I’d never heard of it and it took me a long time to figure out how to pronounce it, but once I stepped foot in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, I knew I’d found a special destination.
Thank you to Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean for the fantastic trip! There are affiliate links throughout this blog post. If you click on the links and make a purchase, I may earn some money. Your cost doesn’t change.
Depending on the activities you most enjoy, there really is no bad time of year to visit the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region! I visited this part of Québec in early May and there was still snow in certain areas and Lac-Saint-Jean was still covered with ice and snow. I didn’t find the weather very cold, though.
A few of the things I packed: jeans, comfortable walking shoes, a rain jacket (which I layered over a sweater or shirt/cardigan combo), and swimsuit. There were hot tubs at each of the hotels in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region where I stayed!
Where is the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean Region?
The Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region is located about 2-2.5 hours drive north from Québec City, or 5 hours drive from Montréal, Québec in Canada. There are many options for transportation, including VIA Rail train, bus, car rental, or Intercar (a bus or limo bus transportation company which took my press trip group and I around the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region).
Things to do in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean
There are so many things to do in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean for the whole family! In the 4 days I spent in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, I experienced wildlife, culture, and the great outdoors. I learned about the importance of the pulp industry for the region at both Village historique de Val-Jalbert and La Pulperie de Chicoutimi – Musée régional. I saw black bears mingling with deer. I watched the rush of waterfalls multiple times. And I ate some amazing vegan food and stayed in gorgeous waterfront hotels!
Here are just 5 highlights from my trip to the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region.
Take a helicopter ride over the Saguenay Fjord
Thanks to Peak Aviation (courtesy of Promotion Saguenay), my press trip group and I got to experience an evening helicopter flight over Saguenay Fjord!
This was my first helicopter ride and my first time seeing a fjord. I remember looking at maps and atlases as a child, dreaming about the day I could see a fjord in Scandinavia for myself. I never imagined being able to see one (from the air no less) in my home country of Canada!
Who should visit: waterfall chasers, outdoor revellers, and wildlife admirers If you prefer to be closer to the water when exploring the Saguenay Fjord, Saint-Lawrence River and nearby areas, Saguenay–St Lawrence Marine Park Tours is a good option. Book your helicopter ride with Peak Aviation.
Zoo Sauvage de Saint-Felicien
A visit to Zoo Sauvage de Saint-Felicien will be one you won’t easily forget! This is the kind of place children, adults, sulky teenagers, and elderly people will all enjoy. Most of the zoo is wheelchair accessible and a bus or trolley takes guests through the natural boreal forest where animals are free to roam in their habitats. Just take a look at some of the pictures from my trip to give you an idea:
Who should visit: waterfall chasers, outdoor revellers, and wildlife admirers. More information: Zoo Sauvage de Saint-Felicien .
Musee du Fjord
Located in the Saguenay borough of La Baie, Musee du Fjord offers a hands-on experience for visitors to see (and touch) creatures that live in the Saguenay Fjord. I love how interactive this museum is! This is a place that will both educate and entertain people of all ages.
With the assistance of some well-educated guys from the museum, who answered all our questions about the landscape, types of marine life, and history of the Saguenay Fjord, my group and I got to work looking for worms (and taking lots of pictures).
Who should visit: photography fanatics and outdoor revellers
More information: Musee du Fjord .
More information: Musee du Fjord .
Village historique de Val-Jalbert
The Village historique de Val-Jalbert was one of my favourite places to stop on my trip to the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. This ghost town was set up as a company town in the 1920s for a paper mill. While many of the buildings have been restored, others have been left alone to show visitors what they’d look like without human intervention. Also, many of the materials for restoration are expensive and hard to come by!
Visitors can walk around the village, interact with costumed interpreters, have meals and snacks (I’ve been assured that they have vegan-friendly options available), and go up the gondola (dependent on time of year) for amazing views of Lac-Saint-Jean!
There’s a beautiful waterfall here, too!
Visitors can even stay the night! How cool would it be to wander around a ghost town at night?
