I hope that the residents of Saint-Lazare would not hate me for writing about this winter heaven, so close to Montreal. This family-friendly park is offering well-organized facilities such as tubing, an ice rink, outdoor playgrounds and 20km of cross country & 4km of snowshoeing trails.
A colourful theme park for young kids (designed mainly for 2-8 years old) with lots of activities; tubing (three options), treehouses, inflatables, train ride, slides and houses with different stations. This park is open mainly during the summer and is open briefly during the winter (until Jan 6th, 2019!). Super friendly staff dressed as elves will keep you entertained in each station.
We had a lovely afternoon visiting the Marché de Noël de Terrebonne. Open from November 29th until December 16th, 2018, the market is located in old Terrebonne. Main attractions are the exhibitors; decorated stalls with various offerings (food, wines, clothing, house decorations and more). There is a main stage with performing artists (check online program). The market is relatively small so you can continue walking along the decorated streets of Old Terrebonne to discover this charming area. Add to your walk a quick visit to Ile-des-Moulins just nearby the market.
Hurry up, only a few days left for pumpkin picking at this great farm (a family-owned business in L’ Assomption since 1790), 40 minutes north from Montreal. The activities for kids include a tractor ride, a playing area with lots of different bicycles, a huge pile of hay with bridges to climb on and a small farm with cows.
Nearby Montreal, Mont Saint-Hilaire (elevation of 414 meters) is known for its apple orchards thanks to the soil which is ideal for the growth of apple trees. The orchard, located on the southern slopes of the mountain, offers a large playground, a mini-farm, a restaurant and a shop for homemade ciders and other local produce. In addition to a variety of 20 types of apples for self-picking, there are many other activities like a giant maze, a tractor ride (during the weekend only) and a treasure hunt.
A small museum on the St Lawrence riverside, great for young kids to keep them entertained and active! The museum (with its three small houses) invites you to learn about the history of Gananoque as a center for boats throughout the years. Your kids can craft a wooden boat and enjoy playing in a naval theme indoor playroom with lots of dressing up, related toys and books.
A great orchard for apple picking is Verger Lacroix. The orchard is known for its apple cider (fire ciders, ice ciders and sparkling cider), which are sold at the large and nice boutique shop at the orchard with other local produce. The orchard is offering about 11 apple types for self-picking, two big playgrounds, hay to jump on, a tractor ride and a mini farm.
Apple season is here! This cool orchard offers organic apple picking, along with picking of organic grapes, pears and plums. Several activities are available on site: playground, picnic area, farmhouse, a pastry shop with homemade produce and a small local store.
A must-see in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean area. This village is a great opportunity to learn about the history of the region. The village was created in 1901 with a purpose for one industry only, pulp and paper mill. The location was ideal for this industry as the energy required to operate the machinery was produced by two waterfalls on the Ouiatchouan river. However, the village has been deserted in 1929 due to low demand for non-transformed mechanical pulp and is considered since a ‘ghost town’. With more than 70 original abandoned buildings still standing, the convent-school, general store and the post office, you can feel the sense of community this place once held.
Passionate Brian Scullion, the founder of this massive garden, has purchased this land over 30 years ago. 2000 plants from all over the world were planted and have adapted well to the climate of the Saguenay region. This horticultural gem offers also a mini-farm, kids’ wooden playgrounds, walking paths (3.5km) and picnic tables. Choose between a walk or renting an electric cart to discover the garden.
A fun attraction park for very young kids (mainly 2-8 years old) in Saguenay. The staff at this small colourful and joyful park, play funny characters to entertain the kids. The main attractions include water activities (splash park), playgrounds, a train ride, car racing, a maze, inflatables and picnic area. Entry fees are reasonable and you can spend there half a day when the weather is good.
Pointe Taillon National Park is known for its water activities (warm water & sandy beaches) and cycling (45km of cyclable paths which go around the peninsula). The Sepaq national park lies on the north shore of Lac Saint-Jean and is part of Velo Route des Bleuets, the paved cycle trails around the lake. Our half a day at the park included cycling and playground. The cycling was easy and beautiful, riding along the beach felt like being in the south of Florida. True fun.
We saw Richard Legault Apple Orchard on our way to Oka beach. On the way back from a day at the beach, we decided to stop here and we didn’t want to leave the place. The orchard has a variety of 13 different apple types for self-picking, a massive playground and a mini farm where you can feed the animals.
Oka National Park has two sectors: the beach (detailed in this post) and Calvaire (a historic site sitting on the high hills of Oka). Oka Beach is located on the north shore of Lac des Deux Montagnes. Why do we like this beach? On the day we visited, although there were so many people, the long beach allowed us to relax and to enjoy the day in a not-too-crowded way. Shallow water is perfect for young kids, sandy beach, two playgrounds, lots of picnic areas and several lifeguard stations along the beach – on the shore and in the water!
Only 1 hour away from Montreal, you can find the streaming Ouareau River surrounded by forest trees. This regional park has few lookout points of the Dorwin waterfall and 2.5km of trails along the river with information points. This is a good place to take visitors – a nice viewpoint of the falls and a simple & relaxed walk in the forest (and of course so close to Montreal).
This is a short post about the Verdun – LaSalle bike trail on Montreal island. This path offers many km of bike paths alongside footpaths and shoreline of the St.Lawrence river. The path has been widened along the riverbanks and includes lots of green area for a picnic. There are several viewpoints, kids playgrounds, a splash pad, a swimming pool and areas for paddleboard (SUP) and kayak. The view of the river is outstanding and you can feel the power of the water near the Parc des Rapides. The walking path which is parallel to the biking trail is very suitable for a baby stroller.
Aux Berges du Lac Castor is a large resort located on the shore of Lake Castor. The resort offers many accommodation options along with a sandy beach and a wooden deck. Canoeing, 30km of hiking trails, playground, beach volley, petanque, BBQ grill – all part of the entry fee. We went there only for a few hours for a dip in the water and relaxation time before heading to see the beautiful Trembles waterfalls, less than 10 mins away by car.
Located in the Eastern Townships nearby Granby, this national park is wonderful for families. Surrounded by hills, the man-made Choiniere Reservoir is ideal for family hiking, water activities and biking. On a sunny day, we decided to combine a short hike and enjoy the park with its activities for kids.
This zoo located at the western tip of the Island of Montreal is a good place to go for half a day, all year round. At the zoo you will find species from North America like prey birds, wolves, foxes, lynx, caribou and many more. This is not a regular zoo, it is a wildlife sanctuary where most of the animals are orphans, rehabilitated or born within the zoo enclosure.
If you are looking for a relaxed day outdoor with fantastic views of the streaming St-Lawrence river and Montreal city, this small island – Île Saint-Bernard is the place to visit. Located so close from Montreal, Ile Saint-Bernard is a small island facing Dorval across the St-Lawrence river (which is also called in this part Saint-Louis Lake). The reserve has a variety of eco-systems and it is offering 8km of groomed trails where visitors can enjoy observing animals in their natural habitat. Depending on the season, you can observe many birds, deers and foxes. Throughout the reservation there are many bird feeding stations where you can observe many different bird species.