Quebec is known for many things: breathtaking architecture, fine dining, winding streets, and festivals. The area boasts diverse attractions, including one that many other cities do not: whale watching. Quebec’s location offers excellent access to the sea, offering tours and various places that you and your family can marvel at the magnificence that nature can offer. Some of the best whale watching in the world can be found from the shores of Quebec. Whales watching, if done as an outing, does involve a bit of planning so that you and the whole family can create a lifelong memory.
This summer while in Quebec, we did some whales watching. We’ll guide you through all you need to know about whale watching in Quebec, including what you should know in advance, what planning you’ll need to do, which tours are the best, and the seasons in which you’ll be able to see different types of whales.
Where to Go
Due to its vast territory, Quebec offers many locations in which you can plan to schedule your outing. You’ll want to understand where the best sites are based on season; some seasons are better for certain types of whales and the number of whales you might be able to see.
End of summer to early fall (June-October) is best for a trip to visit places like Côte-Nord, Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park, Percé, Gaspé Bay, Baie-Sainte Catherine, or the Gulf of St. Lawrence. These locations boast plentiful views of aquatic life, including whales during this period of time. There are various other beautiful places to visit to see the whales during this season, either planned trips or catching glimpses from the shore.
If you’re looking for a more organized trip, you should definitely check out one of the many whale watching tours available in the area. Depending on the type of experience you’re looking for, you’ll be able to carefully select the option that is just right for the whole family. Tour operators provide you with additional information in real time as you take in the views.
Quebec City Tours
Helicopter Whale Watching Adventure is a wonderful option for an adventurous birdseye view of the whales. However, it is less family-friendly and in a much higher price range than some of the other options.
This package includes:
● Return helicopter flight
● A 2.5-3 hour tour
Starting at $899.99/person.
Bus-Whale Express Zodiac Package (Note: This package is not available during Summer 2021)
This option includes a bus tour that will take you through Charlevoix, where you can enjoy the breathtaking views before embarking on a Zodiac boat ride. You'll have a day filled with lovely views of the local scenery before enjoying close-up views of the whales.
Starting at $144.99/person.
Bus-Whale Express Package (Note: This package is not available during Summer 2021)
This package is almost identical to the Bus-Whale Express Zodiac Package. However, you’ll be able to enjoy the whales from a top whale-watching ship instead of the Zodiac boat.
Starting at $139.99/person.
There are additional options available, many of which offer dinner, brunch, or sunset cruise selections. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, many tours have been postponed until 2022, but you may be able to find some great discounts if you schedule early enough. Don't forget to check AML cruises too. Its one we've used and enjoyed while watching the whales in their natural habitat. During our boat tour, were lucky to have seen sperm whales, beluga whales, minke whales, fin whales and humpback whales .So yes, croisières aml can be another great option to experience plenty of whales
Go on Your Own
If you’re looking for a more casual, unstructured trip to see the whales, you have even more options available to you. Once you’ve selected your location, you’ll be able to figure out what type of experience you’re looking for that will suit your family’s needs.
The Whale Route
Located along Côte-Nord, which spans 1250 kilometers, the whale route is the perfect place to plan a trip to go whale watching—named due to the abundance of whale species that can be spotted from the coastline. Along this route, you can find Zodiac boats available or even try to kayak to get an up-close view of the magnificent mammals. You can find a series of trip itineraries listed here depending on where you would like to start your excursion and where you would like to end. The itineraries also detail additional attractions you can see or hike to along the way, making for a great day of family-friendly fun.
The National Park Tour
If your family is searching for an adventure in nature, the National Park Tour is likely your best option. With so many national parks located in the area, you can tack on some hiking and camping with your whale watching. Check out some of the spots along the whale route before or after exploring the vast natural beauty Quebec has to offer. The itinerary provided provides a plan for 12 days, though you can certainly shorten the trip to suit you and your family’s needs.
Tadoussac is frequently listed as one of the best places to view the whales on your own. Due to the number of whales that can be spotted in this area, you’ll have options to see the whales. You can certainly select a cruise or kayaking, but additionally, you can plan to attempt to catch a glimpse from the shore as well.
● Pointe-de-l’Islet is a short trail (.6 miles) you can take near the marina to view the surrounding waters.
● Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre is a centre where you can marvel at exhibits like the skeleton of a sperm whale (13 metres long). Experts are around to answer any questions you may have about whales or other aquatic life.
● Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay is a national park that boasts what is sometimes referred to as a “Beluga nursery” due to the numerous mothers who take their babies there.
● Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park is a Natural Marine Conservation area, and notably one of the best places in the world to watch whales. Nearby sites include:
■ Learn about wildlife and aquatic creatures and admire the lighthouse.
■ According to the official website it’s “where the St. Lawrence Estuary and the Saguenay Fjord meet” and offer sweeping views of the landscape and sea.
■ The centre provides visitors with vast information on sealife and also hosts a diving site, one of the best in North America!
The centres offer more than just views, there are also experts who can provide you with information about the whales and other wildlife in the area. These locations are excellent for learning and viewing whales, great for young children who want to play games and brush up on their sealife facts. In any case, spending your summer months at village of tadoussac and being among the whale watchers can be a great experience with your family.
The great thing about St. Lawrence is that due to its deep waters and abundant food, it attracts whales up close. You might be able to see 13 species of whales. Here are some of the whales you most likely be able to see during your time in Quebec.
● Humpback Whales
● Fin Whales
● Minke Whales
● Blue Whales
● Beluga Whales
● Pilot Whales
What to Know
When whale watching, there are few things you should know in advance in order to be fully prepared. Most tours you go on will provide all of this information in advance, so if you do decide on a tour make sure that you carefully read all information provided for you once you’ve booked your trip.
If you’re choosing to go on your own, ensure that you have the proper clothing and have all the information you need to visit any of the locations listed about. Make sure that you bring warmer clothes, jackets, and even blankets are recommended as the temperatures can become chilly on the water.
Another thing to note is that whales are living animals with their own agendas. Unfortunately, no amount of planning will guarantee that you’ll spot whales during your visit. Even on paid tours or during busy season there is no 100% guarantee. Likely your best bet is to plan during the busiest season and try to go more than one day in a row in order to increase the likelihood that you’ll catch a glimpse of some of the most majestic creatures in the world.
Have you been to Tadoussac or Baie -Sainte-Catherine in Quebec for whales watching? Please comment and share your experiences below to spread the Traveler Butterfly Love! And for more posts like this, don't forget to subscribe