A Winter Wonderland
Winter in the Jacques-Cartier region is a magical time. An abundance of snow make for exceptional outdoor fun at the area's two ski resorts and the snow slide parks. The white stuff also ensures great conditions on the snowmobile trails that wind through Réserve faunique des Laurentides, and the cross-country ski and snowshoe trails that criss-cross Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier and Camp Mercier.
Those who like to skate in the great outdoors will love the Shannon ice oval and the 3-kilometer rink on Lac Beauport.
Or if you're itching for something new, you could also try out ice fishing, winter horseback riding, or dogsledding, all of which are available locally. Dogsledding excursions are also available in Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier and Stoneham.
At the Water's Edge
Jacques-Cartier is home to some of the Québec City area's most popular lakes.
To the west, Lac Saint-Joseph is a favorite among summer vacationers for its fine sand, water sports, and campground.
To the east, Lac Beauport offers an ideal setting for kayaking, pedal boating, and sailing.
Toward the center, wildlife observation and northern pike fishing await at Lac St-Charles. The region is also popular among bird lovers, who visit the area to observe the 160 species that inhabit the wetlands of Marais du Nord.
If you continue along your way you'll come upon the Lac-Delage resort area.
At the northernmost point of the region, Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier boasts irresistible recreational opportunities on the famous Jacques-Cartier River, where you can let the current carry you in a canoe, kayak, or an inflatable raft. You can even go fishing!
A little further east you'll find Réserve faunique des Laurentides, a wildlife reserve known for its brook trout fishing and, in the fall, small game hunting.
The Jacques Cartier region is famous for its outdoor recreational areas brimming with activities for the entire family, all year round. Its mountains, forests, and wetlands are perfect for hiking enthusiasts, with many excellent trails and fine lookouts.
Just outside Lac-Beauport, Le Relais Centre d'Aventures — Entre Ciel et Terre guarantees hours of fun thanks to a series of 200 aerial platforms linked by bridges, ziplines, footbridges, and suspended swings. In winter the resort, which is also lit at night, offers skiing and snowboarding for families.
Stoneham Mountain Resort has a number of family vacation packages that feature everything from geocaching (a GPS treasure hunt) to high ropes courses, kayaking, rock climbing, and swimming in the pool! Once the snowflakes begin to fall, the resort plays host to skiers and snowboarders with its numerous runs and great night skiing!
Continue on on your way toward Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier and you'll come to Valcartier Vacation Village—Canada's biggest water park. It's the perfect place to cool down on hot summer days with its many waterslides, a wave pool, and its adventure rivers. You can also go white-water rafting, canoeing, or karting, and even camp onsite. During the winter months, the park turns into the largest snow-slide destination in the Americas. There's no better way to get in touch with your inner child!
Cyclists can access the 60-kilometer Jacques-Cartier/Portneuf bike path from this sector, or ride all the way into downtown Québec City along Corridor des Cheminots.
To the west lies Station touristique Duchesnay, a great destination for rock climbing, archery, hiking, cycling, canoeing, kayaking, and geocaching. You can also observe black bears or go on an educational scavenger hunt in a giant wooden maze nearby! Visitors who aren't afraid of heights will want to check out Treego Duchesnay's five high ropes courses, which offer spectacular views of Lac St-Joseph.
The Jacques-Cartier region is also home to one outstanding golf course, Mont Tourbillon in Lac-Beauport.
R & R
In the Jacques-Cartier region, relax and recharge your batteries at one of the local spas. Several of the area's renowned inns have health spas offering a wealth of esthetic and massage treatments, with pools, saunas, and hot tubs all onsite.
For a relaxing experience in the heart of nature, try Le Nordique spa et détente on the banks of Rivière Jacques-Cartier. Enjoy Finnish baths, Turkish steam baths, hot tubs, and Nordic baths all year round.
On the site of Duchesnay, Jardin de détente Tÿst Tradgard, a Scandinavian-inspired spa, combines hydrotherapy and massage treatments in a natural setting 12 months a year.
Restaurants and Accommodation
The Jacques-Cartier region is home to numerous inns, hotels, and B&Bs overlooking lakes and mountains. Cabins can be rented year-round.
It's also a great spot for camping. There's truly something for everyone, including full service lakeshore sites, basic sites alongside the river, teepees and yurts, and even luxurious Huttopia tents at Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier.
Gourmet restaurants at local inns serve up exceptional cuisine, while numerous other restaurants—many with patios offering lovely views of the region's lakes and hills—feature international, local, or bistro-style fare. Time to start exploring!
For more information, visit the Tourisme Jacques-Cartier website.