Summer holidays 2021
It looks like the summer holidays of 2021 will have a bit of a déjà vu feel to them. Because for many Quebecers, they will be like last year: in Canada.
However, since the tourist offers in Quebec and in the other Canadian provinces are quite varied, there is no risk of getting bored. Especially when you love nature or are rediscovering it.
This article is the first in a series that aims to inspire our 2021 summer vacation in Canada, especially in Quebec. This first article presents unusual accommdation venues in beautiful settings of our Belle Province.
The majority of these venues will allow us to redeem points earned with loyalty programs and credit cards to reduce the cost of our escapades. Yes, American Express credit cards are accepted at many of these locations. Alternatively, you can use HSBC Rewards points, Scotia Rewards points or BNC Rewards!
Who wants a free (or almost free) vacation? Thanks to milesopedia, it’s possible!
What is meant by unusual accommodation?
These places stand out because of their originality. Hello yurts, tree houses and bubbles from which you can see the starry sky. They will give us an experience we will not soon forget. Would you like to observe the Perseids?
They are found in nature with sights, sounds and smells that soothe the soul. In a spirit of eco-responsibility and sustainable development, their owners have favoured local, renewable and ecological materials. This is how unusual accommodation, often rustic, is defined.
So I suggest to have a quick look at the phenomenon. A glimpse of what our summer holidays could be like.
You’ll see, it’s hard not to like it.
But I’ll tell you right now: the booking dates are going like hot cakes. The most popular SEPAQ locations are already taken. But there are still some left. Also, Parks Canada reservations are not yet open. So don’t delay if you like the concept and if it is in line with current government guidelines.
Parks Canada's accommodation offer in Quebec
For several years now, Parks Canada has installed oTENTik tents on some of its sites.
Then came the Yurts, MicrOcubes, Tipis and more recently Oasis. The latter are shaped like drops of water and are equipped with a bench that converts into a bed and a mezzanine hammock.
In Quebec, the Forillon, Mauricie and Mingan Archipelago parks and the St-Ours Canal historic site offer the oTENTik, Ôasis and MicrOcube packages. Parks Canada’s Tipis and Yurts are currently found in the other provinces.
If you don’t have this card yet, it’s has a good promo right now, just in time for you to get the points for this summer!
Here are different associated rates:
- oTENTik tent: $122.64/night (max 6 people)
- Fire Permit: $8.80/permit/night
- Daily admission: free for children 17 and under, $5.90 for adults, $5.00 for seniors (65 and over).
- Shipping services if required in addition
- Tear drop-shaped Ôasis for 2 adults and 2 children: $122.64/night
- MicrOcube for 2 persons: $91.98/night
An overview of the Parks Canada experience
Welcome to Quarry Island in the Mingan Archipelago. A nature reserve under the protection of Parks Canada, it is known for its large number of giant monoliths.
The only way to get there is by boat. We will leave our car at the Havre-St-Pierre terminal or at the Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan terminal.
Six oTENTik tents, which can each accommodare 6 people, are set up on the island. Halfway between a rustic chalet and a luxury tent, they are furnished, heated (propane) and lit (solar). Glamping at its best. However, the toilets are dry ones.
In addition to bedding, you must bring enough food and drinking water, because they are non-existent on the island. For AIR MILES fans, the IGA is right next to the ferry terminal. In addition, you will need the “kitchen kit” which can be purchased inexpensively from the Parks Canada booth at the marina.
On Quarry Island, Parks Canada guides offer interpretive walks. Marked paths also allow us to discover the flora and fauna by ourselves.
Who wants to see the monoliths of Anse des Erosions in the early morning?
Huts and spheres hanging from trees in Quebec
The experience definitely allows for intimacy in the cabin and a symbiosis with nature.
Depending on the site, kitchen equipment can be provided. As for suspended spheres, you must bring your own cooler, as there is no fridge, and you must share the drinking water, the ecological toilet and the fire place with other campers.
Several sites have opted for common kitchens and sanitary quarters, used according to the COVID-19 measures.
Prices per night range from $150 to $250 depending on whether the accommodation sleeps 2 or 4 people, whether it has electricity and running water, and the type of activities on site. Come on! Explore!
And of course, you must bring food, bedding, towels and toiletries.
A glimpse of the experience at Les Refuges Perchés
I chose the Refuges Perchés in Mont-Tremblant.
Refuge de la falaise #18 for six people would be well suited to those without fear of heights or very young children. Because the place is well named: it is on the side of a cliff. You can reach it from the water. I find it quite funny. The cabin is only a few meters from the lake.
For $37, they let you use a canoe for the duration of your stay, but the slope is steep to carry your luggage up. If you choose the path, you will have to walk for about 20 minutes. Luggage carts are lent to us. Some of us can go by canoe while one or two members of our group take the land route with the carts. However, if you prefer, there are cabins closer to the lake level and the Reception Pavilion. For a family with small children, this would be preferable.
