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Photograph: Shutterstock / ezjay

The 19 best weekend getaways from Montreal

A 48-hour escape from the city can be a game-changer. Hit the road with our curated guide to the best getaways from Montreal.

Written by
Kaitlyn McInnis
Laura Osborne
Isa Tousignant

While we all agree that Montreal is an incredible city thanks to all the epic things to do, sometimes you just need to get out of town—especially during the fall as the foliage is peaking (foliage tracker here!). Whether you're looking for hiking, or something more far flung, here are the best options (ranked by shortest to longest distance from the city) that are all totally doable. If you need a quicker fix, explore a day trip or just kick back in one of the city's glorious parks.

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The best weekend getaways from Montreal

Saint-Sauveur, Quebec
Photograph: Shutterstock / Jon Pique

1. Saint-Sauveur, Quebec

1 hour from Montreal

Tucked into the Laurentians, Saint-Sauveur is a solid option for anyone looking to escape to the mountains for the weekend. The charming resort town is popular come wintertime among skiers due to its proximity to the mountains.

Do this: For a bit of romance, spend the weekend at Le Spa du Manoir Saint-Sauveur. The indoor-outdoor nature-inspired spa experience includes a dry sauna, various hot tubs and various yoga and meditation classes that can be followed with massage treatments.

Stay here: After a relaxing Nordic spa experience, retreat back to your room at Manoir Saint-Sauveur, which includes 250 rustic guestrooms and suites to keep the relaxation going all weekend long.

Montebello, Quebec
Photograph: Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello

2. Montebello, Quebec

1.5 hours from Montreal

Located at the eastern edge of Quebec's Outaouais region, this country escape is but a quick drive from Montreal and offers a forget-your-troubles escape from the city.

Do this: With over 12 kilometres of lakes, meadows and forests, Parc Omega is home to a plethora of local fauna and flora. Expect to see beaver, elk, black bears, bison and more at the drive-through park.

Stay here: Round out the nature-fuelled trip with a relaxing stay at Fairmont Le Château Montebello. The sprawling resort and spa offers 210 rustic rooms (including six deluxe suites), as well as plenty of year-round activities for families, couples, and solo travellers.

Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
Photograph: Nathan Guan / Unsplash

3. Mont-Tremblant, Quebec

1.5 hours from Montreal

Mont-Tremblant has become a destination for local Quebecers and out of province visitors alike—and for good reason. The mountain town offers year-round ski resorts, cycling and hiking trails, and numerous lakes for canoeing and swimming.

Do this: During the summer, head to the beach of Lac Tremblant for beach volleyball, tennis and water sports. Come winter, cut your teeth with some cross country skiing. This ski resort in the Laurentian Mountains is open and powdered from November to April. 

Stay here: Lodge de la Montagne straddles Mont Tremblant and the beach of Lac Tremblant in the heart of the charming pedestrian village.

Eastern Townships, Quebec
Photograph: Shutterstock / ezjay

4. Eastern Townships, Quebec

2 hours from Montreal

The Eastern Townships is known for its spas, wildlife and charming small towns. It has become somewhat of a sanctuary for winemakers and brewers with over a dozen wineries and microbreweries peppered throughout the region.

Do this: Head to Lennoxville, a small town just outside of Sherbrooke, and enjoy a pint at Le Lion d'Or Pub. Established in 1986, it's Quebec’s first ever microbrewery and has since become a mainstay for students and young professionals alike. Enjoy guzzling some history.

Stay here: Head to Noth Hatley's charming, country-style Relais & Châteaux property, which has attracted everyone from Canadian author Louise Penny to the Clintons. Be sure to stop in at Massawippi Mercantile, a café-boutique on the shores of Lake Massawippi that serves up some of the best coffee and farm-to-table fare in town.

Burlington, Vermont
Photograph: Shutterstock / julie deshaies

5. Burlington, Vermont

2 hours from Montreal

A weekend in Burlington is really all you need to 1) fall in love with the city and 2) see pretty much everything it has to offer. The largest city in Vermont is surprisingly tiny with less than 50000 residents, but the emphasis on slow living and sustainable cuisine is enough to charm the most hardened of city folk.

