With bragging rights as the largest outdoor winter recreational centre on the continent and attractions like skating, snow rafting and even an ice hotel, visiting Village Vacances Valcartier is one of the best things to do in Quebec City in winter. Located about a 30 minute drive northwest of the city, this family-friendly spot is a great getaway year round–especially when the cold hits and it’s transformed into a winter wonderland.
From exhilarating sled runs to sipping cool cocktails in the ice bar, here’s a rundown of some of the fun activities at Village Vacances Valcartier.
Sled in the tube park at Valcartier Vacation Village
Make the most of a Quebec winter by bundling up and heading to the tube park which is one of the largest in North America, with two dozen runs and 17 lifts spread out over a number of areas. There are routes for all ages and skill levels, ranging from a mild children’s play area with secret tunnels and a snow fort, to extreme sledding down the slopes of the Himalaya where you can reach speeds of up to 80 km/h.
Thrill seekers will want to head up Everest, a 33.5 metre tower where you can ride down the highest accelerating slide in North America. There’s also a special inner tube called the Tornado that spins around as you speed down the slope, as well as snow rafting where up to 12 guests can pile into one tube at once. Click here to book
Visit the ice hotel, Hôtel de Glace
Home to the only ice hotel in North America, visiting Hôtel de Glace is a must-do and one of the most memorable Quebec winter activities. It first opened in 2001, and every year it’s completely rebuilt by expert carvers to create what feels like a magical ice castle.
Most people who visit the Quebec City ice hotel do so as part of a tour, and tickets can be purchased onsite or ahead of time. If you book the Quebec ice hotel tour in advance, it also includes transportation out to Village Vacances Valcartier. Click here to book
Inside, you’ll find an ice chapel (yes, they do weddings here!), ice slides and an ice bar where you can sip a cool concoction out of an ice glass, and can check out all of the uniquely designed rooms. For the ultimate experience, you can even stay overnight at Hôtel de Glace in one of the themed rooms or suites. Click here to book
Relax at the spa
While the kids are out playing, mom can enjoy a break at the on-site spa. Located on the first floor of Hotel Valcaartier, Aroma Spa offers treatments like therapeutic and relaxation massages, facials and body wraps, and relaxation areas like an outdoor patio with a tea bar and fireplace. There’s also a Scandinavian-inspired hydrotherapy circuit with a Finnish sauna, indoor and outdoor pools, and a steam bath infused with essential oils.
Strap on your skates (or rent on site) and head out on the kilometre-long skating pathway at Village Vacances Valcartier. The flat, groomed surface is great for kids who are just learning how to use their blades, and passes by attractions like the pirate ship. The skating track is particularly enchanting when it’s illuminated in the evening.
Play in the water parks
While Village Vacances Valcartier is known as a winter wonderland, it’s open year round and has plenty of fun things to do in the summer.
One of the best activities is to hit the water parks, which includes the Polynesian-style Bora Parc which is the only indoor water park in Quebec. It boasts 14 slides, an adventure river, a massive wave pool, the Geyser tropical oasis and a family pool with games. During summer, the outdoor area is transformed into the region’s largest outdoor water park with 35 slides, games like beach volleyball and a pirate’s hideout, theme rivers and a wave pool.
Catch some waves at the double surf wave, which is in the indoor waterpark. Whether it’s your first time or you’re an expert rider, this is one of the best ways to surf since you’re guaranteed to catch a perfect wave each time. Qualified instructors are on hand to help, and equipment is included.
Channel your inner gamer
If you’re having trouble luring your kids away from their gaming consoles, head to the Digital Games Room which has 10,000 square feet worth of entertainment. From pinball to table hockey to a dance floor and retro games, this spot is perfect for keeping the whole family entertained on a rainy afternoon.
Where to stay at Village Vacances Valcartier
- Hôtel Valcartier: This large, four-star hotel is in the heart of the action, just steps away from the main activities. The modern rooms and suites have plenty of space to spread out, and some even have private balconies with hot tubs. There’s also a dorm area in the Village Valcartier hotel that sleeps up to 12 people, which is perfect for groups and large families. Click here to book
- Hotel de Glace: There are only a few places in the world you can stay in an ice hotel, so a night here is well worth the splurge. Only guests have access to Hotel de Glace after dark, so you’ll have spots like the ice bar and ice slides mostly to yourself, and can enjoy activities like ice carving and taking a dip in the outdoor hot tubs before bundling up in a sub-zero rated sleeping bag and going to sleep in one of the incredible theme rooms. Click here to book
- Valcartier Campground: Campers are also welcome at Village Vacances Valcartier, thanks to a 600 site campground right next to the outdoor waterpark. Pitch your own tent, park a camper or RV at one of the equipped sites, or rent one of their ready-to-camp tent sites like a rustic cabin or trailer that includes everything you’ll need for a night under the stars.
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