We take the beauty of our province for granted. Montrealers don't need to go far to find hidden gems and famous landscapes that, in the summertime, look like they belong on a tropical island. From Quebec's beaches and rugged coastline to emerald rivers and waterfalls tucked away in the forest, there's plenty to see and do without ever leaving the province.

Seemingly endless natural beauty awaits — often just a few hours from Montreal.

After being cooped up in our homes all winter, it's nice to know that these vacation-like spots are within reach.

There are also some magical landscapes to be found in the distant corners of the province if you're looking for a little bit more of a getaway.

Don't get me wrong, I adore travelling around the globe and discovering new, exotic locations.

But there's something extra special about exploring your own backyard.

Plus, you get to support local communities and business-owners — which could be more critical now than ever.

Where will you go first?

Plage St-Zotique

Distance from Montreal: 55 minutes

Cost to visit: Between $3 and $10 depending on your age

This stunning beach will give you major tropical vibes thanks to the beautiful water and sand.

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Plage de Penouille 

Distance from Montreal: 10 hours

Located in Forillon National Park in Gaspé, this breathtaking beach is worth the long voyage.

The beach looks straight out of a magazine. Explore the beauty of Quebec along the way. 

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Lac St-Joseph

Distance from Montreal: Two hours and 55 minutes

This town in Quebec is home to a beautiful lake and beach that abounds in Instagram-worthy views.

A little less than three hours from Montreal, this beach will give you the feeling of being on a sunny island vacation, somewhere far away from home. 

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Douglass Beach

Distance from Montreal: One hour and 10 minutes

Cost to visit: $10 per car

Located in the charming town of Knowlton, this photogenic lakeside park will make you believe that you have travelled long and far when in reality you're just a quick hop from the city.

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Plage de la Grande Échouerie

Distance from Montreal: 19 hours 30 minutes

Located in the Îles de la Madeleine, the Plage de la Grande Échouerie offers wide sandy plains, rolling dunes, and endless ocean vistas.

It's one of my most beloved beach destinations. I would drive even longer to get there.

If you are looking to explore somewhere a little further, then this is the spot for you. 

Those unwilling to take the long drive and ferry can also get there by plane.

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Parc national de la Pointe-Taillon

Distance from Montreal: Five hours and 30 minutes

Less than six hours from Montreal, Pointe-Taillon National Park is the place to immerse yourself in nature. 

Sépaq puts it best: "Who hasn't dreamed of a day spent lounging on a vast sandy shore and walking for miles without reaching the end?

"That's exactly what you can do on kilometres of shoreline at Parc national de la Pointe-Taillon."

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Chutes Waber

Distance from Montreal: Two hours and 40 minutes

I have always loved this location and I am looking forward to visiting it again.

The towering falls make for a relaxing and memorable experience that's also sure to impress your social media following.

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Bonaventure Island

Distance from Montreal: 10 hours 35 minutes

Cost to visit: $8.90 

The Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé is where cliffs dive into the sea.

Rocky islands punctuate the horizon.

The result is a dramatic rural landscape that, though well-known, feels like a world away.

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Chute de la Rivière aux Émeraudes

Distance from Montreal: 10 hours

According to the Gaspésie regional tourism website, the river gets its name from "the depth and [colour] of the stones at the bottom which gives it a green appearance."

Hike to the falls and watch as emerald green water cascades before you.

*This year, the site of the waterfall is exceptionally closed because renovations couldn't be completed, but be sure to check back next year!

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We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.


*This article has been updated.

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