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11 Spontaneous Summer Day Trips 2 Hours Or Less From Montreal

Who's on playlist duty? 🚘✌️

Assistant Editor, MTL Blog
Person atop Mont-Tremblant in Quebec, Right: Views of Ausable Chasm in Plattsburgh, New York.

Person atop Mont-Tremblant in Quebec, Right: Views of Ausable Chasm in Plattsburgh, New York.

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With the arrival of summer weather in Quebec, now's the time to start planning your first aventures estivales.

While a weekend getaway from Montreal might be calling your name, sometimes all you've got time for is a quick day trip, and luckily, there are loads of gorgeous spots with loads to do within a two-hour radius of Montreal.

So, grab your day bag, and maybe even your passport, 'cause these day trips from Montreal are definitely worth it.

Knowlton, Quebec

Distance from Montreal: roughly one hour, five minutes

Why You Need To Go: The small Estrie town is known for its quaint and colourful town centre, boutiques, and craft shops.

If they're willing to pay a $20 parking fee, non-residents can spend the day at Douglass Beach on Lac Brome.

Website

Rawdon, Quebec

Distance from Montreal: roughly one hour, 15 minutes

Why You Need To Go: Tourists flock to the small Lanaudière town on hot summer days to repose in the cool shades of its spectacular Parc des chutes Dorwin, a nature park with walking trails and picnic spots overlooking the towering waterfall at its centre.

There's also the Parc des Cascades, a smaller park surrounding a series of shorter waterfalls, and the Rawdon municipal beach on the town's eponymous lake.

For $12, non-residents can purchase a bracelet that grants them access to all three sites.

Website

Beloeil / Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec

Distance from Montreal: roughly 35 minutes (to Beloeil)

Why You Need To Go: The Rivière Richelieu separates these neighbouring small towns directly east of Montreal.

In Beloeil, visitors can dine at any number of restaurants within walking distance of the waterfront and its views of the imposing cliffs of Mont Saint-Hilaire, perhaps the most iconic of the Monteregian Hills, occupied by a nature reserve with hiking trails and lookout points with sweeping views of the Saint Lawrence River Valley.

The town of the same name is the home of the ever-popular Strøm Nordic spa, a handful of orchards and cideries, and the Domaine Poissant, where alpaca enthusiasts can walk a fluffy friend through the forest.

Beloeil Website
Mont-Saint-Hilaire Website

Vieux-Terrebonne, Quebec

Distance from Montreal: 35 minutes

Why You Need To Go: Vieux-Terrebonne sits at a picturesque bend in the Rivière des Milles-Îles across from Île-Saint-Jean. Visitors can browse local shops, grab a bite at one of the many restaurants that dot the neighbourhood, and stroll among colonial architecture.

The riverwalks along the Îles-des-Moulins and Parc de la Pointe-de-l'Île offer views of the adjacent rapids.

Website

Magog, Quebec

Distance from Montreal: one hour, 20 minutes

Why You Need To Go: The city of Magog crowns Lac Mephrémagog, which stretches up from Vermont deep into the Estrie region.

Beaches and public parks line the shore, while, steps away, restaurants on rue Principale entice potential customers with the smells of gravy, fried potatoes and grilled meats.

Farther from downtown, visitors can walk the boardwalk trail of the Marais de la Rivière aux Cerises or wander the lavender fields of Bleu Lavande.

Website

Orford, Quebec

Distance From Montreal: one hour, 50 minutes

Why You Need To Go: If you want to rouse your dormant inner outdoorsperson with some adventure, consider a day trip to Orford, home of Quebec's Parc national du Mont-Orford with its hiking trails, boat and bike rentals, supervised swimming sites, and even rock climbing (recommended for accredited hikers only).

Website

Sutton, Quebec

Distance From Montreal: one hour, 30 minutes

Why You Need To Go: Another small Estrie town with a dense centre of restaurants and shops that have even attracted the likes of Hillary and Bill Clinton.

Perched on a slope in the surrounding mountain range is Au Diable Vert, a working farm and outdoor recreation site with highland cows (!), and suspended bikes you can ride through the forest canopy.

Those mountains also make for some great hiking in the Parc d'environnement naturel de Sutton.

Website

Plattsburgh, New York

Distance From Montreal: one hour 15 minutes

Why You Need To Go: Grab your passport and head on over to Plattsburgh. Whether you're interested in shopping, grabbing a bite at an American restaurant chain, or visiting the "Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks," Plattsburgh has a little bit of everything.

Website

Burlington, Vermont

Distance From Montreal: One hour 30 minutes

Why You Need To Go: Vermont's largest city sits on a slope overlooking Lake Champlain.

The pedestrianized Church Street, lined with restaurants, local shops and outlets, alike, is the New England city's commercial hub.

Just blocks away on the lakefront are dockside restaurants with traditional American fare (burgers, ice cream, etc.) and the beautiful Waterfront Park with its views across the water toward the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York.

Plus Burlington has a Target and Trader Joe's.

Website

Mont-Tremblant, Quebec

Distance From Montreal: Roughly one hour, 30 minutes

Why You Need To Go: The famous Laurentian town sits at the foot of the sprawling Quebec national park of the same name. While the less outdoorsy can enjoy the restaurants and stores of both the town centre and faux-colonial ski resort, nature enthusiasts can choose from 23 trails to explore — including this one that leads to a lookout platform that appears as if it's floating above the valley below.

Website

Ottawa, Ontario

Distance From Montreal: Two hours

Why You Need To Go: Canada's sometimes overlooked capital completes this list. You only need a day trip to hit the major sites, including Parliament Hill, the Rideau Centre, ByWard Market, and the trails lining the Ottawa River. You may even have time to explore the exhibits of one of Ottawa-Gatineau's many museums.

If you're willing to venture just a wee bit further, Gatineau Park has a ton of trails, like this one around the turquoise Pink Lake (don't let the name fool you) and this one that passes the spooky ruins of an abandoned mill.

Website

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

    Mike Chaar
    Assistant Editor, MTL Blog
    Mike Chaar is an Assistant Editor for MTL Blog focused on recalls in Canada and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
    Thomas MacDonald
    Senior Editor
    Thomas MacDonald is a Senior Editor for MTL Blog focused on Montreal public transit and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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