Everything you need to know about the must-do day trips from Montreal, written by a Montreal local!
Montreal, the City of Saints, is a mecca of all things, food, drink, arts and culture.
Yes, Montreal should definitely be on everyone’s Canadian bucket list. But there are also plenty of amazing things to see and do just outside of the city itself.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect ski getaway at Mont Tremblant, a day spent getting to know the nationals capital of Ottawa or maybe you want to escape the cities for the great outdoors in any number of national parks surrounding Montreal, your options are endless.
READ MORE: Use our guide to plan your trip to Canada!
Table of Contents
- Best Day Trips from Montreal
- 1) Mont-Tremblant
- 2) The Eastern Townships
- 3) Quebec City
- 4) Montebello
- 5) The Laurentians
- 6) Ottawa
- 7) Montmorency Falls
Best Day Trips from Montreal
Grab the bus, hop on the train or fuel up the car because you’re never more than a few hours away from somewhere incredible to explore!
To help make planning easier this is a list of the 7 best Montreal day trips to get you excited for the next adventure.
About 90 minutes northwest of Montreal tucked into the Laurentian Mountains is the most charming little slice of paradise.
Mont Tremblant is the national park in which the town is situated and known for its ski resort and stunning trails.
While the ski resort is well known by most Canadians and international travellers, what some may not know is that this is a great place to visit outside of ski season too.
A perfect side trip from Montreal for anyone looking for a mix of outdoor adventure and pampering.
From skiing, skating and even dog sledding in the winter months to nordic spa treatments, fantastic dining options and stunning hiking trails. Mont Tremblant is a great one-day getaway option.
READ MORE: Check out my other guide on NOMADasaurus filled with all the best things to do in Montreal!
What to do in Mont-Tremblant
First things first, skiing, or snowboarding! With over 100 groomed trails at Mont Tremblant, there’s a run, or two for everyone no matter your experience level.
If you’re a first-timer the skill offers a ski school and lessons to get you comfortable and confident on the slopes as well as a rental shop for all your outfit needs.
For those with a bit of experience, you can take right to the slopes on trails like TouFou or La Passe.
For those more advanced riders check out Windigo or Lowell Thomas. For adrenaline junkies, there are also 3 different snowparks to take advantage of too.
For all tickets, rental and trail information click here.
If skiing/snowboarding aren’t your cup of tea you won’t miss out. Mont Tremblant has a great selection of snowshoe trails to be explored.
Ranging from 1km to 5km in length and one for every experience level this is a great opportunity to slow down and see all the beautiful parts of the park during the winter.
After a day on the trails or slopes you’ll likely have worked up an appetite, and you’re in luck because the village at Tremblant has some of the best dining options outside of Montreal.
The Village at Mont Tremblant is where you’ll find all the bars, cafes and restaurants you need to fuel up and take part in a great post-ski session.
Stop at Choux Gras Brasserie for a special occasion meal, Café D’Epoque for that fun nightclub experience or SoCal Kitchen for a relaxed meal and great drinks.
Want to do a bit of shopping? The village has tons of unique boutiques and stores so you’ll be able to find everything you’re looking for and more.
If your one day trip from Montreal brings you to Mont Tremblant outside of ski season then you’ll be looking for hiking, biking and all things outdoorsy to take advantage of.
The National Park has dozens of trails to be explored for every fitness level including Manicou, Mont Onontio and Grand Nord just to name a few.
After tackling the trails you’ll be happy to know that relaxation is close by too.
Mont Tremblant is home to the Scandinave Spa which is a traditional Scandinavian spa/bath experience. In a beautiful and secluded setting, you can unwind and relax in multiple pools on the site and take advantage of the spa treatments too.
2) The Eastern Townships
If you want to disappear on a day trip out of Montreal and avoid the crowds, especially in the summer, look no further.
Located less than 2 hours away from downtown Montreal, The Eastern Townships consist of several different towns in the Southeast of Quebec.
A seriously postcard-worthy destination that will make you feel like you’ve been transported to one of those idyllic movies small towns where everyone knows everyone and each house has a white picket fence, almost.
From kayaking to shopping, exploring National Parks, and even a ski resort for the winter visits. The Eastern Townships have something for everyone.
What to do in the Eastern Townships
One of the best things to do in Montreal means taking a trip out to Bromont in the Eastern Townships. No matter the time of year one of the highlights of Bromont is the Balnea Spa.
Tucked into the side of a mountain surrounded by lush forest and spectacular views, this spa has it all. Relaxation rooms, the usual facials and massages.
