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Road Trip in Lac-Saint-Jean: Plan the Perfect Beach Getaway for You and Your BFF

Grab your BFF, jump in the car and head out to Lac-Saint-Jean for an unforgettable beach vacation with tons of microbrewery tours and unique sleepovers in funky accommodations. 

When reading Lac-Saint-Jean, you probably pictured the end of the world rather than a sunny beach destination with 42 km of beaches, 250 islands and 1,000 km2 of fresh water. Not too bad, right? Now, you have no excuse not to explore this majestic region!

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On the road, you’ll begin to see a dramatic shift in the landscape as you leave Québec City and enter the Parc des Laurentides. The further you get away from the city, the more your surroundings will reflect a natural state.

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For the next 3 hours or so, you’ll be rewarded with some of the province’s most incredible scenery. There’s something thrilling about seeing more and more road signs indicating a HIGH presence of moose (although we prefer to see them from afar!)

Day 1: Discover Roberval – A Vibrant Town in the Heart of Lac-Saint-Jean

When you arrive in Roberval, head to Aventure Plume Blanche, where you can sleep in a cute rustic cabin on a property where everything is perfectly Instagrammable. You can even sleep in a traditional tipi!

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Take the time to get acquainted with Claude, the owner, who will fill you in on the indigenous history of Lac-Saint-Jean. The region is steeped in culture, shaped by the people who have lived here for generations and are eager to share their traditions with you.

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Nomad tip: After you’ve settled in, your first meal in the region should undoubtedly be some Tourtière du Lac, a delicious meat and potato dish with a flaky crust. Whether it’s served with or without ketchup depends on whom you ask. The meal is hearty and just what you need after a long day on the road!

Locals will amusingly remind you that if it’s presented in a pie shape rather than a good ol’ squared scoop, then it’s not worthy of the name Tourtière but rather meat pie.

Cotton Candy Sunsets Like You’ve Never Seen Before

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As the day comes to an end, name a better way to enjoy the sunset than on a boat. Check out Aventure Lac-Saint-Jean, which offers two daily historic cruises with many fascinating stories like how Île aux Couleuvres earned its name. And yes, it’s because it’s home to tons of garden snakes, but the tale also has a devilish twist!

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You’ll also learn about the political battle of Onesime Tremblay who fought alongside other Lac-Saint-Jean inhabitants and farmers to keep the lake from being turned into a reservoir. 

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At the end of the cruise, treat yourself to a local’s favourite: soft blueberry ice cream dipped in chocolate. As a matter of fact, during your Lac-Saint-Jean trip, why don’t you make it a point to sample everything blueberry, including the eponymous blueberry pie?

Day 2: Experience the beauty of Lac-Saint-Jean from the water

Fishing Is the Reel Deal in Lac-Saint-Jean

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On your second day in Lac-Saint-Hean (if you want to pronounce it like the locals), rise and shine for a fishing excursion with Aventure Lac-Saint-Jean. Ouananiche (a landlocked variety of salmon) and walleye are the two most common species to catch in Lac-Saint-Jean. Unless you’re willing to spend 9 to 10 hours fishing, walleye will account for all of your catches of the day!

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Nomad tip: You’ll need two recreational fishing permits in order to legally fish in the Lac-Saint-Jean which you can get online: Province de Québec and Lac-Saint-Jean.

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The fishing culture of Lac-Saint-Jean is one that goes back thousands of years to the nomad Algonquin people that occupied the region. First Nations still have a strong presence around the lake, which can be seen in towns like Mashteuiatsh, where you’ll find the Musée amérindien de Mashteuiatsh

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After your fishing adventure, make a quick stop at Beemer Microbrewery and Distellerie for local goodies to bring back home. Ask to try some of their specialties; we LOVED the, guess what… boreal blueberry liquor which can be served on ice or even better, over ice cream!

Chasing Waterfalls in an Abandoned Village

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If you wish to spend a bit more time in the region, you should visit Val-Jalbert, an authentic 1920s village that’s been turned into a national historic site (which might or might not be haunted!) The best way to explore the area is on one of the guided tours which will introduce you to the fascinating history of the village.

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With your entrance ticket, you’ll also have access to the cable car that will take you to the top of the Ouiatchouan Falls, the second-highest waterfall in Québec.

Fun fact: the falls are actually 20 m higher than Niagara Falls!

Make sure to visit the Bistro de la Chute, a great place to get a bite to eat in between all the exploring.

