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:
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.
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.
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 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.