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La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada: A River Runs Through It
La Malbaie in Quebec, Canada, sits right on the Saint Lawrence River at the mouth of the Malbaie River in Le Charlevoix. Any discussion of La Malbaie must include mention of the sweeping views of the Saint Lawrence, many of which can be seen from hotels overlooking the breath-taking scenery. La Malbaie has much to offer visitors, with a full array of outdoor and urban adventures during the summer and winter. La Malbaie has long been known as a world-class resort escape offering fun and relaxation without sacrificing the quiet beauty that Canada is so known for.
A World to Explore
Outdoor tourism is what sets this area apart, with ski trails, hiking, and other winter adventures available. Ski adventures range from cross country to snowshoeing and offer challenges for many different skill levels, from a 1.3-kilometre trail at De la rivière Rémy, which is perfect for families with smaller children or those newer to the sport, all the way up to the 54-kilmetre La Demi-Traversée de Charlevoix, a trail for the serious enthusiast only and one that ventures across scenic views and paths scaling up to 1000 metres high. There are literally dozens of trails to choose from for cross country, but traditional ski trails can be found at Mont Grand-Fonds, which offers alpine skiing with choices of easy trails all the way to double black, or extremely difficult. There is even a bunny hill for those just learning the sport. The Lynx snow park is also onsite, which accommodates snowboarding and there is a bar and restaurant for warming up. For a high-energy snow adventure, try snowmobiling at Les Aventuriers de Charlevoix.
A Nautical Escape
If the preference runs more towards the liquid form of water, there are plenty of nautical escapes as well, both in the summer and in the winter. The adventures include canoeing and kayaking, which can be done as long as some parts of the river are navigable. Two national parks around La Malbaie, the Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park and the Grands-Jardins National Park also provide hiking and camping fun. Whale watching is another popular activity with two ways to view these majestic creatures—either on a boat cruise into the mouth of the Saguenay River or by plane on a sightseeing trip over Nairne Lake. Other maritime adventures include swimming on beaches or fishing for salmon and trout on the Malbaie River. The Charlevoix region also has a kite and wind surfing school, Suroît aventures.
Unique and Boutique
In La Malbaie, there are as many choices of accommodations as there are activities. Choices range from traditional hotels to tourist homes and chalets, as well as unique bed and breakfasts, like Gîte Claire Bhérer Villeneuve, an historic bed and breakfast that is also an ancestral home with structures on the property dating back 150 years. Other unique stays include wooden chalets, waterfront cottages, and even planned tent and motorhome camping sites with swimming pools, mini golf courses, and fishing spots onsite. Fishing and hunting enthusiasts might better enjoy a stay with outfitters, companies that provide lodging experiences deep in the woods and often situated right along lakes and streams for easy access. These tailored lodge experiences often allow pets and have access to snowmobile and ski trails with onsite food and beverage opportunities.
Both High and Low Energy
Outdoor activities aren’t the only adventure to be found in La Malbaie. Relaxation can be found on area golf courses, such as Club De Golf Murray Bay, an 18-hole golf course with sweeping views. For après ski fun, head on over to Maison Du Bootlegger, a restaurant and bar featuring live music. Guided tours are available and guests will have fun exploring secret passages and mazes inside the building. In addition, the area around La Malbaie is full of shopping opportunities and full-service spas.
For Something Truly Different
It isn’t every town or village that offers glimpses into mushroom growing, but La Malbaie also includes this unique adventure. At Champignons Charlevoix, you can take a tour, buy specialty products and even do free tastings. Mushrooms aren’t the only product made especially in La Malbaie. There are even boulangeries, or bakeries, such as Boulangerie A. Bergeron that specialises in homemade breads, baguettes, croissants, and savoury meat pies with choices of beef, chicken, or salmon. What goes best with homemade bread? Honey, of course! Next, head over to Le Miel Des Grand Jardins, an artisan honey house and farm which also includes touring and tasting opportunities. If interests lean more to outdoor pursuits, a visit to Forge-menuiserie Cauchon is in order. Here, guests can tour an historic forge and carpentry shop and learn about life in La Malbaie during centuries long past.