13 great beaches for your next Montreal-area #staycation

Nothing says summer fun like building sandcastles and taking a cooling dip

13 great beaches Montreal

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Montreal in summer is brimming with parks to explore, splash pads to dance through, and ice cream shops to visit. But to beat the heat and humidity, nothing says summer fun like days at the beach building sandcastles with the kids and taking cooling dips in the water.

If you’re looking for a beach staycation that’s close to Montreal, we’ve rounded up some of the best spots that are open for fun all summer long!

Special note for the 2021 season: Because of evolving health measures due to COVID-19, it is important to check each location’s website or social media accounts before heading out for the day. Some beaches require advance reservations and payment, while others have a maximum daily capacity and are first come/first served.

St. Zotique Beach

Located about 45 minutes west of Montreal, this beach offers a soft white sandy beach and a ton of activities. After relaxing under a thatched umbrella and frolicking in the water, families can rent kayaks, canoes, and pedal boats, play on the water obstacle course, visit the playground and splash pad, or organize a game of soccer or a tennis match. There are plenty of picnic tables and BBQs available as well as a snack bar and ice cream shop.
Read our full article on the activities available during summer 2021.

Location: 105, 81st Avenue, Saint-Zotique
Price: The cost is $12 for adults, $7 for children ages 9-12, $5 for ages 5-8, and free for kids 4 & under.

The site is open June 19 to September 6, 2021, and is accessible from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Swimming hours are 10 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. and swimming is only allowed when lifeguards are on duty. In order to comply with health measures, the site has a maximum capacity of 2,500. While tickets can be bought at the gate, it is highly recommended to reserve your date and pre-purchase them online to avoid disappointment. For more information or to make reservations visit plagest-zotique.com

Centre de la nature Cowansville

Located in the municipality of Cowansville, the Centre de la nature offers several services and activities for the whole family: a beach on Lac Davignon, a large splash pad, playgrounds, picnic areas, walking paths, outdoor fitness equipment, bike paths, a skatepark, volleyball and basketball courts, BMX sports bike trail, dressing rooms and accessible toilets, a canteen (open Thursday-Sunday), and rental of nautical equipment. Whew!

Location: 225 Chemin de la Plage, Cowansville
Price: Access to the site, the beach, and even parking are free; but extras like renting a canoe, kayak, pedal boat, or stand-up paddleboard cost extra.

The beach is open from June 12 to August 22, 2021, every day (weather dependent) from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. COVID-19 restrictions have capped the maximum number of bathers to 100 at the same time. Rotations will be carried out. Swimming is prohibited when there is no lifeguard on site. Before packing up the car, check the water quality on the town’s website at ville.cowansville.qc.ca/loisirs-et-culture/sports-et-plein-air/centre-de-la-nature or call 450 263-0141.

Récréoparc

This large beach with soft sand is just across the river from downtown Montreal, and with a playground and resto nearby, it’s about all you need to enjoy hot summer days. The man-made water basin of the beach is fed by the rapids of the St. Lawrence River, is non-chlorinated, and tested by the Ministry of the Environment several times a week. At this large nature park you can also enjoy walking and biking trails; an outdoor obstacle course; a nautical area designed for kayaking, fishing, or launching your boat; or try out their urban camping sites.

Location: 5340 Marie-Victorin Boulevard, Sainte-Catherine
Price: Daily rates are $10.74 for those 14 and older, $7.26 for children ages 3-13, $28.62 for a family of four, and free for kids 2 & under. Rates are lower if you enter at 3:30 p.m., and residents of Sainte-Catherine, Delson, and Candiac always enter for free.

Note that access to the beach does not include parking fees, nor is there a guarantee of availability at the beach when purchasing your day passes online. The daily capacity of the beach is 2000 people and is first-come, first-served — so get there early! Reserve online at recreoparc.org/les-secteurs/plage/ or call 450-635-3011 for information.

 

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Parc régional des Îles-de-Saint-Timothée

A beautiful spot about 30 minutes from the West Island, this site has a ton of activities for the whole family. Besides the large beach with a gradual entry into the water, there is a fantastic wheelchair-accessible playground, a super-cool zipline, walking trails, picnic area, beach volleyball court, and a canteen-type restaurant. You can also rent pedal boats, kayaks, or stand-up paddleboards, and reserve Hippocampe all-terrain wheelchairs for free.

Location: 240 Saint-Laurent, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield
Price: Daily rates are $12 for those 16 and over, $8 for children ages 5-15, and free for children 4 and under.

