L’Anse-Saint-Jean, Quebec, is an incredible town located along the Saguenay Fjords. There are so many things to do in L’Anse-Saint-Jean, and every activity will bring you to new, majestic views of the fjords. I recommend L’Anse-Saint-Jean whether you are looking for an active or relaxing getaway. It is amazing to me that we have a place like this in Canada!
When I visited L’Anse-Saint-Jean I was absolutely blown away. Around every corner was a breathtaking new view of the fjords. There were so many things to do in L’Anse-Saint-Jean – we spent 3 full days there which I felt was perfect for this trip. If you are less interested in activities and just looking to take in the views and enjoy the town, you can do so in one or two days.
- What to Expect in L’Anse-Saint-Jean
- Things to do in L’Anse-Saint-Jean
- Where to Eat in L’Anse-Saint-Jean
- Where to Stay in L’Anse-Saint-Jean
What to Expect in L’Anse-Saint-Jean
Most people speak French. Once you hit L’Anse-Saint-Jean there is not a lot of English being spoken. I speak French fluently so I spoke French on my visit but I do think you would be alright in English, particularly during the summer. Some of the restaurant staff are students from large cities like Montreal who are working in L’Anse-Saint-Jean for the summer. There are also only a few restaurants so you can take a look at the menus online and translate if needed to decide what to order.
L’Anse-Saint-Jean can be chilly. Our kayaking guide joked that summer does not start until August in L’Anse-Saint-Jean. We had packed warm clothes in case of chilly days and would up only wearing those clothes. Bring a light jacket, a couple comfy sweaters, and pants. L’Anse-Saint-Jean does not get as hot in the summer as other parts of Quebec.
Many (but not all) of the things to do in L’Anse-Saint-Jean are very active. I chose L’Anse-Saint-Jean for the kayaking and hiking, but was pleasantly surprised by just how accessible the fjords were even when we were not doing those activities. My list of things to do in L’Anse-Saint-Jean includes a nice blend of active and relaxing activities and view points.
The sunsets are epic. Get your camera ready. Some of the best sunsets that you will ever see happen in this fjord-side town.
Things to do in L’Anse-Saint-Jean
1. Kayak in the Fjords
One of the most incredible ways to see the fjords in L’Anse-Saint-Jean is from the water. If you are up for an adventure, kayaking is definitely one of the best things to d o in L’Anse-Saint-Jean! Fjord en Kayak offers multiple start times and a range of different difficulties and durations for all levels of kayakers.
2. Fjord Marine Shuttle
Navettes Maritimes du Fjord offers a more relaxing way to see the fjords – and maybe some whales! – from the water. There are multiple cruises a day departing from the dock in L’Anse-Saint-Jean. Take a short cruise to see the fjords or go on a full day excursion to Tadoussac, a beautiful town at the mouth of the fjords on the St. Lawrence River. Tadoussac is an exceptional destination for whale watching! I visited years ago (on a different trip than L’Anse-Saint-Jean) and it is incredible. The marine shuttle offers you a way to experience both places.
3. Hiking in Saguenay Fjords National Park
Hiking is another amazing way to see the fjords! From L’Anse-Saint-Jean the closest Saguenay Fjords National Park entrance for hiking (there are several on both sides of the fjords) is Baie-Éternité. Day passes are required to enter the park and can be booked online in advance. There are several hikes accessible from this area. Here are my recommendations. See the park website for information on passes, duration, and elevation.
Notre-Dame-du-Saguenay/ The Statue. This is the hike that I did. It took my partner and I just over 3 hours. One of the great things about this hike is that there is a fantastic lookout at the halfway point called Halte Bellevue. It is about 2 hours round trip to reach Halte Bellevue. If you continue all the way to Notre-Dame-du-Saguenay (a statue) the hike is 3-4 hours. This hike is quite intense. It begins with an hour of stairs. If you have concerns about fitness or mobility, I recommend a different trail next. Don’t worry! There are other great lookouts recommended below that do not require hiking.
Méandres-à-Falaises. This loop around the bay provides beautiful views of the fjords from below. It takes about an hour or less to complete and you get to appreciate just how high the fjords really go! I checked out the first section of this trail to see what it was like. I recommend this hike if you are not sure than an hour of stairs will work for you or if you are travelling with small children.
