Cover photo - Jonathan Clark
There's no denying it--Montreal is a fun place to be in the summer. Even so, sometimes you need to take a break from city life and experience the great outdoors. Here are some great campgrounds not too far from Montreal.
Whether you’re looking for hiking, canoeing, biking, or just a little relaxation time, Mauricie is the perfect spot for you. Located north of Trois-Rivières, it’s far enough to make you feel like you’re leaving town, but not so far that it’s not easily doable as a weekend getaway. The park’s four large lakes are beautiful to explore, or even just to look at.
If hiking is your thing, Mont Orford is the place to check out. The many viewpoints are known for being some of the finest in the Eastern Townships region. The park is also host to a wide variety of species of animals, including white-tailed deer and Great Blue Herons, so wildlife lovers will find more than enough to keep them engaged.
Mont Gosford has the fourth highest peak in Southern Quebec, and if you stop by for a visit you’ll get to discover all that it offers. Experience wonderful mountain biking or hiking up to the glorious view that you won’t soon forget. Birdwatchers will love it here—areas of the mountain above 700 meters were recently designated Important Bird Areas thanks to the presence of the increasingly rare Bicknell’s thrushes.
Mont-Saint-Bruno was a luxury resort at the beginning of the 20th century, and when you spend time camping near it, you’ll understand why. The five lakes, orchard, and historic mill are just some of the many breathtaking highlights to discover. The hundreds of varieties of flowers, trees, and plants make it a must-visit for lovers of flaura.
Fans of boating and other water activities will want to come camping at Frontenac. It’s home to Grand lac Saint-François, the third biggest lake south of the St. Lawrence river. If water’s not your thing, you’ll still find plenty to do between the great biking and hiking trails, the rich array of animals, and the hard-to-find wildlife specimens such as carnivorous plants.
Mastigouche’s Lac Sorcier gets its name from an old legend about a sorcerer who reportedly use to haunt the island in it. When you see how pretty the place is, you’ll feel like your under one of his spells. Despite the exciting rumors, its low-key vibe makes it the perfect spot for a relaxing vacation.
It’s more widely known as a destination for skiers and snowboarders in the winter, but Mont Tremblant is also host to some of the finest camping in Quebec. With six rivers and 400 lakes and streams to discover, you surely won’t run out of places to explore. You’ll share your experience with 40 species of mammals, including wolves, so you’ll have plenty of interesting company regardless of who you bring with you.
Fishers will want to check out Papinaeu-Labelle, because the area contains over 80 lakes packed full of trout, pike, walleye, and bass. Those who prefer their animals to be flying rather than swimming will love the chance to see some birds of prey at the nearby Mount Devlin.
If you want to head south and gloat to New Englanders about the Habs’ win, Umbagog Lake is the spot for you. On top of that, it was rated as one of the top five kayaking spots in New England by the Boston Globe, so it’s a great place to enjoy the water. If paddling gets boring, you’ll love looking up and taking glance at the nesting bald eagles and osprey.
Canoeists will love La La Vérendrye. On top of being one of the largest wildlife reserves in Quebec, the flat water with which it abounds makes it the perfect spot for paddling. If you’re looking for a little more excitement from your boating experience, give one of the Class II rapids a try. Whatever your paddling speed, you’ll loving looking at the loons and moose around the water.
Variety is the spice of life, and there’s no shortage of it in Rouge Park. Whether you’re looking to climb hills, traverse wetlands, or just relax on the beach, you’ll find exactly the type of terrain you’re looking for within the park’s spacious confines. There’s no shortage of diversity amongst the animals, either, with 225 species of birds, 55 species of fish, and 27 species of mammals.
Voyageur Provincial Park
Come to Voyageur Park if you’re not afraid to get a little sand in your tent. The park’s four beaches are all perfect for swimming, volleyball, or just laying around and getting a tan. If you’re looking for a more conventional camping experience, don’t worry: the trails allow for some equally great hiking and biking.
With their close proximity to the city and beautiful views, the Laurentians have long been a favored location for Montrealers looking to get out of town. As a result, they can get a bit busy in the most high-volume areas, but you’ll realize that it’s worth braving the crowds when you see the gorgeous lakes and spectacular mountains.
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