Montreal locals and visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to planning a day trip out of the city. For a start, there are a string of beautiful lake-side villages, which form part of the Eastern Townships, which are just begging to be visited. To the north of Montreal you will find the Laurentians, a beautiful range of mountains which form the scenic backdrop to a valley full of adventure activities. You will never be far from water in Quebec and unlimited opportunities for water sports can be found around every corner. Scenic hiking trails, beautiful waterfalls, natural swimming holes and an abundance of winter sports are all waiting to be discovered. In addition, cities like Ottawa and Quebec City offer a host of cultural diversions.
1.Bristol Falls, VT
There are few activities more enjoyable than cooling off in a natural swimming hole on a hot summer’s day. One of the most popular and enjoyable destinations for an outdoor day-trip from Montreal has to be the Bristol Falls (aka Bartlett Falls), on the New Haven River across the border in Vermont. The 15-foot high falls tumble over a rocky over-hang into a huge natural swimming pool that is at least 40 foot by 120 foot in size. Most visitors bring a picnic and spend the day exploring other pools up and down stream, where you can always find a quiet spot to relax and enjoy nature at its best.
Bristol Falls, 24 Lincoln Rd, Bristol, VT 05443
2.Canada Railway Museum
© Canada Railway Museum
Exporail, the Canada Railway Museum, is located in Saint-Constant (Quebec) where if provides an excellent destination for a family day-trip. Besides admiring the impressive permanent exhibition in the Grand Gallery, the museum offers a number of fun and educational activities which adults and children of all ages will enjoy. The youngest visitors can have fun in the Little Railroader’s Car, the Model Train Room and the Toddler Zone, while everyone will enjoy a ride on the Miniature Railway (March to December). Older children can hop aboard the larger engines and see how it feels to be a driver and weekend visitors can join a guided tour called Reliving Canada’s Railway Adventure.
Canada Railway Museum, 110 Saint-Pierre St, Saint-Constant (Quebec), J5A 1G7, Canada, Phone: 450-632-2410
3.Chutes Sainte Marguerite
© Jozef Jankola/stock.adobe.com
The beautiful Chutes Sainte Marguerite are another of Quebec’s magical natural waterfalls and swimming holes where day trippers can spend a great summer’s day getting back to nature. Getting to and from the chutes requires a pleasant 20-minute hike from the parking area, so it would be a good idea to bring along a picnic and stay for at least a few hours. The natural pool varies from ankle-depth to a good few feet and weaker swimmers would need to be careful if they venture away from the edge. There are several rocky outcrops which are perfect for jumping into the deep parts of the pool.
Chutes Sainte Marguerite, Sainte-Adele, Quebec, J8B 1Z5, Canada
Located in the Eastern Townships, due east of Montreal, you will find the pretty village of Eastman at the foot of Mount Orford. The village stands at the edge of the Missisquoi Valley, surrounded by four lakes, and offers day trippers an excellent selection of outdoor, cultural and gastronomic attractions. Outdoor recreational activities include hiking, biking and water sports in summer and cross-country skiing, sleigh rides and more in winter. Eastman has a great spa where you can relax and rejuvenate all year round and the village is known for excellent restaurants and cafes. Cultural attractions include the Eastman Summer Theater.
Eastman, Quebec, J0E 1P0, Canada
Located in the Quebec Eastern Townships, close to the border with Vermont, Frelighsburg is a most pleasant destination for Montreal day trippers. Art lovers can visit the Gallery Dupont or the studio of Jacques Lajeunesse to admire printing and drawing (or perhaps to take a class). The area around the village is home to many apple farms where you can stock up on fresh fruit or a wide variety of apple products. One of the best ways to experience the area is on two wheels along one of several enticing cycling trails which will lead you to beautiful corners of the region including part of the Quebec Wine Route.
Frelighsburg, Quebec J0J 1C0, Canada
Day trippers will find the historic Victorian village of Knowlton in Lac Brome, southern Quebec where it lies at the intersection of the Townships Trail and the Brome Wine Route. The best way to delve into the interesting history and heritage of the village is to join a guided walking tour. Your tour will include a visit to the Brome County Museum and a short stop to taste some local fare. Once you are familiar with the history of the region you may like to visit the Brome Lake Duck Farm to stock up on delicious duck products or experience a tasting at one of several wineries on the Wine Route.
Knowlton, Lac-Brome, Quebec J0E 1V0, Canada
7.La Mauricie National Park
The La Mauricie National Park is located 187 km from Montreal, where it offers day trippers and vacationers a delightful outdoor playground where you can shake off the stresses of the city and embrace Mother Nature. In summer you can enjoy a wonderful variety of outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing and picnicking. In winter the park is covered in snow and offers cross-country skiing, ice-climbing and snow-shoeing. Of course, you may prefer to just sit back and relax as you take in the awesome views in one of the park’s iconic red Adirondack chairs, conveniently located at several remarkable look-out points.
