First Impressions of Gatineau Quebec

This summer we took our family on the road to Gatineau Quebec in the Outaouais Region. I honestly can’t stop thinking about it. Quebec never disappoints me and I often wish we lived closer to the province. It’s truly La Belle Province for so many reasons and the perfect choice for a family vacation.


So How Big is Gatineau Park?

We started our visit early on a Sunday morning after driving for roughly 7 hours from our home in London, Ontario. First on the agenda was Gatineau Park. I knew Gatineau Park was massive, but I didn’t know if it was 361 square kilometres of breathtaking beauty to write home about.

There were many things on our itinerary that I was super excited to see but when we reached Gatineau Park I was transported to one of the most beautiful parks I have ever set foot in. I still can’t stop thinking about this space. Gatineau Park is a world class stunner. I wish we’d had more time to explore. We spent several hours in the park and I took some snapshots of the most incredible natural landscape.


A Busy Place

There are areas to camp in Gatineau Park and I saw dozens of cyclists there the day we visited. In fact the park was packed and there were swarms of visitors from all over. We made a stop at the Visitor’s entrance so we could inquire about where to park and how much time we needed to get to the highlights of the park that we had in mind. A staffer inside was taking down geographic locations of visitors and I heard many from the United States, Ontario and a few European tourists note that it was their first time visiting Gatineau Park as well.


Pink Lake

Despite the long drive from London I couldn’t stop myself from hiking around Pink Lake. It was one of the highlights I had been looking forward to. Pink Lake is a unique natural phenomenon and a meromictic lake. I was happy to share that information with my family, because hello..summer is not time to stop learning.


Meromictic means that it is a lake where the layers of water do not mix. In a regular lake the layers of water mix. Several years ago a restoration of the lake took place and now it is surrounded by gorgeous trail, walkways and boardwalks and lookouts that make this an event on its own. The Lake is stunning. Go see it for yourself.


A Memorable Setting

Gatineau Park is truly one of the most beautiful parks we have ever been to. There are 50 lakes in Gatineau Park. There are 165 kilometres of biking trails and 90 kilometres of mountain biking trails. 240 different species of birds can be seen here too. After spending several hours at Champlain Lookout and Pink Lake we were spent. We headed over to the beautiful Ramada Plaza Le Manoir du Casino which exceeded my expectations.


Where to Stay Near Gatineau Quebec

The Ramada was spacious and clean and located in a central location. There is a pool and hot tub and breakfast was included in our package. Service at The Ramada was very attentive. One of the things I love most about Quebec always is that they seem love and create family friendly spots in all their regions and cities.


In our room we had a giant loft area with a full bedroom and bathroom for the kids that was separate from us. It reminded me of a chalet we stayed in back in the winter when ski season was winding down for the year. The bed was so perfect, we slept like babies. And that was a great thing since the next day in the morning we headed off to an epic four hour zip lining adventure that was the coolest thing we have ever done together.

What Activities Are Nearby in Gatineau Quebec?

Arbraska Lafleche Cave and Aerial Park in Val Des Monts was about a 25 minute drive from the Ramada.


Arbraska was an adventure I will never forget. We worked hard together as a family to make the experience so rewarding.

The Canadian Museum of History

After our amazing adventure at Arbraska Lafleche we headed straight to the Canadian Museum of History. The setting is perfect and the museum exhibits are stunning. Located right on the Gatineau side of the Ottawa River the museum has multiple displays right now.

Cultural Experiences

The Napoleon Paris exhibit captured our imaginations for a significant chunk of the visit. Then we also spent as much time as possible in the First People’s exhibit which was remarkable. It was hard to do this space in half a day which is all we had left after we zip lined. We did our best to cover a few key exhibits though before the museum closed for the night.



So is it Family Friendly?

There was so much to do in Gatineau Quebec and it’s all perfect for families.  From tackling the great outdoors to soaring through trees and climbing higher at Arbraska, then visiting museums and retiring comfortably at night, Gatineau Quebec is more than worth the drive.

I highly recommend this destination and can’t wait to return.

Planning to visit Gatineau – Book a Stay at Ramada Le Plaza Manoir du Casino.


We were guests of Tourism Outaouais while visiting the area. Our accommodations and all excursions were generously provided for us. This post also contains affiliate links as a service to readers at no extra cost to them. My opinion is all my own and it is also truthful.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.