Les Caps. I did not do this hike, but this is the other big (really big) hike at the Baie-Éternité section of Saguenay Fjords National Park. A 4-5 hours hike will bring you to Géant lookout or you can carry on to Cap Éternité, a 9 hour round trip hike. Given the difficulty rankings I am confident that this hike is as physically demanding as Notre-Dame-du-Saguenay. If you are unsure, I think that Notre-Dame-du-Saguenay is a better option because of you reach a lookout within one hour (and could turn back if needed).
4. Electric Bicycle Rentals
Discover L’Anse-Saint-Jean by bike! One of the nicest things to do in L’Anse-Saint-Jean is to explore the town, and by bike is a great way to do it. You can ride across the covered bridge, down on the river path, and along the waterfront for some amazing views. The bikes are electric so you can get pretty far without breaking a sweat!
5. L’Anse-Saint-Jean Lookouts
There are two beautiful vantage points in L’Anse-Saint-Jean that are absolutely worth visiting and both very accessible.
$1000 Bill Vantage Point
Take a steep but worthwhile 195 meter walk for a picturesque view of the town. On a clear day the view from up here is post-card worthy. There is a picnic table and gazebo, too, so you can pack a snack or your lunch.
L’Anse De Tabatière
This lookout is part of the Saguenay Fjord National Park so if you are hiking visit it on the same day. Your day pass will still apply. The views from this lookout are as good (maybe better, actually) than the views of the fjord while hiking! Go up here for sunset. We were blown away by how beautiful the sun was setting behind the fjords.
6. Édouard-les-Bains Spa
Ready to relax after all of your adventures? On trips of a week or longer I have started booking a spa day because after hiking and kayaking I can usually use a day off. Édouard-les-Bains Spa is a beautiful nordic spa situated at the base of Mont Édouard ski mountain. We paid for afternoon access to the baths and enjoyed relaxing in the hot tubs, saunas, and relaxation areas. The spa is absolutely beautiful!
There is no English section on the website so I have linked directly to the prices section. E-mail the spa to make your reservation.
7. Horseback Riding
Easily the most majestic thing to do in L’Anse-Saint-Jean: ride a horse through the fjords. I was out taking photos when a group came through! The horse back riding expeditions take you right out in to the bay for an exceptional fjord experience unlike any other.
Where to Eat in L’Anse-Saint-Jean
This is an exhaustive list of most of the places that you can eat in L’Anse-Saint-Jean! This town is small but the restaurants are all delicious. We ate at a several and got lots of prepared meals from the grocery store to take on our adventures!
Bistro la Chasse-Pinte. This place is bumping. It is a microbrewery and all the alcohol served here is local, from other breweries and distilleries in the region. You will need a reservation! This was a big surprise to us in such a small town but people are clearly visiting from all over and on day trips. There is a playground out back for kids, too.
Café du Quai. Located right on the dock, Café du Quai serves delicious crêpes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! The patio is amazing spot for sunset. I recommend the salmon crêpe!
Restaurant Le Grillon. We did not have a chance to eat here but other visitors who did raved about the food. There is a daily menu put together by the woman who owns this restaurant. Note: we skipped it because it sounded like mostly meat options!
La Cabane à glaces. Ice cream! This little place has everything from dipped cones to homemade ice cream sandwiches. We particularly loved the blizzards – you get to choose your own ingredients and then watch the blizzards get mixed on the spot!
Nuances de Grains. This cute café serves fresh pastries and all your coffee-filled favourites. There are also a range of lunchtime sandwich options or you can buy fresh bread to go.
Kao Chocolat. Boutique, artisan chocolate. Need I say more? Everything is delicious and locally made.
Where to Stay in L’Anse-Saint-Jean
The names are clickable and will take you to the website and/or booking site.
Auberge les Cévennes. This is where we stayed and we really liked it! Every room has outdoor access to the patio and we enjoyed eating breakfast out there. The accommodations were clean, spacious, and perfect for our trip.
Chalets sur le Fjord. Get a little closer to the waterfront at Chalet sur le Fjord. The accommodations are a condo-style and spacious and you will have a great view of the water.
Auberge La Fjordelaise. Another waterfront property, Auberge La Fjordelaise has beautiful rooms and is situated right on the dock. You are steps away from the ice cream place!