Covering an area of 480 square miles (1,245 square kilometers), the protected waters of the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park are among Eastern Canada’s best wildlife-viewing hot spots. Many impressive cetaceans, from blue whales to belugas, as well as several types of seals and hundreds of different species of sea birds dwell here.
There are several ways to explore the park. Go kayaking or boating around the inky waters of Saguenay Fjord, or brave the cold depths during a dive in the St. Lawrence estuary.
For the best chance of seeing whales, opt for a whale-watching cruise in the company of a certified naturalist. Choose between high-speed zodiac cruises that will put you at eye level, or opt for a cruise on a larger observation vessel. Some cruise experiences include round-trip transport from Quebec City.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park is a must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts.
- Bring extra layers, as it can feel colder out on the water than on dry land.
- Head to an interpretation center (Pointe-Noire Interpretation and Observation Centre, Cap de Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre, and the Marine Environment Discovery Centre in Les Escoumins) for information on the marine environment and available activities.
How to Get There
The Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park spreads from La Malbaie to Les Escoumins along the St. Lawrence River and to Lake St. Jean via the fjord. The park is about a 2- to 3-hour drive from Quebec City, and about a 4- to 6-hour drive from Montreal.
When to Get There
The best time to visit is during summer and early fall, as this is peak whale-watching season. Whale-watching cruises typically run between May and October, with more frequent departures from late June to early September.
Whale Watching on Dry Land
There are many places in and around the park where you can discover the marine environment without having to step aboard a boat. Many whales, including belugas, can be spotted from designated whale-watching areas along the shore. Also, in the Marine Environment Discovery Centre at Les Escoumins, visitors can watch interpretive divers exploring the seabed via a screen.