The beach is open June 19-August 22, August 28 & 29, and September 4-5-6. Reservations are mandatory and go on sale 48 hours in advance. The beach is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and capacity is limited to 630 people per day. COVID restrictions have closed the changing rooms so have your bathing suits on before you arrive. For information and assistance call 450 377-1117 or visit ville.valleyfield.qc.ca/plage to make reservations.

Verdun Beach

This urban beach offers Montreal locals unique access to the St. Lawrence River and its shores, and is just minutes from downtown. The universally accessible site has a gently sloping concrete path from the site entrance to the swimming area, hammocks, and grassy terraced sections for picnicking. The rock-free water offers a gentle entry and there is tons of sand for building that perfect castle or burying a sibling. Also on site is a play area with long metal slides, a climbing wall, and a rope climber; and the nearby Arthur-Therrien Park offers a huge skatepark, playground, and a small splash pad. Bathrooms, changing rooms, and outdoor showers are located at the beach.

Location: 4110 Boulevard LaSalle, Verdun, behind the Arthur-Therrien Park pool and the Verdun Auditorium.
Price: Entrance is free for all.
Access: By car, the nearby de l’Église metro station, and the 37 and 12 bus routes.

The beach is open mid-June to early September, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., (subject to weather conditions and water quality). Before going, make sure to call 514-280-0789 to check that the beach is open. It is updated twice a day. Swimming is not recommended when there are no lifeguards on duty. Due to COVID-related health measures, the number of people allowed on the site is limited and for a time period of 45 minutes. You cannot make reservations.

 

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Cap St. Jacques Beach and Nature Park

This beach and its beautiful setting overlooking the lac des Deux Montagnes is hugely popular with locals and tends to reach capacity quickly. Besides the sandy beach where you can rent kayaks, pedal boats, and canoes; there are also walking and biking trails, a working farm where you can visit the outdoor animals, and a small farmers’ market. New for 2021 is a casse-croûte offering snacks at the beach from Thursdays to Sundays and an accessible mat that allows users with mobility devices to access the water.

Location: 21115 Gouin Boulevard West, Pierrefonds.
Price: The cost is $5.25 for adults, $3.75 for children ages 6-17 and seniors over the age of 60, and free for kids 5 & under. A family of 2 adults and 3 children ages 6-17 pays $17.50. A large parking lot is located near the beach and parking rates are separate from the beach entry and are $9.50 for the day or $7.50 for two hours.

The beach is open from mid-June to early September from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Due to COVID-related health measures in place, the maximum capacity of the beach sector is 1,500 visitors. Access to the beach area will be prohibited once the maximum capacity has been reached and readmission is prohibited. The changing rooms are also closed to the public. For more information, call 514-280-6778 or visit montreal.ca/lieux/plage-du-parc-nature-du-cap-saint-jacques

Bois de L’Île-Bizard Beach and Nature Park

While the supervised beach at this Montreal nature park is tiny, it still offers a chance to cool off after walking the nearby trails and exploring the new lookouts and the medium boardwalk (the large boardwalk is under construction). There are also spots for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.

Location: 2115 chemin du Bord du Lac, Île-Bizard.
Price: Free to swim. A parking lot is located near the beach and rates are $9.50 for the day or $7.50 for two hours.

The supervised beach is open from mid-June to early September. The hours are Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (subject to weather conditions). For more information, call 514-280-6778 or visit montreal.ca/en/places/parc-nature-du-bois-de-lile-bizard-beach

 

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Parc Jean-Drapeau

Easily accessible by metro and shuttle bus, Jean-Doré Beach at Parc Jean-Drapeau is an excellent choice for families wishing for soft white sand, shallow water, and an abundance of activities nearby. Besides the beach, you can also rent watercraft, swim at the aquatic centre, walk the paths, have a shady picnic, play on the floating Aquazilla obstacle course, and enjoy a new outdoor refreshment area. Read our full article on the activities available during summer 2021.

Getting there: By car, Jean-Drapeau metro station, or 767 shuttle bus during the summer. Parking area P4. Rates are $8 for an hour or $15 daily.
Price: Admission to the beach is $9 for those 14 and older, $4.50 for children ages 3-13, and $22 for a family of four. Children aged 2 & under can enjoy Jean-Doré Beach for free.

