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Best Places to Paddleboarding: Magdalen Islands

Updated: Apr 15

The little islands of the Îles de la Madeleine an archipelago in Quebec, Canada are a stunning part of the province, and their pristine beaches and waters are truly a sight to behold. From the beautiful Baie Clarke, framed by lush green hillsides, to Anse aux sable, an expansive beach with white sands stretching as far as the eye can see - this region has many great places for stand up paddle boarding. For those looking for an adventure off the beaten path, the Magdalen Islands must be considered. In this post, I’m going to go into detail about the best places to SUP in the Îles de la Madeleine archipelago.


So let’s begin!


What’s in the name?

We always like to introduce you to a place before we dive into the how-to explore it section. You might already be wondering, Iles de la Madeleine or the Magdalen Islands? Officially French-speaking, Îles de la Madeleine is correct and the most culturally respectful version while the Magdalen Islands is the English variation. The current name comes from the original French 'landowner' who named the archipelago after his wife.


This region, however, is originally Miꞌkmaq traditional land. The Miꞌkmaq call the archipelago “Menagoesenog”, which means “islands swept by the surf”. This seems like a fitting and poetic description and name for this pretty, windswept piece of paradise.


Where are les Îles de la Madeleine?

Located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, these islands swept by the surf are about 5 hours (by ferry) north of Prince Edward Island. They are not connected to mainland Quebec, except for the twice daily flights from Montreal. The archipelago is composed of seven main islands, with East Cape being the most eastern point of Quebec.


Where to Rent Gear or Take A Lesson


Where to Paddle Board

Now it’s time for the best part of this post: the list! Let’s explore some of the top places to paddleboard in Îles de la Madeleine.


East Cape

The archipelago's easternmost point is home to a stunning stretch of beach made up of sand dunes and crystal clear waters. Perfect for those who want to experience a bit more solitude when they are out on the water, there are many options for paddling routes. We recommend exploring from East Cape (between Leslie & Old Harry) and parking by the bridge. From here, you can use the little boat launch and choose to paddle north or south.


Baie Clarke

This sheltered cove can have gentle waves depending on the wind and vast expanses of pink granite rocks along its shoreline - making for an awe-inspiring sight as you paddle along the edge.


  • Park at the boat launch on the east end of the bridge in East cape.

  • Route: 6km. Circumnavigating the bay and exploring at your leisure.

  • Safety Notes: Be mindful of winds, tides, and other boat traffic. Your evacuation is back at the East Cape put in.




Paddle south/southeast along the coast towards Anse a McPhail to explore an area of bright red sand dunes and circumnavigate Île aux Loups Marin.

  • Park at the boat launch on the east end of the bridge in East cape.

  • Route: 8.5km. Paddle south, under the bridge then veer southeast along the shore. Depending on the tide, you may have to paddle around the little island off the point before Anse a McPhail. Continue southeast until the next island and either go around it or turn around and head back.

  • Safety Notes: Be mindful of winds, tides, and other boat traffic. This route follows the main road east, so this is your evacuation route if you need to get off the water.



Baie Old Harry

Paddle along the shore of the East Point National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Park at the Old Harry boat launch.

  • Route: 5km. Circumnavigate the bay leaving from and returning to the Old Harry boat launch.

  • Safety Notes: Be mindful of winds, tides, and other boat traffic. Your evacuation point is the Old Harry boat launch or the road north of the bay. Watch out for the oyster nets in the bay - please keep your distance as this is an active fishery.





Île Boudreau

This is a great place to paddleboard if you want to combine paddling with a bit of hiking. The small island of Boudreau has three hiking trails around it - perfect for those who love to mix up their outdoor activities. You can choose to paddle on the outside following the sandy shoreline or explore Bassin Aux Huitres.



Île Boudreau

Explore the sandy beaches along the outside edge of Île Boudreau.

  • Park at Plage du Bassin Ouest and launch from the beach.

  • Route: 5km. Circumnavigate the bay and explore as you please.

  • Safety Notes: Be mindful of winds, tides, and other boat traffic. This route should only be done when winds are very light (less than 10km/hr) and blowing onshore (northeast winds).


Bassin Aux Huitres

Paddle around this protected bay inside Île Boudreau, exploring the shoreline and watching for birds.

  • Park at the Bassin Aux Huitres boat launch.

  • Route: 5km. Circumnavigate the bay and explore as you please.

  • Safety Notes: Be mindful of winds, tides, and other boat traffic. Your evacuation point is back at the Bassin Aux Huitres put in or you can take the road west of the bay if needed.



Baie du Cap Vert

Paddle around this well-protected bay, explore the small islands, or just sit and watch for birds or sip coffee afterward at Cindyhook Sports Adventures and Café.

  • Park at Cindyhook Sports Adventures

  • Route: 0-10km. Circumnavigate the bay, the small islands or sit and watch for birds feeding along the shoreline.

  • Safety Notes: Be mindful of winds, tides, and other boat traffic. Your evacuation point is back at Cindyhook Sports Adventures.





Dune Sandy Hook / Plage du Havre

This southern beach is a great place to play for advanced paddlers. Explore the sand dune shoreline, watch for seals, and other wildlife. Park at the Plage du Havre parking lot.

  • Route: 12km one way. Circumnavigating the spit makes for a 24km paddle but you do not need to go the whole way. Explore along the shoreline or watch for marine life from your board.

  • Safety Notes: Be mindful of winds, tides, and other boat traffic. Your evacuation point is back at Sandy Hook Beach Parking Lot or you can take the road west of the bay if needed.





Baie du Hauvre aux Basque

This secluded bay is very tide affected. You can SUP paddle around the small islands and explore the sandy beaches, or just sit back and watch for birds.

  • Park at the Parc Fred Jomphe Put In

  • Route: 3-5km. Circumnavigate the bay and explore as you please.

  • Safety Notes: Be mindful of winds, tides, and other boat traffic. Your evacuation point is back at Parc Fred Jomphe Put In or you can take out anywhere along the road east of the bay.






Plage Martinique

Explore the sandy shoreline of Plage Martinique and watch for seals, explore small islands or just sit back and enjoy the scenery.

  • Park at Plage Martinique parking lot.

  • Route: 0-14km. Follow the shoreline south or north only going as far as you like.

  • Safety Notes: Be mindful of winds, tides, and other boat traffic. Your evacuation point is anywhere along the beach which parallels the road.








Whether you're looking for a short peaceful paddle around a quiet bay or an adventurous journey exploring the unique coastlines the Îles de la Madeleine offer something truly special for paddleboarders. These are just some of our favorite paddleboarding spots in Îles de la Madeleine/Menagoesenog!


Looking to start your paddleboarding journey? Whether it's a tour or just info to help with all the amazing paddling trips you’ll find in the Magdalen Islands check out our blog.


Will we see you on board next summer on the islands swept by the surf?


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