15 Things to Do in The Saguenay Fjord Region of Quebec

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While you may be familiar with popular Quebec destinations like the Laurentians, the Eastern Townships, and the Quebec Maritime, there’s a lesser-known treasure waiting to be discovered: the Saguenay Fjord and the Saguenay-Lac St. Jean region. Nestled amidst breathtaking natural beauty, this region has quietly developed its tourism industry at a more leisurely pace compared to its counterparts.

Saguenay Fjord and the Saguenay-Lac St. Jean Region

Pourvoirie du Cap au Leste Saguenay Fjords @DownshiftingPRO

It’s almost as if the locals have safeguarded this pristine boreal forest region, ensuring its unspoiled charm remains intact. With expansive landscapes, towering mountains, glistening lakes, and the majestic Saguenay River, words alone cannot capture the allure of this area. That’s why I’m excited to share with you the top 15 experiences that await you in the Saguenay Fjord and the Saguenay-Lac St. Jean region of Quebec.

Take a Whale Watching Tour

Marine Interpretation Centre in Tadoussac Photo credit DownshiftingPRO
Marine Interpretation Centre in Tadoussac Photo Credit: DownshiftingPRO

Although you are not technically in the Saguenay region when you are in Tadoussac, this is the starting point of many whale-watching tours because it is located in the Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay. Many whales seek food and shelter in this area during the summer months. You can see belugas, wright, humpbacks, minke, and 13 other varieties of whales in these waters. Visit the Marine Interpretation Center in Tadoussac to learn more about marine mammals in the area.

Saguenay – St-Lawrence Marine Park

Veloroute du Fjord Photo Credit JMDecoste via Tourisme Saguenay Lac Saint J 20240418 113833 0014
Véloroute du Fjord Photo Credit JMDecoste via Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean

I cannot recommend enough taking a whale watching tour which would incorporate a tour through the Saguenay Fjord. Our AML Crosiere tour leads us into the fjord to see the seals and sea birds residing on the shoreline, in the cliffs and in the water. They offer tours which include excursions through the Saguenay – St-Lawrence Marine Park as well as on the St. Lawrence River between the North Shore and Bas-St. Laurent.

Stay in a Luxury Log Cabin

Auberge du Cap au Lest Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO 1
Auberge du Cap au Lest Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO

Nestled amidst what feels like a secluded logging road lies the exquisite Pourvoirie du Cap au Leste, a eco-chic resort with a unique twist: it is perched at the edge of a Fjord cliff. At over 650 feet (200 meters) high, guests find themselves literally on top of the Fjord, gazing down at the majestic Saguenay River below. The breathtaking views coupled with the cozy accommodations make the journey well worth it, whether you opt for a room in the main lodge or one of the charming individual log cabins.

In addition to its picturesque setting, the lodge boasts a comprehensive spa experience, complete with a sauna offering panoramic views, a serene lap pool, and outdoor fireside seating. Guests can also bask in the sun on the expansive deck or indulge in culinary delights at the onsite restaurant and bar. From sampling local delicacies to savoring Canadian spirits and micro-brew beers, every aspect of the experience promises luxury and relaxation. A return visit to unwind in one of the luxurious yet snug cabins is certainly on my wishlist!

Unique Accommodations & Adventure

Unique Accommodations Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO
Unique Accommodations Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO

If you’d like to try something a bit more rustic, Cap Jaseux features a variety of lodging options including some unique suspended spheres, tree houses and log cabins, all with great boreal forest views. We did enjoy a guided visit of the amazing accommodation options (read more in 10 quirky and unique places to stay in Quebec). This is a great option for die-hard nature lovers who enjoy walks and hikes in the boreal forest or water activities.

High Ropes, Zipling & Hiking Trails

Kayaking in the Saguenay Region Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO
Kayaking in the Saguenay Region Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO

This outdoor Cap Jaseux adventure park is a multi-activity site with climbing, a high-ropes course, ziplining, hiking trails and two natural beaches right on the Saguenay River.

