Quebec’s Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region is an outdoor adventure and paddling paradise. From the wide-open waters and endless sand beaches of Lac Saint-Jean to the towering mountain cliffs and abundant marine life of the stunning Saguenay Fjord, you’ll need to spend at least a few days here just to get a taste of what this remarkable area has to offer. Happily, camping near Saguenay is both plentiful and beautiful with tons of options to suit every taste.

Whether you’re enjoying boutique luxury camping (Saguenay boasts some out-of-this-world glamping accommodations), camping at an all-inclusive adventure resort or seeking the solitude of a backcountry beach, Saguenay camping is sure to be a highlight of your visit. Even better, sleeping under the stars means you can drift off to the rhythm of waves lapping the shores and awake to the unmistakable (and unforgettable) sighs of surfacing whales.

[This article is part of our 35 Adventurous Things To Do In Saguenay series. Learn more about where to hike, bike, paddle and sightsee around Quebec’s Land of Giants.]

A map of Saguenay

 


 

Saguenay Campgrounds

Much of the best camping Saguenay has to offer is accessible to visitors traveling by vehicle. Drive-to campgrounds near Saguenay boast an exceptional variety of attractions and amenities with something for every budget and every type of traveller. Plus, many Saguenay camping areas are on or near the water, so they feature great paddling right out your tent door or just minutes away.

Beach Camping Saguenay

Pointe-Taillon National Park Campgrounds

Often overshadowed by the spectacular river and fjord that drains its waters, Lac Saint-Jean is no slouch when it comes to size and scenery. The lake is more than 35 kilometers across and is rimmed by mountains, forests, farms and vibrant communities. Its enviable combination of warm, shallow water and sprawling sandy beaches makes Lac Saint-Jean a popular vacation destination with some of the best camping near Saguenay.

Parc National de la Pointe-Taillon occupies a 15-kilometer-long peninsula on the lake’s northern shore and boasts miles of seemingly endless sand beach and 5 campgrounds with a total of 198 sites just steps from the sand. Four of these are designated primitive camping—accessible on foot, by paddle or via a 45-km network of cycling paths (bike rentals and free baggage trailers available). New in 2021, Camp-de-Touage–Les-Îles Campground offers 80 serviced campsites accessible by car and RV. Paddlers can explore an archipelago of 30 rocky islands scattered just offshore. Kayak, canoe and SUP rentals are available at the park’s main swimming beach.

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Belley Campground & Beach

Situated on the east side of Lac Saint-Jean near Alma, Saguenay camping doesn’t get much better for beach lovers than Belley Campground & Beach. A stunning, 3-kilometer-long sandy beach forms the centerpiece of this popular family campground, which offers 321 campsites for tents, trailers and RVs; comfort stations; laundry facilities and camper’s store. Reserve early if you’re hoping to score one of the popular beachfront campsites.

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Camping Vauvert sur le Lac Saint-Jean

Located on the peaceful north shore of Lac Saint-Jean, the 7-kilometer-long beach at Camping Vauvert is bookended by the mighty Mistassini and Péribonka Rivers, ensuring river-borne sediments are always renewing its sprawling sands. Along with beachside camping and chalets, Vauvert offers a boat launch, kayak and paddleboard rental, hiking trails and dining options.

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Camping Plage Robertson

Nestled on the west side of Lac Saint-Jean, just south of Saint-Félicien and the mouth of the Ashuapmushuan River, Camping Plage Robertson features a fine sand beach and 150 campsites for tents, trailers and RVs. Families appreciate the quiet setting, well-treed campsites with beach views and amenities including comfort station, laundry facilities and on-site restaurant. Bonus: dog-friendly campground and beach.

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Family Camping Saguenay

 

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Camping Baie-Sainte-Marguerite, Saguenay Fjord National Park

Excavated by mile-thick glaciers tens of thousands of years ago, the Saguenay Fjord is a mystical landscape of dark waters enclosed within dizzying, 300-meter-high cliffs. The fjord is at once a sea and a river, as cold saltwater from the St. Lawrence estuary floods its depths while warmer fresh waters from Lac Saint-Jean and its tributaries run along the surface. Two parks protect this ecologically diverse region: the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park encompasses both the waters of the fjord and the adjoining St. Lawrence estuary, while the shores of the fjord are protected by the Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay (Saguenay Fjord National Park).

Beluga whales swim underwater
Photo courtesy of: Flickr // Brian Gratwicke

Known as one of the best places to observe snow-white beluga whales from the shore, Baie-Sainte-Marguerite is regularly visited by schools of female whales with their young in July and August. Located within Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay, west of Tadoussac, the Baie-Sainte-Marguerite sector offers 50 tent and RV campsites in Le Bleuvet Campground, as well as hiking trails, an observation deck for beluga watchers, park-led interpretive activities and Le Béluga Discovery and Visitors Centre. Adventurous families enjoy 10 additional walk-in/bike-in rustic campsites with spectacular views of the bay.

