Along with its culture, millions of tourists are drawn every year to the natural beauty of Quebec, Canada. Vast stretches of lush forests, snowy mountains, and pristine rivers flowing through valleys — the scenic beauty is everywhere.
Tourists sometimes find themselves overwhelmed by everything they must experience in Quebec. There is so much to see! This blog is here to help. One unmissable experience in Quebec is spending a few hours by the lake.
Quebec is home to an estimated 500,000 lakes. While many are tucked in remote areas, some are very accessible and attract visitors from all over the world. Every season at a lake has its charm. The summers are warm, with the sun shining on the calm waters. Lakeside picnics are serene. In the winter, people enjoy hiking high up in the surrounding mountains and skiing their way down. Witnessing the snow-covered landscapes, while sipping on a hot beverage, is a real Canadian treat. And of course, the colours in autumn are breathtaking.
The travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations help visitors plan their trips to Canada. This guide lists some of the best lakes in Quebec, Canada.
1. Lake Saint Jean
Lake Saint Jean is one of the largest lakes in Quebec, Canada. It is located in the Saguenay Lac Saint Jean region. The lake has nearly 42 kilometers of beaches and over 250 islands.
The lake hosts the swimming competition Traversée Internationale du lac St. Jean, and the lake’s shallow waters are also suitable for young children to play and splash around. You can go boating and fishing.
2. Lake Kipawa
Located in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region in Southwest Quebec, Lake Kipawa is right next to the Kebaowek Reserve. The lake has deep bays lined with innumerable beaches. There are many large islands within Lake Kipawa. Its clear waters provide diving opportunities and amazing landscape views from the islands and shores.
In addition, the lake is the source of the Kipawa River, which is known for its excellent white-water rafting recourses.
#1 Travel tip: Discover Quebec's mountains
From Montreal, hop on a full-day tour and explore Mont Tremblant and the Laurentian Mountains. The area is full of picturesque towns and beautiful lakes.
3. Lake Massawippi
This lake is situated in the heart of the Massawippi Valley, among rolling hills and lush green forests. Lake Massawippi is a popular spot for boating, swimming, birdwatching, and fishing. Migratory birds visit this area during the fall. The lake is home to various fish species, including bass, pickerel, and pike.
Several of the small towns and villages in the Eastern Townships region lie along the lake's shores. The region offers a variety of experiences.
4. Cabonga Reservoir
Cabonga Reservoir is a large man-made lake in central Quebec. It is surrounded by green forests and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. It is recognized all over North America as a great spot for lake trout and walleye fishing.
The lake is quaint and quiet, making it a great location for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Although it is not ideal for swimming, it's a prime place for boating and canoeing.
5. Lake Témiscouata
This lake is known for its beautiful scenery and recreational activities. There are around 20 species of fish and 150 species of birds that reside in Lake Témiscouata National Park. If you’re lucky, you may also witness birds of prey, like the Bald Eagle, in action. There are many ancient historical sites to explore near Lake Témiscouata.
The region has scenic cycling paths, golf courses, and hiking trails. In the winter, you can go ice fishing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
6. Lake Blue Sea
Blue Sea Lake has a serene quality. The best time for a swim or pleasant picnic is in the morning when the sun shines on the water.
As the name suggests, it really does look like a blue sea. The lake is one of the largest in the Gatineau Valley. A wide variety of fish and wildlife make up the area’s rich biodiversity. There are hiking trails a short drive from the lake. The Mont Morissette trail ends at an observation tower which has beautiful views of Blue Sea Lake and other lakes.
7. Magog Lake
Magog Lake in Quebec is a natural gem. The lake is surrounded by lush greenery, making it a glorious spot for a picnic or a stroll. Magog Lake has some unique walking paths to offer. These trails let you explore the marshlands and vineyards in the area.
The area near Magog has several historical sites, winter sports opportunities, and even a grape harvest festival. It is a must-visit for anyone looking for some low-key activities and tranquillity.
#2 Travel tip: More natural wonders
Other attractions in Quebec include the Saguenay Fjord, the St. Lawrence River, and Montmorency Falls. Explore these places on guided tours.
8. Lake Meech
Lake Meech is a picturesque lake that is loved and visited by locals and tourists alike. The lake is a 20-minute drive from Ottawa and is surrounded by mountains and woodlands. The lake has two peaceful beaches. You can spot wildlife in the area, including beavers, otters, and deer.
Don’t miss the remarkable scenery around Lake Meech. The forest is home to cascading waterfalls and old ruins of three buildings. In the autumn, the fall colours make are beautiful. It is a photographer’s paradise; don’t forget to bring your camera!
9. Walker Lake
Walker Lake is a stunning location that gives its visitors a sense of peace and calm. It is the deepest lake in Quebec, and you can explore its waters by boat, kayak, or canoe. The lake is near the town of Port-Cartier and is in the Côte-Nord region. Walker Lake is surrounded by steep cliffs and boreal forest.
10. Lake Timiskaming
Surrounded by steep mountains on one side and gentle hills on the other, Lake Timiskaming is part of the border between Ontario and Quebec. It is home to a variety of fish species, including pickerel, pike, and lake trout, and attracts anglers (serious fishing hobbyists) from all over the province.
Some towns near the lake host festivals and events during the summer. These include farm tours, local food festivals, and music concerts.
11. Gouin Reservoir
Gouin Reservoir in Quebec is a beautiful body of water that was created by the building of a dam in the early 20th century.
The waters are abundant with trout, pike, and walleye, and so the reservoir is a popular fishing destination. Anglers come from across Quebec to spend their days fishing, relaxing, and hiking. There are fly-in fishing lodges, cabins, and houseboats available for summer stays.
