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“Mom, That was so cool.”
Those are words that every parent longs to hear — and getting them out of the mouth of a 15-year-old boy is no easy feat.
But it happened in Quebec.
My husband, two teenage sons and I were about three days into a weeklong trip when I heard those miraculous words. And we didn’t have to cross the planet to make it happen.
Every year, travelers make their way to Canada’s largest province, but they often leave much of what the destination has to offer on the cutting room floor. Most travelers start in Montreal and Quebec City when exploring the province. While these are great cities, clients who don’t venture outward are missing the best of the destination.
So whether you’re creating trips for families who love history, culture or adventure, Quebec won’t disappoint. Suggest your clients form a deeper connection to Quebec (aka “La Belle Province”) by suggesting that — after exploring Montreal or Quebec City — they hop in a rental car and travel to at least one of these unique stops.
Active Adventures at Mont TremblantDrive Time From Montreal: 2.5 hours
Entertainment abounds at Mont Tremblant, a four-season ski resort. From May to October, families can try out Quebec’s longest ziplines.
It takes three hours to do the five-zipline tour, but the views and thrilling ride will keep everyone excited. In addition to taking in the great outdoors, the crew can also explore the village’s culinary side by tasting a BeaverTail: fried dough in the shape of a beaver’s tail, with a choice of toppings. In the winter, Mont Tremblant shines with snow bunnies who can ski hills and trails. Or, clients can opt to visit Brind’O, a new indoor waterpark set to open in December. There are also escape room challenges, laser tag, virtual reality experiences and more.
While here, don’t miss the Apprentice-Falconer Walk, which is operated by Mont Tremblant’s on-site Activity Centre. Clients can spend time in the nearby forests with a professional falconer, who will teach them about the area’s birds. Kids can also call birds to land on their gloved hands.
Cultural Understanding in Trois RivieresDrive Time From Quebec City: 1.5 hours
The Borealis Museum is set up in the former filtration plant for the Canadian International Paper Company. Nothing in that description will bring joy to a child’s eyes, but when parents get them through the door, that will change.
The museum dives into the area’s pulp and paper industry and is dedicated to the lumberjacks and log drivers who once completed perilous work here. Kids can explore interactive exhibits, video displays and spaces on their own, and everyone stays happy and engaged. The whole crew will be amazed by the stories of bravery and desperation that drove the families who lived here to risk their lives.
No one will regret a stop at nearby Musee Pop, either. The pop-culture museum has rotating exhibits that focus primarily on the richness of Quebec’s culture, past and present; “Hang On Tight!” is the current installment. The space offers children of all ages a hands-on introduction to the language, people (including the First Nations) and culture of the province.
Families traveling with older kids shouldn’t miss the Old Prison of Trois-Rivieres, which is attached to the museum and makes for an incredible learning opportunity. Guided tours of the cells and dungeon offer a chance to delve into fascinating crime stories, as well as thoughtful discussions about how we treat convicted people.
A Whale of a time in TadoussacDrive Time From Quebec City: 3 hours
Only about 800 people call the small town of Tadoussac home, but don’t let that fool you: Its waters are teeming with residents — of the marine mammal variety.
Located at the foot of where the Saguenay River meets the St. Lawrence, the area is best known for the 13 different species of whales that frequent its waters.
In the summer and fall, family exploration should start at the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre, where clients will find information, films and a collection of mammal skeletons that help them understand the area’s marine mammal populations. (Proceeds from gift shop sales are used to assist research.)
The facility closes in winter, but the whales thrive all year long. For the ultimate whale-watching experience, stand on the shoreline to spot belugas and blue whales, along with harp seals and more.
Pro tip: On the drive up to Tadoussac from Quebec City, families will pass through picturesque small towns. Recommend they make a stop in Baie Saint-Paul, famous as the birthplace of Cirque du Soleil.