Here, you’ll find our five-day itinerary for getting the most out of your epic Gaspé Peninsula road trip.
To complete the loop around the Gaspé Peninsula along Quebec Route 132 takes roughly 11 hours of active drive time. The road forms a circular route, and most people coming into the region from the west will start and finish in the city of Mont-Joli. But there’s a lot to see and do on this adventure, so you’ll want to set aside five days to complete this spectacular drive.
This itinerary takes the counter-clockwise direction, which saves the most scenic portion of Route 132 for the end of the drive. If you prefer to start with the good stuff, take this itinerary in reverse and travel in a clockwise direction.
For more details about this Gaspé Peninsula road trip, click here to read the full story >
Day 1: Rivière-du-Loup to Carleton-sur-Mer
Those entering the region from the west are likely to pass through Rivière-du-Loup, which is a logical stopover on the way into the Gaspésie. It’s reachable from Quebec City in just over two hours, from Montreal in a little under four and a half hours, and from the Greater Toronto Area in roughly 10 hours. An overnight in Rivière-du-Loup sets you up for this itinerary.
Hotel suggestion: L’Hôtel Universel Rivière-du-Loup
In the morning, head east on Route 132 for an hour and 15 minutes to reach Parc national du Bic ($). Stop for a hike, or enjoy an early picnic lunch. (Optionally, continue east on Route 132 into Rimouski to enjoy lunch at one of the downtown restaurants. We’re big fans of Parfum de Corée ($).)
Continue on to Pointe-au-Père National Historic Site ($), located just outside Rimouski. Set aside at least two hours to climb the lighthouse, tour the retired military submarine HMCS Onandaga, and explore the Empress of Ireland Museum.
Follow Route 132 to the east for roughly another 30 minutes to reach the city of Mont-Joli. This is the point where the circular route around the Gaspé Peninsula begins and ends. Turn southward to drive through the Matapédia Valley, which will take 2.5 to 4 hours depending on how often you stop.
This drive is known for its rural landscapes and covered bridges. Key sites to see along this route:
- Pont Beausejour covered bridge in Amqui
- Routhierville covered bridge
- Belvédère de Deux-Rivières, a lookout in the village of Matapédia
If you’ve arrived in time, visit the Battle of the Restigouche National Historic Site. It operates from 9 AM to 5 PM during its season. An hour is enough for an overview visit, and two hours will provide ample time to enjoy the site.
Continue to Carleton-sur-Mer overnight. Hotel suggestion: Hostellerie Baie-Bleue, Carleton-sur-Mer
Day 2: Carleton-sur-Mer to Percé
Check out of your hotel and continue east on Route 132.
After just under an hour, you’ll reach Ferme Bourdages Tradition. Stop in for a tasting of their fruit wines and pick up some pies and other treats for the road. (Note their boutique is open from Thursday to Sunday only.)
Continue east for another half hour to reach the Site historique national de Paspébiac ($). Set aside at least an hour to tour the site and learn about this area’s cod fishing history, including the shipbuilding shop and blacksmith. Add another hour if you’d like to stay for lunch at the on-site restaurant. (Note that English interpretation may be limited outside of the peak summer months.)
Rejoin Route 132 and carry on into the village of Percé. To make the most of your approach, watch for the Halte municipale de la Côte-Surprise, which lets you soak in the hilltop views of Percé and Bonaventure Island on your way into town.
Spend the rest of the day taking in the village of Percé. Walk the boardwalks, visit the Percé UNESCO Global Geopark ($) to learn about the area’s geology and hike to the Mont-Sainte-Anne lookout, enjoy a masterful seafood dinner at La Maison du Pêcheur ($$$, reservations required), or stop in for a pint and some live music at the Pub Pit Caribou ($).
Check into your hotel for a two-night stay in Percé. Hotel suggestion: Riôtel Percé (book early and request a room with a view for the best experience!)
Day 3: Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé
Dedicate an entire day to your journey to the Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé. This is an experience that’s best when not rushed.
Arrange your crossing in advance with one of the boat operators in the village. (We had an excellent experience with Les Bateliers de Percé ($$).) Your cruise will begin by circling Percé Rock, and you’ll then continue around Bonaventure Island before being dropped off at the island’s main dock where you enter the park ($).
To reach the Northern Gannet colony, follow the Les colonies trail (approximately 45 minutes each way. Allot additional time to hike through the original settlement on the island or to complete the children’s scavenger hunt. During the peak season, there are cafés open at the dock and at the colony ($, cash only). Note that some people may find the odor at the colony to be a little strong for maintaining an appetite.
Boats return to the mainland hourly. Be sure to check the departure times and arrive at the dock early for your safety!
Once you’re back in Percé, take in any activities you didn’t have time for the day before. As a second dinner option in town, consider Le Restaurant Paqbo in the Riôtel Percé ($$). Overnight at your Percé hotel.
Day 4: Forillon National Park of Canada
Check out of your Percé hotel and head north on Route 132, pausing at the Halte municipale du Pic de l’Aurore as you leave the village for a final view of Percé Rock and Bonaventure Island.
Continue along Route 132, making an optional stop in the town of Gaspé for lunch, before reaching Forillon National Park of Canada ($). Plan to spend at least one full day taking in the park. If you have time to stay for longer, two or three days will allow you to take in much of what the park has to offer. If hiking or fat biking are options for you, don’t miss the trek to Les Graves trail to reach the end of the Gaspé Peninsula.
Find out more about seven amazing experiences in Forillon National Park of Canada >
Overnight in Gaspé (hotel suggestion: Auberge sous les arbres), or bring supplies and stay overnight by camping at the park. If you’d prefer not to rough it, Forillon National Park of Canada has multiple options for ready-to-camp stays, including oTENTiks, Ôasis teardrop pods, and MicrOcubes.
Day 5: The St. Lawrence South Shore
Dedicate the fifth and final day of your ultimate Gaspé road trip by tracing the south shore of the St. Lawrence River along Route 132. With no stops, it takes four and a half hours to drive from Forillon National Park of Canada to Mont-Joli. But you’ll want to take multiple pauses along the way to look for whales from the scenic lookouts, explore the coastal villages, and visit the lighthouses along the route. Plan a full day for completing this drive.
Turn your day into a lighthouse tour by visiting the four lighthouses along the route, which you’ll encounter in this order as you leave Forillon National Park of Canada:
- Cap-des-Rosiers National Historic Site, the tallest lighthouse in Canada, is just outside the park boundry to the north along Route 132
- Pointe-à-la-Renommée Lighthouse (note this lighthouse is approximately 2 km off the highway along a dirt road)
- Cap-de-la-Madeleine Lighthouse
- Le Martre Lighthouse, unmistakeable thanks to its bright red exterior
Overnight as appropriate along your route. (Hotel suggestion: Riôtel Matane.) Follow Route 132 toward Mont-Joli and onward to home.
Extend your Gaspé Peninsula road trip
Optionally, ferry crossings are available in Matane and Trois-Pistoles ($$) that will take you to the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, which offers different views and experiences to enjoy on your return trip.