On this activity-packed road trip, cover the highlights of two of Canada's eastern provinces, Ontario and Québec. You'll begin in Toronto with a self-guided city tour before driving to marvel at misty Niagara Falls. Then you're off on the road once more to scenic Gananoque to cruise amid thousands of islands, to buzzy Montréal for guided tours and Québécois cuisine, to Baie-Saint-Paul for leisurely hikes with epic vistas, and lastly, to Québec City for history-fueled walks and spotting breaching whales.


  • View Niagara Falls, its river, and its whirlpool from above on a helicopter ride
  • Peek inside the iconic Notre-Dame Basilica on a walking tour of historic Montréal
  • Hike a trail in a national park in the exceptionally natural beautiful Charlevoix region
  • Drive the King's Road, built under the direction of King Louis XIV, into Québec City

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Toronto (Ontario), Explore Canada's Largest City at Your Own Pace Toronto
Day 2 Drive to Niagara Falls via Niagara-on-the-Lake, Guided Tour of Niagara Falls Niagara Falls
Day 3 Helicopter Ride, Drive to Gananoque, Thousand Islands Boat Cruise Gananoque
Day 4 Drive to Montréal (Québec) via Brockville, St. Lawrence River Cruise Montréal
Day 5 Visit Atwater Market, Walking Tour of Old Montréal  Montréal
Day 6 Drive to Baie-Saint-Paul, Enjoy a Free Afternoon Baie-Saint-Paul
Day 7 Explore Baie-Sainte-Paul & the Charlevoix Region at Leisure Baie-Saint-Paul
Day 8 Drive to Québec City, Half-Day Trip to Montmorency Falls  Québec City
Day 9 Full-Day Whale-Watching Excursion  Québec City
Day 10 Return Drive to Montréal, Self-Guided City Tour Montréal
Day 11 Visit the Jean-Talon Market, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Toronto (Ontario), Explore Canada's Largest City at Your Own Pace

Go on a boat to cruise Lake Ontario to admire Toronto's iconic skyline

Welcome to Toronto, Canada's largest—and the world's most multicultural—city! Upon arrival, meet your driver outside the airport and transfer to your hotel to unwind. When you're ready, venture out to explore the area independently. The iconic CN Tower is a good place to start for a bird's-eye view of the city from 1,136 feet (346 m) above ground. Then, you can go for a stroll along the shores of Lake Ontario or book a boat cruise to get a different perspective of the city. If you want to shop, visit Kensington Market, an eclectic neighborhood bustling with quirky stores offering everything from vintage clothing and handmade crafts to global cuisine.

Continue shopping in Chinatown or sit down for some delicious dim sum. Those who want to immerse themselves in Canada's history and culture can visit the Royal Ontario Museum, better known simply as the ROM, for First Nations artifacts or check out works by famed Canadian artists, like the Group of Seven, at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). End the night along trendy Queen Street West to visit one of the upscale restaurants, cozy cafés, or vibrant bars. If you're up for it, there are also a few clubs in this lively neighborhood.

Day 2: Drive to Niagara Falls via Niagara-on-the-Lake, Guided Tour of Niagara

Thrill to a 20-minute ride on the Hornblower (formerly Maid of the Mist) for an immersive (and wet) experience

Pick up your rental car this morning and drive 1.5 hours to Niagara Falls, stopping in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake, a picturesque Victorian-era town at the mouth of the Niagara River. Wander down the tree-lined main street, popping in the boutique shops, art galleries, and restaurants. You might consider joining a five-hour wine-tasting tour that covers three wineries and ends with a three-course gourmet lunch. If not, continue along the scenic Niagara River Parkway, which follows the Niagara River, separating Canada and the US, toward Niagara Falls for a guided tour of the area.

You'll meet at the Floral Clock, a large working clock featuring 16,000 bedding plants, then continue to the Niagara Glen Nature Centre for views of the rushing river in the gorge below. Carrying on a little way, you'll take a beat at a viewing platform to see the near-90-degree angle the river makes to form the swirling waters (and Class IV rapids) around the Niagara Whirlpool. When you finally reach the falls, you'll have many ways to experience them, from atop the Skylon Tower and behind them in tunnels that open up to the Horseshoe Falls' tumbling white water on the Journey Behind the Falls attraction.

Feel the sheer power of the falls as millions of gallons of water surround you, then cap off your adventure with a boat cruise that takes you as close to the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls as possible. Feel the cool mist on your face and listen to the thundering water on the 20-minute experience. If you visit during the off-season between December and April, you can discover the Butterfly Conservatory instead. Thousands of butterflies flutter among lush gardens and will likely land on you! You'll also learn about the area's history at Niagara's Fury, a 4D motion theater that transports you 10,000 years back in time.

