Photo cred - Katelyn Lopez

Although it can be great to live in a big city, full of its many conveniences, it’s nice to get away. But big vacations can be a hassle, not to mention they can also come with a big bill, so this summer why not try getting in touch with nature by checking out some of the incredible provincial parks found throughout Quebec?

While a few of these are technically National Parks, rest assured they are all located within the province. Regardless, they don’t require a passport, are only a few hours away, and are easy on the wallet. All wins in our book and make for the perfect summer getaway.

1. Oka National Park

When people hear the name Oka, they tend to get a bit nervous, but this park is no cause for concern. One of the largest heron breeding grounds in the province, and home of the Oka Calvary trail (which features seven chapels built on the hills to represent the Stations of the Cross), Oka National Park is perfect for avid hikers, and bird watchers looking to get away. Plus, it's only an hour away by car.

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2. Forillon National Park

If you’re looking for one of the most beautiful parks in Quebec, then look no further. Located on the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, Forillon is the furthest National Park from Montreal at a 10 hour drive, but certainly has it all. Lush forests located on the sea coast, sand dunes, cliffs, and salt marshes. You can also spot a variety of wildlife, from moose and bears, to whales and seals.

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3. La Mauricie National Park

A beautiful park to visit, La Mauricie National Park is located in the Laurentian Mountains, not far from Shawinigan and only two and half hours away from Montreal. There are over 150 lakes and ponds to discover within the park, and you can find beavers and rare Canadian wood turtles. If you love kayaking or canoeing, this is the place for you.

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4. Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park

The Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, only five hours away from Montreal, is the first national park in Quebec is entirely dedicated to protecting marine environment. There you can spot an assortment of marine life, including a resident colony of belugas. There are also hiking trails, campgrounds, and lookouts all located near the park.

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5. Jacques Cartier National Park

Located only 50 kilometers north of Quebec City, which is just over three hours away, Jacques Cartier National Park is the perfect destination for people looking to spot some wildlife. Moose, deer, foxes, wolves, bears, salmon, and over 100 different types of birds, this is one park you’ll definitely want to bring your camera to.

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6. Grands-Jardins National Park

The Grands-Jardins National Park is best known for its impressive fishing and lush vegetation (hence its name). The park, which is five hours away, offers camping, hiking, wildlife watching, canoe and kayaking, not to mention skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing in the winter. A section of the park, unfortunately, fell victim to fire in ‘91 and ‘99, but is thankfully recovering finally.

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7. Mingan Archipelago National Park

If you’re looking to visit a place that will visually inspire you, then make sure to check out the Mingan Archipelago this summer. Thanks to years of erosion from the waves and the wind, naturally made limestone sculptures litter the beach. It’s an absolutely stunning sight, especially at sunset, and although it's the farthest destination on this list (13 hours away), it's easily worth the trip out past Sept-Îles.

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8. Plaisance National Park

With gorgeous forests and vegetation, not to mention scenic ponds and marshes, Plaisance National Park (only two hours away) got its name for a reason. In the summer, it's home to a variety of birds, including our nation’s iconic Canadian goose, making it a bird-watcher's paradise. It’s also great for anyone who likes water-based activities, offering row boating, kayaking, canoeing, and even swimming (although they have a designated pool for that last one).

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9. Rouge-Matawin Wildlife Reserve

Located north of Mont-Tremblant (which is only a two and a half hour drive), and bordering the Mont-Tremblant National Park, this is the place to go if you’re a hunter, fisherman, or just like lounging out on the water. The Rouge-Matawin Wildlife Reserve offers berry-picking during the day, a selection of boating activities, and hunting opportunities if you should feel so inclined (not that you need to shoot at animals in order to enjoy yourself… just saying).

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10. Laurentides Wildlife Reserve

If you’re looking for a park that’s incredible no matter what the season, then Laurentides Wildlife Reserve is the place for you. Located three and a half hours away, between Quebec City and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, they offer all type of activity throughout the year including sledding, cross-country skiing, fishing, canoeing and, brace yourself, black bear watching!

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