Montreal is a city that has plenty to offer, but where do you go when you need a break from the city?

I considered this question a few months ago when I was living there.

After lots of research, I had made a giant list of options, and eventually chose Quebec City as my ultimate destination for a day away.

If you’re also considering taking some time outside the city, check out my list of the best day trips from Montreal. 

There are options for everyone, from city lovers to country fanatics. 

Now all you need to decide is your next destination!

1. Montérégie, QC

Montérégie

This region’s tourism motto is that it’s “Just perfect”, and it is the perfect quick day trip from Montreal with its quick commute time. 

The area offers a cycling trail of over 1,000 km, making it a popular destination for avid cyclists. 

If biking isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there’s plenty of other options. 

The region offers plenty of cultural activities, including its famous Canadian Railway Museum

If you time your day trip just right, you may catch the largest hot-air balloon festival in Canada

The Balloon Festival of St-Jean-Sur Richelieu typically takes place in August.

They also have micro-breweries, orchards, honey houses, sugar shacks, vineyards, and my favorite cheese and chocolate factory tours. 

Travel time: 30 minutes to 1 hour one way via car.

2. Lanaudière, QC

Lanaudière

This seriously under-rated little town has no shortage of activities for your day trip.

In the winter, Lanaudière has snowmobiling, snowshoeing, tubing, downhill and cross-country skiing, and ice-skating.

During the summer, they have hiking, fishing, canoeing, and the largest classical music festival in North America. 

If you’re hoping for a more relaxing day, you can hit up a thermal spa or schedule a massage at luxury resort Auberge du Lac Taureau

Travel time: 30 minutes to one hour by car, one way.

3. Îles de Boucherville National Park, QC

Îles de Boucherville National Park

This series of chain islands is the perfect day trip for any nature fanatics and only a few miles from Montreal. 

Îles de Boucherville National Park has hiking, canoeing, water games, biking, fishing, sea kayaking, paddle boarding, and pedal boats.

During the winter you can ski, snowshoe, cross-country skiing, and sledding. 

They also have wildlife watching year-round, in case you’re into sitting around waiting to see animals in the wild. 

Travel time: 30 minutes by car, transit, bike, or ferry one way.

4. Oka, QC

Oka QC

This picturesque town on the banks of the Ottawa River attracts thousands of visitors a year. 

It’s an especially popular destination in the fall for apple picking at one of their many orchards, and their artisanal cheese scene. 

During the summer golf and cycling are also popular activities, along with mountain biking, kayaking, tubing, kite-surfing, and boating. 

If you visit in the winter, plan on snowmobiling, snow kiting, ice-fishing, dog sledding, and snowshoeing.

Oka also hosts lots of festivals throughout the year, including a beer festival, a winter fest, and my favorite, a torchlight festival.

Fun Fact: Trappist monks living in the area originally made oka cheese. The town now manufactures the cheese commercially.

Travel time: 40 minutes to an hour (depending on traffic) by car one way.

5. Sucrerie de la Montagne, QC

Sucrerie de la Montagne

In case you don’t speak French, all you need to know is “sucrerie” means candy!

Fully translated, you’re looking at spending the day at Mountain Sugar Refinery, which is a sugar shack. 

Unless you’re on a diet, I don’t know how you could pass up spending a day here.

This sugar shack is a Québec Heritage site in the middle of a 120-acre forest of century-old maple trees. 

Basically, you’re looking at an exclusive day of maple syrup everything, including perfume!

Travel time: 1-hour drive one way.

6. Domaine Labranche, QC

Domaine Labranche QC

If you need more maple syrup in your life, check out Domaine Labranche

It’s a cute little place that offers sleigh rides and a petting zoo besides the obvious maple syrup. 

My favorite thing about this spot is that they also produce a selection of maple wines and liquor, plus ice cider.

Travel time: 1-hour drive one way.

7. Cap-Saint-Jacques Nature Park, QC

Cap Saint Jacques Nature Park QC

Featuring the largest beach near Montreal, Cap-Saint-Jacques Nature Park is ideal for anyone looking for a beach day away from the city.

There’s windsurfing, beach volleyball, kayaking, sailing, and kite surfing to choose from during the summer.

They also have a picnic area, self-guided headphone tours, and plenty of nature watches. 

Travel time: Just under 1 hour outside the city via car.

8. Petit Train du Nord Trail, QC

Petit Train du Nord Trail QC

This little path built over an old railway line runs 232 km, making it a popular spot for cyclists from near and far. 

If cycling isn’t your thing, they also allow inline skating, and during the winter cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. 

The best part is that the Petit Train du Nord Trail offers plenty of opportunities to stop off to explore charming little Laurentian towns.

Travel time: 1.5 hours one way by car. 

