8 National Parks near Montreal

Green pine forests, rocky mountains, lakes and beautiful scenary is what comes to mind when we talk about Canadian nature. We all have seen these beautiful images of Banff and Lake Louise that make us want to book a vacation there in the blink of an eye.

However, Canada is a HUGE country and travel from place to place can be extremely expensive. If you are visiting the central provinces of Canada, you might be wondering what are the natural hidden treasures that are within reach of big cities like Montreal & Toronto. For those living or travelling to either of these two cities, I have researched the parks that are relatively close for you to go on a weekend getaway. Close means up to 8 hrs drive from Montreal…

Each park offers different activities so don't forget to check out the official page for more information on camping spots and on different hiking trails. Also, don’t forget to rent a car, it will make your journey more pleasant.   

PSS: This article only focuses on parks that belong to Parks Canada network, the list does not cover provincial parks.

The list below is ordered by provinces to make your seach easier.

Quebec

There are not many National parks in Quebec since the majority of the parks are under provincial jurisdiction. Some of the best provincial parks that are near Montreal is the Mont-Tremblant, Saint-Sauveur and Mont-Saint-Bruno.

The Saguenay Lac-St-Jean region is full of activities. The main attractions are the Lac-St-Jean and the Fjords. Also, don't forget to visit the St-Felicien Zoo, where the animals are free and you are in a cage. 

This marine sanctuary was originally established to protect the biodiversity of the region. Always wanted to see beluga whales and blue whales? Then this is the park for you! You can Kayak next to these amazing animals!

"DSC00746"    by    joanhant    is licensed under    CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

"DSC00746" by joanhant is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Only 2:30 hours north of the Montreal, the park is one of the biggest in the province. It has more than 150 lakes of all sizes which are perfect to swim on a hot summer day or to Canoe your way through to admire the fall colours. 

La Maurice National Park. Souce: Creative Commons

La Maurice National Park. Souce: Creative Commons

 Ontario

Probably the most well-known park in the Quebec/Ontario region. It is very accessible from either Toronto, Ottawa & Montreal. The Saint-Lawrence river is full of small islands and it is best discovered through a canoe-camping trip. 

The park is located north of Toronto. This could be the perfect mix of outdoor adventures and city discovery. 

The bay is home of the world’s largest freshwater archipelago, the emerald shoreline will leave you astonished. It offers several types of camping and glamping. The rustic cabin for two in an island beach sounds like the perfect getaway!  

Attention, this region is full of venomous rattlesnakes and other wildlife! SCARRRYYY!! 

Georgian Bay Islands National Park    "IMGP1322"    by    vladm2007    is licensed under    CC BY-NC 2.0

Georgian Bay Islands National Park "IMGP1322" by vladm2007 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Located in the same Georgian Bay than the previous recommendation, the peninsula park has steep cliffs and turquoise water. It claims to be Canada’s most pristine waters. The Marine park offers dive points to discover the underwater treasures such as 20 shipwrecks. 

Apparently, it get busy during the summer months so planning ahead well in advance is highly advised. 

Bruce Peninsula. Source: Toby Hu

Bruce Peninsula. Source: Toby Hu

Close to the U.S. border, this park has something for everyone. Are you a bird lover? Do you love the Monarch butterflies or you are looking for a summer or winter adventure? Then Point Pelee might be your best chance to do all these activities. 

Point Peele    "DSC01999"    by    Khalinatek    is licensed under    CC BY-NC 2.0

Point Peele "DSC01999" by Khalinatek is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Maritimes

The Maritimes have beautiful landscapes & amazing seafood! These are a bit further but they might be worth the extra hours. These show the Atlantic coast at it best.

 

The rock formation with the brown colour is so different from everything you've seen. 

Perfect if you are looking to swim in warm beaches and then take the bike to discover the woods. 


Discovery pass from Parks Canada

Get your pass

All you need to do is to sign-up through the website. The passes are high in demand, I suggest you fill the request at least 2 months in advance, just to be sure. Here is the info to receive your pass. 

Which of these will be your next outdoor adventure?

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