Did you know that being around nature reduces anger, fear, and stress? It also makes you feel emotionally centred while reducing your blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension. Being around nature also helps you cope with pain.
When you’re running around in your daily life dealing with tight deadlines, difficult people, and family drama, you want a vacation that takes you away from all of that and heals you emotionally. You want to enjoy the beauty of a rugged landscape and come back rejuvenated.
If you’re looking for a beautiful travel destination filled with national parks, breathtaking beaches, and remote islands, Gaspésie is the answer. Keep on reading about why Gaspésie is one of Canada’s finest travel destinations.
The Gaspé Peninsula, which is in eastern Quebec, goes from the St. Lawrence River to Chaleur Bay. You have over 30,000 square kilometres of rugged beauty to explore.
The best way to explore this peninsula is by driving on Route 132, a scenic highway where you can see the coastal regions and mountainous areas. You’ll also get a chance to explore many small fishing villages along the coastline. Each village will have its own unique culture and delicious seafood to keep you satisfied.
With the mountains, you get a chance to go hiking, mountaineering and backcountry skiing. In the coastal area, you can go kayaking, fishing, sailing and scuba diving. You get everything you want from your vacation in the Gaspé Peninsula.
The Gaspé Peninsula was first explored in 1844 by Sir William Edmond Logan, who is often known as the father of Canadian geology. This makes the Gaspé Peninsula a geological adventure waiting to be explored for its rock formations and fossils.
What you’ll notice when you come to Gaspésie are the sea cliffs that frame the northern shore along the St. Lawrence River. You will also find the Chic-Choc mountains that are part of the Notre Dame Mountains. These mountains are a continuation of the Appalachian mountains in Quebec.
Mont Jacques-Cartier is the highest peak at a height of 4,160 feet. The other highest peak is Mount Albert at 3,776 feet. These are both popular with hikers.
Did you know that an orogeny is a mountain building mechanism resulting from a collision of two landmasses? These mountains of Gaspésie were found over hundreds of millions of years ago over three separate orogenies. The three orogenies are:
Taconic orogeny from about 480 to 440 million years ago
Acadian orogeny from 415 to 350 million years ago
Alleghanian orogeny from 325 to 260 million years ago
It sounds like a bunch of numbers and years, so why is this important to know? It’s these orogenies that create massive folds as rocks trapped between the landmasses were forced upwards.
You can find a rich array of fossils making it an area of paleontological importance. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site as marine life that was buried among the sedentary layer was brought up onto the surface because of the intense pressure and spread through the Gaspé Peninsula.
Indigenous Peoples of Gaspésie
The name Gaspé means “land’s end” in Mi'kmaq. The Mi’kmaq were original inhabitants of the territory of Gaspé (Gespe’gewa’gi). The Mi’kmaq were known as Gesgapegiawag or the “wandering people”.
They used to have a nomadic life when they came across this land that was foretold by elders. They established a community where the river widens and turns to salt. They chose this land because of its richness and beauty with medicines in the East and warm salty bay to the South.
The first thing you want to do when you get to Gaspésie is to check out the Gaspésie National Park which is at the centre of Gaspé Peninsula. The National Park has more than 25 peaks that rise over 1,000 meters. You will be surrounded by beauty and nature in this rugged national park.
Gaspésie National Park is found south of the town of Sainte-Anne-des-Monts. You’ll have 140 kilometres of hiking trails including the most beautiful stretches on the Appalachian Trail.
Transportation - Getting to Gaspésie
There are many ways to get to the Gaspésie including by boat, car, train and bus. If you’re travelling from out of the province, you can get there by regular and charter flight.
If you’re coming from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI, you can board the Halifax-Montreal train. You’ll want to get off at Matapedia. From there, you can head west to Bas-Saint-Laurent. Rather than getting there fast, you can make the travel part of your journey with beautiful and romantic scenery including the coastlines.
If you’re coming by bus, then remember the Orleans Express is the bus that provides service throughout the province of Quebec. Look up the route to find out how you can get to Bas-Saint-Laurent.
You can get to Bas-Saint-Laurent easily by car by taking Highway 20 or Route 132. From New Brunswick, you can take Highway 2 or Highway 104 from Nova Scotia. The Trans-Canada Highway becomes Route 185 when you cross the border into Quebec.
Remember that the roads may be closed during snowstorms.
The ferry from Saint-Simeon to Riviere-du-Loup can also get you to Bas-Saint-Laurent.
The closest airport to Bas-Saint-Laurent is Mont-Joli airport. You can get flights from Pascan Airlines and PAL Airlines to get you the beautiful national park.
Transportation - Getting Around Gaspésie
Once you get to Gaspésie, you want to be able to get around. You have lots of options to get around including cars and ferries.
By Car, Motorcycle, or RV
If you drove to Gaspésie or you rented a car, you can travel around using Highway 20 that runs parallel to Route 132. This takes you along St. Lawrence to Bas-Saint-Laurent. When you get there, you can take Route 289 or Route 185 to see the beautiful sites in Gaspésie. You can enjoy a panoramic view no matter what route you take.
