Motoneige © Le Québec maritime/M.Loiselle

Manicouagan

Extending from Tadoussac to Baie‑Trinité, with Baie‑Comeau and Fermont in between, Côte‑Nord–Manicouagan is a wonderful region to visit year round. If you like the outdoors, beaches, good food and adventure, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the region’s attractions, including the Jardin des Glaciers, the Manic‑5 dam and whale‑watching excursions.

Location and access

Tadoussac, located 215 km northeast of Québec City, is the gateway to the region, which can also be accessed from the south shore by ferry (Trois-Pistoles–Les Escoumins, Rimouski-Forestville and Matane–Baie-Comeau/Godbout). Route 389 is a 560-km stretch of roadway linking Baie-Comeau and Fermont (Duplessis).

Centre d’interprétation des mammifères marins à Tadoussac © M. Salomon
Phare de Pointe-des-Monts © M. Loiselle
Manic-5 dam © D. Prévéreault
Jardin des Glaciers in Baie-Comeau © N. Ponds
Ferme 5 étoiles holiday centre © F. Babin

Côte-Nord–Manicouagan is paradise for avid snowmobilers. Many clubs take great pains to maintain their trails, which translates to high‑quality adventure. In fact, you can cover the entire region by snowmobile and cross the longest snowmobile bridge in North America over Rivière Manicouagan in Baie‑Comeau.

Manicouagan also boasts numerous cross-country ski trails, including Sentiers de la rivière Amédée and the Club de ski de fond Norfond network, in Baie‑Comeau. Sliding sports fans will have a blast on the slopes of Mont Ti‑Basse resort, also in Baie‑Comeau. If you enjoy skating and snowshoeing, a variety of rinks and trails are accessible throughout the region.

The Ferme 5 étoiles holiday centre offers a whole host of activities, including dogsledding, observing wolves in the wild and ice fishing.

The Baie‑Comeau Drakkar, the local Major Junior Hockey League team, plays several home games a month throughout the season. Take advantage of your stay in Baie‑Comeau to catch a game and support the team!

One of Manicouagan’s crowning jewels has to be the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park, at the mouth of the Fjord du Saguenay. With its capes and dramatic cliffs, the tourist region comprising Sacré‑Coeur, Tadoussac, Les Bergeronnes and Les Escoumins is whale‑watching paradise. In fact, 13 species of marine mammals can be observed from its shores and through sea excursions on the territory.

In Baie‑Comeau, there are two attractions you must visit. The first is the Jardin des glaciers. This glacier park has won several Grands Prix du tourisme awards and, with its renowned valley of shells, tells the story of the last major ice age, 20,000 years ago. The second is the St‑Pancrace microbrewery, the first in Côte‑Nord, where you’ll discover craft beers with a typical local flavour.

Also be sure to visit the Pointe‑des‑Monts lighthouse in Baie‑Trinité. Built in 1830, it is now a historical monument showcasing various maritime themes. 

The Manicouagan Peninsula has 30 km (19 mi.) of some of the most beautiful fine‑sand beaches in Côte‑Nord. In some parts, the water temperature can reach 26ºC (79ºF), if the tide and sunlight are just right, making for a glorious swim.

The region hosts many summer festivals, shows and exhibitions, including the Festival de la chanson de Tadoussac, a major celebration of song drawing 25,000 visitors annually. Unique in North America, On JAZZ sous la lune presents a jazz show for each of summer’s three full moons, on the banks of the St. Lawrence River.

Manicouagan’s cultural and heritage attractions include the Sainte‑Amélie church, with frescos and stained glass windows by Guido Nincheri, the Chauvin Trading Post, the Centre d’interprétation des mammifères marins (an immersive marine mammal interpretation centre) and the Innu Essipit craft boutique.

Visit the Jean‑Lesage Generating Station (Manic‑2) and Daniel‑Johnson Dam (Manic‑5), the world’s largest multiple‑arch‑and‑buttress dam, for free. With the amount of cement used to make Manic‑5, you could build a sidewalk from the North to South Pole! In summer 2016, an exhibition marking the hydroelectric plant’s 50th anniversary will open.

Côte‑Nord boasts over 1,400 archeological sites. The Centre Archéo Topo in Les Bergeronnes showcases Aboriginal and European artefacts that have been uncovered on the territory.

Manicouagan is a hotspot for observing whales and other marine mammals, as well as for kayaking, thanks to the region’s numerous bays and coves.

The Parc nature de Pointe-aux-Outardes nature park offers eight ecosystems for you to explore: saltwater marsh, dune, boreal forest, red‑pine forest, alder grove, peatland, beach and sandy tideland.

The region also boasts a vast offering of hiking and biking trails. The Véloroute des Baleines bicycle route will take you through quaint villages and tucked-away corners from Tadoussac to Baie‑Trinité.

Looking for a completely different lodging experience? Sleep in a cabin perched in the treetops or in a bubble suspended eight metres (26 ft.) off the ground at Canopée Lit. Or take to the cozy comfort of a ready‑to‑camp yurt at Alfred le voisin d’Oscar, in Sacré-Coeur. Mer et Monde Écotours, in Les Bergeronnes, and the ZEC (controlled harvesting zone) in Godbout also offer ready‑to‑camp tents.

In Les Escoumins, the diving base of the Parks Canada Marine Environment Discovery Centre is one the most beautiful scuba diving sites in North America. The cold salt water gives life to the multicoloured seascapes particular to the St. Lawrence Estuary.