What: The Quebec Maritimes were sculpted by the Ice Age, and much like Kenya, offers a scenic, adventurous yet laid-back outdoor escape. During late summer and fall, kayak or bicycle along the "whale route" of the St. Lawrence Seaway for sightings of blues, belugas, minkes, and humpbacks. Along the way, you'll hear the "ffppphhttthhoosh!" of their blowholes (it's sounds like a big, wet raspberry), pass venerable lighthouses, see a mishmash of seals and dolphins, and have opportunities to sample seafood, freshly baked bread, and scrumptious Quebec cheeses and beers. There are tons of national parks to explore for photo ops, and for the brave at heart, try your hand at ziplining. Visit the Jardin des Glaciers in Baie Comeau to learn all about the Ice Age and Quebec's magnificent glaciers. When to go: Spring through fall. It's usually cool, even in August and September, so it's a nice respite from summer heat and hot flashes. Why it's great for girlfriends: The people of the Quebec Maritimes are wonderfully and whimsically friendly, so it's the ideal destination for brushing up on your French skills. Who to contact and where to stay: Visit www.QuebecMaritime.ca or call 1-888-447-2020. Fly directly into Baie Comeau from Montreal or drive from anywhere in the U.S. Enjoy the food and accommodations at Hotel Le Manoir in Baie Comeau or Hotel Tadoussac in Tadoussac.
Flickr user: Jean-Pierre Lavoie