From forested mountains to frozen falls, Canada’s francophone heartland is geared for adventure.
Quebec is a kind of promised land for campers, with vast swathes of parkland and sparsely inhabited wilderness—you won’t have trouble getting outside. North of Montreal and Quebec City, forested mountains and lake-dotted valleys dominate the landscape with endless hiking, fishing, and canoeing opportunities during reliably warm summers. To the east, the St. Lawrence River is one of Canada’s best whale-watching destinations.
Winter, though cold, proves no obstacle to the adventure-hungry. Our advice? Pack your thermals. That way, you can spend days ice climbing, snowshoeing, and skiing, and nights cozied up in a cabin, an insulated tent, a yurt, or even an igloo. As a general rule, the further north you go, the wilder the landscapes and fewer the facilities.
The rounded peaks of the Laurentians are the destination of choice from Montreal and Quebec City. Jacques-Cartier, Mont-Tremblant (both part of the provincial park system), and La Mauricie (part of the national park network) have four-season appeal. You can get in some rafting, kayaking, and hiking in summer, while in winter, heated cabins, huts, and yurts mean you can wake up, strap on your skis or snowshoes, and hit the trails with minimal fuss.
French for ‘North Shore,’ this section of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence is ripe for road-tripping. Coastal campsites at Tadoussac overlook Saguenay Fjord, a hangout for belugas, and further east, at Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve, you can set eyes on strange sea-carved rock formations and hide out on secluded offshore islands.
This farming region near the U.S. border gives off New England vibes—think covered bridges, clapboard towns, and flaming fall foliage. It’s also Quebec’s premier wine-growing region. Mont-Orford is popular for skiing or hiking, and the stargazing at Mont-Mégantic National Park is—excuse the pun—stellar.
Visitor footfall is low in Nunavik, home to the Inuit in the Arctic north. Little surprise why: There’s no road access. Nunavik Parks offers packages to the area’s four parks (Pingualuit, Kuururjuaq, Tursujuq, and Ulittaniujalik) including flights from Montreal, Inuit cultural experiences, and the chance to see the northern lights.
No, it is not legal to camp anywhere in Québec. However, camping is allowed in designated campgrounds, provincial parks (known as "Parcs nationaux"), and on private land with the owner's permission. Québec has many beautiful campgrounds and parks, such as Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier and Parc national du Mont-Orford, where you can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities and experience the region's natural beauty. Be sure to respect the rules and regulations of the area you are camping in and always practice Leave No Trace principles.
In Québec, you can find free camping in Crown land areas, which are public lands managed by the government. These areas allow for dispersed camping, but keep in mind that amenities are typically not available, so be prepared for a more rustic experience. To find specific Crown land locations in Québec, you can consult the Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles website for maps and information.
There are many beautiful locations for tent camping in Québec. Some popular options include:
Remember to make reservations in advance, as campgrounds can fill up quickly during peak season.