Since arriving home in February, we’ve been taking time to discover more of what our home grounds have to offer. For those of you that might not be familiar with Quebec (the province - not the city), it’s one of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories. Bordered by Ontario to the west, Newfoundland & Labrador to the east and New Brunswick and the American states of Maine, Vermont, New York and New Hampshire to the south, it is Canada’s largest province.
Those of us that work in a busy city know the importance of getting out of the mayhem. This summer we’ve truely realised how lucky we are to live in a province where you’ll find pristine lakes, endless forests and fresh autumn air in late august. Anywhere in Canada, you needn’t drive far to find yourself surrounded in nature and Quebec is no exception.
As per usual, many road trips have dotted our summer weekends. Along the way, we’ve discovered some incredible and absolutely unique places to spend a night or two. Although they offer very different levels of comfort, you’ll find yourself completely immersed in nature at all three of these retreats.
1. Domes Charlevoix
Perfectly hidden in the hills of Charlevoix, you’ll find these sleek and incredibly well designed Domes that overlook the majestic Saint-Lawrence. We only spent one night in this beautiful location but immediately fell in love with the minimalist, modern design.
The domes can accommodate up to four adults with it’s two full sized beds. It’s also boasts a full kitchen and an incredible outdoor area where you’ll find a barbecue and a jacuzzi. Despite being quite close to one another, all the domes offer absolute intimacy due to the way they’re oriented. Whether it’s a crisp summer night or a cold winter morning, it’s safe to say you’ll always be cozy up here. Oh, and the view isn’t so bad either.
2. Le Paradis Marin
We left our cozy dome in the early morning. Our friends had told us that the camp site we were headed to filled up fast. Taking no chances we were on the road before 8, headed north up the river.
It was Labor Day weekend and we’d heard amazing things about Le Paradis Marin. Over 150 sites perched right on the water, where the Saint-Lawrence widens and you can barely see the other side. In late summer, it’s the perfect place to spot whales right from your camp site. We’re ready to bet that there aren’t many places in the world you can see a blue whale from the comfort of your tent, so we were very excited.
After catching the ferry from Baie Sainte-Catherine to Tadoussac with two minutes to spare, we arrived just after 10 am. Our hearts sank when we saw the “no vacancy” signs along every dirt road leading up to the camping. Nevertheless, the girl working the front desk told us we should still try our luck and drive around. Maybe we would get lucky and catch someone checking out.
As we drove around the site in circles, eventually a man flagged us down. He said he worked there and was saving a site for his daughter, but that she still hadn’t shown up. Seeing our desperation, he graciously offered to give us the site he’d been saving her. Maybe it was good karma, maybe it was just dumb luck, but we got the last of 150 camp sites for the weekend and boy were we happy about it.
After setting up camp, we brought our chairs down to the water and did nothing but watch the whales swim back and forth for the next two days. We quickly realized that not only can you see incredible marine life, but the location of the site is stunning. Couples in their fifties would tell us how they’d been coming back to the same sites for over twenty years. By the end of the weekend we could see why. The Paradis Marin was the perfect place to end the summer, just make sure you show up early.
3. Le Vertendre
Earlier this year, after being back to the city after an amazing month in Peru, we already had the itch for a weekend getaway. Through Instagram, we found these amazing tucked away eco-cabins called Le Vertendre. We stayed in a Zoobox - a very comfortable, very private 100% self-sufficient shelter. Located in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Le Vertendre offers a great mix of peace and quiet and total comfort.
If you’re here in the winter like us, you’ll fall in love with how cozy these cabins are. You’ll have floor to ceiling windows to admire the view of the lake, a full kitchen and a hotel-quality king size bed. We had everything we needed for a relaxing couple’s getaway! All the shelters are located in a car-free zone, so we had about 2km of walking in the woods to get to our Zoobox. This really added some adventure and mystery to the experience. The cabin can also fit up to 6 people and would be great for a friends weekend in the woods!
We spent the weekend reading by the fire, playing cards and just admiring the beautiful view we had right from our bed!
We’d love to know where your favourite place you’ve ever stayed in is as we’re always looking for new ideas. Let us know in the comments below!