Sports, Recreation and Fun-Guaranteed
Québec City offers a full range of a sport and outdoor activities year-round. Downtown Québec City is only a 30-minute drive from many natural parks, rivers, wildlife reserves, mountain bike trails, downhill and cross-country ski resorts, groomed snowmobiling trails, hiking paths and a multitude of seasonal activities ranging from dogsledding to water sports. The proximity between the great outdoors and the comforts of a modern urban centre accounts, in part, for the Québec City Area's renown as a vacation destination.
While those living in other cities have to drive for hours before arriving in the countryside, Québec City residents are fortunate in that the great outdoors—and many recreational activities and parks—are only half an hour away. Right next to the downtown core lies the Plains of Abraham, a large urban park where it is possible to have a picnic, take a stroll to admire the view or go cross-country skiing, biking or inline skating.
The Taste of Spring
With the coming of spring, Mother Nature finally wakens from her slumber. And across the Québec City Area, everyone eagerly awaits the start of maple sugar time. Once maple production has started, family and friends gather at a sugar shack to savour delicious maple products, including the ever-popular taffy cooled on snow.
Summer Tops the List as the Most Popular Season
The tourist season peaks in the summer, owing to the region's temperate climate. It is the perfect time of the year to practice a wide range of outdoor activities or go for a stroll through one of the city's many flower gardens. There is something here for the outdoor enthusiast and nature lover in everyone.
Some of the most popular activities can be practised right in the city. A network of inline skating, walking and bike paths originates in the Old Port sector and extends throughout the Québec City Area. One such path stretches along the bank of the St. Lawrence River to the Montmorency Falls, an enjoyable excursion that cyclists of all levels of ability can accomplish in an afternoon. The western part of the region can be explored by taking the Promenade Samuel-De Champlain! One path winds through the city along the Saint-Charles River, while another, Vélopiste Jacques-Cartier / Portneuf, built on a former railway track, leads through gorgeous natural scenery all the way to Portneuf.
Outdoor events follow in quick succession in Old Québec and on the Plains of Abraham. One such event, the SSQ Québec City Marathon, draws thousands of participants every year.
Having Fun in the Water
Water sports of all kinds are extremely popular in the region. Village Vacances Valcartier, a recreational park on the outskirts of Québec City, has water slides and a wave pool. The countless lakes and rivers in the region provide ample opportunities to go swimming, fishing or boating. Lovers of the great outdoors enjoy canoeing and white water rafting at the Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier, a natural park of breathtaking beauty located only a few kilometers from downtown Québec City.
The broad St. Lawrence River provides sailing enthusiasts with ample space to unfurl their sails and catch the wind, and the numerous marinas along the riverbanks testify to the popularity of this maritime activity.
A Cascade of Attractions
One of the favourite sites for residents and tourists alike is Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, whose waterfall is nearly 30 meters (100 ft.) higher than Niagara Falls. The park comprises walking paths, a cable car, a panoramic staircase up the cliff and a suspended bridge.
A number of exciting outdoor activities are held in Québec City every fall
when the temperature starts to drop and the forests don their cloak of red and orange. This is the perfect time of year to take a walk in the woods and observe birds in their natural habitat. A rather impressive avian display occurs at the Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area
, where thousands of snow geese gather before continuing their southern migration.
For some, autumn is synonymous with hunting and fishing. The Sépaq, the provincial government agency responsible for managing parks and wildlife reserves, offers interesting packages at the Réserve faunique des Laurentides and the Réserve faunique de Portneuf. Both reserves are located only a few kilometres outside of town.
Always a Good Time to Relax
Spas across the region are open year-round to allow you to unwind in a calm and soothing environment. Discover the health benefits of alternating hot and cold treatments during a Nordic spa. Heated spas, cold-water baths, saunas, steam baths, thermal showers and massages are available at specialized centres in town or on the outskirts.