Located about 35km west of the city, Cap-St-Jacques is arguably the most diverse of Montréal’s nature parks, with a huge beach, more than 40km of trails for hiking and skiing, a farm and even a summer camp. The maple and mixed deciduous forest in the interior is a great patch for a ramble, and in spring a horse-drawn carriage brings visitors to a sugar shack to watch the maple sap boil.

On the north shore there’s the Eco-Farm, a working farm with two barns and horses, pigs and chickens, as well as a large greenhouse for viewing. Picnic tables abound and a restaurant serves the farm’s produce. The beach is a comfortably wide stretch of fine white sand, and the shallow water is wonderful for splashing with kids, but bear in mind it gets as popular as Cape Cod on summer weekends. You can also rent canoes, kayaks and pedal boats.

By car, take Autoroute 40 west from Montréal to exit 49 (Rue Ste-Marie Ouest), turn north on Rue l’Anse-à-l’Orme and continue on to Blvd Gouin Ouest.