Are you visiting Charlevoix for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in the Charlevoix region of Quebec, Canada. Situated within a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, the Charlevoix region is a unique nature area including parts of the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River and the Laurentian Mountains region of the Canadian Shield.
When I have a visitor from out of the region, the first place they want to see is the town of Baie-Saint-Paul, but I also take them to Isle-aux-Coudres – for a more local, authentic experience. With only 7,500 people, Baie-Saint-Paul is the cultural capital of Charlevoix.
When I want to escape the crowds and tourists, my favorite place to visit is the little village of Port-au-Persil.
If this is a romantic trip, I recommend the Bay of Baie-Saint-Paul for kissing with a view.
The best place to walk the dog is the solar system 3Km trail by the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu.
Museums are wonderful, but if you are traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit the Alpaga farm or the maritime museum where kids can climb on boats.
Charlevoix regional cuisine
If you are looking for typical Quebec cuisine in the region of Charlevoix, I recommend Le Mouton Noir. For an authentic farm to table experience, be sure to tour the Baie-Saint-Paul Flavor Trail. With over 40 local growers, producers and restaurateurs opening their doors to visitors, you will have your fill of breads, ciders, beers, cheeses, foie gras and chocolate!
The best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is Le Pain d’exclamation in La Malbaie.
Looking for affordable food in Baie-Saint-Paul? Go to the restaurant within the microbrewery, le Saint-Pub.
Les Labours in the hotel La Ferme (Baie-Saint-Paul) is the spot for late night dining.
For an expensive, yet quality meal, go to Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu. If you truly want a one-of-a-kind experience, try the Chef’s Table for a day with the Chef on the Flavor Trail and a private dinner in the Castle on the Cliff!
Seeing a lot of beluga whales? Baie-Sainte-Catherine is best known for whale watching.
When you come to Charlevoix, get your picture taken on a boat with AML or Dufour during a whale watching excursion.
The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of Acropole des Draveurs in the National Park Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie.
Le Massif de Charlevoix offers great views and the “Chalet” at the summit of the ski hills is the best place to watch or experience music shows and competitions in the winter time.
In the Charlevoix region, outdoor lovers will want to hike the Acropole des Draveurs, bike on Isle-aux-Coudres (23 km island) or in the big hills of the region. Travelers may also horseback ride on the beach of Saint-Irénée or walk in Les Grands-Jardins.
Looking for a little exercise? Walk along the trails of the Les Palissades de Charlevoix.
After a day of adventure, Hôtel La Ferme is the best place to go for a spa treatment.
If you are a museum lover, the best museums are Musée de Charlevoix or the Contemporary Art Museum in Baie-Saint-Paul.
Looking for exciting night life? Go dancing at l’hôtel La Ferme during the weekends for live music.
The Hebdo Charlevoisien will keep you posted on what’s happening in Charlevoix, but unless you read French you are out of luck!
Charlevoix seasonal activities
In the spring you should attend Les Grands prix cyclistes de Charlevoix – bike competitions for the non-French speakers.
In the summer or fall, take a two hour trip with Le Massif train – meals are served on board and it’s a great way to explore the scenery.
Did you know that Baie-Saint-Paul is known for the arts? Plan a visit to watch the painting Festival called Rêves d’automne (Dreams of Fall) in the fall.
Come to Le Massif in the winter for skiing or sledding.
Insider Tip: Check out the often over-looked beach of Saint-Irénée.
Just outside of La Malbaie you can visit La Maison du Bootlegger and have lunch there, too.
Have you traveled to Quebec, Canada? What are your favorite things to do in the region of Charlevoix?
For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown, follow @tourismQuebec on Twitter and if you speak French @gocharlevoix.
If You Go:
495, de Comporté Boulevard
La Malbaie (Québec) Canada G5A 3G3
Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Quebec Tourism. All opinions from my visit to Charlevoix are my own.