I guess you could call it a roundabout way of camping. At Quebec’s Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux, you don’t sleep under the trees, you sleep in them. Leave the tent and air mattress at home. The tree house you dreamed of having as a kid is nothing compared to what’s dangling above Canada’s Saint-Fulgence.
Hanging out, about a two and a half hour drive north of Quebec City, the suspended, spherical tree houses, offer a one-of-a-kind view of the Fjord du Saguenay.
There are two spheres to choose from: one is camouflaged and blends in with its surroundings, while the other is shiny and stands out among the trees. But inside they are essentially identical. Both offer views you’ll remember long after you’ve packed up and headed home.
The suspended spheres can sleep up to four people, but they better like each other because it would be more then cozy. A family with young kids would work, but four adults would be a tight squeeze. Two people seems just right, giving you a comfortable amount of wiggle room to do things like stand-up and to open backpacks or suitcases. There is no water or electricity inside. The spheres are tightly secured. Even during a good thunderstorm, I didn’t feel any movement.
Some serious thought was put into the sphere’s design. Great use of space means the dangling orbs come well equipped with dishes, silverware and even a camp stove to make coffee in the morning.
Pack a cooler and you can take your camp cooking to new heights. A small deck surrounds half of the sphere, but head a few steps onto solid ground and there’s a screened-in picnic area.
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of planning and cooking, La Vieille Ferme is a local farmhouse restaurant. Complete with sheep and pigs, diners are encouraged to wander a bit and kids are welcome to play. You can sit down in the restaurant or pick up prepared goodies to go from the small market. You can also order a non-perishable pre-packed breakfast from Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux that includes assorted fruit, muffins, pastries, and juice.
The lantern in the sphere comes in handy, but bring along your own flashlight too. If you have one, a headlamp isn’t a bad idea either. It is dark at night, and even though it’s a fairly short walk to water and the compostable toilet, you’ll want all the light you can get. With privacy and tranquility also comes a darkness most folks aren’t accustomed to. It’s about a 15 minute walk to showers, flush toilets and electrical outlets.
Bring along insect repellent as well. The last two weeks of June and beginning of July can be buggy in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean area.
Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux offers a variety of family friendly outdoor activities for an additional fee. There’s an assortment of ropes courses with ziplining for adventure seekers as young as three, via ferrata, sea kayaking and fishing pole rentals.
Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux is open from mid-May to mid-October. Summer fills up fast, so book early to snag your spot in the trees. Along with the two spheres, there is also a Starlight dome (a third of the dome is made of glass), a couple of traditionally shaped tree houses, log cabins and camp sites.
Prices can fluctuate depending on exchange rates, but during the summer, expect sleeping in a sphere to cost about $178 US for up to four people. It is $15 US less in spring and fall. If you don’t want to be bothered dragging along sheets and towels, you can rent everything for $12 US per person. Make your reservations through their website.
Review and photos by Dana Rebmann. Her trip to Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux was organized by Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-John and Tourisme Québec, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.