Day 3: Helicopter Ride, Drive to Gananoque, Thousand Islands Boat Cruise

Admire landmarks like Boldt Castle on your Thousand Islands cruise

This morning's adventure will surely be a highlight of the trip as you fly above Niagara Falls in a helicopter. Head to the heliport, complete a safety briefing and step inside the helicopter's spacious cabin lined with large windows for uninterrupted panoramic views. Learn about the area's rich history with the onboard commentary as you fly above the falls, rapids, and landmarks you visited yesterday, like Skylon Tower. After 15 minutes in the air, touch down at the heliport and hit the road for a four-hour drive to Gananoque, known as the "Gateway to the Thousand Islands."

If you want to break up the drive, you can stop in Burlington to grab a bite to eat and enjoy scenic views of Lake Ontario. When you arrive, refresh at your hotel, then head to the port to board a three-hour boat cruise across the St. Lawrence River to see waterfront estates, charming cottages, and historic landmarks like Boldt Castle, a part of the New York side of the area and the Thousand Islands Bridge. As you sail, learn about the area's rich heritage, including its connection to the First Nations people, and grab a drink or bite to eat from the full-service bar.

Day 4: Drive to Montréal (Québec) via Brockville, St. Lawrence River Cruise

Glide under the illuminated Jacques Cartier Bridge on a 3.5-hour boat tour

Take the Thousands Islands Parkway this morning for one last look at the idyllic setting as you set off on a 2.5-3-hour drive to Montréal. Break up the trip in Brockville, one of Ontario's oldest communities. Stroll through the picturesque downtown area or tour Fort Henry, a 19th-century fortress overlooking the water. Back in the car, make another detour to pick up the scenic Long Sault Parkway that winds amid sandy beaches and campgrounds along a series of islands in the St. Lawrence River. Crossing the border from Ontario to Québec brings a noticeable change, most evident in the signage as you're now in French-speaking Canada. 

Once in the buzz of Québec's largest city, check in to your hotel and relax until this evening's sightseeing cruise down the St. Lawrence River. Make your way to the historic Old Port and board a boat to cruise past landmarks like the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, Notre-Dame Basilica, and the 1976 Olympic Stadium, all illuminated in a soft glow. After 3.5 hours on the water, return to the port and stroll down the waterfront to find somewhere for dinner. Some restaurants within walking distance are Garde Manger, which focuses on fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients, or Olive et Gourmando for classic Québécois fare.

Day 5: Visit Atwater Marketa , Walking Tour of Old Montréal 

Step inside the Notre-Dame Basilica to admire the soaring ceilings and ornate details

This morning, you can make your way to the Atwater Market to grab breakfast. Wander through the bustling aisles of fresh produce, local cheeses, baked goods, and Québécois specialties like maple syrup and smoked meats. Indulge in a Montreal-style bagel, which is typically chewier and sweeter than its New York counterparts. After breakfast, join your guide for a tour of Old Montréal, the city's historic district. Wander down the cobblestone streets lined with historic buildings and listen as your guide teaches you about the city's evolution, from its early days as a fur trading post to today's metropolis.

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Stop in Place d'Armes to see the imposing Notre-Dame Basilica. Admire the basilica's twin towers, elaborate carvings, and stained-glass windows before exploring the tranquil interior. Then, walk along the Old Port to see the picturesque waterfront in the light of day. After the tour, ride La Grande Roue de Montréal, Canada's largest observation (Ferris) wheel, to enjoy panoramic views of the cityscape below from your climate-controlled gondola. Then, end the night in Plateau Mont-Royal, a trendy neighborhood full of eateries offering diverse cuisines.

Day 6: Drive to Baie-Saint-Paul, Enjoy a Free Afternoon

Explore the lush Grands-Jardins National Park at your own pace

Bid adieu to Montréal for now as you set off on a four-hour drive northeast to Baie-Sainte-Paul, a charming city founded in 1700. Drive along the tranquil St. Lawrence River and stop in Trois-Rivières to see the city's well-preserved colonial architecture. Grab a bite to eat along the picturesque waterfront before completing the drive to your hotel. After checking in, venture out to explore the city on your own. A good place to start is Rue Saint-Jean-Baptiste, a historic street lined with colorful houses where you can discover art galleries, artisan shops, and boutiques. 

If you want to learn more about the city's rich art scene, visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, which showcases work from local and international artists. Outdoor enthusiasts may want to head to Grands-Jardins National Park, just 30 minutes outside the city, for a hike down one of the many trails. No matter which trail you choose, you're sure to stumble upon scenic viewpoints offering panoramic vistas of the lush Charlevoix region. In the evening, visit one of the waterfront restaurants to enjoy fresh seafood overlooking the river. 

