6 easy must-do weekend trips from Montreal

Published by: BouncePosted
Montreal on a budget

One of Canada's most vibrant and historic cities, Montreal is a little slice of French elegance and sophistication in North America. The biggest city in the French-speaking province of Québec, Montreal is unquestionably one of Canada's cultural capitals. Located on an island in the St. Lawrence River, Montreal is known for having some of North America's best nightlife and food experiences. Plus, Old Montreal offers visitors the kind of charming historic district that can be hard to find in any other Canadian city or in most cities in North America in general.

With all this going on, it's no surprise that Montreal itself is a popular destination for weekend getaways and longer holidays. And with only a few days to spend, you can easily find plenty to do within Montreal itself to keep you busy.

However, if you live in the city or if you have a little longer to spend here, don't neglect the perfect weekend getaway. Weekend getaways from Montreal allow you to discover so much more in this beautiful and historic part of Canada. With rich history combined with beautiful natural areas, not to mention the odd ski resort and National Park, weekend getaways from Montreal offer just about everything you need for an incredible vacation.

Whether you're planning a day trip or weekend getaway, you'll have a much easier time if you don't carry more than you need to. Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Montreal to take advantage of these incredible weekend getaways. Traveling light will make it much easier to enjoy all the incredible activities you can take part in while you're in Québec.

Mont Megantic National Park

Mont Megantic National Park

Montreal is a fantastic place to explore for those who want to see a little bit of the Canadian wilderness on a weekend getaway. This incredible National Park is only a short distance from the city, but it offers a range of exciting outdoor activities that make it feel like a long way away.

Distance from Montreal:

It's around 240 km from the center of Montreal to Mont Megantic National Park. Expect to drive to take around two and a half hours.

Our activity recommendations:

  • Hiking: Mont Megantic offers hundreds of miles of hiking trails where you can easily lose yourself in the beautiful wilderness of this spectacular natural area. Bring your hiking boots and get ready to explore the path less traveled. Even though this National Park is popular thanks to its proximity to the big city of Montreal, it's easy to find places that you'll have all to yourself.
  • Cross-country skiing: When the snow falls, all those miles of hiking trails make this National Park the ideal location for cross-country skiing. Bring a pair of skis or rent a pair in the city to explore this winter wonderland in the quieter season.
  • Stargazing: Mont Megantic was the first International Dark Sky Reserve in North America. That means the park has incredibly dark skies that provide the ideal backdrop the peering into the galaxy. In the summer, park rangers provide astronomical programs that will teach you more about the night sky, and you may even get lucky enough to see the spectacular Northern Lights from here.

Best season to visit:

It might seem like the outdoor activities of this National Park make it a place best visited in the summer. However, nature lovers know that sometimes, the off-season is the best time to visit. If you can handle the cold, the snowy beauty of this National Park is definitely something you'll want to experience, and chances are good you'll have the place all to yourself.

Weekend trip from Montreal to Eastern Townships

Eastern Townships

One of the more historically English-speaking areas of Québec, the Eastern Townships offer tons of intriguing villages to explore, combined with great outdoor activities. One of the most popular weekend getaways from Montreal, there's always something new to discover, so however you like to spend your time, it's worth considering a visit here.

Distance from Montreal:

It's impossible to give an exact distance for this large region, but you can reach what's generally recognized as the Eastern Townships in less than two hours of driving from Montreal. Once you're there, expect to do quite a bit more driving as you explore all the different villages and parks, each with its own unique character.

Our activity recommendations:

  • Provincial parks: The Eastern Townships are home to no fewer than four provincial parks, all of them offering great places for nature lovers to enjoy a fantastic day trip or weekend trip. Hiking and mountain biking are popular activities here in the summer, while skiing, ice skating, and snowshoeing are some of the favorite winter sports.
  • Golf: The Eastern Townships have the highest concentration of golf courses in all of Québec. Visit during the golfing season, and you'll have your pick of great courses to play at.
  • Sugar shacks: In winter, the countryside around the Eastern Townships comes alive to the sound of running sap. Harvesting maple syrup has been the backbone of the local economy here for centuries, and it still goes on to this day. Visit the sugar shacks here and try maple syrup and snow cones while you participate in a great Canadian tradition.

Best season to visit:

The Eastern Townships are a year-round destination, so the best time to visit on weekend getaways from Montreal will depend on how you want to spend your time. If you want to play golf or go hiking, summer is ideal, while early spring is when the sugar shacks open up and begin their annual syrup harvest.

Weekend trips from Montreal to Knowlton

Knowlton

Knowlton is just one of seven villages that make up the Brome Lake area. That makes this a great place to explore Québec history or indulge in winetasting. If you want to experience the quieter side of life outside Montreal, Knowlton can be a great jumping-off point for a fun weekend break.

Distance from Montreal:

It's roughly 100 km from central Montreal to Knowlton, so you can explore this quaint Victorian town with a drive of little more than an hour.