La Mauricie National Park, Chemin de Saint-Jean-des-Piles, Shawinigan, Quebec, G0X 2V0
8.Lac Saint Joseph (Lake Saint Joseph)
Lake St. Joseph is located close to Quebec City, where it offers visitors a lovely sandy beach and a wide variety of water activities. The beach is particularly suited to families as children can enjoy some sand-castle building and there is shallow water for wading and a children’s playground. Adults and older children can have hours on fun on the water slide, or hire canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards or pedal boats. If you need a break from water activities you can rent a bike or set off to do some hiking. When hunger strikes you can visit the on-site restaurant or enjoy the picnic area.
Lac Saint Joseph, 7001 Route de Fossambault, Fossambault-sur-le-Lac, Quebec, G2N 1X7
Located in the Eastern Townships adjacent to the town of Hatley, Lake Massawippi is a popular destination for recreational fishermen and water sport enthusiasts. The extensive lake shore also offers many trails for walkers, hikers and cyclists, and there is a special boat shuttle available for cyclists who would like to cross the lake from North Hatley to Ayer’s Cliff. There are two beaches and a marina where you can rent canoes, kayaks and pedal boats and in winter you can enjoy activities like ice hockey, ice skating, curling, cross-country skiing and much more. There is also a golf course, summer day camps for children and excellent bird-watching in fall when the lake is visited by thousands of migratory birds.
Lake Massawippi, Hatley Canton, Quebec, Canada
, Michigan beaches
Located just north of Montreal, the Laurentians (named for the chain of mountains which guard its northern boundary), is an enormous area which covers over 22,000 square kilometers, home to outstanding natural scenery, unlimited outdoor activities and endless horizons. Whether you are looking for an adrenalin-boosting adventurous day out or a quiet scenic drive – the Laurentians has something for everyone. With nine thousand lakes and rivers to choose from, water sports are the dominant summer activity. In addition, people come from near and far to enjoy superb hiking and biking against the beautiful mountain backdrop. Adventure activities include guided forest snow-mobile trails, zip-trails and helicopter flips while less adventurous visitors can enjoy fishing, boat cruises, wine-tastings and great regional cuisine.
The Laurentians, Quebec, Canada
Located just 80 miles north of Montreal, Mont Tremblant is nestled at the foot of the tallest of the Laurentians Mountains, where it offers a perfect destination for a family day trip. In winter the town is a picture-perfect ski destination offering 96 ski trails on four separate slopes. Snow-boarding is also very popular, but if you don’t like to ski you can enjoy other winter activities like dog sledding, tobogganing or a Snow-Shoe and Fondue Tour. For after action relaxation you will find the outdoor Scandinavian Baths hard to beat. The pedestrian village is wonderful to explore on foot and there are many good restaurants and cafes.
Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
Families who enjoy hiking should definitely put Mount Pinacle on their day-trip to-do list. The mountain is located in Coaticook, approximately 90 minutes drive from Montreal and offers over seven kilometers of hiking trails. You can hike to the summit of Mount Pinacle for extraordinary views of the surrounding mountains and valleys – a round-trip hike should take you around one to two hours depending on the route you choose. The easier, family-friendly route is marked with blue markers, while red markers will take you along a much steeper trail. Experienced rock climbers can take on the rock face from Lake Lyster. The hiking trails are open from March to October.
Mount Pinacle, Coaticook, Quebec, Canada
The lakeside village of North Hatley is located in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, where it provides visitors with access to all the delights of Lake Massawippi and the surrounding area. The village is often referred to as one of the prettiest in the region and is home to many gracious old building which are now home to delightful inns, restaurants and shops. You can relax and soak up some sun on the beach, which is perfect for children, or have fun trying your hand at a variety of water sports including canoeing, kayaking and paddle-boarding. The long shoreline of the lake offers numerous opportunities for walking, hiking and cycling.
North Hatley, Quebec, J0B 0A5
14.Oka National Park
© Maksym Protsenko/stock.adobe.com
Oka National Park is located approximately 60 minutes west of Montreal on the north shore of Lake des Deux Montagnes, where it offers day-trippers a host of outdoor activities for all ages. During the summer months visitors come to enjoy a wide range of water activities including kayaking and canoeing pedal boats and sailing (on-site rentals available). There is also an on-lake water course for children older than 6 years of age. Land activities include several hiking trails which vary from easy and family-friendly to challenging. You could also explore the beautiful lake shore by bicycle. In winter the entire area is blanketed with snow and winter sports like cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, winter hiking and kick sledding provide hours of fun.
