When you travel by boat on the St. Lawrence River, you enter the Marine Park's territory in the demarcated area via the GPS coordinates indicated in the mal below. On the Saguenay River, you enter the Marine Park when, heading in the direction of the St. Lawrence River, you pass Cap-à-L’Est. The park covers the entire surface of the water up to the mouth of the river. To give you an idea, if the weather is good, you will need two days to sail the Saguenay River between La Baie and L’Anse-Saint-Jean. If powered by motor, it should take two hours to travel the same distance at a maximum of 25 knots (speed limit). From Quebec, plan for 2-3 days depending on the tides and your craft. From Rimouski, count half a day by motor to reach Tadoussac, and a day by sail. These times are given for information only, weather and marine conditions can affect your navigation. Please take note that the marine activities are governed by the Marine Activities in the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park Regulations.
It is best to travel by car. The Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park is surrounded by 4 tourist regions. Arriving by Charlevoix, you take Highway 138 from Quebec City. When arriving by Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, you could take highways 170 or 172, which run alongside the Saguenay River along its south and north shores. On the North Shore, you take Highway 138. By the Lower St. Lawrence, you could take a ferry from Rivière-du-Loup or Trois-Pistoles.
It is possible to travel by bus between the major cities and the area along the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park. It takes 1 day by bus from Montreal, 5 hours from Quebec City, and approximately 2 hours from Saguenay. Once in the area, it is difficult to get around by bus, because each bus route offers only one trip per day.
You can cross the St. Lawrence River between the Lower St. Lawrence and Charlevoix with the Saint-Siméon/Rivière-du-Loup ferry. Otherwise, it is possible to cross between the Lower St. Lawrence and the North Shore by taking the ferry between Les Escoumins and Trois-Pistoles. Consult the schedules:
A shuttle travels the Saguenay River during the summer season. On it, you could bring your bicycle for travel between the riverside villages, most of which are connected by the Route verte, a provincial bicycle path. For information on the shuttle and the Route verte, please go to the following links:
The closest airports are in Montreal and Quebec City. They offer connections for flights from most major cities throughout the world. The regional airports closest to the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park are the ones in Saguenay (Bagotville) and Baie-Comeau. For directions from the airports, please consult the directions by car or by public transportation.
When to visit
Most of the whales that spend the summer in the marine park are migratory animals. They can be observed from May to November. Whale watching cruise companies offer departures from early May to the end of October. Departures are more frequent during the high season, which runs from late June to early September.