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A Road Trip Around The Gaspe Peninsula

A Road Trip Around the Gaspe Peninsula

I’ve wanted to take the time and enjoy a road trip around the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec – considered one of Canada’s most scenic drives, for years. But it’s not an easy place to get to. From Quebec City it’s at least a 4.5 hour drive and that’s just to Matane on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River.

Fortunately this summer I had places I wanted to explore that were either in or adjacent to the Gaspé Peninsula – a hike in the Chic Chocs and one in Forillon National Park. So I was able to pull of a road trip around the Gaspe Peninsula. The hikes were accessed from different parts of the Gaspé Peninsula so over a couple of days I had a chance to enjoy world-class scenery – both along the coast and in the woods.

The coastal scenes that unfolded along the Gaspé Peninsula exceeded all my expectations. Even driving through the fog on the second day was beautiful – though that was mostly because the sun was trying so hard to peak through.

I think the prettiest parts of the drive are along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River through to Percé Rock. From Percé Rock all the way to Chaleur Bay it’s still pretty but it’s not nearly as dramatic.

I didn’t get as many photos as I would have liked. I was driving the car alone and didn’t want to cause a traffic accident with any sudden stops. But I truly couldn’t get over the drama as I wound my way along the base of cliffs which from afar looked impossibly steep for a road.

Enjoy the coastal beauty

Here’s what you’ll see should on a 1095 kilometre road trip around the Gaspé Peninsula on Route 132 starting in Rivière-du-Loup and finishing in Gaspé. Allow at least two days. Practice your French as there isn’t much English spoken.

The road crawls along the base of the mountains on the Gaspe Peninsula
The road crawls along the base of the mountains on the Gaspe Peninsula
Some exquisite shoreline along the Gaspe Peninsula
Some exquisite shoreline along the Gaspe Peninsula
There are places to pull off and enjoy a picnic
There are places to pull off and enjoy a picnic
Not much room for a highway along the Gaspe Peninsula
Not much room for a highway along the Gaspe Peninsula
Coming into one of the pretty villages dotting the Gaspe Peninsula
Coming into one of the pretty villages dotting the Gaspe Peninsula
Petite Vallee from above
Petite Vallee from above
At the water's edge in Petite Vallee
At the water’s edge in Petite Vallee
"Early morning fog on my second day out"
Early morning fog on my second day out
"Fog adds a moodiness to a deserted parking lot"
Fog adds a moodiness to a deserted parking lot
Small towns make a big effort to pretty up their waterfront
Small towns make a big effort to pretty up their waterfront
"logs strewn on a beach on the Gaspe Peninsula"
Lots of wood strewn on beaches suggests stormy days
Just outside Forillon National Park on the Gaspe Peninsula
A road trip around the Gaspe Peninsula takes you to Forillon National Park 
Perce Rock comes into view
The town of Perce comes into view
Take the boat trip to Bonaventure Island for great views
Take the boat trip from Perce to Bonaventure Island for great views

Where to stay on a road trip around the Gaspe Peninsula

There is quite a lot of choice and a range of accommodation options as you travel on a road trip around the Gaspé Peninsula. There aren’t many truly luxurious places to stay but loads of comfortable ones, many boasting locations on the beach or at the very least as sea view.

Here are some ideas in the towns you pass through.

MataneThe Riotel Matane is located directly on the beach with a view of the St. Lawrence and Matane Rivers. For a B&B option that’s rated exceptional check out Auberge Bruine Océane.

Cap-Chat – Chalets Valmont offers colourful cabins on a beach with a restauarant but also a fully equipped kitchen.

Mont – Louise – If you’d like a well-appointed inn, Auberge L’Amarré should do the trick. Great location and colourful rooms. 

Gaspé If staying in a yurt appeals to you check out Aube Sur Mer, 100 metres from a private beach. It’s only one kilometre away from Forillon National Park. 

Hôtel Baker, a 40 minute drive from Forillon National Park, offers great water views. Gites Le Meilleur des Tous Monds Bed & Breakfast would be another good choice.

Percé – In Percé, check out Riotel Perce, a hotel rated as fabulous. The views of the famous Percé Rock certainly are. In this town you’re only a boat ride away from Bonaventure Island – home to massive numbers of seabirds and pretty hiking trails.

Further reading on things to do in Quebec in summer

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

A road trip around the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec

 

 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 21 Comments
  1. Fantastic photos and what an interesting area. I could relate to the ‘driving alone’ dilemma. . .so often I’ve been out exploring and behind the wheel wishing that I had two heads and four hands so could do both drive and take photos! Or when in the passenger side and I call out, “Stop!” or “Slow down” and The Scout calmly replies there is a line of cars a mile long behind us – no stop, no slow!

    1. @Jackie I can’t tell yo how many great photo opportunities I’ve missed in the last year alone but it’s not worth an accident and I’ve learned that if I haven’t properly composed the shot it’s not of much value either.

  2. I’ve never been to the Gaspe Peninsula, Leigh. But, wow your pictures are absolutely gorgeous! I like how you showed so many of the different weather changes there! 🙂

    1. @Mike I spent part of a day on Bonaventure Island near Perce Rock. Unfortunately it was one of those grey, rainy days and it was hard to even expose my camera to the elements. The Gaspe is an outstanding place to visit – and I think best done as part of a driving vacation to the Maritimes.

    1. @Sharlene After all the flooding in two cities I’ve lived in – Calgary and Boulder – I would be reluctant to buy anything ever in a flood plain – and I can only imagine that the insurance is mighty expensive now too.

  3. Gorgeous photos! I have a thing also for fog photos, not sure why. I never to get out to Quebec more, at least in the warmer seasons. Ahh I can’t believe Canada is so close but I’ve seen so little…

    1. @Beyondmyfrontdoor Sometimes when places are close at hand they seem less exotic – and that’s probably the case here. But after a summer of traveling around Canada I can tell you that there are lots of beautiful places to see.

  4. It looks like a beautiful place. Perhaps they will have TBEX in Montreal some year, and I can plan to take this drive and then not do it like Bruce Peninsula 🙂 At least I have these photos to enjoy.

    1. @Ted I think Montreal would be a great place for a TBEX. The drive from Montreal to the Gaspe and around would be at least two very long days – and a whole lot more to get back to Chicago. Perhaps one day you’ll get a chance to visit eastern Canada.

  5. Stunning scenery, Leigh, and you have captured it beautifully. The little towns/villages look so quaint and invitng. I worked in Quebec for years, and knowing how little English was spoken in Quebec City, I’m sure it would be pretty much nonexistant in this area.

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