The cabin is well equipped: mattress, kitchenette with sink, wood stove, propane stove, BBQ, coolers, etc. However, we pay for wood, ice, propane and battery rental for lighting or charging our cell phones. A dry toilet is located near each cabin. And for showers, the small convenience store, the washer-dryer and the WI-FI, it’s all found at the Reception Pavilion.
You can swim, fish, and rent canoes, pedal boats, kayaks or rabaskas on Lac Du Cordon. You can also walk on the 36 kilometers of trails. Besides, you’ll be in the Mont-Tremblant region, which is such a great playground. There’s no shortage of activities!
Finally, how much does this destination cost? Depending on the week, between $179 and $206/night plus access fees to the Laurentian Eco Park. In 2020, those fees were $10/night per adult, $7 for those 60 and older and free for those under 18. American Express, Visa and Mastercard credit cards are accepted.
Shall we go?
Domes and Bubbles in Quebec
Whether we’re at the Centre de l’Hêtre, Basketong’s Windigo Village Basketong’s Windigo Canopée-lit, Dômes Charlevoix, Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux, Géodômes Desjardins or Les pieds sur terre, the domes and bubbles know how to charm us.
This is where you can enjoy the stars and the forest thanks to the transparency of the cabin. It can be suspended, on stilts or on a platform. Completely transparent or one third glazed. Heated and/or pressurized. With or without electricity.
They are even installed on the ice near the islands of St-Gédéon in the Saguenay Lac St-Jean. They then become Igloft. Exclusive to Équinox Aventures
You have to decide what is appropriate for you when it comes to the kitchen and the sanitary quarters. Private or shared? With, of course, the necessary sanitary measures. Some sites include bedding and breakfast, others do not.
For two people or up to four. Eco-Luxury version with an attached or basic spa.
We found rates between $190 and $280 + taxes / night.
An overview of the experience at Canopée-lit
I chose the offer from Canopée-lit, precisely in their double bubble: “La Reboule”.
These are two glued spheres, completely transparent in the heart of the forest. And because they are elevated, you can see everything without being seen. Perfect for a small family of four to sleep under the Milky Way.
Bedding and towels are provided, as is 110V electricity and a space heater.
The private bathroom is close to the bubble, with a dry toilet, shower and sink. They even provide the organic shower gel and shampoo.
For cooking, everything is available, including a barbecue at the reception.
During the day, you can walk on the 5 km long trails, one of which is reserved for discovering the boreal forest.
The cost? $231.50 + taxes /night, breakfast included.
Visa and Mastercard credit cards accepted.
Yurts and Tipis in Quebec
The supply of these two types of accommodation is well developed in almost all regions of Quebec. It is sought after by campers for its comfort.
While the Yurt is the traditional tent used by nomadic peoples living in Central Asia, the Tipi is the Aboriginal version of the traditional First Nations accommodation. The first is round, the second is conical.
Here are some examples of where you can try this experience. Taxes are not included in the rate.
Yurts in Quebec
There are still some spots in yurts, but you have to be quick. At Mont-Tremblant National Park, for example, yurts can be rented from $121.00/night. There is also an additional fee ($8.90/adult) for admission which must be paid prior to the visit by paying online or by purchasing an annual pass. Admission is free for children under 18.
Payment: American Express, Visa and Mastercard.
Here, the yurts include kitchenware, a refrigerator, a barbecue (propane provided) and a wood-burning oven. Drinking water is nearby as is the fire pit with grill and picnic table.
Sunday to Thursday: $115/night
Friday, Saturday and holiday periods: $150/night.
Payment: Visa and Mastercard.
We are in St-Philémon in Chaudières-Appalaches. The Massif du Sud Regional Park yurt is located near Rivière du Milieu. Its price is affordable, starting at $89 depending on the season.
Equipped with a fireplace, four single bunk beds with mattresses, a counter, a propane stove with oven (tank included), the necessary equipment to prepare and serve meals, a table and chairs. Firewood is provided. A bottle of drinking water is delivered on site and a water point (the Rivière du Milieu) is just opposite. A dry toilet is located nearby. The Park also has toilets and showers (free of charge) available at the reception pavilion.
Payment: Visa and Mastercard.
Cime Aventures: our favourite.
On the edge of the magnificent Bonaventure River in Gaspésie, the yurts can accommodate up to 4 people.
A 15% discount promotion is in effect by booking online and applying the web15 coupon .
Payment: Visa and Mastercard.
Finally, if you feel like being rocked by calm waves on the St-Lawrence River in Gaspésie, there is a floating version of the Aux 4 Vents yurt. Nothing less.
Tipis in Quebec
In the heart of the Saint-Romain forest in the Eastern Townships, four wood-sheathed (rather than canvas) tipis await us at an ancient aboriginal camp. Two people can sleep on a perched bed and two more downstairs on a sofa bed. $110/night. 3-night special for $299 – Kayaks are also available for rent.
In St-Mathieu-du-Parc, there are 9 tipis in this “Mokotakan” aboriginal village where you can make a “sacred fire” for the modest sum of $67/night and more. You can also take advantage of the activities of the Mauricie National Park and those of the nearby Récréoforestier Park.
