• eat
  • shop
  • see
  • go
  • stay
  • daytrip
  • map
  • calendar
  • transport
  • weather
  • currency
  • tofrom

beaches

Ottawa’s Best Beaches: Enter the Capital’s Waterworld

By Chris Lackner

Ottawa may not be a coastal city, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a beach town.

From the pristine lakes of Gatineau Park to the oft overlooked Ottawa and Rideau Rivers, life’s a beach in the National Capital Region. So take a refreshing dip with our guide to Ottawa-Gatineau’s top beaches:

Lac Philippe beach in Gatineau Park.

Lac Philippe beach in Gatineau Park.

GATINEAU PARK 

Philippe Lake: Choose between Breton Beach and Parent Beach, or pack a tent; Smith Beach is for campers only.

Meech Lake: This lake’s advantage is proximity to Ottawa. It’s idyllic waters are only a 30-minute drive without traffic (beat that Toronto!). O’Brien Beach is the family-friendly option, while Blanchet Beach is more remote and serene.

La Pêche Beach: Worth it for the longer, scenic drive through the park. Canoe and kayak rentals are available at Pêche (and at Philippe); escape the beach crowds out on the open water.

Order a cold beverage on the patio at Ottawa's Westboro Beach.

Order a cold beverage on the patio at Ottawa’s Westboro Beach.

CITY BEACHES

Westboro Beach: Located in the lively Westboro neighbourhood, the siren song of this scenic beach is bolstered by live patio music (Thursday through Sunday) and cold drinks (daily) on a café patio.

Mooney’s Bay Beach: This Rideau River beach entices with sandy shores and picturesque volleyball courts that just happen to play host to HOPE Volleyball Summerfest (July 16), the largest one-day recreational volleyball event in the world. 

Volleyball is one of the many activities on Mooney's Bay beach.

Volleyball is one of the many activities on Mooney’s Bay beach.

Britannia Beach: Come for the picnic tables and shaded, mature trees, stay to watch the windsurfing at this west-end gem. Worth the drive, but Britannia Park is also accessible via one of the capital’s most beautiful bike paths.

Leamy Lake Beach in Gatineau.

Leamy Lake Beach in Gatineau.

Leamy Lake Park Beach: This urban beach in Gatineau feels timeless — a throwback to the Leave it to Beaver era. It’s like heading to “the old swimming hole”… only that hole is located in a 174-hectare urban park.

Parc Moussette Beach: This small, sandy beach park is found in west Gatineau, located just across the Ottawa River. The little known hideaway features a great playground, plenty of shade, and often hosts DJs on weekend afternoons.

Petrie Island Beach: Ottawa’s newest beach is home to spellbinding views of the Ottawa River. Work up some sweat before the trip on the island’s seven kilometres of nature trails.

For a full list of local beaches and their rules and regulations, visit ottawa.ca and canadascapital.gc.ca.

Eastern Canada’s Best Beaches

By SHANNON KELLY

Kelly’s Beach, Kouchibouguac Park, NB (Photo: Tourism New Brunswick)

Last week the west coast got all the beachy glory. Now we head east to focus on the top beaches in the east: sandy Maritime playgrounds, windswept dunes, surfer spots and crystalline beauties on eastern Canada’s ocean- and lake-fronts. (more…)

The Best Beaches of the Canadian West

By SHANNON KELLY

Tribune Bay Beach, BC (Photo: Tourism British Columbia)

We’re well into summer, and it’s time to get yourself beachside if you haven’t already. The best ocean- and lake-front beaches in the West may come as a surprise. First, they’re not all in British Columbia. (Though most are, since that province monopolizes Canada’s Pacific coast. Vancouver alone has 10 beaches!) Secondly, they’re not all hugging the southern border—some excellent northern lakes and oceanfront strands have made the list, too.

Check out Canada’s top beaches in British Columbia, the Yukon and Alberta »

 RELATED: Eastern Canada’s Best Beaches

No One Loves the Beach More than Canadians

Brackley Beach, PEI; photo courtesy of Tourism PEI/John Sylvester

Canadians, apparently, love beach vacations more than the average traveller: 45 per cent of Canadians said the beach was their preferred vacation destination in a recent Expedia survey, compared with 33 per cent of travellers around the globe who chose the beach as their favourite place to get away. (more…)