We eventually made our way down to the bay and got fully geared up for a kayak excursion on the Saguenay River with a guide from Organisaction. We had large sea kayaks and were definitely challenged by the wind and the small waves but it was worth paddling past the Via Ferrata des Géants. Our guide was skillful and helped us with all the equipment.

Parc National du Fjord du Saguenay – Via Ferrata des Géants

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Kayaking in the Saguenay Region Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO

For a true adrenalin-rush of things to do in the Saguenay Fjord, scale a rock cliff on a via ferrata. This guided climb is a series of handles, planks, and grips that are hammered into the rockface. You follow along on a wire and scale the cliff. There are many via Ferrata in Quebec but this particular one (that we saw from our kayaks) seems very challenging.

Sea Shuttle – Navettes Maritimes du Fjord

Navettes maritimes du Fjord Photo Credit Alain Dumas via Tourisme Saguenay 20240418 113833 0012
Fjord Sea Shuttle Photo Credit Alain Dumas via Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean

Climb aboard the Navettes maritimes du Fjord and discover the Saguenay Fjord in all its splendor. Admire its dizzying capes and its unique blue waters and visit the picturesque villages that border it, all animated and interpreted by experienced guide.

The Fjord and Villages Cruises allow you to discover the villages, as well as their attractions and gourmet products.

Visit a Musuem – Musée du Fjord.

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Musee du Fjord Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO

This is a small museum that educates you on marine life, flower and fauna and creatures found in the region. There is a short guided visit of the Musée du Fjord.

You will be greeted by a mythical sea monter named the ‘Sea Bishop’ this small but fun museum is full of interactive exhibits geared toward children’s curiosity. There is a pool with sea creatures you can touch, along with illustrations and demonstrations to help educate visitors on fjords.

Savor the Flavors at Baie de Ha!Ha!

La Baie Photo Credit Tourisme Saguenay Lac Saint Jean
La Baie Photo Credit Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean

Enoy a gourmet meal at O’Batillage Restaruant in the Auberge des Battures and look out to the beautifull Riviere Ha!Ha! It has an exceptional menu with local ingredients and flavors from Canadian Artic Char – a delectable fish to tradtional seafood chowder and exquisit duck confit. Enjoy a fine dining experince in a very rustic region of Quebec.

Tour a Wild Zoo in Saint-Félicien

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Zoo Sauvage St. Felicien Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO

This was one of the highlights of our girl’s getaway. We did not have enough time in this fabulous zoo. You will take a guided tour of the unique Zoo Sauvage de Saint-Félicien where the tourists are ‘caged’ and the animals run free. You ride a small train where you are behind safety bars but not behind windows. It was cool to see the different animals interact in their natural habitat. The only ones isolated (to protect the other animals) were the wolves. They remained in their own open-air enclosure. This internationally renowned wildlife park features over 500 animals in 86 species of animals living in semi-wild conditions.

Zoo Sauvage St. Félicien

Zoo St Fe Spec Photo Credit Tourisme Saguenay Lac Saint Jean 1
Zoo-St-Felicien Photo Credit Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean

There is an entire section that we missed where you can see a polar bear, tigers and monkeys. It encompasses Eastern Asia, Laurentian Forest, Mongolia, Rocky Mountains, Ethiopian Plateaus and a fun Kid’s Farm. With picnic areas and a splash park, this could be a whole day activity.

Ermitage Saint-Antoine Sanctuary

Ermitage Saint Antoine Photo Credit Tourisme Saguenay Lac Saint Jean 20240418 113833 0011
Ermitage Saint-Antoine Photo Credit Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean

This unique and modern sanctuary offers quality accommodation and dining services as well as numerous activities adapted to today’s families. Among some of its great strengths, it is located near lakes and mountains and close to many unmissable tourist attractions. It then becomes an anchor point for tourists.

