At 2,100 km2 (810 sq. mi.), Lac Mistassini is the largest natural lake in Québec, while the largest artificial body of water is the Caniapiscau reservoir (4,285 km2 / 1,654 sq. mi.). Québec boasts 12 watercourses exceeding 400 km (250 mi.) in length, including the St. Lawrence River and the Ottawa River, which is 1,270 km (789 mi.) long.

Water fun

Dive right in!

Swimming Spend long, lazy days at the beach with your family and rediscover the simple joy of being submerged in pure water. Whether you’re near the city or deep in the heart of nature, you can explore rivers and streams by canoe, kayak or raft and use the sheer strength of your arms to tame the currents. Aquatic fun? Invigorating!!!

SwimmingCanoeing / KayakingRafting

Going swimmingly

Fresh and salt water fun

Îles-de-la-MadeleineWith its countless lakes and rivers, Québec has made quite a splash among serious swimmers, simple bathers and those who enjoy a quick dip! What’s more, the calibre of its swimming waters is closely monitored by the Ministère québécois du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs, which analyzes the water quality at nearly 400 public beaches throughout Québec each summer!

Like a fish in water

Parc national du Saguenay, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-JeanFinding a place to swim during your holidays in Québec couldn’t be easier. Resort areas and establishments usually have access to a private or public beach. And for fans of waterslides, the Laurentides region—a popular summer vacation spot—has water parks in Pointe-Calumet, Piedmont, Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts and Sainte-Adèle. Not to be outdone, Québec City (Valcartier), the Eastern Townships (Bromont) and the Outaouais region (Cantley) also have fantastic facilities guaranteed to thrill the whole family!

Québec’s national parks are also great spots for enjoying a swim. Among the parks that are prized for their beaches or the quality of their swimming water are Pointe-Taillon (Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean), with its 15 km (9 mi.) of fine sand; Frontenac, located along Lac Saint-François; Yamaska and Mont-Orford (Eastern Townships), and Mont-Tremblant and La Mauricie.

Dipping your toes in the St. Lawrence

Havre-Aubert, Îles-de-la-MadeleineThe St. Lawrence River is dotted with beaches and coves that are perfect for swimming. Upstream from Montréal, Saint-Timothée is a typical family destination with high-quality water. But it’s in the Gaspésie—in the Baie des Chaleurs and the Îles-de-la-Madeleine—that you will enjoy a truly exceptional swimming experience. The archipelago is home to pretty lagoons and beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see, bathed by the sea and sun. It’s a veritable paradise for swimmers, surfers and sandcastle builders!

Urban swimmer

Parc Jean-Drapeau, MontréalOnce surrounded by public beaches and waterside resorts, today the island of Montréal has three small family beaches, at the Cap-Saint-Jacques and Bois-de-l’île-Bizard nature parks and Parc Jean‑Drapeau, which are easily accessible from downtown. Also worth mentioning is nearby Parc national d’Oka, a recreational park on Lac des Deux Montagnes that boasts a wooded campground and pleasant beach.

Gatineau Park’s delightful lakes offer Gatineau’s city slickers a refreshing oasis. In Québec City, you can swim at the Sainte-Foy outdoor recreation centre. The region also has many other interesting bodies of water, including Saint‑Joseph and Beauport lakes. Lastly, for truly hardy souls, there’s nothing more stimulating than the traditional “snow bath” that takes place during the Québec Winter Carnival!
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