9. Chutes Sainte-Marguerite, QC

9. Chutes Sainte Marguerite QC

On the edge of the Petit Train du Nord in the Sainte-Adèle region, you’ll find the Sainte-Marguerite waterfalls

It’s about a 30-minute walk to locate them in the woods, but it’s well worth it. 

You can spend the day swimming, relaxing, and rock jumping. There’s even a natural jacuzzi!

Travel time: About 1.5 hours one way by car. 

10. Mont-Tremblant, QC

10. Mont Tremblant QC 2

This European-style village and resort at the bottom of one of the tallest peaks of the  Laurentian Mountains is perfect for anyone looking for a bit of relaxation.

During the warmer months, you can relax next to the lake, hike, golf, zipline, or mountain bike. Sports fans should note that you can even train on the famous IRONMAN triathlon course there. 

Mont-Tremblant also has plenty of restaurants, night-life, and bars available. 

Racing fans should also look ahead to see if the Circuit Mont-Tremblant has any events coming up. It’s the original site of the F1 Canadian Grand Prix and situated just outside of the village. 

Travel time: 1.5 hours by car one way.

11. The Laurentians, QC

Mont Tremblant QC 1

While you’re exploring Mont-Tremblant, why not make a full day of it and see the rest of the area around the Laurentians mountains? 

Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts is an adorable village to check out. It’s got beaches, a cruise, and plenty of nautical activities to choose from.

Visit in the winter to check out their Winter Carnival and to go ice-skating on the lake. 

Another picturesque town to check out is St. Sauveur des Monts. This town is bustling with activity, with lots of bars and restaurants to hang out in.

While you’re there, check out the Ski Hall of Fame and the Viking Alpine coaster at Mont-St-Sauveur Water Park

Travel time: 1.5 to 2 hours by car one way.

12. Montebello, QC

Montebello QC

Halfway between Montreal and Ottawa, you’ll find the adorable village of Montebello. 

You can spend the day exploring micro-breweries and distilleries, stocking up on local produce, cheese, and chocolates, and shopping in unique boutiques.

There’s also the Canadian Museum of History, Bank of Canada Museum, National Gallery of Canada, and the Canadian Children’s Museum.

If museums aren’t your thing, you can go hiking, cross-country skiing, tubing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, golfing, and boating. 

While you’re visiting, stop by Château Montebello. It’s a stunning railway hotel and resort that’s the world’s largest log cabin. 

Travel time: 1.5 hours by car one way.

13. Long Sault Parkway, ON

Long Sault Parkway ON 2

This chain of 11 islands is made up of chief points of land that remain after the flooding of the St. Lawrence River during the construction of the Seaway during the 1950s.

The islands are easy to travel between, thanks to a roadway. 

During the summer you can visit the beach, go bird watching, hiking, kayaking or canoeing, fishing, or even hunting.

Long Sault Parkway also has multiple campgrounds, in case you want to make it an overnight adventure. This is a one-day trip where you’ll be roughing it.  

Travel time: 1.5 hours by car one way.

14. The Eastern Townships, QC

The Eastern Townships 1

Also referred to as “The Townships”, this area is a favorite among locals and tourists for an idyllic day away. 

The most popular activities include cycling, spa days, golfing, festivals, stargazing, and wine tastings. 

Foresta Lumina, an epic night-time multimedia experience, is a popular destination. It involves walking approximately a mile through the forest that’s filled with lights, music, and videos. 

Also, make time to check out the Wine Route. It’s a multisensory experience that involves sampling wine at 20 different wineries. Just make sure you can still drive home after, or plan to spend the night nearby.

While you’re stocking up on wine, consider adding some cheese into the mix. The Eastern Townships are known for their Cheesemaker’s Circuit Têtes Fromagères.  

Travel time: It’s a 1 to 2 hour drive via car.

15. Plattsburgh, NY

Plattsburgh NY

The significant thing about Montreal’s location is that you can take a day trip to the United States—just remember your passport!

Plattsburgh is a popular destination on the west side of Lake Champlain that has lots of cheap shopping, restaurants, and nightlife.

While you’re there, stop Monopole, the oldest bar in New York state. It’s been around since the 1800s!

Travel time: It’s 1 hour to 1.5 hours by car, bus, or train traveling one way.

16. Centre-du-Québec, QC

Centre du Québec QC

Drummondville and Victoriaville are two of the larger key areas in the Centre-du-Québec region. 

Victoriaville is the birthplace of sustainable development. It has several green spaces perfect for walkers, cyclists, and inline skaters.

The city also has plenty of golf courses, cultural events, and museums.  

A short distance away, you’ll find Drummondville

Nature fanatics can visit the Parc régional de la Forêt Drummond or Parc Woodyatt for a day of hiking or biking. 

If you’re looking for a bit of culture, visit the Drummondville Symphony Orchestra or check out Canada’s only photography museum, Musée National de la Photographie Desjardins.

