On our most recent Quebec road trip, we actually stopped in Quebec City twice. On the way, we enjoyed a scenic stop at Montmorency Falls. On the way back, we spent 2 days in Quebec City.
Quebec Roadtrip Recommendation for Quebec City
Stay for at least two nights. I recommended visiting Montreal or Quebec City on your way out and then visiting the other on the way back!
The charming, waterfront town of Baie-Saint-Paul is an excellent scenic stop as you drive further East past Quebec City. There are several scenic view points on either side of the town, a beautiful waterfront that you can walk down to, and lots of local restaurants and small shops to explore. If you enjoy small towns, this is a great stop. Depending on the season, there is also a scenic train ride available on the Charlevoix Train.
Quebec Roadtrip Recommendation for Baie-Saint-Paul
Scenic stop. Stretch your legs, enjoy the view, and explore the town for a couple of hours if you want to! There are a couple of different routes you can take after Baie-Saint-Paul. I recommend route 362. It goes along the water and is an absolutely beautiful drive to the next town, Malbaie.
L’Anse-Saint-Jean is a breathtaking town located in the Saguenay Fjords. If you love sweeping landscapes and big adventures, this town is for you. It is very small but there is a lot to do and there are also several easily accessible scenic lookouts. My partner and I spent 3 full days here on our Quebec road trip!
I recommend at least two days, possibly three if you want to add in a day to relax and hit the spa, like we did. L’Anse-Saint-Jean offers kayaking, horseback riding, and hiking, or you can take a day trip by boat to Tadoussac for whale watching. The town contains only small, local restaurants and all of them are amazing! Check out my full guide of things to do in L’Anse-Saint-Jean.
Quebec Roadtrip Recommendation for L’Anse-Saint-Jean
Stayover. I recommend you chose to stay in either L’Anse-Saint-Jean or Tadoussac. You can do a day trip by boat from one to the other. Both places offer kayaking and some hiking and both are beautiful towns. L’Anse-Saint-Jean offers a little bit more adventure and fjords, Tadoussac offers more chances to see whales.
Tadoussac is a beautiful town situated where the Saguenay Fjords meet the Saint Lawrence River. It is most well-known for whale watching. You can go on a boat or Zodiak tour to see whales (I recommend this one) and you might be able to spot some from the shore on a couple of the walking trails. I stayed in Tadoussac severals years ago and it is beautiful. Like L’Anse-Saint-Jean, I suggest at least a couple of days before making your way back through Quebec. One day to be out on the water and one day to explore the town or go hiking should do it. Many of the boat tours will take you slightly into the fjords as well, so you will have a chance to see them a little bit.
Quebec Roadtrip Recommendation for Tadoussac
Stayover. From Tadoussac or L’Anse-Saint-Jean, it is time to turn your Quebec road trip back around!
Quebec Road Trip Map
Here is a map of the entire Quebec road trip (ending in Tadoussac). The total driving time (from Ottawa) is 7 hours one way for Tadoussac or 7.5 hours one way for L’Anse-Saint-Jean. From the map, you can see that the stops are placed about 1-2 hours apart. Pick and choose your combination based on your starting point! Going from Ottawa, I recommend the way out include: Chutes de Plaisance as a scenic stop, Montreal stay over, Quebec City scenic stop at Montmorency Falls, and arrive in L’Anse-Saint-Jean or Tadoussac. On the way back, stop at Baie Saint Paul as a scenic stop, stay in Quebec City, and make your last scenic stop in Trois Rivères coming back.