Day 7: Explore Baie-Sainte-Paul & the Charlevoix Region at Leisure

Go on a scenic hike in Hautes‑Gorges-de-la-Rivière‑Malbaie National Park

The day is yours to spend as you wish, and there's plenty to do in the Charlevoix region. If you want to go on another hike, head to the Hautes‑Gorges-de-la-Rivière‑Malbaie National Park to discover the towering cliffs, deep gorges, and dense forests. Choose from the trails that lead to cascading waterfalls and the tranquil waters of the Malbaie River. You may spot black bears, moose, and red foxes as you walk, so keep your eyes peeled. You can also kayak, canoe, or rock climb within the park, so it's easy to spend a day here. 

Those who don't like hiking can go on a scenic drive along the Route du Fleuve instead, a 48-mile (78 km) journey between La Malbaie and Baie-Saint-Paul. Along the way, enjoy views of the St. Lawrence River, surrounded by rolling hills, until you reach La Malbaie. Enjoy a stroll along the waterfront or, if you're feeling lucky, step inside the Casino de Charlevoix, where slot machines, table games, and poker tournaments await. Return to Rue Saint-Jean-Baptiste to end the night with dinner at one of the upscale eateries.

Day 8: Drive to Québec City, Half-Day Trip to Montmorency Falls 

Admire the 272-foot-tall Montmorency Falls from different vantage points

Today, you'll drive one hour to Québec's vibrant capital, Québec City, along Highway 138, better known as King's Road, as it was built under the direction of King Louis XIV in the 18th century. Along the way, catch glimpses of the St. Lawrence River framed by distant mountains and rural farmlands. When you arrive, freshen up at your hotel, then join a guided tour to Montmorency Falls, just 15 minutes north of the city. Admire the 272-foot (83 m) cascade, making it 98 feet (30 m) taller than Niagara Falls, from the different observation decks, then cross the suspension bridge for a bird's-eye view.

Continue to the Sanctuaire Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, one of eight national shrines in the country. Admire the basilica's grand exterior, renowned as a pilgrimage site dedicated to Saint Anne, before stepping inside to see the ornate altars, sacred artworks, and stained glass windows. On the way back to the city, stop at Chocolaterie de l'Ile d'Orléans to indulge in Belgian chocolates or ice cream in the summer. Then, end the tour at the Cuivres d'Art Albert Gilles Boutique et Musée to learn about the artistry and craftsmanship behind Albert Gilles' renowned copper artwork.

Day 9: Full-Day Whale-Watching Excursion 

If you're lucky, you may spot a humpback whale breaching on your boat cruise

Get ready for a full-day whale watching adventure, starting with a 2.5-hour transfer to Baie-Sainte-Catherine. From here, you can board a boat cruise to Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park is often referred to as one of the best places in the world to see whales, as 13 species frequent these waters. Depending on the time of year you visit, you may spot species like beluga, minke, fin, humpback, or blue whales.

As you cruise across the water, your guide will share insights into these incredible creatures and their behaviors. When you finally spot them, get your cameras ready in the hopes that they breach. The cruise will also take you past landmarks like Phare du Haut-Fond-Prince, an iconic red-and-white lighthouse, and the dramatic cliffs of the Saguenay Fjord, so there's plenty to see. After a few hours on the water, return to the shore for your transfer back to Québec City.

Day 10: Return Drive to Montréal, Self-Guided City Tour

Enjoy panoramic views of the city from the top of Mount Royal

Your penultimate day in Canada takes you back to Montréal on a three-hour drive. When you arrive, check into your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. If you want to get back into nature, head to Parc du Mont-Royal to hike or cycle along the network of trails winding through a lush forest. The park's hilltop location also offers panoramic views of the city skyline and the tranquil St. Lawrence River. Don't miss Saint Joseph's Oratory, one of the world's largest shrines dedicated to the patron saint of Canada. Step inside to see the stained glass windows, intricate mosaics, and sacred artwork.

If you're looking for a more adventurous outing, you could head to La Ronde instead, Québec's largest theme park on Île Sainte-Hélène. Soar through the air on towering roller coasters, enjoy classic rides like the carousel, or cool off in the water park. In addition to thrilling rides, the park also has live shows and special events throughout the season. In the evening, make your way to Mile End, a diverse neighborhood known for its eateries. If you haven't tried Canada's national dish of poutine, crispy fries topped with cheese curds and gravy, now's a good time to do so. 

Day 11: Visit the Jean-Talon Market, Depart

Spend your last few hours in Canada browsing the Jean-Talon Market

If you have some time before your flight, you might like to head to the Jean-Talon Market, one of the largest open-air markets in North America. Browse the stalls brimming with fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and delectable pastries. Beyond food, you can also find artisanal crafts and handmade goods here that make great souvenirs. When it's time, drive to the airport and drop off your rental car before heading inside to catch your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Road Trip Across Ontario & Québec: From Niagara Falls to Baie-Saint-Paul - 11 Days
Map of Road Trip Across Ontario & Québec: From Niagara Falls to Baie-Saint-Paul - 11 Days