Finally, I leave you with a Polynesian hybrid: the Bora-Bora hut installed on the Richelieu River at Domaine Pourki.
Prices start in high season around $200 per night.
A glimpse of the Toits du Monde experience
A favourite, because of the cute story of this engineering couple who left everything behind almost ten years ago to live their dream.
They are gradually setting up their unusual accommodations: Mongolian yurts, tree houses, Hobbit houses and native tipis in the Upper Laurentians, near Grand Lac Nominingue.
Great activities are possible: canoeing, paddle surfing, tubing in calm water on Rivière Rouge. Or if you prefer… white water rafting.
In the Tipi, we find:
- Propane stove (propane supplied)
- Outdoor dry toilets
- Wood burning stove
- Drinking water provided
- Outdoor fire pit – $5 for a good rack of wood
- LED lamp for lighting (no electricity)
The accommodations are like refuges in the forest. They don’t offer running water nor electricity, but drinking water cans and a solar panel or led lamp for lighting are provided. Dry toilets are outside.
The site is very affordable: $95 per night for one or two people. Children 16 and under are welcome free of charge.
This site also accepts American Express credit cards.
A “free” night? This no annual fee credit card currently offers 12,500 points, or $125:
Eco-Lodges and Pods in Quebec
Eco-Lodges in Quebec
I assure you, I never thought that Quebec had so many unusual lodging offers. Impossible to list them all. I guess you had to be on lockdown to finally dicover this wealth of opportunities.
Between $115 and $165 per night, which you can charge to a Visa or Mastercard.
Finally, take a look at the Nichoirs Géants at Pointe-aux-Outardes. Payment also by credit with Visa or Mastercard.
Pods in Quebec
At the Diable Vert, PODS, these small huts in the shape of a half-moon are installed on the ground. They are part of the sustainable tourism movement, since they’re built with local wood, ecological insulation materials and recycled metal for the roof.
Located in Sutton, Le Diable Vert has nine units. The PODS have a capacity of one or two people. Dogs allowed. Among the activities that stand out is Vélo-Volant, a beautiful 45-minute bike ride in the treetops. I found some dates in July and August for:
- 1 person: from 79$ / night
- 2 persons: from 99$ / night
Houseboats and lighthouses in Quebec
Houseboats in Quebec
Did I tell you about the houseboats, like those on the Gouin reservoir? They are real floating cottages that allow us to move around on the water, to fish and to land on beautiful beaches.
They are very well equipped with electricity, showers and toilets. Prices and payment terms vary according to the site, the number of adults and the number of nights. I’ll let you explore further. Are there any pike and walleye fishers in the room?
Lighthouses in Quebec
Finally, to end on a high note. Did you know that of the 43 lighthouses in Quebec, you can spend the night in five of them?
Who wants to sleep at the Lighthouse of the Pot à l’eau de vie Island, in the heart of the St-Lawrence? Or in Pointe-des-Monts on the North Shore? Would you rather go puffin watching by spending the night in the lighthouse keeper’s house on Île aux Perroquets? And why not in one of the nine rooms of the Phare de l’Île Verte in the Lower St. Lawrence? Okay, you’re going to Gaspé? It is here: Cap-Chat lighthouse.
Double occupancy is a minimum of $150/night per person and can go up to $400-$500. But then, it depends on whether the boat that takes us there and the meals taken on site with wine are included or not.
And then, don’t we have all these points just waiting to be used?
Oops! One last reference given by a member of the group: Vaolo. The Quebec platform that highlights eco-responsible, community-based, unusual and often off-the-beaten-path tourist accommodations around the world. Most of the accommodations have been validated and explored by a Quebecer. More than 900 accommodations in 65 countries have been added to the portal so far, and this would be only the beginning!
Come on! Sweet dreams and happy holidays!
Recommended credit cards
To save money on your vacation in the region, we recommend several offers from the best credit cards in Canada.
First, the American Express Cobalt™ Card. With this card, you can earn 5 points per dollar for your purchases at grocery stores, restaurants, bars and convenience stores, and food deliveries. And 2 points per dollar for your travel and transportation purchases (Airbnb, hotels, train, flights, car rentals, etc.).
You can then use your points for any travel purchase made with the card: 10,000 points = $100. Nothing could be easier!
Next is the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card. With this card, you can earn 5 points per dollar on all your spending at Marriott Bonvoy locations (there are over 250 in Canada). And 2 points per dollar on all your purchases.
You’ll earn 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points as a welcome bonus, enough to get you several free nights at Marriott Bonvoy hotels. And every year, as a cardholder, you get a free night certificate (worth 35,000 points).
Or the Best Western Rewards® Mastercard: you can earn 20,000 points after your first purchase. Enough to get at least one free hotel night. And this card has no annual fee!
Finally, the BMO® AIR MILES® World Elite®* Mastercard®*. With this card, you can get an exceptional welcome bonus of 3,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (exclusive to milesopedia). You can then use these miles for travel purchases such as train tickets with VIA Rail, flights, or hotels. Or cash back at the grocery store.
Take advantage of it: this credit card has no annual fee for the first year!