Enjoy a good old family road trip by going to Lac-Saint-Jean from Mauricie by route 155, from Quebec City by taking the junction to route 169 in Hebertville, from Chibougamau by route 167 or from Saguenay by route 170. You are leaving from Montreal and looking for a bucolic experience? Why not put aside the car for the weekend and come by train? You will arrive directly at the Lac-Bouchette train station. Do not hesitate to consult the access to the region to plan your stay.
DAY 1: IT ALL STARTS AT LAC-BOUCHETTE
As soon as you arrive in the middle of the day, plan a stop at the Ermitage Saint-Antoine de Lac-Bouchette to, among other things; attend the immersive multimedia experience Origine. This impressive state-of-the-art viewing is a reflection on the respect for nature and the environment. This is an attraction not to be missed!
Throughout the afternoon, hikers will enjoy the walking trails, while cultural enthusiasts will be delighted to discover the rich history of this sanctuary. Located near the municipal beach, it is also possible to rent kayaks, paddleboards and pedal boats to fully enjoy Lake Ouiatchouan.
For dinner, the restaurant Le Campanile offers a tasty menu to savour while overlooking the lake. You will find typical dishes such as the famous tourtière du Lac-Saint-Jean as well as fresh products from the bakery La Mie de Saint-Antoine. Start off your meal with a fine beer from a regional craft brewery.
To relax in the evening, whether you like camping, cottages or hotels, the Ermitage has everything you need. Several packages are available for those who are looking for an all-inclusive experience.
DAY 2: A CULTURAL IMMERSION
Fill up on information
The next morning, head for the Chambord tourist information office located at the corner of routes 155 and 169. Stop there to get advice on the unique places to discover in the area. To find out more about where to buy local products and to find the best trio of the region: gourgaine soup, tourtière and blueberry pie. Armed with information, you are now ready to leave continue your adventure.
After about thirty minutes on Highway 169 heading west, you will arrive in Mashteuiatsh, the only Ilnu community in Lac-Saint-Jean. Take the time to learn more about their history and experience their culture.
Tip from the guide: Follow the new interactive terminals accompanied by the Historical Discovery Podcast to learn more about their history. And take the opportunity to say hello to Philippe (#suivezlephil)!
Continue your discoveries at the Musée amérindien de Mashteuiatsh. The visit lasts an average of 3 hours and includes a permanent exhibition and three temporary exhibitions. In the permanent exhibition, you will be invited to follow Kukum (grandmother) and Mushum (grandfather) to learn more about the way of life of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh through the seasons. The Nutshimitsh (In the Forest) outdoor trail is also something to experience during your visit. To add to the fun, you can take part in an archaeological excavation activity that will please both children and adults.
End your visit in style before dinner and take the time to explore the museum's artisanal boutique. Aboriginal literature, handicrafts made by community artists and local products will satisfy your craving for something authentic.
On your bikes
For the more athletic among you, hop on a near by section of the Véloroute des Bleuets and admire the stunning lac Saint-Jean from the seat of your bike. For foodies, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean is a true paradise. Take advantage of the afternoon to fill up, from the farm to the table, with artisanal beers, the tastiest cheeses, our famous chocolate covered blueberries and all the boreal flavours that make our fare so special. Finally, put down your luggage in one of the accommodations located in the community or in a nearby town. Discover them here.
DAY 3: DISCOVERING THE BOREALIE
After an enriching day of wonder the day before, resume your journey towards a must-see activity: a visit to the Zoo sauvage de Saint-Félicien.
As soon as you arrive at the zoo, plan to watch the multi-sensory film that will immerse you in the boreal forest and is a perfect introduction to the day. Afterwards, discover the all animals throughout the different sectors of the zoo. Don't forget to take a tour of the nature trail where the animals roam freely in their natural habitat while you watch from the train. Fun for the whole family! Pssst... As soon as you arrive, you may spot a new rare species... the life-size Phil (#suivezlephil).
Tip from the guide: a full day goes by so quickly at the zoo. For your dinner, there is a restaurant on site.
Finally, we move northeast to enjoy a good night's sleep in one of the accommodations offered in Dolbeau-Mistassini. Between inns, lodges, motels, chalets and campgrounds, the choices are vast. Discover them here.
DAY 4 : LAZING AROUND AND EXPLORING
Take advantage of the morning to explore the surroundings. With its spectacular rivers, impressive waterfalls and enchanting boreal forest, of Dolbeau-Mistassini's area is a fabulous playground for outdoor enthusiasts, thrill seekers and history buffs. Before you leave, take the time to enjoy a good meal in the local restaurants. Discover them here.
Heading to Alma
Just after lunch time, take the road towards Alma. On the way, you will cross several municipalities. Some of them will offer you a splendid seaside panorama while others will allow you to admire magnificent fields of potatoes, canola and other grains. Either way, stop for a moment to contemplate the scenery, take a breath of fresh air and capture the moment with your camera!
Tip from your guide : Lac-Saint-Jean is miles of shoreline along an immense lake. To take your breath away by so much beauty, discover the most magnificient viewpoints and belvederes right here.
At the end of the day, we drop off our luggage at the Centre de villégiature Dam-en-terre. Guaranteed fun for the whole family with the many activities offered on site. The place offers a superb fine sand beach with swimming, giant heated paddling pool under supervision, volleyball, mini-golf, kayak, canoe, pedal boat... In short, everything has been thought to ensure you an exceptional moment in an incomparable site. Located on the banks of the Grande-Décharge River, you can spend the night in one of the many accommodations available on the site, depending on your preferences: campgrounds, Coolbox suites and condos. Whatever your choice, everything is there for you to conclude this tour of the lake around a crackling fire.
In the evening, head to downtown Alma to admire the spectacular illuminated footbridge over the Petite-Décharge River. Move to the Falaise Park where the view of downtown is unique.
For those who plan to be in the area for a few days, this route is ideal. However, if you have a little more time, you can continue your tour of the lake by going to the Parc le Trou de la Fée in Desbiens or to the Village historique de Val-Jalbert, in Chambord. These are two must-see attractions in Saguenay-Lac-Sain-Jean!
This itinerary is at its end, but the region still has a ton of activities to offer. Would you like to continue your adventures in the region? Check out the other itineraries to discover a multitude of summer activities that will make you want to stay even longer on vacation in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.