Keep a lookout for wandering moose and caribou. // © 2015 Dana Rebmann
Feature image (above): One of the sleeping spheres at Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux // © 2015 Dana Rebmann
Hotels and resorts go all out to attract guests, but there are some perks only Mother Nature can provide. If you like outdoor adventures, wild nights await in Quebec’s lesser known Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region.
The cabins are cozy, but it’s the neighbors that get all the attention at Aventuraid. Three packs of semiwild arctic and gray wolves call the woods here home. Fencing separates typically shy wolves from guests, but don’t be surprised if you glimpse pack members through the window as you climb into bed. Don’t plan on sleeping in, either — when 42 wolves howl, you’ll do more than just roll over. Cabins are heated, but it’s a short walk to the bathroom and showers.
Adults and kids 13 and older can go inside the enclosure and meet the pack of imprinted wolves. The first thing these wolves saw when they were born was people, so they are curious and very friendly.
Tip: Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty when you meet the imprinted wolf pack — they are quite playful.
Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux
Tree houses aren’t just for kids. Branch out and sleep in a suspended sphere, complete with views of Saguenay Fjord, at Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux. Each sphere can sleep up to four and comes stocked with camping supplies. You can even rent linens if you don’t want to drag them from home. When you’re not nestled high in the canopy, spend time doing park activities such as kayaking, ziplining and a via ferrata course.
Tip: Pick up the perfect picnic at Bergerie La Vieille. Located at the entrance of Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux, the family-run farm market features regional products. There’s also a small restaurant that serves dinner.
Zoo Sauvage de Saint-Felicien
Spend the day on safari in a boreal forest, and then curl up in a provided sleeping bag for a night in a platform tent lined with surprisingly cushy balsam fir branches at Zoo Sauvage de Saint-Felicien. A moose or caribou could (and typically does) wander through camp, so be sure to keep your camera handy.
Knowledgeable guides double as chefs, preparing dinner and breakfast over the campfire. There’s a special camp tent just for kids loaded with information about zoo animals and their habitats. Books, a microscope and animal pelts entertain in between roasting marshmallows.
Tip: Bring a headlamp for night runs to the outhouse.