But then they also have a Mediterranean inspired beach club and even offer different outdoor activities.
More than just a spa, but an overall experience that is a must when it comes to visiting on a day trip out of Montreal.
Winter lovers will be excited at the mention of skiing and Bromont, along with the rest of the Eastern Townships offer great ski hills.
Ski Bromont not only offers traditional winter activities like skiing/snowboarding, sledding and snowshoeing, but they also offer amazing mountain bike trails, hiking and a very cool waterpark.
For more information click here.
National Parks are a huge draw to this region as well, especially from September – November when the leaves go gorgeous gold, red and orange.
In the area, you have your choice of four parks including Mont Orford, Yamasaka National Park, Frontenac National Park and Reserve Naturelle des Montagnes-Vertes.
The two most popular choices for visitors are Frontenac National Park and Mont Orford which are also relatively easy to access.
Sitting on the shores of Lake St-Francois, which is the 3rd largest of the St-Lawrence, is the perfect spot to check out some wildlife.
Home to 30 different species of mammals including moose and deer and over 200 species of birds you’ll definitely want to bring your binoculars up here.
To get the best views from up above the park, head out to Le Massif trail which you can access from the canoe dock number 12. At over 400 meters above sea level, the climb will be steep but the views over the southern end of the region will be more than worth it.
For more details on trails visit the park’s website here.
READ MORE: Looking for the best way to spend 3 days in Montreal? Don’t miss my recommended Montreal itinerary!
3) Quebec City
Old Montreal is one of the top Montreal attractions for any visitor. So what if you found out there was something just as beautiful and historic as Old Montreal on a bigger scale?
Then Quebec City might be the best day trip from Montreal for you! Dating back to the 1600s, Quebec City is the home to some of the provinces most incredible moments in history and is about as picturesque as they come.
The cobbled streets of Quebec City will have you thinking you’ve stepped foot in Europe. The Citadelle will remind you of the things you heard about in history class and the beautiful architecture will have you snapping a mile a minute.
Whether you’re looking for a day trip from Montreal full of beautiful scenes, good food or history Quebec City has it all.
What to do in Quebec City
If you want to get your bearings right away a great option for a Montreal day tour to Quebec City is to book in on a walking tour.
With a knowledgeable local guide at your side, you’ll be able to learn more than you ever thought possible about this historic part of the country.
This is also a great way to find out what some local favourites are for the rest of your day. Even without an organized walking tour, Quebec city is best explored on foot.
The Quartier Petit Champlain is one of the most beautiful areas in the city and one of North America’s oldest commercial streets. Lined with lovely boutiques, art galleries and restaurants this is the hub of the city and you’ll find anything you need here.
For all your fresh local produce and treats head to Marché du Vieux Port (Old Port Market). Open daily with numerous different stalls offering fresh produce, local cheeses, as well as wine and beers from the region.
History buffs will be in heaven visiting Quebec city as it is one of the oldest cities within Canada and home to so much history. Place Royale is one of the most historic landmarks in the city and one of the most photogenic.
This dates back to the 17th century and considered by many as the birthplace for French Quebec.
The Notre Dame de Quebec Cathedral is nearby and was originally constructed in 1647. However, it has suffered several fires in its lifetime and the current cathedral is slightly different from the original.
One majorly cool site to see in Quebec City is The Fortifications. Surrounding the city and covering just under 5km, not only is the fortress a UNESCO World Heritage site but also offers some of the most amazing views of the city as well.
READ MORE: Want to spend more time in Quebec City? Check out this post to find out more great things to do when you’re there!
The Museum of Civilization is the number 1 visited museum in Canada and full of history. Explore the history not only of the Quebecois and Canadians from the inception of Quebec City but also the native aboriginal people who called this area home.
La Citadelle is an active military installation and the secondary official residence of both the Canadian monarch and the Governor-General of Canada.
Located at the top of Cap Diamant this star-shaped fortress was constructed in the 1800s as the talk of an American invasion was near, but it never happened.
It was constructed in the 1800s as the talk of an American invasion was near, but it never happened. It’s a great piece of architecture and seen from above is the best way to view its shape.
Neighbouring the Citadelle are the Plains of Abraham and Battlefields Park which cover over 100 hectares and are the perfect place to see the city.
If you’re after another place to stroll and take in the views head to Terrace Dufferin that goes from the Citadelle to the iconic Chateau Frontenac hotel. The wooden boardwalk leads up to the hotel that looks like something out of a fairytale.
In the west of Quebec and just over 90 minutes from Montreal, you’ll find the charming village of Montebello. Located close to the border of Ontario, this is a favourite summertime destination for Montrealers and Ontario residents too.