Oka National Park, 2020 Chemin d’Oka, Oka, QC J0N 1E0
Located approximately 200 km west of Montreal, Canada’s capital city Ottawa is an interesting and popular day-trip destination. No visit would be complete without taking the time to visit Parliament Hill and the famous Rideau Canal, which connects the city to Lake Ontario. In summer you can walk or cycle alongside the canal and in winter you can bring along your ice skates. Ottawa is home to seven outstanding museums – choose your favorite or stay overnight and see them all. The Ottawa River offers all kinds of water sports in summer including white-water rafting, paddle boarding and more. To get a great overview in a day you could join a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of the major tourist attractions.
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 1J1, Canada
© Margrit Hirsch/stock.adobe.com
Quebec City offers day-trippers from Montreal a wonderfully rewarding destination. Old Quebec holds UNESCO World Heritage Status and is the only walled city you will find north of Mexico. Here you can uncover a wealth of history and heritage as you stroll along the city walls and the cobbled streets, soaking up the unique atmosphere. Must-see city attractions include the Montmorency Falls (which you can view on a scenic gondola ride), arty Ile de Orleans, the amazing Museum of Fine Arts (MNBAQ) and the stunning Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre, which welcomes nearly a million visitors each year. If you fancy some outdoor recreation you will find it in the Jacques-Cartier National Park.
Quebec City, Canada
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Anyone who enjoys cycling and exploring amazing landscapes should consider a day trip along a portion of Quebec’s remarkable Route Verte (Green Route). Route Verte has built up an amazing reputation for being one of the very best cycling trails in the world, made up of a network of 5,300 kilometers of cycling trails which wind through stunning scenery. The trails are all very well signposted and user-friendly, allowing you to explore the area with ease. There are beautiful sections of the trail suitable for all levels of cycling ability including family outings.
Be sure to pick up a copy of the Official Route Verte guidebook to keep you on track.
Route Verte, Canada
Nestled in the heart of the Laurentians, approximately 105 kilometers north of Montreal, Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts is another of Quebec’s charming lakeside towns which attracts many day-trippers. During the summer months the beaches are extremely popular with families who come to enjoy sun-bathing, swimming, sand-castle building, picnicking and the children’s playground. You can also enjoy a variety of water activities on the beautiful lake including sailing, boat tours and paddling. There are extensive hiking and biking trails and the lively downtown area offers seasonal outdoor entertainment, great shopping and a variety of restaurants. In winter the town is alive with winter-sport activities including cross-country skiing, ice skating, snow-mobile trails and more.
Sainte-Agathe-des Monts, Quebec J8C 1M9, Canada
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The historic village of Sainte-Gabriel-de-Brandon is located about 90 minutes north of Montreal where it welcomes visitors to enjoy outdoor activities in a beautiful rural setting. If you visit during the summer you can try your hand at a variety of water sports on the river and lake – equipment hire is available at Marina Mandeville. At Brandon Trails can enjoy exploring on foot along a network of hiking trails, which are also suitable for cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing in winter. Agri-tourism is alive and well in the area - you can enjoy scenic drives along five circuits to participating farms to buy fresh produce. Round off your day at Vignoble Saint-Gabrielle where you can tour the wine cellar and buy organic wines.
Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon, Quebec, J0K 2N0
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The beautiful Saint Sauveur Valley lies just 45 minutes from Montreal, making this an ideal destination for a fun day trip. Visitors will find a wide variety of enjoyable outdoor and indoor pursuits for all ages and interests. Families could easily spend the entire day at Les Sommets Water Park which offers exhilarating rides and slides for all ages. For a quieter day you can enjoy the outdoors at Mont Habitant Beach. Art lovers can visit the Galerie d’art Michel Bigue to admire artworks by well-known Canadian artists. Other area attractions include two down-hill ski resorts, shopping, restaurants and the spa at Manoir Sainte-Sauveur.
Saint-Sauveur, Quebec, J0R 1R3
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21.Sucrerie de la Montagne
© Sucrerie de la Montagne
Sucrerie de la Montagne (aka Sugar Shack) provides visitors with a deliciously different idea for a day trip from Montreal. This intriguing heritage site is located at the top of Mont Rigaud, where it is surrounded by a 120-acre forest of maple trees which are at least a hundred years old. You can visit Sucrerie de la Montagne all year round, but will only be able to witness the traditional tree tapping and maple syrup production process if you come during the “Sugaring Off Season”, from February to May. You can buy all your favorite maple products at the shop and an on-site restaurant specializing in traditional Quebec game dishes is open (by reservation only) on weekends.
