The Province of Quebec is an incredible one!
There is so much to see and two incredibly large, dynamic cities that offer dozens of ideas for families to have the ultimate vacation! Here is our ideal itinerary for a Quebec road trip for families!
If you’re in the northeast of America, Quebec is relatively easy to get to by car, as it’s just a 5 1/2 hour drive from Boston to Montreal. If you’re elsewhere in the country or world, you can also fly into Montreal at the Montréal–Trudeau International Airport.
Day 1 – Arrive in Montreal
Because today was a long day of travel, take it easy by grabbing food close to your hotel. Montreal has lots of wonderful restaurants, try to find one with poutine to start your trip off right!
Day 2 – Old Port and Notre-Dame Basilica
- For breakfast, head to Fairmont Bagel. This bakery doesn’t have seating inside, but you’ll want to grab a variety of the famous bagels. They sell tubs of cream cheese and jam, as well. So, you could easily grab your preferred amount for the following morning, too.
- Most hotels in Montreal are in the vicinity of Old Montreal and these cobbled streets make for a wonderful stroll. Restaurants and shops line the street. If you’re looking to try Maple-flavored anything this is the place. The Notre-Dame Basilica is also here located at 110 Notre-Dame St. West. Tickets are for sale at the door or you can buy online.
- For dinner head to La Banquise if it is your first time trying poutine, start with the original. If the line is too long for your liking (there will always be a line, but La Banquise stays open 24 hours a day) head across the street for Ma Poule Mouillee for some great food – some locals told us that the poutine is even better than at La Banquise.
- Drive up to Mount Royal Park to watch the sunset over the gorgeous city view and if you’re up for an incredible experience, stick around just a bit longer and you’ll see raccoons climb out of the bushes to visit people standing at the lookout area (often people come to feed them, we don’t recommend doing this as they are not tame animals, but surely you will see someone doing so and you’ll be able to see dozens of raccoons surround the area.)
Day 3 – Jardin Garden and Planetarium
- The Jardin Botanicum Garden and the Planetarium can be purchased as a package deal. Once the insectarium and biodome are finished with their remodels, they will also be available to purchase as a joint visit. We highly recommend doing this and seeing as many or all of the above facilities. They’re all tremendously well done and our children loved them very very much.
- If you’d rather take the day exploring Montreal’s history, try Pointe-a-Calliere
- The museum has loads of hands-on exhibits to get your children involved in learning about Montreal.
In the evening, drive two hours to Quebec City.
For a more extensive list of family-friendly options in Montreal, check our post here
Day 4 – Aquarium and Montmorency Falls
- Aquarium du Quebec is a real treat for kids, followed by a visit to the extraordinary Montmorency Falls. Take the Cable car down the mountain to the waters edge or do the full circuit around the falls and make sure to cross the suspension bridge!
I’ve purposely left you outside of the walled city of Old Quebec because that will come later!
For your nights in Quebec, we recommend Hotel Pur. We dined in their restaurant, Table, every night and really loved it. The mornings were also quite simple as there is a bakery right next door to the hotel, making mornings really easy! Hotel Pur also offers a continental breakfast for a small price.
Day 5 – drive to Tadoussac
- You’re going to want to do the drive to the Tadoussac area during the day because the route will take you through some of the most gorgeous coastal scenery. I highly recommend this route during the fall, but all months May – November will be lovely. You’re welcome to do this trip during winter as well – you just won’t have whale watching as an activity, but just cancel that out and do a dog sled! There will be a complimentary Ferry crossing that runs 24 hours a day and it adds a little thrill to the long drive (3 hours) and also signals that you are almost there! Step out of your car if you’re prepared for the cold (the St. Lawrence is always very cold) and you might even see whales from the ferry ride!
- We recommend you stay right outside Tadoussac at Ferme 5 Etoiles
- Their cabins come with kitchens, so stop at the small grocery store in Sacre-Coeur and stock up for your two nights here.
Ferme 5 Etoiles is a working farm and a really special experience to visit. They have a zoo of rescued and abandoned Canadian animals that you can wander through and visit at any time. Most months of the year they offer dog sled rides with their teams of huskies pulling you along and so much more!
- That first evening on the farm, take a visit to the Black Bears!
Day 6 – Morning Feed and Whale watching
- Schedule your alarms because at 8:30 you are invited to meet in the barn and collect the morning eggs and feed the animals! Every child will love this experience!
- After eating lunch in your cabin, head out to Tadoussac (15-minute drive) and take a whale watching tour with AML Cruises. They have three different boat sizes and tours, so for a complete overview of them check out our post on whale watching in Tadoussac, Quebec.
Day 7 – Wolves and Old Quebec City
- This morning, wake up and feed the animals again if you’d like. It’s part of your stay on the farm and for those of you in your party that are old enough (you must be 12 years old) try the encounter with wolves at Ferme 5 Etoiles. They take you in with their two arctic wolves and slowly allow the wolves to get familiar with you. An experience that you can only find on the rarest of occasions. (This has a fee)
- Begin the drive to Old Quebec early enough to enjoy those views once again, you won’t be tired of them. Promise.
- Arrive in Old Quebec for your Grand Finale of your trip! If you can splurge we HIGHLY recommend staying at Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac its an incredible experience and it really makes for a very special ending to your time throughout the province.
- For dinner, try the burgers at Le Chic Shack or fondue at Le Petit Chateau.
Day 8 – Old Quebec City
- Today enjoy your time in the magical walled city that is Old Quebec. You’ll feel like you’re in a living fairytale, so going slow and soaking it all in is best. We recommend you take the Funicular down to Lower Town and wander the streets, going through the shops and the restaurants. You’ll easily walk yourself back up the hill. Or switch it up and walk down and take the Funicular back up! If you’re staying at the Fairmont you can hop on the Funicular right there.
- You can walk around 3/4 of the walled city and visit Musee du Fort for a film, played hourly, about the history of the city. You won’t even need to leave the walls of the city on this day. Parking is hard to find if you stay outside of Old Quebec, so keep that in mind. If you do stay at the Fairmont, you can easily leave your car parked at the hotel for $40 a night.
For more on what you can do in Quebec City, check this post.
Day 9 – head home
- If you’ve driven from New England you can easily head home straight from Quebec City. You could fly out of the Jean Lesage International Airport straight from Quebec. Or if it is more affordable to fly out of Montreal, it’s just a 2-hour drive back to the Montreal Airport.