While this destination is often overlooked for Quebec City or Ottawa it’s the perfect day trip out of Montreal if you’re looking to enjoy some peace and quiet.
Visit the largest log cabin in North America or get up close and personal with some incredible wildlife.
Get out into nature and onto the hiking trails or book in for a day of pampering and local food and wine, anything you choose will be awesome.
What to do in Montebello
For those looking for a day tour from Montreal, there is an epic one that will give you the best of the best that Montebello has to offer.
A day tour to Parc Omega and Montebello Lodge after a scenic ride from Montreal is definitely a must-do.
At Parc Omega visitors will be able to experience the incredible Quebec wildlife up close and personal.
Wolves, blonde bears, deer, foxes and coyotes are just a few of the animals who call this location home and with knowledgeable guides, you’ll be able to see them all.
And if that’s not enough for you then why not book in for a night and wake up with the wolves!
Montebello Lodge aka The Chateau Montebello is a Fairmont owned hotel and one of the most beautiful in the country.
Even if you’re only on a day trip from Montreal that’s no reason not to stop in and have a drink at the bar, visit one of the properties 6 restaurants, hit a few rounds on the golf course or enjoy the spa facilities.
The hotel also offers kayak and canoe rentals to take advantage of as well.
If you love good food and drink, Montello has some great options for you as well.
For the craft beer lovers in the group check out Brasseurs de Montebello. In a cozy atmosphere with a great patio space enjoy some of the region’s awesome craft beers and let the staff help you decide what to try next.
After a flight of beer, chances are you’ll need sustenance, and Fromagerie Montebello can help you out. This cheese shop is legendary in the area and for good reason too.
Taste your way through the shop and be sure to get some to take back home with you.
For a quintessential Quebec, foodie favourite visit Delice Champetre for poutine. This local delicacy of fries, cheese curds and gravy is a must-try for any visit to the province.
5) The Laurentians
When it comes to Montreal sightseeing, the closest thing you’ll get to mountain ranges is Mount Royal, which is more of a hill than anything.
While that’s a pretty viewpoint if you’re craving some real mountains the best Montreal day trip for you would be The Laurentians.
North of the St-Lawrence River and what seems like out in the middle of nowhere are a stunning range of mountains that will have you saying “What west coast?”
Not only is this national park area a gorgeous palace to explore, but also there are also several must-see towns in the region worth a visit.
What to do in The Laurentians
One of the highlights for anyone visiting The Laurentians in the Autumnal months (September – November) is to see the gorgeous colours in the region.
Escape the city on a pre-organized day trip from Montreal including transport.
A major highlight is to cruise around Lac-Des-Sables, where visitors will not only get a beautiful view from the lake but also get a fabulous opportunity to see the gold and red leaves for the surrounding forests.
Enjoy a scenic drive through Southern Quebec’s stunning mountainside and admire the woodlands you’ll pass all without having to do anything but snap photos as you cruise along.
Picture perfect villages seem to be a requirement in the Laurentians. Two that should definitely not be missed out on are St-Sauveur and St-Agathe.
In St-Sauveur you’ll find a ton of thrilling activities as well as a charming village atmosphere. The number one draw being Mont St-Sauveur where in winter you can take part in all sorts of winter activities including skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing.
However, in the summer months, the mountain turns into an aqua park. Enjoy the lazy river, dozens of wicked water slides and even rollercoasters in the park too.
In St-Agathe you’ll have an opportunity to get lost in the pretty little town and get out onto the trails nearby too.
Tyropark is a mountain adventure park equipped with the highest and longest zipline in Quebec.
There are options for a spa break + zip line day out or a hiking + zip line experience. Whatever you choose you’ll be sure to enjoy the views from the top.
For those hoping for a bit of rest and relaxation the options for spas in The Laurentians, you’ve come to the right place.
Check out Bagni Spa in St-Adele for a Nordic spa experience. The spa sits directly on the river and there are areas completely secluded on the banks of the river with chairs on the rocks that give you a completely different experience than a regular treatment room.
There is an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant on-site and all the treatments you could want.
At St-Sauveur you’ll find the legendary Manoir St-Sauveur which is not just a hotel. The spa facilities here are a huge draw for Montrealers with an exquisite atmosphere, thermal pools and the most soothing treatment spaces.
Canada’s capital city is one of the best day trips from Montreal. Ottawa sits on the river in Ontario and is a city that everyone should have on their Canadian bucket list.