12. Lac Sacacomie
Lake Sacacomie is in the Maskinonge region, near the Mastigouche Wildlife Reserve. You can explore this majestic lake on a canoe, pedal boat, or motorboat. The lake is home to several species of fish, including rainbow trout and brook trout.
The Hotel Sacacomie offers many activities for guest. You can explore the forest surrounding the lake on a guided ATV adventure or seaplane tour. There are also traditional rabaska boats which can seat up to 12 people.
Lake Sacacomie is one of the best places in Quebec to see fall colours.
13. Pink Lake
Pink Lake in Quebec is not actually pink. It is actually green. In fact, it is known for its vibrant green tint, which comes from a high concentration of algae in the water.
Pink Lake has a unique composition as it’s upper and lower waters don’t mix. There is a prehistoric anaerobic organism that lives in the deep water of the lake. The lake is home to the three-spined stickleback fish, too.
Swimming is not advisable. There is a short, easy hiking trail (2.3 kilometres) that goes around the lake as well as a lookout. The trail is closed during winter.
14. Lac aux Américains (Americans Lake)
Americans Lake in Quebec is a wonderful lake, located in the Gaspesie National Park. The lake can be accessed via a short hiking trail. The lake is surrounded by mountains, dense forest, and rolling hills. With its rich flora and fauna, any spot by the lake is a good spot for a picnic.
The national park has a range of hiking trails, both easy and hard. Some of the challenging ones take you higher up into the mountains.
15. Lake Mistassini
Located in the Nord-du-Quebec region, Lake Mistassini is the largest and one of the best lakes in Quebec. The lake is about 160 kilometres (100 miles) long and covers 2,335 square kilometres (902 square miles). It is a popular lake for fishing as lake trout, brook trout, pike, and walleye live in its waters.
Several river tributaries flow into Lake Mistassini. Dense evergreen forests of birch, spruce, and fir complete the scene.
16. Lake Abitibi
Lake Abitibi is on the border between Quebec and Ontario. While there are no other activities here, the lake's scenic beauty is worth the visit.
Lake Abitibi is actually two lakes, joined by a short channel. On the Ontario side, there is Lake Abitibi Islands Provincial Park. The park has many islands, which are home to various bird species like the bald eagle, great blue heron, osprey, and double-crested cormorant.
17. Pipmuacan Reservoir
Pipmuacan Reservoir is a deep, manmade basin located on the border of the Cote-Nord and Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean regions.
The lake is home to diverse aquatic life and the area is popular for fishing and hiking. You can stay in remote fishing lodges and have a special lunch on the shore, prepared from what you catch.
18. Lake Tremblant
Lake Tremblant is a long and narrow lake that sits between mountain ridges. It is right at the foot of Mont Tremblant. You can go swimming at Lake Tremblant Beach Park. There are also opportunities to go boating on the lake.
While the northern side is private, the southern side is developed as a recreational area for tourists. Lake Tremblant is a picture-perfect location for canoeing. It is surrounded by mountains and lush greenery, with valleys of deciduous forests on one side, and the dense Canadian boreals on the other.
19. Lake Wapizagonke
This serene lake is located in the Mauricie National Park, which is known for its rugged beauty and natural splendor. A 2.5-hour drive from Quebec City, the lake is surrounded by dense forests and is a popular spot among local people for some peaceful bliss.
Lake Wapizagonke has many campsites along its long shore. A must-have experience here is canoe camping. You can also take your canoe all the way up to the Waber Lake in the north, to sit and relax by the Waber Falls. This is also one of the Quebec lakes that have trails for hikers of all levels.
20. Lake Saint Pierre
Lake Saint Pierre is a widening of the Saint Lawrence River. It is known for its rich biodiversity. In the wetlands, you can find over 290 species of birds, 90 species of fish, and 500 species of plants. Lake Saint Pierre is a significant stopping point for migrating birds, especially herons.
The shallow waters are ideal for swimming, boating, and fishing. The lake is also popular for windsurfing and kiteboarding, thanks to the gushing winds.
21. Lake Mégantic
Lake Mégantic, located in the Appalachian Mountains near the U.S. border, is a popular spot for nature enthusiasts. There are around 25 walking trails in the Megantic region, which take you through the lakeside forests, up into the mountains and down into the valleys. The lake is ideal for many water sports, including swimming, boating and fishing.
22. Lac Memphrémagog
Lac Memphrémagog is a fresh-water, glacial lake sitting between Quebec and Vermont, USA. It is a great lake for open-water swimming. Lake Memphrémagog is rumored to have its own lake monster. Go for a dip yourself and see if you can spot Memphre. The lake is neighboured by several mountains, including Owl’s Head, Elephantis, and the Hog’s Back.
The Lake Memphrémagog area is famous in Quebec for agrotourism. You can take your time trying regional authentic products.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the cleanest lake in Quebec?
Lac Brome is the cleanest lake in Quebec, with sparkling waters that clearly reflect its underwater world. Lac Blue Sea is another beautiful, clear lake.
Which is the most beautiful part of Quebec?
Parc du Mont-Megantic, Tremblant Village, the village of Old Quebec, Montmorency Falls, and Parc National de la Jacques Cartier are some of the most beautiful parts of Quebec.
Which is the largest lake in Quebec?
The Mistassini Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Quebec with a length of 160 km and a width of 19 km. It covers 2,335 square kilometres.
Which is the cleanest lake to swim in?
There are many clear lakes in Quebec that are ideal for swimming. Two of the best ones are Lake Saint-Jean and Lake Témiscouata.
About the author: Katherine is Product Manager with Fresh Tracks Canada. Having worked in the Canadian travel industry for almost 20 years, she enjoys sharing her local expertise with visitors. She is based in Calgary and one of her favourite Canadian destination is the... Read more
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