Our activity recommendations:

  • Brome Wine Route: This wine route spends over 160 km, starting close to Montreal and running through Knowlton. Along the way, you'll encounter dozens of local wineries and be able to sample what they produce. Many of the wineries are also home to some great restaurants, so it's a great way for foodies and wine lovers alike to enjoy the countryside around Montréal.
  • Brome County Museum: This region was once a hotbed of Loyalist activity during the battle between French and British forces for sovereignty over Québec. You can learn more about this fascinating story and other aspects of the region's history, including the involvement of soldiers from here in the First World War, at this small but interesting museum.
  • Midnight Madness: If you're in the region during Christmas, don't miss this festive celebration. Midnight Madness includes a Christmas market along with tastings of food and wine and live entertainment to chase away the gloom of the winter season.

Best season to visit:

Summer is a great time to visit this region since the warm weather will make you want to explore the countryside around Knowlton. However, Midnight Madness makes the winter season far more cheerful, so you should also consider a weekend getaway to Knowlton at this time of year.

Quebec City weekend trip from Montreal

Quebec City

This incredible city is truly unique. The only walled city in North America north of Mexico, Quebec City is an amazing destination to visit for history lovers thanks to its National Historic Site and UNESCO World Heritage status. But this is also a living city full of culture, art, and delicious food, so it's a great place to visit on a weekend getaway at any time of year.

Distance from Montreal:

It's over 250 km between the two major cities of Québec, which makes Quebec City a bit of a stretch for a day trip. However, it's the perfect length for a longer weekend excursion, and when you consider everything there is to do here, you'll want to spend the extra time in the city anyway.

Our activity recommendations:

  • Old Québec: Take a stroll through the streets of this atmospheric city, and you could be forgiven for thinking you're in a medieval French town instead of a Canadian one. Possibly the most charming historic district in all of Canada, Old Québec will make you feel like you've stepped back in time.
  • Try the food: Québecois food is as unique as everything else about the province. The jury is still out on whether Montreal or Québec City is the best place to try the unique flavors of the province, so why not try both? Quebec City has great restaurants where you can try the local produce and see the French influence on Canadian cuisine.
  • Explore the art galleries: Art lovers will think they've died and gone to heaven in this cultured city. Home to some incredible art galleries like the Musee National des beaux-arts du Quebec and the Musee Dark-Art, the vibrant cultural scene of Québec City will keep art lovers entertained for hours.

Best season to visit:

Quebec City is a great place to explore at any time of year. With fascinating museums and art galleries as well as its restaurants, you can have fun here no matter what the weather outside is doing.

Oka National Park weekend trips

Oka National Park

This popular tourist destination is another great place to get a sense of Québec's great outdoors. Leave your bags behind in Montreal and explore the Canadian wilderness without going too far from the city.

Distance from Montreal:

Situated on the beautiful Lake of Two Mountains, this stunning park is only around 60 km from downtown Montreal, so you won't need to drive more than an hour to get here.

Our activity recommendations:

  • Oka Beach: Montreal isn't usually thought of as a beach destination, but just outside the city, this popular beach is where locals come to enjoy cold water and radiant sunshine. Head out to explore the water on a kayak or canoe or simply stretch out on the sand to enjoy the sun, and you'll be enjoying the countryside around Montreal just like the locals do.
  • Hiking: This National Park has hundreds of hiking trails that make fantastic places to explore in the summer. And when the winter snow begins to fall, they also become excellent for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Whatever season you like to visit, you will have fun on these beautiful trails.

Best season to visit:

Summer, obviously, is the best time to lay out on the beach and enjoy the sun. But winter brings its own charms to this National Park, so there's really no bad time to visit here.

Weekend trips from Montreal to Ottawa

Ottawa

Canada's capital city is often underrated as a tourist destination, but it provides a great option for weekend getaways from Montreal.

Distance from :

It's 200 km from one city to the next, a drive you can make in around two hours, making it suitable for a day trip and a weekend adventure. Unusually for Canadian destinations, you can also take a train, which is just as quick as a car.

Our activity recommendations:

  • Rideau Canal ice skating: The Rideau Canal connects the Ottawa River to Lake Ontario, making this a historically and economically important waterway. But it's also a great place for recreation. In the winter, the canal freezes over and becomes the perfect outdoor ice-skating rink.
  • Parliament Hill: The home of the Canadian government, Parliament Hill is one of the most important historic sites in the entire country. Admire the architecture of the federal buildings and get a deeper insight into the history and culture of Canada.

Best season to visit:

Ottawa is a year-round destination. No matter what time of year you decide to go, you'll find plenty to do here.

Conclusion

Montreal is an exciting place with so much to keep anyone entertained, and whether you're looking to spend a weekend or a lifetime in the city, you won't run out of great activities. If you only have a short time to spend in the city, for example, 3 days in Montreal, you're better off staying in the city and enjoying everything it has to offer to the fullest.

However, with a little more time at your disposal, you can consider branching out and exploring some of the surrounding regions. Whether you're looking for the perfect day trip from Montreal or a fun weekend adventure, these weekend getaways give you lots to do.

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