Quebec has many diverse regions, from remote hunting and fishing areas to busy major cities. In general, summers in Quebec are temperate and sunny. During the warm months crowds rush to the province to participate in festivals and outdoor activities. The first turning of the leaves in autumn signals a drop in temperature, as well as in tourism and prices, that continues throughout the winter.
- high season: late June to early September
- low season: November to April
- shoulder season: May to mid-June, mid-September to October
Quebec experiences four distinct seasons that range from warm summers to winters with heavy snowfall. In spring, extreme weather fluctuations mean that temperatures can drop from mild to freezing in the same day. In fall, fewer hours of sunlight contribute to cooler temperatures; however, Indian summer can occur, giving the province one final blast of warmth before the winter chill settles in.
Quebec's distinct regions are crowded at different times. During the summer high season from June 24 (a Quebec holiday) to Labor Day, regions around Montreal and Québec City—especially Eastern Townships, Laurentians, Charlevoix, and Outaouais—are crowded with local city dwellers escaping to the countryside. At the same time, the major cities are filled with foreign tourists who come to enjoy summer festivals. In September, there is an influx of European travelers, conventions come to large cities, and people head to remote areas such as Nunavik and Baie James for hunting season. October brings visitors seeking fall foliage to Eastern Townships, Laurentians, Charlevoix, and Outaouais. Canadian Thanksgiving, also in October, is another busy long weekend in cities and resort areas. Ski areas, especially Laurentians and Eastern Townships, get busy during February and March school breaks, while Iles de la Madeleine sees crowds in March for baby seal observation.
Many outdoor attractions close after Labor Day. Call in advance before making reservations.
When to Save
The shoulder season months of May and June (until June 24, when crowds start to come) are generally good times to find deals. Memorial Day weekend is often an excellent time for U.S. travelers to visit because it's not a holiday weekend in Canada and there are fewer crowds. September is another good time to visit—especially areas such as Madeleine, Gaspesie, and Bas-St-Laurent—because attractions remain open and there are fewer crowds and lower prices. Resort regions such as Eastern Townships, Laurentians, Charlevoix, and Outaouais also experience shoulder season in September, while Montreal and Québec City have theirs in October.
When to Book
When to book varies by region, In general, book six to eight months in advance for stays at smaller inns and in regions popular with Montrealers (Eastern Townships, Laurentians, Charlevoix, and Outaouais), as the demand is much greater than the supply. For city stays during the summer high season, make reservations as early as April or May when many travel providers offer specials and savings. Reduced prices for the winter low season are offered from October through November.
Information provided by Quebec Tourism.