A Raft of Fun and Adrenaline

In the afternoon, head to Desbiens for white-water rafting, the perfect activity if you’re a thrill-seeker craving an adrenaline rush. You’ll be guided by an expert from H20 Expédition down the Metabetchouan River. It’s a perfect place to go rafting, as it offers plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes.

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You’ll love the feeling of the water rushing around you as you navigate your way through the rapids. Let’s see if you’re brave enough for two surprises along the way that will get your heart pumping and maybe give you a sinus rinse at the same time!

Soaking in the Best Views of Lac-Saint-Jean

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After an eventful day, it’s time to relax with a nice drink and tapas at the most spectacular terrasse in Lac-Saint-Jean. At Bistro de la tour, you’ll enjoy a panoramic view of the Lake, but don’t forget to book a table because this is the newest hotspot in town!

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Habib and Jean, the owners, have created a delicious Lebanese fusion menu that will tantalize your taste buds. We loved how they paired the sausage trio with a maple mustard sauce. You should also try the kafta with hummus dip served with pita bread. Truly an unforgettable experience with a killing view!

Eat, beach, sleep, repeat!

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Make your way to Saint-Gedeon in time for sunset on your very own private beach at Auberge des Îles. You’ll sleep in a funky Westfalia van that’s been renovated and equipped with everything you need for a comfortable night under the stars: linens, towels and wood for a campfire. If you want to go glamping in style, this is the place to do it!

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Indulge in some time away from the cares of life with this resort’s many amenities. You’ll find an indoor pool, jacuzzi and water sport rentals to explore those little islands offshore!

Day 3: Beach Day, Every Day on the Wild Side of Lac-Saint-Jean

Wake up early to the sound of the waves on the beach and head to the bistro from Auberge des Îles for a heavenly breakfast. Grab yourself a fresh cup of coffee to keep you going for another day of adventures.

Good Times and Tan Lines

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Head out to the north part of Lac-Saint-Jean for the ultimate beach hang out at one of the most beautiful beaches in Québec. At Plage Vauvert-sur-le-Lac-Saint-Jean, you’ll find a long 7 km stretch of sandy beach where you can sunbathe, swim, or just relax with a good book. The best part? The beach is still very local, so it’s kind of the best-kept secret of the region (and it’s FREE!)

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For a true Castaway experience, pack a picnic of local goodies and make your way to the Parc régional des Grandes-Rivières du Lac-Saint-Jean. It’s only a short drive from Plage Vauvert-sur-le-Lac-Saint-Jean.

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Once you reach the entrance at Secteur Racine-Vauvert, follow the Pointe-Racine trail (the green one) to access some of the secluded beaches where you’ll be all by yourself. You might even get lucky and spot some wildlife like the shy beavers working on their dam!

Beer O’Clock in Dolbeau-Mistassini

This part of Lac-Saint-Jean, although more wild and less visited still has a lot to offer. If you want to explore the area a bit more, drive to Dolbeau-Mistassini along the Mistassini river. You’ll find Le Coureur des Bois, a microbrewery offering a wide selection of beers. Try La Jaseuse, a refreshing blueberry blanche, because remember, you’re in the blueberry capital!

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Nomad tip: Time your summer road trip to Lac-Saint-Jean with the Dol-boat River Fest, a unique music festival on the sandbanks of the Mistassini River accessible only by boat. Since they don’t yet offer shuttles, you must own a boat or know someone with a boat to reach this very unusual party!

Cool Down for the Night

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After a long day of exploring, it’s time to head back to Alma for one last night in the region. The Coolbox at Dam-en-Terre is a new concept in the area, offering travellers the opportunity to sleep in a renovated shipping container.

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It has been turned into a cozy little home, complete with a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom with a bunk bed – perfect for two friends.

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End your perfect road trip in Lac-Saint-Jean by enjoying the buzzing nightlife in Alma. Check out Barbe Noire Bière et Bouffe, where you can sip on a selection of local craft beers and savour some delicious comfort food from one of their three terrasses. It’s been said that their ribs are some of the best in town!

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Whether you’re looking for a fun-filled trip with your best friend or a little relaxing beach holiday, a road trip in Lac-Saint-Jean is the perfect getaway! With its charming villages, delicious food and stunning scenery, you will fall in love with this Québec gem.

Thank you Destination Lac-Saint-Jean for this amazing road trip! For more inspiration to plan your next adventure:

 
Safia Dodardhttps://www.nomadjunkies.com
Je voyage parce que je suis accro au mode de vie nomade . J'ai quitté mon emploi en agence de pub pour explorer le monde, d'abord en backpack et maintenant avec le cirque. Rejoins notre communauté de nomades sur Facebook, Twitter et Instagram.
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