Easily accessible by car, train or even bus so there is no worry for anyone visiting who may not have their own transport. The city is easy enough to get around on foot and really just an all-over visitor-friendly place to visit.
From Parliament Hill to The National Gallery of Canada. The infamous Rideau Canal is perfect for skating in the winter months and the most scenic part of the city in the warmer months.
Take a trip to Byward Market and enjoy some of the best food the city has to offer. No matter what you want to do you’ll be able to find it all and more in Ottawa.
What to do in Ottawa
In the center of Ottawa is Parliament Hill with the Parliament building perched right on top.
Overlooking the Ottawa river, Parliament is made up of 3 buildings and an impressive garden, all of which can be toured by visitors. This Gothic Revival style of the building is stunning, and at night you can see it lit up which is very impressive.
Ottawa is one of the oldest cities in Canada and therefore there are plenty of museums to check out on your day trip out of Montreal.
The Canadian Museum of History, The Canadian Museum of Nature, The National Gallery of Canada and The Canadian War Museum are just a few of the best ones to check out.
For something a bit more specialized, but one of the most fun to visit the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology is great! There is a “crazy kitchen” in which visitors will get a sense of gravity and be able to feel like they’re walking upside down.
Immersive displays and interactive exhibits are what this museum is known for and there’s something to find for everyone.
Byward Market is one of the oldest in Canada and is open year-round. Sample local produce, sample Ontario’s fine wines and get a feel for the food culture in this open-air market.
Definitely don’t forget to try a Beaver Tail! No, this is not an actual beaver tail! Think deep-fried dough in the shape of a beaver’s tail covered in cinnamon sugar, the perfect treat especially on a cold Winter’s day.
A winter visit to Ottawa is classic for anyone wanting to experience Winterlude.
For 2 weeks every February, this winter festival is full of amazing light shows, installations and of course skating on the Rideau Canal.
The canal is also a great place for a walk or a bike ride with over 200 km of riverside to explore.
Sitting just above the Rideau Canal is Major’s Hill Park, from which you’ll have fantastic views of the canal and even of the Parliament buildings.
Stroll through the park admiring the gardens or enjoy the Canada Day celebrations every July 1st here.
From the park, you’ll be able to walk along the path to the infamous Fairmont Chateau Laurier hotel which is an iconic piece of Ottawa’s city architecture.
Looking more like a castle than a hotel, there is a bar and restaurant visitors can use if you aren’t a guest, and it’s worth just taking a little nosey around the place.
7) Montmorency Falls
If you’re after something a little different why not head out of the city and towards the spectacular Montmorency Falls.
Located near to Quebec City you can pop in for the must-see views on your way to/from Quebec City.
But if you fancy spending the day here there are more than enough things to do.
With over 100,000 visitors every year this is a destination you won’t want to miss out on. Come for the views but stay for the awesome zip line or themed guided tours into Quebec’s history.
Even during the winter, you’ll be able to see the frozen falls and ride the cable car. No matter the season and no matter what you hope to find, this is a day trip from Montreal that should be on everyone’s list.
What to do in Montmorency
First things first, visit the waterfall! Nearly 300 ft high, it makes them higher than the iconic Niagara Falls and has 2 separate drops all connected to the Montmorency River.
Several staircases surround the falls which allow visitors to get up close and personal from lots of different angles of the falls.
An amazing suspension bridge connects either side of the falls so you’ll be able to stroll over the top if you aren’t afraid of heights. From the middle of the bridge, you’ll have unobstructed views over either side of the falls making this the best viewpoint in the area.
If you want a bit of a different view, you can purchase tickets for the cable car where you’ll be taken up and out from the falls looking back at the rush of water behind you.
Information for tickets can be found here.
For thrill-seekers, you can zipline alongside the falls or take to rock climbing the surrounding cliff faces.
And if you want to get the most out of your visit stop into the information center and book into one of several guided tours while at the falls.
While winter can sometimes deter visitors, if you bundle upright and pick a sunny day then you’ll have the chance to see something incredible. During the winter months, the cable car still runs and you’ll have a chance to see the falls frozen over which is amazing.
Snowshoe trails surround the falls and the area of the park and there are several trails worth visiting if the conditions are right.
The Cliffside Boardwalk goes the whole way around the suspension bridge where you’ll have awesome views, and the Cottage Trail allows snowshoers to go across the bridge to the Resurgences Trail.
Ice climbing is available here as well but it is recommended only for those with experience.
Stop in at Manoir Montmorency for a hot drink and to warm your feet by the fire while still getting great views from the dining area.
The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars, which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.
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