The beach is open June 23 to Sept. 6, 2021. Due to COVID restrictions, the changing rooms are currently closed and there are a limited number of lockers available. For a complete list of times, prices, directions, a map of the site, and to reserve tickets visit parcjeandrapeau.com or parcjeandrapeau.com/en/jean-dore-beach-sand-swimming-sun-montreal/

 

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Parc National d’Oka

Set aside the whole day because there is a lot to do at this huge national park. Nature lovers will enjoy the challenging hiking trails that lead to a panoramic view, there are flat paths that lead through forests and along boardwalks, and the beach area is alive with activity all summer. Adventure-seekers can leap around the Aquazilla inflatable water course, and there are kayaks, canoes, pedal boats, and stand-up paddleboards available to rent. Hippocampe recreational wheelchairs are also available free of charge. Picnickers can choose from a variety of beach-side sites and a large playground is nearby.

Location: 2020 Chemin d’Oka, Oka
Price: The cost is $9 for adults, children 17 and under enter for free (but they must still register online). Parking rates are extra and cost $8.91 per car.

The beach is open from May 22 to September 6, 2021, every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Lifeguards are on duty from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Only those who purchased their daily access rights in advance online can access the park. A daily quota is also set for annual card holders. Capacity is limited, so arrive early! To respect social distancing, you may be denied access to an area, trail, or activity if the parking lot is full or if the maximum capacity is reached. For more information, call 450 479-8365 and visit sepaq.com/pq/oka to purchase your daily access.

 

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Waterloo Lake Beach

If you’re on a road trip in the Eastern Townships and need a place for a break, this is a good spot to know about as it’s just 5 minutes from Highway 10. While the beach isn’t exactly a sandy oasis, the lake is great for swimming. There’s also a playground, beach volleyball courts, a splash pad, spots to picnic, fishing, watercraft available to rent, and bathrooms. Note that the lake is not supervised.

Location: 15 Rue du Lac, Waterloo
Price: Access to the lake and parking are free.

For more information, the water quality report, and watercraft rental fees visit ville.waterloo.qc.ca/plage-de-waterloo/

 

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Charlottenburgh Park

Located in Eastern Ontario, just west of Lancaster, this park has a sandy beach with lovely views of the St. Lawrence River, two playgrounds, picnic areas, campsites, and trails that lead to a lookout over a marsh filled with wildlife. The canteen at the beach is currently open as are public restrooms.

Location: 19788 S.D.G. County Road 2, South Glengarry, Ontario
Price: Daily rates are $6.64 for those 13- 64, free for children 12 & under, and there is a maximum vehicle charge of $21.24.

The beach is open from the May long weekend until Thanksgiving weekend, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and weekends from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. In compliance with current public health guidelines, the park is operating at reduced capacity and the beach and day-use access are on a first-come, first-served basis until the capacity is reached so try and arrive as soon as it opens. Follow the Raisin Region Conservation Authority’s social media accounts to see if the beach is full. For information call 613-931-0944 or visit the RRCA website at rrca.on.ca/page.php?id=6

Mille Roches Beach

About an hour from the West Island, Mille Roches Beach is the largest public beach of the St. Lawrence Parks and is on a quiet bay with a view of the Adirondack mountains across the water. The beach and picnic area feature water sport rentals including kayaks, paddleboats, stand-up paddleboards, and canoes. Other features include an island-themed snack bar, washrooms & change rooms, a boat launch, beach volleyball, a playground, and tons of shaded picnic tables with charcoal BBQs available for use. After your beach day, take a scenic drive along the Long Sault Parkway, a series of 11 small islands connected by causeways and bridges.

Location: 15890 Long Sault Parkway, Long Sault, Ontario
Price: Beach and picnic area fees are $6.64 for those 13- 64, free for children 12 & under, and a maximum vehicle charge of $16.81.

Open starting June 24 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. but subject to change if health restrictions require. There are no reservations, so arrive early as it tends to get busy. Visit the Parks of the St. Lawrence website or call 1-800-437-2233 for more information. You can also check the water quality here.

Glengarry Beach

Less than an hour from Montreal, this is the easternmost campground in Ontario and is located on the St. Lawrence River near Lancaster, Ontario. The park features a small sandy beach that arcs around the sheltered bay of Lake St. Francis, boat launch facilities, picnic areas, and a waterfront food concession stand. You can also camp or stay in one of the three camper cabins located near the beach.

Location: 20800 South Service Rd, Lancaster, Ontario
Price: Beach and picnic area fees are $6.64 for those 13- 64, free for children 12 & under, and a maximum vehicle charge of $16.81.

Open starting June 24 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. but subject to change if health restrictions require. There are no reservations, so arrive early. Visit the Parks of the St. Lawrence website or call 1-800-437-2233 for more information. You can also check the water quality here.

 

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