Visit the historical Village of Val Jalbert

Zoo Sauvage de Saint Felicien 2019 23 20240418 113833 0003
Val-Jalbert Historic Village Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO

Village Historique de Val Jalbert is an authentic 1920s company town that will take you back in time. I found this historic village fascinating. We had a guided tour showing us through period houses (now converted into luxury accommodations), an abandoned ghost town of company homes, a mill, a general store and a breathtaking waterfall. This region was heavily influenced by the pulp and paper industry in the early 20th century. Closed by 1927, it sat idle until the 1960s when it became a tourist attraction. During the summer there are actors in period dress relaying the community activities in the 1920s. Entertaining and educational for visitors!

They have added a cable car. “Behind the mill is the starting point of an amazing cable car ride that will carry you to the top of Ouiatchouan Falls, then to the top of the hill, where you can enjoy a splendid view of Lac Saint-Jean. More adventurous visitors can climb the trails and stairs up to Maligne Falls (often called the “second falls”), and the Ouiatchouan River.” from their website.

Extensive Cycling Trails

Veloroute du Fjord Photo Credit JMDecoste via Tourisme Saguenay Lac Saint Jean 1
Véloroute du Fjord Photo Credit JMDecoste via Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean

There are hiking trails that were part of the railroad. Cyclists are also welcomed, as Val-Jalbert is connected to the Vélouroute des Bleuets cycling trail that crisscrosses the Lac-Saint-Jean region. Cyclists can safely leave their bicycles at the visitor center for a quick stop (vending machines and restrooms are available). Besides the luxury accommodations, you can also camp in the Village (there are simple or ready-to-camp options).

Nordic Spa at Chalets et Spa Lac-Saint-Jean

Nordic Spa in Lac St. Jean Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO
Nordic Spa in Lac St. Jean Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO

If you need to relax and unwind in Lac St. Jean, consider endulging in the Nordic Spa facilities Chalet & Spa Lac Saint Jean. It offers both hot saunas and cooling pools. Check into a fully equipped condo then headed to the spa. It is best when it is chilly! Be sure and get robes at the front desk when you check-in!

Follow the Blueberry Trail on a Bike

Blueberry Trail Photo Credit Bleuets c Michael Beauchemin Canopee 20240418 113833 0007
Blueberry Trail Photo Credit: Michael Beauchemin_Canopee via Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean

The Véloroute des Bleuets bicycle circuit, circles Lac-Saint-Jean on a 256-kilometer pathway, crossing fifteen municipalities including the Montagnais community of Mashteuiash. You can ride a family-friendly section of the famous Véloroute des Bleuets, in Alma with Équinox Aventure. They provide the helmet and the right bike to get you started on the Blueberry Trail. The trail winds its way along the shores of Lake Saint-Jean, a veritable inland sea, and through the picturesque agricultural countryside.

Bagotville Air Defence Museum

Canadian Armed Forces Captain Andrew Jakubaitis photo credit Air Defence Museum 1
Canadian-Armed-Forces-Captain-Andrew-Jakubaitis-photo-credit-Air-Defence-Museum

A fun alternative is the Bagotville Air Defence Museum. It is a unique and recognized museum dedicated to the history of Canadian military aviation in Quebec and the only francophone military aviation museum in eastern North America! The Air Defence Museum is also the only military museum in North America that opens its base to the general public for guided tours of CFB Bagotville’s facilities during operating hours.

Since 1997, the Air Defence Museum has presented a number of large-scale exhibitions, including the permanent exhibit From Airmen to Fighter Pilots: the History of Canada’s Air Defence. 

More to See in Québec

Pointe au Pere Lighthouse in Rimouski Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO
Pointe-au-Père Lighthouse in Rimouski Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO

Learn more about the largest Canadian province from music festivals to quirky accommodations. Discover more about Quebec City and Quebec-by-the-Sea from travel writer Margarita Ibbott of DownshiftingPRO.com.

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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for DownshiftingPRO.com and other online media outlets.