Unless you have a pool at your house, Ottawa summers can sometimes feel unbearable! The heat and humidity we get is just as extreme as the cold/snowy winters. The good news is that we’re so lucky to be living next to many beautiful bodies of water, just waiting for us to take a wee dip!! Have something to add to this list? Send us an email and let us know your favourite pool or beach!
Remember for any beaches in Ottawa to check water quality readings before you go. For those beaches in Gatineau Park you can get water quality readings here. The kiddos will be SUPER disappointed if you arrive and discover the beach is closed for swimming!!
You can find some great swimming at this beach, and lots of space for a tasty picnic. And with the new 150-themed park nearby, you can make a whole day of it! There is pay parking, but it’s not overly pricey.
In the west end of Ottawa, Britannia beach is super fun for kids to go swimming and sailboat watching! Bring a picnic or rent a volleyball net from the city.
Still west but more central, Westboro Beach is small and cozy, with so many fun things to do in the area before cooling off in the river. Grab an ice cream at the canteen or ride your bikes along the river pathway!
Petrie Island (East and River beaches)
Located in Ottawa’s east end, Petrie Island is unique in that it’s a nature reserve and home to lots of wildlife! Swim on the beautiful sandy east beach, or the more rocky river beach. Then take a stroll on the nature trails and check out the nature interpretive centre!
Located off Calabogie Road, Burnstown Beach is a great alternative to Ottawa River swimming (especially when water quality is yucky here!) KIC reader Crystal Loukola had this to say about Burnstown:
Auger’s Beach is a SUPER sandy beach, and a quick jaunt from the west end of Ottawa. However, unlike many beaches in Ottawa and Gatineau, there are no lifeguards here (see below for tips on water safety!) and the city also does not provide water quality readings for this area.
Probably one of the most popular spots in Gatineau Park, Meech Lake is a favourite swimming hole for Ottawans and Outaouaisins (that’s not a word, I totally made that up.) Because it’s so popular it is BUSY! Expect Saturdays and Sundays to be very crowded, so plan to get there early if you don’t enjoy the crowds. Word on the street is that Blanchet beach is bigger and feels less crowded than O’Brien beach. Pay parking is available
If you want a bigger beach in Gatineau Park, drive a little further north to lac philippe! There are three different beaches, and if you want a nice hike along the lake, you can visit Lusk Cave. Pay parking is available.
Lac la Pêche
This is our family’s fave. We drive the extra distance past lac philippe just to get to this much more remote (and quieter) beach. The beach and shallow water is clean and sandy. A warning that the water is quite weedy near the buoy line, but if you can brave the weeds and get out into deeper water, it’s beautiful! Our favourite part is walking to the end of the beach where there is a rock outcrop. We jump from the rocks into deep water, which helps us avoid the weeds at the main beach. Pay parking is available.
Outdoor pools in Ottawa
Swimming doesn’t HAVE to involve a lake! There are so many great outdoor pools around Ottawa, and they’re perfect for those days when the sand is too hot or there are poor water quality readings. Or maybe you just prefer lounging by a pool!
If you’re out swimming anywhere this summer, please educate yourself on WATER SAFETY. Every year there are preventable accidents and deaths around water, so we need to do our bit to prepare ourselves for a fun and safe summer!