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Mer et Monde Écotours

Perched on a rugged peninsula overlooking the Lower Estuary of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, the spectacularly situated tent platforms at Mer et Monde Écotours provide campers with front-row seats (and sleeps) to the myriad whales, seals and seabirds that frequent these nutrient-rich waters. Wake to sunrise views of the mighty St. Lawrence River, and then join Mer et Monde’s expert guides for a sea kayaking tour of the estuary. Mer et Monde is the only outfitter offering 3-hour sunrise kayak trips in the estuary and 3-hour night tours to experience bioluminescence and listen to whale sounds with a hydrophone. Located just minutes north of Tadoussac at Anse à la Cave, the camping area offers 33 sites suitable for tents only.

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Belley Campground & Beach

Bordered by a sand beach that stretches for 3 kilometers, the shallow waters of Lac Saint-Jean reach an average temperature in July of 75–85°F at Belley Campground & Beach. Kids and parents can wade to an island 300 feet offshore for more swimming adventures, or linger on the beach building sandcastles and playing on a replica pirate ship marooned in the sands. Add to that daily, staff-led kids’ activities, plus fairy-tale playgrounds and a candy counter, and it’s no wonder this 321-site campground is so popular with vacationing families.

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Camping Village-Vacances Petit-Saguenay

Near the community of Petit-Saguenay, Village-Vacances Petit-Saguenay is a family resort located on a nearly 4-kilometer-long beach directly on the Saguenay Fjord. Picture summer camp for families—the all-inclusive summer packages include accommodation, meals and all-ages adventure activities led by resort staff. Choose from comfortable chalets or 61 Saguenay camping sites set in a forested area and suitable for tents, trailers and RVs (tip: only the rustic tent sites boast magnificent views of the fjord). On-site amenities include swimming pool, hiking trails, children’s park, kayaking tours and more.

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Dog-friendly Camping Saguenay

Camping Vauvert sur le Lac Saint-Jean

Dogs and their puppy parents love exploring the miles of sandy beach and shallow waters at Camping Vauvert. This campground just south of Dolbeau-Mistassini offers shady, pet-friendly campsites and walking trails that welcome four-legged friends.

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Camp-de-Touage–Les-Îles, Pointe-Taillon National Park

Beginning summer 2021, the new Camp-de-Touage campground in Parc National de la Pointe-Taillon will offer 27 sites designated for dog-friendly camping. Located near Saint-Gédéon on Lac Saint-Jean, this campground features a beautiful shoreline dotted with small sandy beaches isolated by rocky headlands. Amenities include a comfort station, electrical hook-ups, visitors center and cycling path.

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Camping Baie-Éternité, Saguenay Fjord National Park

A center of activities and dramatic scenery in Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay, the Baie Éternité sector overlooks a narrow bay surrounded by the fjord’s highest cliffs, reaching heights of 460 meters at Cap Trinité. The Baie Éternité Campground offers 100 sites for tents, trailers and RVs located along the Rivière Éternité, a short distance from the bay itself. Some campsites are dog-friendly and your pup is also permitted on designated trails and picnic areas. The campground is close to the Discovery and Visitors Centre, breathtaking hiking trails and outstanding guided experiences in the fjord, including via ferrata, sea kayak and boat tours.

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Backcountry Camping Saguenay

Multi-day Saguenay Fjord kayak camping and backpacking trips are the ultimate way to experience the beauty and exceptional biodiversity of this natural wonder. Elsewhere in the region, wild and majestic rivers tumble out of northern Quebec before spilling into Lac Saint-Jean—enticing canoe trippers with the promise of rugged scenery, challenging whitewater and remote canoe camping routes.

Saguenay Fjord National Park

Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay offers more than a dozen wild camping areas for kayak campers and backpackers situated on both the north and south shores of the fjord. The ever-present fjord, with its succession of bays, coves and tidal moods, is the common thread running through all backcountry excursions in the park. Saguenay backcountry campsites are spaced at regular intervals to facilitate through trips of the 100-kilometer-long gorge by paddle or on foot. By day, kayakers will travel the waters of the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park, while hikers can choose from two long-distance trails on both shores of Saguenay Fjord National Park.

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Canoe Camping – River Routes

For some of the best camping Saguenay has to offer canoe trippers, experienced whitewater paddlers can choose from nearly a dozen wild and majestic rivers that flow toward Lac Saint-Jean. Chiens et Gîtes du Grand Nord organizes custom, guided canoe camping excursions on the region’s best canoe tripping rivers, suitable for all skill levels. This is true wild camping, with trip options ranging from 2 to 25 days.

Call 418-673-7717 for more information.

 

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Canoe Camping – Lake Circuits, Monts-Valin National Park

Rising to heights of nearly 1,000 meters, Parc National des Monts-Valin protects a stunning high country of ancient mountains and beautiful lakes just north of the Saguenay Fjord. Together with the vast, adjoining game preserve of ZEC Martin-Valin, the two parks offer wild camping enthusiasts a series of interconnected lakes and rivers stretching over 100 kilometers, perfect for canoe camping circuits of 2 to 7 days. Much of the developed canoe routes network is found within the boundaries of the ZEC—five canoe camping circuits are available for trips of 2 to 3 days. The circuits are marked and maintained and are classified as beginner to advanced intermediate. Bring your fishing rod—the ZEC lakes are renowned for superb trout fishing.