Do this: After exploring the charming boutiques and restaurants on Church Street, make your way to Splash at the Boathouse, a floating seafood restaurant and bar positioned right on Burlington Bay. The easygoing patio is an ideal spot to enjoy a few beers while watching the sun sink below the skyline.

Stay here: Lang House on Main Street, just a few blocks from the downtown core, is a true New England countryside retreat right in the middle of the city. The romantic bed and breakfast dates back to 1881, when it was a stately private family home.

Ottawa, Ontario
Photograph: Shutterstock

6. Ottawa, Ontario

2.5 hours from Montreal

Ottawa may bring to mind cabinet ministers and parliament buildings, but Canada’s capital city has a lot to offer outside of political intrigue. Expect a strong food and drink scene, bohemian markets and a considerably large Chinatown with some of the best dim sum in the country.

Do this: Start the day at the Byward Market, a central hub of farmer’s markets, artisanal goods and eateries like micro pubs and cafés. For dinner, book a table at Beckta Wine Bar, a charming bar and restaurant serving upscale Canadian fare in a 140-year-old heritage house.

Stay here: In a city of big-name hotels and suites, ARC The.Hotel is one of Ottawa’s only boutique hotels. The sophisticated property is located in the heart of downtown, so you won’t have to touch the car all weekend. If you want something more chic, the Fairmont Château Laurier here knocks it out of the park with its central location and superb services.

Montpelier, Vermont
Photograph: Courtesy Flickr/CC/Daniel Mennerich

7. Montpelier, Vermont

2.5 hours from Montreal

The capital city of Vermont is a nature lover’s dream with endless camping, hiking, and exploring to be had. The population numbers in at just under 8000, and that makes for a perfectly secluded escape from the city.

Do this: Go for a hike along Camel’s Hump, Vermont’s 12th largest mountain. The hiking trail will take you from Montpelier to Duxbury and boasts jaw-dropping views of mountains.

Stay here: After a day well spent in the great outdoors, check into The Stowehof. Although it’s a bit of a drive from Montpelier proper, it’s worth the commute; the hotel and spa is surrounded by 26 acres of mountain vistas and boasts a cozy outdoor fire pit, a huge outdoor pool, and onsite restaurants serving up locally-sourced fare and craft beer.

Wakefield, Quebec
Photograph: Courtesy Flickr/CC/Michel Rathwell

8. Wakefield, Quebec

2.5 hours from Montreal

Just north of Ottawa you’ll find Wakefield, one of the many villages of the Municipality La Pêche in the Outaouais region. Thrill seekers flock to the region for two things: bungee jumping and skiing.

Do this: If you’re feeling particularly brave, make your way to Great Canadian Bungee, the highest bungee jump in North America. The 200-foot water dip bungee jump is set over a spring-fed lagoon and is certainly not for the faint of heart.

Stay here: Consider checking into Moulin Wakefield Mill Hotel and Spa. Built in 1838 on a spot which overlooks the Gatineau River, the property was originally a flour mill but has since been restored as a sophisticated spa and hotel spot to rest your head and eat extremely well.

Quebec City, Quebec
Photograph: Tim Geenens / Unsplash

9. Quebec City, Quebec

3 hours from Montreal

Quebec City is steeped with history and things to see. Not only is it the oldest city in Canada, it’s also packed with great terraces and a budding local food scene.

Do this: Take a walk through charming Old Quebec. The popular tourist destination is worth weaving through crowds of out-of-towners for a look at its 17th-century architecture, cobblestone streets, and Citadelle de Québec constructed in the 1800s.

Stay here: Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, originally built in 1893, overlooks Old Quebec's Upper Town. The National Historic Site includes 611 suites, including the Céline Dion Heritage Suite and the Trudeau-Trudeau Suite, named after the two Canadian Prime Ministers.

10. Île d’Orléans, Quebec

3.5 hours from Montreal

Cycling tours of this island located in the St. Lawrence River just past Quebec City are popular with locals over the warmer months, but Île d’Orléans is also lovely to visit by car. After the ferry ride, you’ll have six tiny villages to choose from, all joined together by the 67-kilometre Chemin Royal.

