When you think of Ottawa, the image most often conjured is that of our Parliament building, as well as various associated historical landmarks. It would be rare to conjure an image of a bright, sandy beach when visualizing the changing of the guard, wouldn’t it?!
Well, maybe not after taking a look at this list of some of the most tantalizing seasides our nation’s capital has to offer those who are craving a genuine beach bum experience.
1. Westboro Beach
- Where: 745 Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway, Ottawa
- Proximity: In the city!
- Hours: Open year round, lifeguards on duty from 12PM to 7PM, from early June to late August
This area not only welcomes you with a stunning view of the natural earth but also tasty accommodations at the Westbrook Beach Yacht Club café. The cafe is very popular on the beach, and sometimes showcases live music.
The beach also has a bike path that connects to a main bike pathway called Sir John A MacDonald. The beach is open year round, but is only supervised from 12PM to 7PM from early June to late August.
2. Britannia Beach
- Where: 2805 Carling Ave, Ottawa
- Proximity: In the city!
- Hours: Park is open year round, with hours from 10AM to 5PM
BBQ pits and picnic tables are in place for what is to be a surefire day of enjoyment. If you find yourself in the west end of Ottawa, whether it be with the kids, a date, or just yourself, make a point of visiting one of the city’s most popular waterfronts.
The area is maintained daily with washrooms and free water fountains. You are able to rent a volleyball net if you wish to play a game, and can even buy some ice cream from a hidden ice cream shop called The Beachconers.
3. Mooney’s Bay Beach
- Where: 2960 Riverside Drive, Ottawa
- Proximity: In the city!
- Hours: 12PM to 7PM from the third week in June to the third week in August
This sand soaked area is set up in Ottawa’s south end with a spot for beach volleyball, tennis courts and a play structure for the younger visitors. Be sure to bring your own racket and a volleyball should this be your desire.
The long stretch of the beach is perfect for strolls with your partner and the kids. The swimming area is supervised from the third week of June to the third week in August, from 12PM to 7PM. Volleyball nets and balls can be rented by the hour, as can stand up paddleboards.
4. Lemay Lake Park
- Where: Fournier Blvd, Gatineau Quebec
- Proximity: 14 minutes (7.4 km)
- Hours: Supervised swimming from July 11 to September 2.
A more family-oriented beach just south of the downtown core has been open since 1961, and for good reason. The shoreline is packed with supervising lifeguards along the shore, has two volleyball courts, a playground for the kids, and an area for picnicking and concession stands.
The beach area is a larger part of Leamy Lake Park, which occupies 174 hectares on Fournier Boulevard in the Hull sector of Gatineau.
5. Mille Roches Beach
- Where: 15805 Long Sault, Ontario
- Proximity: 1 hour and 9 minutes (92.5 km)
- Hours: Open holidays and weekends from May 15 to June 13 and daily from June 20 to September 6
This sandy getaway may be the best idea for a day trip due to the distance it is away from the main city. Located on the gorgeous St. Lawrence Seaway, you can rent kayaks or boats on the hour during opening daily hours from June to September.
You can also spend some time at the Upper Canada Village where you travel back in time to 1860s Canada for a little extra education. On the beach, there is also an island themed snack bar, a playground, changing facilities, and a picnic area.
6. Petrie Island Beaches
- Where: 795 Trim Rd, Orléans, Ontario
- Proximity: 23 minutes (22.6 km)
- Hours: Open and supervised between Victoria Day weekend and the Labour Day weekend. Supervised during the summer by lifeguards from 12PM to 7PM, 7 days a week
If you’re looking for a more stimulating day surrounding by waves and sunshine, book a program for a family tour and learn more about the local wildlife and what you and your family can do to conserve it. The Bananas Caribbean Grill and Take Out is a famous eatery nearby, approximately 40 picnic tables to dine on, as well as paddling and volleyball rentals during the weekend hours. Parking fee is $5.
Fishing is permitted along certain areas away from swimmers. Hiking along the Petrie islands is also popular due to the 7 km length between them.
7. Parc du-Lac Beauchamp
- Where: 741 Boulevard Maloney E, Gatineau
- Proximity: 21 minutes (14.9 km)
- Hours: Open 9AM to 9PM all year round; summer hours are from 7AM to 10PM
You might be looking for a spot that is more picnic-friendly rather than sand dominant. f you are looking for a lovely area to watch, relax, and view nature, this is the spot for you. It is also only 20 minutes outside of Ottawa, which makes travel utterly convenient.
It also transforms into an epic sandcastle festival in July, which is alluring for both adults and kids alike. The area offers several spaces with picnic tables, BBQ’s on site that can be rented, air conditioned and heated spaces, and connected to multiple maintained trails.
8. La Pêche Lake
- Where: Pontiac, Quebec City
- Proximity: 50 minutes (56.7 km)
- Hours: Mid May to late October. Lifeguards are on duty from 10AM to 6PM from June 14 to September 3.
This beach is located just inside Gatineau park, with a lake that also happens to be the largest within the area. It is an hour drive from the hub of Ottawa, with canoe renting available as well as an expansive beach for sunbathing. This spot can become pretty crowded in the summer months but manages to maintain its appeal with private areas.
The area does tend to flood, so it would be best to check the website before venturing out about which direction to take to get there.
9. Morrison’s Quarry
- Where: Wakefield, Quebec
- Proximity: 26 minutes (31.3 km)
- Hours: Victoria Day weekend to the third week in August; 8:30AM to 6PM.
This is the place for beachgoers who have an inkling toward the photogenic. These glistening turquoise waters will make you wish you brought your camera, along with the beautiful lofty cliffs surrounding. There is no need to book your trip to a tropical island when this perfect Oasis sits only 30 thirty minutes away from Ottawa.
The area is typically used for scuba diving lessons that can be booked through the location’s website, but you are still able to enter the beach at $10 per person. On the sandy beach there are several picnic tables, as well as a BBQ that anyone can freely use. It has a waterslide that many people do not miss out on trying.
10. Parc des Cèdres (Cedar Park)
- Where: 1 Principale St., Gatineau
- Proximity: 21 minutes (16 km)
- Hours: Lifeguards on duty from June 22 to September 2 from 11AM to 7PM (10AM to 7PM on weekends).
This lovely beachside offers all of the required summer amenities; a snack bar, lockers to store your items, bike rentals and a lengthy bike path, a children’s playground, and showers for washing off.
It can get slightly hectic during the busy summer months but will motivate you to either burn some calories or take a rest in front of the sun. Aylmer Marina opens June 1st and is a mere 30 minute drive into Quebec from the city hub of Ottawa.
11. The Pond
- Where: Pond St, Rockcliffe Park
- Proximity: In the city!
- Hours: June to September between 7AM and 2PM, strictly enforced
The Pond located in Rockcliffe Park in Ottawa, and is a secluded blissful getaway that was once reserved knowledge for the few who went to explore outside the designated pathway. It is 170 metres long, quite a lot larger than the average pond, but contains some beautifully clean water that is perfect to swim in.
This spot is ideal for couples looking for an adventure just outside their city, which is inexpensive but capable of transporting you away from the day-to-day grind. There are still houses located just beyond the trees surrounding the pond, so there are hours and noise rules that must be followed; you cannot swim between the hours of 2PM and 7AM.
Before heading out, check if there are any Public Beach Water Advisories posted by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit.