Taking a road trip through nature along the Navigators’ Route

April 21, 2023

With warm weather just around the corner, it’s time to visit Québec and explore all the wonderful places around the province. Today, I’m going to take you along the Navigators’ Route for a road trip to remember.

What exactly is the Navigators’ Route?

The Navigators’ Route (Route des Navigateurs) is a tourist route that passes through three Québec regions: Centre-du-Québec, Chaudière-Appalaches and Bas-Saint-Laurent. Also known as Route 132, it runs 470 km along the St. Lawrence River and connects many attractions along the way. So, get off the highway and take Route 132 instead to embark on your journey! Look for the blue Tourisme Québec signs that mark the official route.

As you trace Route 132, you’ll have the opportunity to explore many must-see places. Any stop along the way is a good spot to have a picnic, sip a cup of coffee or simply snap a few pictures.

You can admire the river and its fauna and flora, relax in the midst of nature, breathe in the fresh air or head to a lookout to take in the panoramic views. If you need to rest a bit before you continue your journey, you’ll find benches and tables all around.

A few tips for a successful road trip through nature

I suggest you plan for a five-day trip so you have time to wind your way through the small towns, enjoy the charming scenery, and explore many other attractions along the road.

Day 1: Kamouraska

After admiring the landscape and the scenic views along the Navigators’ Route, make your first stop in Kamouraska. Located approximately a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Québec City, Kamouraska is the gateway to the Bas-Saint-Laurent region. The landscape here is breathtaking. Between nature and the small villages, there’s something for everyone, from hiking to resting on pristine beaches.

One sight worth stopping for is the little Saint-André lighthouse in L’Ancien-Quai Park. The park features a playground and the famous little red and white lighthouse, which offers a view of the river. If you want to enjoy the outdoors, take a moment and sit on the bench behind the lighthouse to escape to a haven of peace and tranquility.

Make sure to go inside as well. The lighthouse is a lovely spot for anyone seeking some peace and quiet. Just sit back in one of the rocking chairs, relax, and take in the view through the large bay windows.

You can also stop here for a simple, cozy supper. There are tables and chairs inside as well as power outlets, so you can bring your own appliances to prepare a real supper. It’s the perfect way to watch the stunning sunset in a quiet and relaxing place.

Day 2: Rivière-du-Loup

Hit the road again and head to Rivière-du-Loup. The city’s name translates to “Wolf River,” but don’t worry, you won’t encounter any wolves along the way. Located at the confluence of the Rivière du Loup and St. Lawrence rivers, the city is a traditional stopping point between Montréal, the Gaspé Pensinsula, New Brunswick and Maine (U.S.).

To start your tour, go to Pohénégamook. It’s a small village near Rivière-du-Loup, right on the U.S. border, where you can cross a small wooden bridge into the U.S. and relax on a quiet beach.

Rivière-du-Loup holds many surprises and is the perfect place to watch spectacular sunsets. After exploring the city, book yourself an overnight stay at the beautiful Auberge de la Pointe hotel. You’ll fall asleep in luxury and wake up to a magnificent view.

Day 3: Rimouski

After spending a comfy night at the hotel, head to Rimouski, located 1 hour and 15 minutes from Rivière-du-Loup.

But before you get there, stop for a hike in the majestic Bic National Park. Located in the St. Lawrence Estuary, the park proudly showcases its capes, bays, coves, islands, and mountains. It’s a place like no other and the perfect spot to enjoy the outdoors on your road trip. Visit the Sépaq website to learn more about Bic National Park.

Once you’re in Rimouski, pop into museums, stroll along the riverfront or hit the trails to explore the city’s natural beauty and rich culture.

Start with the Pointe-au-Père maritime historical site, where you can board a submarine, visit the maritime museum and tour the lighthouse tower. This is your chance to get close and personal with history!

Then soak in the sun and the views as you walk along the river and the beach.

After touring the city, I suggest spending the night at Domaine Floravie, where you can sleep in a tiny house surrounded by nature. That’s a must for an epic road trip.

Day 4: Sainte-Luce

As you daydream in your tiny house, it’s time to think of your next destination: Sainte-Luce.

Sainte-Luce is a cute little river town with colourful houses, a beautiful boardwalk, and a charming heritage church. Take a break in a relaxing setting before getting back on the road.

I suggest you book one night at the Au chant de la mer chalet in Sainte-Flavie, just outside Sainte-Luce. It’s a gorgeous place, where you’ll sleep in comfort and wake up to a view of the river and a pristine beach. So, go right ahead and treat yourself.

Day 5: Time to go back home

After four days of touring, it’s time to bring your road trip through nature to an end. But the Navigators’ Route doesn’t normally end here. If you wanted to, you could go on for miles and miles.

When you’re ready to head home, you can take the Rivière-du-Loup ferry into Charlevoix. Then you can slowly make your way back along the other shore while stopping over in pretty towns like Baie-Saint-Paul and Charlevoix.

The ferry ride is a great way to explore the river and admire the landscape. Keep an eye out for belugas and other marine animals. They put on an incredible show.

A road trip through nature is the perfect opportunity to explore must-see town across Québec. Plus, with so many outdoor activities available, your vacation won’t break the bank and you’ll get to enjoy breathtaking views.

So pack up your car and let the adventure begin!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Montréal International.