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Mont-Saint-Joseph. Photo : Steve Deschênes

A weekend in Chaleur Bay

Experience the effervescence of Chaleur Bay in Gaspésie for a weekend! A central point of restaurants, shops, bakeries, cafés, and more, this site is waiting for you with its salted body of water known as one of the most beautiful bays in the world.

Here is a suggested route* for your stay. Rule number 1: once in the car, get into vacation mode and enjoy the scenery! Heading east 6 hours from Montréal or 3.5 hours from Quebec City, the town of Mont-Joli is the gateway to the Gaspésie. Continue southward, via the beautiful Matapédia Valley, to reach Chaleur Bay.

Day 1
11:30 a.m.: Food supplies in Mont-Joli
A stop at the Café-boutique Ma Cabane en Gaspésie in Mont-Joli is imperative to stock up for a picnic. Sandwiches, salads, and other homemade delicacies (including maple products) are complemented by a wide selection of regional products. An hour later, a little past Amqui, follow the signs for the Chute à Philomène. This 33 m waterfall will create a perfect backdrop for your picnic! Descending the 100 steps will stretch your legs, guaranteed. Once satiated, you can continue your journey towards Chaleur Bay.

Chute à Philomène. Photo : Tourisme Gaspésie

4:30 p.m.: Stop in Carleton-sur-Mer
In Carleton-sur-Mer, follow the signs to Mont Saint-Joseph (555 m). You can drive directly to the top, or follow the route most of the way, then park your car and hike on a short forest trail (1.8 km) to reach the summit. From the lookout, you will be captivated by the breathtaking view of Chaleur Bay. This lookout is also one of the starting points of the hiking trails connecting Carleton-sur-Mer and its pretty neighbor, Maria. But the magnificent views, waterfalls, and other wonders of this network of trails will have to wait for the next visit!

Mont Saint-Joseph. Photo : Ville de Carleton-sur-Mer

6:30 p.m.: Dinner and evening in Bonaventure
InBonaventure, check in at a hotel and go to a restaurant for dinner. La Poissonnerie du pêcheur – Dining Room is a must for fish and seafood lovers. There is no fish fresher than in this charming restaurant attached to a fish market! In the evening, there is nothing quite like walking on the beach, listening to the sound of the waves while admiring the starry sky…

Day 2

9 a.m.: History or fauna in Bonaventure
Curious about history? After lunch, visit the Musée acadien du Québec to learn more about Acadian culture and its influence through permanent and temporary exhibitions. You prefer a visit to a wildlife park? Opt for the Bioparc of Gaspésie. You will find native species of the region (e.g. caribou, moose, seals) and a multitude of other endearing animals. You may be able to watch cougar feeding, greet Couscous the black bear, visit the reptile and amphibian pavilion, then go to the insectarium to see hairy tarantulas and taste insects. There is so much to see at the Bioparc! You could easily spend the day there, but other exciting discoveries await you.

Couscous, Bioparc de la Gaspésie. Photo : Jérôme Landry

12:30 p.m.: Direction Saint-Elzéar
Drive about thirty minutes north up to the village of Saint-Elzéar to visit the oldest cave in Québec. After registration, go to the parking lot, at the end of which your guide will be waiting for you. Comfortable shoes and a fleece jacket are recommended in any season, as it is always 4°C in the cave. Harness and equipment in hand, you will descend the ladder of 46 steps. That’s when the magic begins! The Grotte de St-Elzéar, 230,000 years old, is 200 m long and reaches 35 m below the surface. Walking on metal walkways, one can observe a great variety of concretions such as calcite flows, stalactites, stalagmites, globulins and moon milk. Note that a reservation is required for this visit.

Grotte de Saint-Elzéar. Photo : Michel Julien

Back to the surface, take the road to Carleton-sur-Mer. There are excellent restaurants and a wide variety of accommodation options, from the bed and breakfast to the 4-star hotel, motels, cabins and inns.

9 p.m.: Return to Carleton-sur-Mer
Your visit to Carleton-sur-Mer would be incomplete without a stop at the Microbrasserie Le Naufrageur! Go in the evening to enjoy a tasty beer and meet the locals. Colourful shows are also often on the program.

Day 3

9 a.m.: Parc national de Miguasha
After a hearty breakfast of breads, pastries, and espresso from the Boulangerie-Pâtisserie La Mie véritable in Carleton-sur-Mer, go to the Parc national de Miguasha, where fossils tell the story of species moving from water to land. The exhibition will tell you more about the transition that took place over 380 million years ago. Be fascinated by the witnesses of that time, such as the Prince of Miguasha and Elpi, and walk along the cliff where they were discovered.

Parc national de Miguasha. Photo : Tourisme Gaspésie

Want to know more about the range of fall activities offered in Chaleur Bay and elsewhere in Gaspésie? Plan your stay at tourisme-gaspesie.com.

* This itinerary is only a suggestion. It is not a package and is not for sale. It was designed based on businesses open in the fall, but whose schedules may vary. Before taking the road, book your accommodation and check the schedules of the businesses where you want to go. Have a great stay in Gaspésie! 

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