TOP 5: The nicest sand beaches in Charlevoix

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Below are our top 5 nicest beaches, for stretching out on the hot sand, enjoying the salt air, getting your feet wet, collecting shells and, why not… making a sand castle!
TOP 5: The nicest sand beaches in Charlevoix.

« Vamos a la playa! »

If, for many, the word “beach” more-or-less conjures up pitchers of cold margaritas, friendly hosts and “Living la vida loca,” keep in mind that it would be wrong to entirely dismiss beaches up north. You can like them both. The Antilles will forgive you a few infidelities!

After all, the local microbrewery beer, picnics enhanced by local products and the sounds of the Soeurs Boulay are as much a delight as the dark sands, mussel shells, and the smell of seaweed. With such a long stretch of coastline, Charlevoix has plenty of opportunities for fun at the beach.

Below are our top 5 nicest beaches, for stretching out on the hot sand, enjoying the salt air, getting your feet wet, collecting shells and, why not… making a sand castle!

1. Baie-Saint-Paul

Sand dunes and long grasses, white picket fences, a lighthouse… is this Cape Cod? No, the marsh grasses, the sounds of festivals, and food truck poutine don’t lie: this is definitely Baie-Saint-Paul! Playground, pier, and marina, photo exhibitions, introductory kayak lessons, walking trails, and views of l’Isle-aux-Coudres complete the beach experience in this cultural, artistic, and hip city!

Where is it? From the city centre, take rue Sainte-Anne at the intersection of Ambroise Fafard towards the pier.

2. Cap-aux-Oies

“Seul sur le sable…” [“Alone on the beach…”] No, it’s not Roch Voisine lamenting his lost Hélène, it’s what you'll experience on a beach that’s less busy than others. Here, it’s calm and pretty, it’s a little farther away from the road, and it’s also a bit of a local secret. PS: not long ago this area was known for its “nude beach” days!

Where is it? From Route 362, between les Éboulements and Saint-Irénée, look for the blue signs: they’ll tell you which road you need to take.

3. Saint-Irénée

Like our cousins across the Atlantic might say, it’s ZE beach to be on! Sand, sand, and more sand, and plenty of beach umbrellas hidden just across the tracks used by the Train de Charlevoix for its comings and goings. Whether high tide or low, this beach is bliss! And for the brave among us, it’s a chance to jump in the water! Group kayak outings, horse-riding on the beach, a very nice snack bar and corner-store, both just a few steps away.

Where is it? On Route 362 itself, in the village of the same name.

4. Saint-Siméon

If Saint-Siméon boasts of being Charlevoix’s "nature village," it’s because the community has everything going for it, even a long sandy beach stretching from the bottom of the hill that leads to the pier, populated by snack bars and ice cream parlours. The area’s alive with regular campers at the municipal campground, and people walking the dark sand waiting for the famed St-Siméon/Rivière-du-Loup ferry, whose appearances always create some buzz, and don’t keep a few whales from making appearances of their own, in this part of the St. Lawrence! Simply put, the perfect place to savour some soft-serve ice cream!

Where is it? From Route 138, at the traffic light, head down the Rue du Festival hill.

5. Baie-Sainte-Catherine

While the Fjord is the gateway to the North Shore, Baie-Sainte-Catherine, located on Charlevoix’s periphery, offers everything from boat rides, camping, hunting and fishing, to historical theatre dramatizing the Great Alliance between Champlain and Indigenous peoples in 1603. Above all, it is an almost deserted coastline, populated by belugas, seals and minke whales. Settle comfortably on your picnic blanket, stick both feet in the sand, and take a trip down memory lane!

Where is it? Almost the entire length of Route 138, though here it goes by the name Route de La Grande-Alliance.

Come on! Put on your flip-flops, sunscreen, and sunglasses, put a picnic basket full of local flavour in your beach bag and enjoy exceptional views of Charlevoix’s hills while burying your toes in the sand at our local beaches!
Camille Dufour Truchon, Mark Lindenberg (translation)
Patrice Gagnon - Sylvain Foster