You have access to two ferries that link the two shores of St. Lawrence: Trois-Pistoles-Les Escoumins and Rimouski-Forestville.
You can also fly from Bas-Saint-Laurent to other areas of Quebec. The closed airport is Mont-Joli airport.
You can also easily travel by bus using the Orleans Express along Route 132 to towns throughout Bas-Saint-Laurent.
Things to Do in Gaspésie
There are many things to do in Gaspésie that can take your vacation to the next level. There are small fishing villages for delicious seafood, national parks for hiking and gorgeous beaches.
Gaspésie National Park
The Gaspésie National Park has hiking trails that will keep you connected to nature throughout your trip. With more than 25 peaks, you will have scenic views along the 140 kilometres of hiking trails that include the Appalachian trails.
Forillon National Park
The Forillon National Park is located at the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula. You get to see the rugged coastline with many opportunities for bird watching and whale watching. Get more information at one of the tallest lighthouses in Canada at Cap des Rosiers.
Whenever you google Gaspe, you’ll see the iconic Perce Rock in the middle of the blue sea. It’s eroded over time giving it a battered and unique look with a large hole at one end. It’s 88 meters high and 475 meters long ready for Instagrammable pictures.
Matane is a town in the Gaspe peninsula. This town is known for windmills. You can even see Quebec’s biggest wind farm. It’s next to Matane River which is known as the River School because you can take this opportunity to learn how to fish.
Sainte Anne Des Monts
The town of Sainte Anne Des Monts is surrounded by water and cliffs. The iconic bright red lighthouse and museum are about 15 kilometres east of town. You can explore the "Exploramer", an interactive museum to learn about marine life in the St. Lawrence River.
Gaspésie Hotels - Best Ones to Stay At
You don’t want to make it to Gaspe for a day because there's so much to see and do. Spend some time here by checking into one of the many hotels in town with beautiful locations and amazing amenities.
Riotel is located directly on the beach so you can enjoy nature and spend the rest of your time relaxing on the beach. You also get an indoor and outdoor pool, lighted tennis courts, a sauna and an outdoor patio with sea views.
If you want to be in the centre of the city, check out Rodeway Inn. It’s also 30 kilometres from Forillon National Park. You can enjoy delicious seafood at the onsite restaurant. The Musee de la Gaspésie is a 10 minute walk from this hotel.
Hotel Plante is in downtown Gaspe with a kitchenette and free wi-fi. The Forillon national park is 20 minutes away. Couples enjoy the location rating it 9.0.
If you want to maintain your connection to nature, you can also go camping in Gaspésie. There are many campsites with amenities that can keep you immersed in nature but still connected to the world with electricity and wifi.
This camp is located approximately 9.5 kilometres from the historic town of Gaspe, so you can get a little bit of town and a little of nature together. It’s located on the north side of Douglastown Bay, halfway between Forillon National Park and Perce. There are 53 sites with restrooms and a washing machine and dryer. You can rent canoes, kayaks and bicycles.
Camping Plage Beaubassin
This camp is in the heart of Chaleur Bay. There’s golfing available within 10 kilometres. You can also go rollerblading, fishing and cycling. You get free wireless internet, showers, electricity and a washer-dryer. The 233 sites in this camping ground can be perfect for your next camping trip.
Camping Mont Albert
This camp is located in the Gaspésie National Park. You can find camping sites, Huttopia tents and huts. You can go fishing, hiking and even an indoor game room. You will have access to wifi, a convenience store, showers and cottage accommodations.
Best Times to Visit Gaspésie
The best time to visit Gaspésie is from June to September, but it’s a good location all year round. The months of June and July have amazing climates, but they’re not the peak season so flights are cheaper. The coldest months are January and February.
Meteo Gaspésie - Gaspésie Weather
Average temperatures vary drastically in Gaspésie. In the summer, temperatures can reach as high as 23 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, winter can reach a minimum of -19 degrees Celsius. February is probably the coldest month.
Gaspésie and COVID-19 Protocols
Gaspésie is committed to protecting the safety of tourists. As part of their Covid-19 protocols, people under 13 years of age and up must have a vaccination passport to be admitted into certain locations and for certain activities.
For indoor and outdoor sports, recreational activities, outdoor events, and outdoor festivals, you’ll need a vaccine passport. You’ll also need a vaccine passport when you go into a bar or restaurant.
Learn about how you can get back to life after Covid-10 at Insurdinary.
Plan Your Trip to Gaspésie Today!
Now you know everything about Gaspésie. You can get there and check into one of the amazing hotels. You can also choose to go camping and enjoy the true wilderness. Remember to keep your vaccine passport on you so you can enjoy the various activities.
Go ahead and plan your trip to Gaspésie today. Before you book, don’t forget to get a travel credit card and get points for your next trip. Compare travel credit cards at Insurdinary.