Sucrerie de la Montagne, 300 Chemin St-Georges, Rigaud, Quebec, J0P 1P0, Canada
Another of Quebec’s picturesque Eastern Townships, Sutton is located about 90 minutes south-east of Montreal. There is plenty for tourists to see and do in town including a self-guided Village Walking Tour, a self-guided Heritage Tour of the area, and the wonderful Plein Art Circuit which will lead art lovers to five village galleries and the Park full of Art. If you are more interested in outdoor recreation you will find at least seven good hiking trails, as well as a special biking trail for electric bikes. Foodies can take a scenic drive along the Wine Route (Route des Vins) to visit up to 22 local wineries, tour a microbrewery, savor Belgian chocolate and home-made ice creams or stock up on sweet treats at a local bakery.
Sutton, Quebec, J0E 2K0
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23.Cap-Saint-Jacques Nature Park
© Sergey Nivens/stock.adobe.com
This beautiful Nature Park is located on a peninsula at the western tip of Montreal Island and is surrounded by shoreline on three sides. Easily accessible from the city, the park offers a perfect green space where city-dwellers can come to relax and recharge. There is a supervised beach which is very popular in summer and a wide variety of water sports are on offer, including kayaking, sailing, kite-surfing and paddle-boarding. Hikers will find 16 km of scenic trails and fishing and bird-watching are other popular summer activities. In winter people come to the park for cross-country skiing, walking, snow-shoeing, tobogganing and more.
Cap-Saint- Jacques Nature Park, 20099 Gouin Blvd. West, Pierrefonds, Quebec, H9K 1C6
24.The National Museum of Fine Arts Quebec
Located in Quebec City, the National Museum of Fine Arts Quebec is also known as MNBAQ and is a must on every art-lovers day-trip wish list. The museum showcases the vibrant arts scene in Quebec as well as giving visitors the opportunity to admire the work of many famous artists. There is a wonderful Family Gallery where young visitors can have hours of interactive fun to stimulate their creative juices. You can expect to see a vibrant collection of contemporary art as well as Inuit Art and works by acclaimed Canadian artists like Jean Paul Lemieux, Fernand Leduc and Alfred Pellan.
MNBAQ, 179 Grande Allee Quest, Quebec, G1R 2H1, Canada, Phone: 418-643-2150
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© Velo Volant
Imagine flying through a verdant canopy of trees, thirty meters above the ground …. on a
bicycle. This might seem totally impossible but if you were to visit the outdoor resort of Au Diable Vert near Sutton in Quebec you will have the chance to enjoy this unique experience. The Velo Volant is the world’s highest suspended bicycle ride which will take you on a gentle canopy tour through forests of maple and pine trees, over waterfalls and across ravines. The ride is more user-friendly than a zip-line and the full one-kilometer circuit takes around an hour to complete. Children who are at least 140cm tall are welcome to join the fun but must be accompanies by an adult.
Velo Volant, Au Diable Vert, 169 Chemin Staines, Sutton, Quebec J0E 2K0
25 Best Weekend Getaways and Day Trips from Montreal
- Bristol Falls, VT, Photo: photografspb/stock.adobe.com
- Canada Railway Museum, Photo: Canada Railway Museum
- Chutes Sainte Marguerite, Photo: Jozef Jankola/stock.adobe.com
- Eastman, Photo: vmonet/stock.adobe.com
- Frelighsburg, Photo: macondos/stock.adobe.com
- Knowlton, Photo: vermontalm/stock.adobe.com
- La Mauricie National Park, Photo: anaelle/stock.adobe.com
- Lac Saint Joseph (Lake Saint Joseph), Photo: Martinan/stock.adobe.com
- Lake Massawippi, Photo: izikmd/stock.adobe.com
- Laurentians, Photo: polarmedia/stock.adobe.com
- Mont Tremblant, Photo: ericlefrancais1/stock.adobe.com
- Mount Pinacle, Photo: esalienko/stock.adobe.com
- North Hatley, Photo: Aleksei/stock.adobe.com
- Oka National Park, Photo: Maksym Protsenko/stock.adobe.com
- Ottawa, Photo: malkolm/stock.adobe.com
- Quebec City, Photo: Margrit Hirsch/stock.adobe.com
- Route Verte, Photo: Nataliia/stock.adobe.com
- Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Photo: Ammit/stock.adobe.com
- Sainte-Gabriel-de-Brandon, Photo: michelangeloop/stock.adobe.com
- Saint-Sauveur, Photo: homonstock/stock.adobe.com
- Sucrerie de la Montagne, Photo: Sucrerie de la Montagne
- Sutton, Photo: bakerjarvis/stock.adobe.com
- Cap-Saint-Jacques Nature Park, Photo: Sergey Nivens/stock.adobe.com
- The National Museum of Fine Arts Quebec, Photo: Supak/stock.adobe.com
- Velo Volant, Photo: Velo Volant
- Cover Photo: vlad_g/stock.adobe.com