Island getaways in cool weather can be an exhilarating change of scene for those looking for a spin on beach vacations. One option would be the Magdalen Islands near the Gulf of St Lawrence in Quebec, Canada. It lies near Nova Scotia and New Brunswick almost to the middle of the sea. Those going here can visit through Iles-de-la-Madeleine Airport on Havre aux Maisons island, a small of port of entry staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency.
Due to the size of the airport and its facilities, only charter-sized and general aviation aircraft with no more than 15 passengers are handled here. Two runways serve these planes, each respectively measuring 4,493 feet and 3,608 feet long. Seagulls, however, are a concern as they congregate near the airport, which makes pilots more careful when landing and departing. Despite this, Iles-de-la-Madeleine Airport remains relatively safe for travellers eager to explore the Magdalen Islands.
What to see & do
Exploring the wild countryside in this part of Quebec is the major activity for travellers out to enjoy the scenery. One can start off with the beaches along the stretch of more than 300 kilometres. Red cliffs can also be found here, which were moulded by the rough waves and winds. Caves are also a major attraction here, which tourists can reach via kayak. Those with the budget, however, choose to fly on a charter plane to circle above the beaches and see the wonderful view.
Those out to see more of Magdalen Islands can venture to Ile du Havre Aubert, the largest island in the archipelago. One will see kitesurfers in the area by the dunes backed by the Atlantic where one can stay around and join the excitement. Those out to see more of the towns can check out La Grave, a fishing community with a rustic feel. The old houses and small craft shops are imbued with a relaxing laidback feel. Restaurants are also nearby for those who want to savour a meal made with fresh seafood and other delicious ingredients. From here, one can continue on to Musée de la Mer, which covers Madelinot history, as well as impressions of walruses, and more. There is also the petting pool in the small aquarium to check out, as well as the Café de la Grave, one of the popular local haunts due to the pot-en-pot, croque monsieur, and other delectable treats.
There is also the Île de la Grande Entrée, where tourists can indulge on various activities. Kayaking, windsurfing, and nature walks are popular here. There are even mud baths, as well as a campground for those who want to experience living out in the nature for a while. From here, one can move on to the Seal Interpretation Centre, where one can find out more about the seals, their environment, and the role they have on the culture of Magdalen Islands. Those out for physical activities can check out Île Bordeau, which has a hiking trail nearby. After taking a walk, tourists can then sit down for snacks in Délices de la Mer, where one can find lobster-garnished bread and chips.
How to get around within Iles-de-la-Madeleine
Travellers out to visit Magdalen Islands will find that there is no available public transport here. One must book ahead of time with a car rental service, which makes the most convenient option for those exploring the islands. One can also hire a bicycle, especially when checking out the terrain. Walking can also be enjoyable, especially near the beaches, caves, and hills.
How to get there
Those visiting Magdalen Islands can schedule connecting regular or seasonal flights to Iles-de-la-Madeleine Airport. Airlines serving here include Air Canada Express, Icarus Flying Service, and Pascan Aviation. They take passengers between the area and Bonaventure, Entry Island, Gaspé, Mont-Joli, Montreal-Saint-Hubert, Montreal-Trudeau, and Quebec City.
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