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Free Camping Saguenay

The vast size and remote nature of the Saguenay–Lac Saint-Jean region means that beyond the better-known parks and reserves, intrepid wild campers can explore trail-less mountains and undeveloped canoe routes. Wild camping in these areas requires suitable backcountry navigation and travel skills, as you are likely to be far from assistance should anything go wrong. Discover some of the best wild canoe camping rivers in Quebec here.

 


 

Glamping Saguenay

Luxury camping in Saguenay is de rigueur, making this region perfect for treating yourself to an unforgettable glamping experience. Whether you are looking for convenience, comfort, decadence or all of the above—you’re sure to find it luxury camping in Saguenay.

A popular option throughout the region is the Ready-to-Camp tent—a comfortably appointed canvas tent constructed on a sturdy platform and outfitted with basic furniture. Searching for something more exotic? The sky is the limit—literally! Glamping tree houses, bubble camping in suspended spheres and tree-built geodesic domes take luxury camping to new heights in Saguenay.

Parc Aventure Cap Jaseux

Situated near Saint-Fulgence at the western reach of the Saguenay Fjord, Parc Aventure Cap Jaseux enjoys a beautiful riverside location and provides a unique adventure resort experience. Out-of-this-world glamping options include storybook tree houses, bubble camping in hanging spheres and glass-and-canvas stargazing domes perched high in the forest canopy.


Comfortable beds, cozy furnishings and stellar views make it hard to pull yourself away, but when you’re ready the resort also offers exciting treetop ropes courses, hiking trails and guided Saguenay Fjord kayak tours ranging from standard full-day and half-day trips to paddling excursions at dusk, dawn and during a full moon.

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Ferme 5 Étoiles

Located just 15 mintues west of Tadoussac, Ferme 5 Étoiles offers a laidback family vacation resort with a variety of accommodations ranging from cottages and chalets to cozy camping yurts. The yurts are equipped with comfortable beds, a wood stove and a balcony with an extraordinary view of the majestic Saguenay Fjord. Animal lovers will be delighted by Ferme 5 Étoile’s unique menagerie of four-legged creatures—the resort is both a working farm and a refuge for injured and abandoned wildlife. Resort activities include canoeing the beautiful Sainte-Maguerite River and guided kayaking tours of the fjord departing from L’Anse‑de‑Roche.

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Saguenay Fjord National Park

Stay in comfort in the heart of Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay with the park’s Ready-to-Camp tents, available at the Baie Éternité and Baie-Sainte-Marguerite campgrounds. These spacious canvas tents feature 2 bedrooms with two double beds, plus heating, lighting, a table and chairs and everything you need to cook. Baie Éternité offers 7 Ready-to-Camp tents situated near the Rivière Éternité. Across the fjord, Baie-Sainte-Marguerite’s Le Bleuvet Campground boasts 9 Ready-to-Camp tents with an additional 5 tents available at Pointe-du-Moulin campground, accessible by foot or bike (2.3 km). Lace up your hiking boots—the views of Baie Sainte-Marguerite from your front porch make it well worth the trek.

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Mer et Monde Écotours

Perched on a rugged peninsula overlooking the Lower Estuary of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, campers staying in Mer et Monde Écotours‘ three Ready-to-Camp tents can enjoy panoramic views of the St. Lawrence from their large windows and covered, all-weather balconies.

 

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Wake to sunrise and then join one of Mer et Monde’s award-winning sea kayaking and whale watching tours of the estuary.

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Camping Supplies Saguenay

Boutique Hors-Circuit

Saguenay/Chicoutimi’s premier outdoors store, Boutique Hors-Circuit rents and sells a huge variety of outdoor equipment including camping equipment and supplies, watersports apparel and safety gear, sea kayaks, whitewater kayaks, canoes, SUPs and more.

Location: Chicoutimi
Phone: 418-973-9494
Website: www.horscircuits.ca/

SAIL

Outdoor retail chain SAIL has a spacious Chicoutimi store with the store’s usual diverse selection of camping gear, paddling equipment, outdoor supplies, kayaks, canoes, SUPs, clothing and more.

Location: Chicoutimi
Phone: 418-437-8677
Website: www.sail.ca/en/our-stores/chicoutimi

Sports Experts / Atmosphere

Another popular outdoor retail chain, Sports Experts / Atmosphere has two shopping center locations in Alma (Lac Saint-Jean) and Chicoutimi. Purchase camping gear, paddling equipment, outdoor supplies, clothing and more.

Locations: Place du Royaume, Chicoutimi / Le Centre Alma, Alma
Phone: 418-545-4945 / 418-662-6513
Website: www.sportsexperts.ca/en-CA/outdoor


From wilderness camping to luxury glamping, Saguenay has it all. | Photo courtesy of: Virginia Marshall

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