Saguenay Lac Saint Jean was a complete mystery to me when we arrived there after touring Quebec Maritime and Quebec City this spring. I didn’t really know what to expect and I had never been before. Sometimes those adventures are the best. Having no preconceived notion of what to expect allowed me to let my imagination run wild. I’d say the sky is the limit when you take that kind of trip but it’s only half true in Saguenay Lac Saint Jean. The sky, the lake, the mountains and fjord are really the only limits.
Boasting some stunning natural vistas, a spectacular lake, which many say looks more like an inland sea, and the Saguenay River which flows through a gorgeous fjord, Saguenay is resource rich. Riverfront communities abound in this water-rich area of Quebec which offers a wide variety of outdoor activities, cultural experiences, fine dining, and more. All of this makes Saguenay Lac Saint Jean a great choice for a relaxing, adventurous getaway.
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There’s So Much to Do and See in Saguenay Lac Saint Jean
Nature lovers, history buffs, outdoors enthusiasts and foodies will all find something in the area. With its unique natural beauty, historical sites and landmarks, cruise and dining options, it makes a great getaway for both couples and families with children. And honestly is there any other Canadian destination where a fjord is this accessible?
Plan a visit soon and don’t miss several of these activities and attractions when there.
Zoo Sauvage de Saint-Felicien
Both kids and adults will love Zoo Sauvage which features hundreds of native animals in a respectful, natural setting. I had the opportunity to visit Zoo Sauvage in May while traveling through the area with three other travel writers and friends. This was a true highlight. On a rainy May morning we met just before lunch in the lobby area of ZOO Sauvage. First we were blown away by the quality of the food in the cafeteria. Tourtière anyone?
The facility is a lovely new looking building and we joined our guide on a bus through the Borealie environment. At Zoo Sauvage the animals roam free throughout and the people are merely passing through their home. There’s a camp offered here too. Basically you can sleep on site and kayak on the lake and wake up to caribou and elk.
The Zoo Sauvage is a 485 hectare animal facility with over 1,000 animals including 75 native and exotic species.
Saguenay Fjord National Park
Nature lovers will be impressed with the stunning beauty of this federally protected marine park. Innumerable pines cover the mountains that slope right down to the water. Trails and tons of watersports like sea kayaking make for a natural paradise.
This town is perfect for families with children and history lovers. Explore the town that is just as it was before it was abandoned. Original buildings, an old paper mill, beautiful waterfall, and more await, all described by knowledgeable guides. AND, you can book a stay here. Modern amenities in a ghost town atmosphere make it cool and comfortable too. So plan ahead and consider sleeping in a ghost town. Not everyone can say that.
Parc Cap Jaseux Treehouses
Remember how much fun treehouses were when we were kids? At Parc Cap Jaseux visitors can stay in their very own treehouse. Situated 8 feet off the ground, these treehouses offer spectacular views of the Fjord du Saguenay and the surrounding natural beauty. Be prepared to rough it, though. There’s no water or electricity. Or you can choose a transparent dome overlooking the fjord. Insanely awesome.
Kayaking through the Saguenay Fjord is serious kayaking. We worked hard to get through the waves at so many points. Fitting into those wetsuits was something else. For the real deal sea kayaking check out Charles at Organisaction. Cannot say enough good things about Charles and the stunning natural surroundings in Parc Cap Jaseux. Also, if you want to do a long sea kayaking and hiking adventure this is the spot to do it.
The blueberry route leads cyclists of all calibres on 256 kms of world-class cycling trail around Saint Jean Lake. I wish the weather had been warmer when we visited this area because we were all looking forward to doing this. The morning we had a cycling adventure planned it snowed. IN MAY!!?? So we headed to Val Jalbert ghost town instead.
Air Defense Museum
Open from June to September, The air defense museum will appeal to aviation enthusiasts as well as children. See real aircraft such as jets and helicopters up close as well as real jet engines and more. Learn all about Canadian aviation history.
Via Ferrata or Aerial Adventures in Parc Cap Jaseux.
If you have never seen one of these Via Ferrata’s then picture this: Rock climbing through the gorgeous Parc Cap Jaseux. I mentioned a different Via Ferrata in Tremblant National Park last year which was super challenging and very high. We didn’t do it, but the Tremblant Park one looked insane. So the Via Ferrata in Parc Cap Jaseux looked doable for families in my opinion. I mean they both are marked as family friendly. But I can say I feel like my active family could do this one in Parc Cap Jasuex.
Did I mention the dome?
Sphere at Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux. What a unique spot to rest your head in beautiful Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. So many cool accommodations here. ✈🇨🇦👍🐳🐋 #saglac #adventures #ad #sageunay #travel #quebec #travelblogger #travels #saguenaylacstjean #saguenaylac #saguenayfjord #wanderlust #ifwtwa #fun #springadventures #adventuretravel #Canada #quebecoriginal
Parc national de la Pointe-Taillon
Nature’s beauty is on full display in this gorgeous national park. Enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, and more in this natural wonderland. This area of Quebec lends itself to many outdoor activities and adventures.
Airplane and Helicopter Tours
There’s no better way to take in the beauty of Saguenay Lac Saint Jean than by air. There are wonderful aerial tour options available for those who want to take to the skies for the ultimate tour. We had one of these tours planned but we were too early in May and the snow lasted too long. The planes were literally still frozen to the lake and couldn’t move to fly yet. (GO in the summer months and make this happen.)
Relax in luxury at the Chalet et Spa Lac St Jean. Rebuilt after a major fire last year the spa features all the spa goodies you know and love, with Nordic hot, cold relax series of baths designed to improve circulation and relax you. The loft style condos here were adorable. Outdoor facilities along the riverside include warm basins, dry sauna and more.
Auberge des Battures
Foodies will love the fine dining at Abuerge des Battures. Featuring gourmet French and regional cuisine, all made with locally sourced ingredients, this restaurant takes food to a new level. This was the best meal we had the entire trip. The braised beef was outrageously good and fall off the bone moist. I of course shared my meal on Instagram. The blueberry wine aperitif was crazy delicious.
Musee du Fjord
Such a surprise! I assumed it would be a museum like any other. Not so. Musee du Fjord is creative and engaging. From the moment you enter you are transported into a theatrical arena reminiscent of a Star Trek space ship. An immersive show draws you into the geography and history of the area from billions of years ago. Also there’s a giant aquarium, a touch pool and numerous rotating itinerant exhibits. It’s educational without being boring.
Saguenay Lac Saint Jean has Something for Everyone
Whether you’re a nature lover, historical buff, or outdoor enthusiast, Saguenay Lac Saint Jean has something for you. I could travel every year to a spot in Quebec and never get bored. It’s a province that naturally supports exploring and adventures where the environment always is the star of the show. If you’re looking for a unique Quebec getaway, consider Saguenay Lac Saint Jean. Its beauty, historical and cultural importance, and amazing geography make it so worth the visit.
Meanwhile in Quebec Maritime Region nearby:
And families will love Ferme 5 Etoiles working farm and animal observation/ rescue centre.
If you the it right around May then consider staying at Cap Au Leste overlooking the fjord. Views are spectacular and the prices aren’t bad. The road there is impassable for a few months of the year. It is perfect from mid-May to August.
I was a guest of Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean in May and as such received accommodations, meals and attractions. My opinion is all my own and it is also truthful. This post may also contain affiliate links as a service to readers.