Do this: Stop into each village to take in its specialties, whether that’s cider in Saint-Pierre or chocolate-making (and chocolate-dipped ice cream cones) in Saint-Pétronille. There are also cheese shops, wineries, a sugar shack, galleries, lots of eateries and a beach.

Stay here: Camping in one of Saint-François campsites is the most common option here, or check out the Airbnb options. For a more luxurious stay, head to Québec City for the night—Hôtel Le Germain Québec is only a 40-minute drive away.

Thousand Islands, Ontario
Photograph: Boldt Castle - Thousand Islands

11. Thousand Islands, Ontario

3.5 hours from Montreal

It ain’t just a salad dressing. In fact, it’s a group of more than 1800 islands grouped together along the United States-Canada border on the St-Lawrence River. While it used to be a fashionable retreat for Canada’s elite, these days it’s a popular destination for families and nature enthusiasts.

Do this: Spend the weekend on the water with Gananoque Boat Line. The 2 to 3 hour cruise will take you by the Boldt Castle, mansions, and natural wonders of The Thousand Islands while taking in the history of the river—who doesn’t like stories of shipwrecks and lost marine vessels?

Stay here: Gananoque Inn & Spa, which dates all the way back to 1896, sits on the banks of the St-Lawrence River and is a 4-minute walk from the Gananoque Boat Line. The main property includes just 29 rooms, each of which boasts unique views of the water and surrounding flora.

12. Prince Edward County, Ontario

4 hours from Montreal

While Montreal is a great city for wine aficionados, a trip to Prince Edward County is a must for anyone who loves to sip and savour red, white, rosé and everything in between. Lake Ontario and the surrounding Sandbanks has become a hub for Ontario winemakers due to its relatively grape-friendly limestone-rich terroir.

Do this: Prince Edward County is home to over 50 wineries and vineyards—many of which offer tours and tastings daily. Bring a bike or rent one from your hotel, and spend the day cycling through vineyards like the popular Sandbanks Estate and TerraCello

Stay here: While the region is swimming with quaint inns, motels, everyone heads to the ultra-hip Drake Devonshire for an upscale lakeside retreat. Fully booked?Consider dropping your bags at the June Motel. The wine-focused property, once a dated roadside motel, feels more like stepping into a Palm Springs retreat, and includes charming activities and amenities like Detox/Retox yoga and well-equipped in-room wine bars.

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Charlevoix, Quebec
Photograph: Germain Hôtels

13. Charlevoix, Quebec

4.5 hours from Montreal

Charlevoix offers the perfect combination of luxury and outdoor adventure. You can spend one day whale watching on the St. Lawrence, river kayaking and hiking rugged lava-rock hillsides—and then the next day, eat and drink yourself silly on the Route des Saveurs.

Do this: Embrace your adventure-sports side with a little help from Canyoning Québec, who’ll guide you to up to 7 waterfalls situated in a canyon in the heart of the Massif de Charlevoix forest. There you can swim, jump, climb or toboggan, depending on the season. 

Stay here: A restful oasis against nature’s backdrop, Le Germain Charlevoix Hotel & Spa is where you go aaaah after all that adventuring. The Bercail restaurant is also top notch.

Boston, Massachusetts
Photograph: Osman Rana

14. Boston, Massachusetts

5 hours from Montreal

Founded in 1630, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the U.S. and its rich history is apparent in every cobblestoned street and historic landmark building.

Do this: Start the day by making your way through the charming Charles Street shops before strolling over to the Boston Commons. There, you’ll find uncharacteristically friendly squirrels, swans and other local fauna. Then, continue through to Back Bay Fens, home to several great art museums and galleries.

Stay here: Check into the Liberty Hotel. Built in 1851, the luxury property was once a prison and housed the likes of Malcolm X and the Boston Strangler. If that’s not enough, ask the concierge to point you to where artifacts and quirks from its former prison days are kept throughout its halls and lobby.

Portland, Maine
Photograph: Stephen Walker

15. Portland, Maine

5.5 hours from Montreal

In search of a seaside escape? Look no further than Portland, Maine. Set on a peninsula in Casco Bay, the charming city is packed with lighthouses, fresh seafood restaurants, beaches, and everything else you’d expect from a coastal town.