Who should visit: photography fanatics, history enthusiasts, waterfall chasers, and outdoor revellers. More information: Village historique de Val-Jalbert .
La Pulperie de Chicoutimi
La Pulperie de Chicoutimi, located in the Saguenay borough of Chicoutimi, is often used as a site for wedding photographs. With the waterfall that leads in to the Saguenay River (via Chicoutimi River and Le Bassin), the beautiful natural surroundings, and historic buildings, it’s easy to see why!
Chicoutimi is a word in the Innu-aimun language of the Appelés Montagnais (or Innu) peoples of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region meaning “where seawater and freshwater meet.”
Chicoutimi was a very important place for meeting and settlement 4500 years ago and was a trading post until 1848. You can learn more of the history of the area at the museum. This museum features the history of the local residents and also hosts travelling and temporary exhibits. One of the highlights is viewing the detailed painting of the interior and exterior house of painter Arthur Villeneuve.
Beautiful walking trails nearby the Chicoutimi River allow visitors to get close to the historical buildings and enjoy the natural setting.
Who should visit: art appreciators, history enthusiasts, waterfall chasers. More information: La Pulperie de Chicoutimi
Looking for recommendations on places to stay in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region? Check out my post on 3 waterfront hotels in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region.
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Check out the Tourisme Saguenay website for more ideas of what to do in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region.
Beautiful pictures and great tips Tazim! Would love to take especially the helicopter ride! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
Thank you Simona! Yes, that helicopter ride was epic!
These are some awesome suggestions. Can’t believe you did a helicopter ride – that would’ve been incredible!
It really was an incredible helicopter ride!
Backpacking Series says
We are in your shoes. Have not heard of and cannot pronounce Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean 🙂 Well, now that we know that its a beautiful place, our list has a new destination! Would love to go for the wildlife. Love.. Backpacking Series.
Smita Chandra says
We were just on a road trip to this area a couple weeks ago! It is gorgeous, people are lovely and the local food is amazing! Your post lists so many things we didn’t do that we might to visit again! Gorgeous pics and description, I enjoyed reading it.
Oh wow! How awesome – do you have any blog posts written yet for your trip there?
Sinjana Ghosh says
Spectacular photos! Very helpful for anyone planning a trip to this region (I hope I could pronounce)
Thanks so much! Yeah, the pronunciation takes time to work out!
Wow looks like an amazing place. I will have to go and check it out one day! Thanks for sharing 🙂
A great guide! I’m heading this way in october and will definitely try to get out there it looks beautiful… I do love waterfalls!
Oh that’s awesome!! I hope you’ll check out some of the places I mentioned! 🙂
The Travelling Sociologist says
This is a nice overview of your trip to Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. Your photos are lovely and very insightful, and your that helicopter ride you took sounds like a dream come true. Enjoyed reading about your adventures!
Thanks so much! I couldn’t believe it when they told us we would be taking a helicopter ride on our first night! It was definitely a dream come true. 🙂
Supriya Bhardwaj (SuBhaSun) says
Wow! This place looks awesome though we never heard of it. We are big fan of outdoors, wildlife, and nature. This seems to be a wonderful experience out there. Would love to visit it.
Seems like you’d really like this region!
Koushik Krishnamoorthi says
Cool pics, loved the video. This one seems to be a wonderful destination to visit.
I’d never heard of this beautiful place before but now I would love to visit! Thanks for sharing how amazing Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean is.
Tazim Damji says
You’re so welcome! 🙂 Glad it’s on your radar now
Alex Trembath says
A very interesting and informative article! I would love to visit this part of Quebec, and the helicopter ride – wow!
Tazim Damji says
Thank you 🙂 I hope you have a chance to someday! They seem to have lots to do year-round – it would be awesome to re-visit during the winter months!
Wonderful post and some absolutely amazing pictures! Thank you for sharing
Tazim Damji says
Aww thank you! I really appreciate that. 🙂
What a beautiful trip! I am dying to go explore Quebec, I have never been to Canada but it is high on my list!
Tazim Damji says
Oh wonderful!! I hope you’ll make plans to visit!