If you are looking for an original way to explore a new region, we suggest a campervan adventure in Chaudière-Appalaches. Whether you want to try the “vanlife” out of curiosity or prepare for a big road trip in New Zealand, you can do this type of trip without breaking the bank. All you have to do is rent a campervan! It’s a lot easier than you think and cheaper than booking a hotel and renting a car.
LIVE THE VANLIFE FOR A WEEKEND
Before leaving, prepare and book in advance (especially if your travel dates fall in peak season)!
- Determine your needs, your budget and your desired level of comfort.
- Shop on rental websites. You can now rent RVs and vans in Quebec and throughout Canada directly from individuals via Outdoorsy and RVezy, the Airbnb equivalent for campervans.
- Make sure to choose the level of insurance that’s right for you. All private rental sites require you to take out insurance, which is included in the price. You can take the “basic option” or more tailored options, for example, a policy without a deductible.
- Choose a campervan that doesn’t consume too much gas. We rented a 1991 Westfalia, which consumes 15 litres/100 kilometres, the equivalent of an SUV.
- Book your GO-VAN stops, rest stops or your campsites.
- Download a good road trip playlist!
From Montreal, take Highway 20 and get out at Exit 228. This road will take you through the 263 South scenic route. We loved the vibe of the Appalachian mountain range with its rolling landscapes, farms and maple groves. Nothing to envy on the West Coast!
The 263 South is a perfect road for a vintage campervan as the speed limit is 90 km/h, and there is no traffic. Saint-Fortunat will be your gateway to the Thetford region in Chaudière-Appalaches.
If you’re feeling peckish, head to the heart of Thetford Mines for lunch at the Porte d’À Côté Microbrasserie. This cozy place on Notre-Dame Street West is the first microbrewery in the region! You can taste their iconic beers such as La Ricaneuse, La Perspicace, La Désirable, L’Aventurière and L’Illusionniste.
Hiking: the Mont Adstock Loop
Only 15 minutes from the centre of Thetford Mines, you will discover a beautiful playground, whatever the season, at Mont Adstock!
There are 9 kilometres of trails on the mountain; the most popular route is the Mont Adstock loop.
- Round trip distance: 3.5 km
- Elevation: 278 metres
- Duration: about 1h30 (to do the loop)
Honestly, this is one of my favourite hikes in Quebec. The climb is short and steep, and the trail is clear while maintaining a natural and wild aspect.
Before reaching the top, you will see an opening in the trees to your left and discover a natural observation platform that gives you a breathtaking view. This tiny mountain (everything is relative) is simply magical.
Once at the top, you’ll love the 360-degree panorama view highlighting all the beauty of the Thetford region.
Aperitif and dinner: Le Pub du Boisé
Work hard, play hard, as they say! Head to the impressive site of the Hôtel du Domaine, about fifteen minutes from the mountain.
Here you will discover a tropical vibe, similar to a resort atmosphere. The Pub du Boisé has a superb terrace overlooking the beach, which is the perfect place to enjoy a “cotton candy sunset”. In addition, there is a bay window in the pub where you can watch climbers scale the climbing walls. This complex brings together a happy mix of restaurant, bars, a climbing centre, a gym, a laundromat and a beach! What more could you ask for?
You can devour a succulent burger as well as ribs, and there is even… a poutine bar to “pimp your pout”!
GO-VAN stop at Mont Adstock
To live a unique experience, return to the foot of the Mont Adstock mountain to settle in the new GO-VAN stop at Mont Adstock. This location is a gathering place for vanlifers from all over the world!
The concept of this stop is a place to camp with vans or recreational vehicles under 25 feet in length. Think of Westfalias, Sprinters, Ford Transits and similar models. By staying on-site, your reservation (which you can make on the Go-Van Club here) gives you access to the Wi-Fi of the main chalet, the toilets, the showers and especially to the outdoor gathering place with a campfire. Logs are included!
You can have breakfast in the van at the Halte GO-VAN at Mont Adstock or go to Thetford Mines. You’ll think you’re in Australia or New Zealand when you taste the best Flat White in Quebec at the Korsé Bar in Thetford. You can also eat delicious pastries.
Take the opportunity to buy yourself sandwiches for a picnic at your next destination.
Parc de la Chute Ste-Agathe
Drive on Route 267 towards Parc de la Chute Ste-Agathe. Among other things, you will come across a pretty covered bridge. Make sure to check the height of your van before going under it!
When you arrive at Parc de la Chute Ste-Agathe, you will feel like you’re in the middle of nature. The site is well laid out and will remind you of the relaxed atmosphere in Costa Rica. The Pura Vida in Quebec!
You can walk the trails, go to the covered bridge, take the suspended footbridge, observe the majestic power of the waterfalls or simply sunbathe on a rock along the river. It’s the kind of place where everyone finds something to do, each at their own pace.
Exploring the river and the Domaine Joly-De-Lobtinière
You’re getting closer to the beauty of the St. Lawrence River. Stop at Domaine Joly-De-Lobtinière to discover one of the 150 most beautiful gardens in the world! This is the perfect place to take Instagrammable photos.
Dinner at the wharf: Boucanerie Del Tonio
Continue your adventure to discover Lotbinière, named one of the most beautiful villages in Quebec.
Make a stop at the Quai de Lotbinière! Everyone here knows the Boucanerie Del Tonio, a restaurant with an incredible view of the river known for having its own smokehouse and crafting succulent dishes.
To spend a magical night in a campervan, book one of the 25 spots at the Lotbinière camping stop. You will be able to recharge your batteries here! Each space has a picnic table and a spot to make a fire. There are also dry toilets on site.
You can walk in the surroundings and discover some places to rest in the shade near the St. Lawrence River.
Your campervan weekend is coming to an end. Chances are this little experiment made you fall in love with the vanlife!
Before returning home, you can go to the Lotbinière municipal garage at 17 Commercial Road to access a waste water emptying service; it’s free for your camper! Welcome to campervan life!
For a scenic route home, take Highway 132 to Montreal, a preview of the Route des Navigateurs.
Thanks to Tourisme Chaudière-Appalaches for this roadtrip! To inspire you to plan your own adventure check out:
- Chaudière-Appalaches Tourism Website
- Facebook Tourism Chaudière-Appalaches
- Twitter Chaudière-Appalaches Tourism
- Instagram Chaudière-Appalaches Tourism
This article was written in collaboration with Britney Claveau.