Do this: Take advantage of the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and spend the weekend channelling your inner beach bum. Some of the best beaches include Crescent Beach State Park and Willard Beach, both of which are less than half an hour from the downtown core.

Stay here: Set in a former newspaper publishing house, The Press Hotel incorporates many of its former elements into the modern-day design and ethos, from the block-print wooden sculptures to the charming newspaper print wallpaper.

16. Kennebunkport, Maine

5.5 hours from Montreal

For a small-town taste of New England, Kennebunkport has been the spot of choice for Montrealers for generations. It’s full of character, cute shops, delicious seaside food—including the famous lobster roll from Clam Shack—and it’s surrounded with both beaches and hike-worthy woods.

Do this: Drive off to one of the nearby beaches, whether that’s Ogunquit (the party beach), Mother’s Beach (the family beach) or Goose Rocks Beach (the quiet beach). Have a plastic-bib lobster lunch at Noonan’s, and if you’re hungry enough for dinner, splurge on a meal at 50 Local. To avoid a sunburn, take a shopping break before grabbing an ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s.

Stay here: Drive the 15 minutes away to the smaller village of Kennebunkport for a luxury stay at The Tides Beach Club, facing Goose Rocks Beach. The classic cocktails at the lobby restaurant are perfection.

Toronto, Ontario
Photograph: Yeshi Kangrang

17. Toronto, Ontario

6 hours from Montreal

Aside from the Raptors, Blue Jays, and Maple Leafs that have found a happy home in this city, Toronto is a great spot to indulge in art and multicultural cuisine. Park the car (the city can provide inexpensive permits) and spend the weekend walking or riding trams around the city and getting lost in its side streets while making room for your next meal.

Do this: Toronto is home to a handful of renowned museums and galleries and, thankfully, they’re all within a few blocks of each other. Spend the day getting cultured at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) before continuing on to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), home to world class works of art.

Stay here: The Drake Hotel (no, not that Drake), is conveniently located on Queen Street West, and doubles as one of the best dining options in the city. The property hosts frequent cultural events and has become known as a community hub for foodies and creatives. If Toronto had a Soho House, this’d be it.

New York, New York
Photograph: Court Prather

18. New York, New York

6.5 hours from Montreal

Whether you’re team Montreal bagel or New York bagel, it’s impossible not to have a great time during a whirlwind getaway here. Park the car, drop your bags and prepare to pick up your pace—you have a lot of ground to cover.

Do this: There’s so much going on in New York City that it’s impossible to fit everything into one weekend. We recommend eating your way through it, starting with breakfast at Wyckoff Starr Coffee Shop, lunch at Ivan Ramen, and a late dinner and drinks at Roberta’s or the reservation-free and Michelin-starred Gramercy Tavern. Oh, and don't forget to check out the NYC Time Out Market!

Stay here:  If you’re dead set on staying in Manhattan, consider dropping your bags at POD 39. The suites are extremely small, but they’re clean, well-located and affordable. Be sure to check out the charming rooftop terrasse, which boasts great views of the Manhattan skyline.

Niagara Falls, Ontario
Photograph: Horseshoe Falls

19. Niagara Falls, Ontario

6.5 hours from Montreal

The mistake with Niagara Falls is to try to make your experience boutique. This grandiose attraction courtesy of Mother Nature—a crescent of waterfalls that’s 177 feet high—has been bested by man, who’s made this town an escapist dream full of outsize fun. Embrace the cheesy kid within and go whole-hog carnival sugar high.

Do this: When you’ve had your fun at Casino Niagara, Clifton Hill Street is the place to go for carnival attractions (a mirror maze, a haunted house), not to mention the Niagara Speedway Go Karts. To refuel, the Hershey and Coca Cola stores will provide just the saccharine tourist trip you crave.

Stay here: Get your view of the falls guaranteed with a falls-view room at the Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls. It’s a contemporary hotel that’s got an outdoor pool and lots of restaurant choices—plus it’s connected to a mall.

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