Rising from the northern shores of the Saint Lawrence River are the Tadoussac dunes, an immense wall of sand offering "panoramic views" of the surrounding landscape and estuary. A short, 20-minute hike, the Sentier de l’Estuaire, from the Maison des Dunes services centre brings visitors to the famed belvédère at their peak. The dunes are one of the three prime whale-watching points in the Tadoussac area, according to the municipal website.
The village describes the dunes, part of the Fjord-du-Saguenay National Park, as "an exceptionally scenic location, ideal for contemplating the St. Lawrence, relaxing, and daydreaming."
The dunes were the site of the first settlement by early colonists in the area. That village has since "disappeared," leaving a "desert-like" environment where settlers cleared trees for farmland.
Today, the area is a must-see for visitors, who can sit in the sand and watch the summer day pass, "[taking] in an exceptional view of a vast marine fresco, where the largest animals in the world come to visit."
The Côte-Nord regional tourism website also calls the dunes "the best place in Quebec to observe migrating hawks."
At the Observatoire d’Oiseaux de Tadoussac (OOT), wildlife enthusiasts can watch the "little-known boreal owl" as it passes through the area each year.
Visitors should be aware that camping and bivouacking are forbidden near the dunes.
Dogs are permitted, but they must be kept on a leash.
The dunes are just one of many attractions in the quaint village.
Those unable to spot any whales from the sandy slopes can try one of the various whale watching tours for a closer look by boat.
According to the Tadoussac website, "a dozen whale species visit the Lower Estuary," many of which pass through in the summer months in search of food.
Adventurers shouldn't miss the opportunity to venture into the national park and explore the various trails that take full advantage of what Sépaq calls its "magnificent" scenery.
Any summer is incomplete without the feeling of sand between your toes.
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.