Travel time: 1.5 hours by car, bus, or train one way.

17. Trois-Rivières, QC

Trois Rivières QC

Half-way between Montreal and Quebec City you’ll find Tois-Rivières, the second oldest city in Quebec. 

You can walk around to gaze at intact 17th and 18th-century colonial churches, convents, and private homes. 

Also, stop to check out the stained glass windows at the Cathédrale de l’Assomption. It’s said to be some of the best in Canada. 

Travel time: 1.5 hours by car or bus one way.

18. Stanstead, QC and Derby Line, VT

Stanstead QC and Derby Line VT

Along the U.S. Canadian border, you’ll find the adorable towns of Stanstead, QC and Derby Vine, VT

For a unique experience, stop by the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, which were both built halfway in each country in 1904. Both the library and opera house serve both Americans and Canadians without the need to pass through border patrol.  

Travel time: 2 hours one way by car.

19. Bristol Falls, VT

Bristol Falls VT

Also known as Bartlett Falls, this swimming hole complete with a 14 ft. waterfall is ideal during the summer. 

You can hike trails, check out the cave behind the falls, and even jump off the waterfall if you’re feeling adventurous. 

Just be warned, there are no restrooms in the area. 

Travel time: 2 hours by car one way.

20. Burlington, VT

Burlington VT

All you need to know is that Burlington, VT is the birthplace of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. I’m pretty sure it’s a local crime to visit and not have a scoop (or two). 

In addition to ice cream, the town has art galleries, boutiques, and plenty of restaurants and bars with live music. 

Travel time: 2 hours by car or bus, one way.

21. Adirondack Park, NY

Adirondack Park NY

Spend the day swimming, hiking, and watching for wildlife in this New York Park. 

While you’re in the area, check out the town of Lake Placid, they held the 1980 Olympics there. They have an Olympic museum that you can visit. 

The town also has plenty of shopping, watersports, and even an Olympic museum. 

Travel time: 2+ hours by car one way.

22. Ottawa, ON 

Ottawa

Ottawa, the capital of Canada sitting on the border of Quebec and Ontario should be on everyone’s bucket list. 

If you enjoy museums, check out the Bytown Museum, which is inside Ottawa’s oldest stone building. You’ll learn all about Ottawa’s unique history. 

A few other popular stops include Canada’s Aviation and Space Museum, the Museum of History, Science and Technology Museum, and the Canadian War Museum. 

If you happen to be in town during the spring, check out the world’s largest Tulip Festival. In addition to flowers, there are fireworks, family events, and live musical acts. 

Travel time: 2.5 hours by car, bus or train one way

23. Boldt Castle, NY

23. Boldt Castle NY

In the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River, you’ll find the stunning Boldt Castle and Yacht House. 

Millionaire hotel magnate George C. Boldt began construction on the castle in the early 1900s, as a tribute to his wife Louise. Unfortunately, she passed away shortly before construction was complete on their dream home. 

Today the castle is open for self-guided tours, and just a ferry ride away on the aptly named Heart Island. 

Travel time: 3 hours by car and ferry, one way.

24. Quebec City, QC

Quebec City Old Town 3

Built-in 1609, it’s also the place for any history buffs. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s recognized for being one of the most intact fortified towns with architecture that’s been retained for over 400 years.

It’s filled with historic buildings, cobblestone streets, shopping, and lots of delicious food.

Stopping by the Chateau Frontenac while you’re visiting is a must. It’s a historic hotel that sits up above Old Quebec, basically, it looks like a castle straight out of a Disney film. 

Stroll down the Terrasse Dufferin for stunning views of the St. Lawrence River before retiring to the chateau for an afternoon tea or evening cocktail. 

The village of Old Quebec is like something out of a movie, and the perfect spot for a romantic day away. 

Travel time: 3 hours by car, train or bus one way.

25. Montmorency Falls, QC

Montmorency Falls

Turns out Montmorency Falls has Niagara Falls beat as the taller waterfall by 100 ft.

The coolest part about visiting the falls is that you can zipline across them. This is something that’s on the top of my Canadian bucket list. 

If you’re looking for a bite to eat, stop by The Manoir at the falls serves up the best brunch in the area. It features local cheeses, meats, tourtière (meat pies), and smoked fish. 

Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, lived in the Manoir during the early 1800s. He eventually had to move back to England to marry and would become the father of Queen Victoria.

Travel time: 3 hours by car, train or bus one way.

Conclusion

Sometimes all we need is a day away to get out of our routines and relax a little.

I hope this list inspires you to get out of Montreal for a day of fun and exploration.

Writing this has certainly inspired me to plan more day trips soon. 

Let me know in the comments below if there’s a spot you’ve visited that should be included on my list!


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