Road trips have a magic all their own — the open road, an ever-changing landscape, and the sweet sense of freedom. Departing from Montreal, within a three-hour radius, there is a patchwork of destinations, each with its own character. We're not just talking about scenery — though there's plenty of that — but also the experiences that make each stop unique. From the creamy satisfaction of artisanal ice cream factories that turn the simplest ingredients into frozen delights to sandy beaches offering relaxation.

For those with a spring in their step, various hiking trails provide both challenge and reward, with views that stretch as far as the eye can see. And if you're looking to add a stamp to your passport, some of these short road trips even venture south of the Canadian border.

Here are some road trips that speak to the diverse experiences within a stone's throw from Montreal, turning even the briefest escape into an unforgettable adventure:


Distance from Montreal: Under 1 hour

Reason to go: This picturesque region where the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers meet encapsulates Quebec's rich heritage and natural beauty. You can explore charming towns and reconnect with nature. The Route Verte cycling path, part of Quebec's extensive biking network, meanders through Vaudreuil-Soulanges, making it a cyclist's dream destination.

From August 18 to 20, the region comes alive with Festifraîches. The berry festival celebrates the delectable sweetness of strawberries and raspberries, infused with the rustic charm of a country fair. Visitors can look forward to pop-up mini-markets, u-pick opportunities, smoothie bars and food trucks.

There's also the Champs de Rêves garden centre with a giant maze, rows of lavender, and "Mosaïculture" statues made of living plants, all of which you can access for $10.

Gatineau National Park

Distance from Montreal: 2.5 hours

Reason to go: Spread across 361 square kilometres, this vast natural playground showcases the very best of Canadian wilderness. From its rolling hills and pristine lakes to dense forests echoing with birdcalls, the park offers a refreshing escape from urban life.

Whether you're an avid hiker or a casual stroller, Gatineau's well-maintained trails cater to all. The panoramic vistas from the Champlain Lookout, the park's crown jewel, are a sight to behold, presenting the Ottawa Valley in all its glory. During winter, the park transforms into a snowy wonderland, with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails drawing enthusiasts from far and wide.

Beyond its physical beauty, Gatineau Park holds deep cultural and historical significance, with sites like the Mackenzie King Estate — the former home of the longest-serving prime minister — offering glimpses into Canada's storied past. Wildlife enthusiasts will revel in the park's biodiversity, with chances to spot deer, beavers, and even the occasional black bear.

Quebec City

Distance from Montreal: Under 3 hours

Reason to go: One of North America's oldest (and, apparently, best) cities, the cobblestoned streets and fortified walls of Quebec echo tales from centuries past. The majestic Château Frontenac towers above the city, while the historic district of Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage site, mesmerizes with its intricate architecture.

But Quebec City isn't just about looking back. One of its latest attractions lets you board the continent's first hydrogen passenger train. This eco-friendly locomotive offers a scenic journey to Baie-Saint-Paul, letting travelers experience the stunning landscapes of the Charlevoix region while championing sustainable travel.

From its festive summer streets to the fairy-tale winters where an ice hotel arises and the world-renowned Winter Carnival beckons, Quebec City is a year-round destination.


Distance from Montreal: Under 2 hours

Reason to go: In the heart of Quebec's Eastern Townships, Coaticook presents an idyllic blend of scenic beauty and hometown charm. Known for its sprawling landscapes that change with each season, the town offers picturesque views, from the fiery hues of fall foliage to serene snow-covered fields in the winter.

The Coaticook Gorge Park is a natural jewel, featuring the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. The park also offers meandering trails with picnic areas, and during the evenings, the Foresta Lumina – a magical illuminated nighttime trail that blends storytelling with impressive light displays.

And for those with a sweet tooth, Coaticook is synonymous with its legendary ice cream. A visit to the Laiterie de Coaticook will treat you to some of the creamiest and most flavourful ice creams, a true testament to Quebec’s dairy prowess.


Distance from Montreal: Under 2 hours

Reason to go: As Vermont's largest city, Burlington buzzes with artsy vibes, thanks to its eclectic boutiques, colourful street murals, and live music venues.

Church Street Marketplace, a pedestrian-only promenade, serves as the city's beating heart, dotted with unique shops, delicious eateries, and street performers that bring life to every corner. Yet, it's just a stone's throw away from the peaceful Waterfront Park, where you can enjoy lake views, rent kayaks, or hit the bike trails.

The city's commitment to sustainability is evident in its local food scene, brimming with farm-to-table restaurants, and the world-renowned Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory. And for those inclined to explore a bit more, the nearby Green Mountains offer hiking trails and skiing opportunities that are bound to satisfy any adventurer.

Lake George

Distance from Montreal: Under 3 hours

Reason to go: Often dubbed the "Queen of American Lakes," this shimmering freshwater haven stretches over 50 kilometres, providing a playground for boating, fishing, and water sports enthusiasts. Its crystalline waters reflect nearby forested slopes and the sky's changing hues, offering postcard-perfect views at every turn.

The surrounding Lake George Village is brimming with charm. You can stroll along its walkways and discover quaint boutiques, cozy eateries, and historical landmarks. As evening falls, lakeside restaurants come alive with diners seeking a golden sunset view as they enjoy a meal.

For adventure seekers, numerous hiking trails snake through the Adirondack wilderness, leading to panoramic viewpoints and hidden waterfalls. History buffs will find delight in the area's rich past, with forts like Fort William Henry offering a glimpse into colonial-era skirmishes.

Events like the Americade Motorcycle Rally and the Adirondack Balloon Festival add to the region's calendar, ensuring there's always something happening by the lake.

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