The ultimate guide to beaches and pools in and around Montréal
Montreal summers are filled with so much fun, dancing, sangria and humidity that it’s no wonder the locals like to flock to the water to cool down and splash around. Beaches and lakes abound both in and around the city, and with these come all sorts of organized aquatic fun, like places where you can rent or bring your own SUP, kayak or canoe, and enjoy sailing and water skiing. If you like your summers as cool as they are active, put these spots on your (ice) bucket list!
A golden sandy beach located just minutes away from downtown? Yes! The beach at Parc Jean-Drapeau (June 14-September 1) is the perfect playground to build a sand castle, splish-splash around in some water, and then roast in the sun for a couple of hours. And now there’s a brand-new way to cool off and have fun: the Aquazilla obstacle course has a 30 x 35-metre inflatable structure complete with slides and platforms for jumping into the water. You can also rent sailboats, canoes, kayaks and pedal boats, and wakeboard with a teletraction system. Did we mention there’s free Wi-Fi throughout the beach?
Cap St-Jacques Beach
For the adventurous urbanites that feel like making a trek to Montreal’s largest park with nice sandy beach, make your way to Cap Saint-Jacques Nature Park. It’s a popular spot, so don’t expect to be alone – but it’s a blast. Bring the whole family to this beach less than an hour away from Montréal, where you can rent kayaks, pedal boats and canoes – you can even do archery, experience a forest survival workshop, and try your hand in an obstacle course!
Pointe-Calumet Beach Club
This beach has family-fun written all over it, with two trampolines on the lake, inflatable bouncy games for kids, and activities like face painting and treasure hunts most weekends of the summer. Sports lovers can go mellow with pedal boats rides or more serious with kayaking, wakeboarding, waterskiing or beach volleyball. You can also ditch the kids and go clubbing at the 18+ Beachclub.
Clock Tower Beach
Okay, so maybe you can’t swim at Clock Tower Beach, but it’s a gorgeous urban beach right in the Old Port. Right smack bang on the Old Port of Montréal, this is the city’s quintessential urban beach, complete with soft sand, great beach fare courtesy of the nearby food truck stand and a scene that makes people watching so, so fun. There are chairs, parasols and refreshing mist machines that nicely make up for the fact that swimming isn’t allowed. Relax in the sun, have a few drinks, and Instagram some #MTLmoments until the sun goes down
It may be a 45-minute drive away, but it’s worth it for the great swimming. It’s also a hot spot for water sports rentals, from kayaks to canoes to pedal boats, not to mention the water slides, ice cream shop, beachside baladi classes, bike paths, soccer fields and tennis courts. In other words, all-day fun!
Récré-O-Parc, Sainte-Catherine Beach
This beach on the South Shore of Montréal is heaven for fun in the sun with beautiful clear water (its quality was recognized by the Ministry of Environment) and a bunch of volleyball courts and play areas. All this, and it’s only 20 minutes from downtown Montréal.
Nature park beaches
Away from the noisy radios and the smell of coconut oil, you’ll find this natural haven. After a cooling plunge into the beautiful lake, chill a while on the smooth, sandy beach before exploring the nature park’s trails, either by foot or by bike. There are many different types of wildlife (including beavers) to watch. Just remember the old saying: “take only pictures, leave only footprints!”
Just over an hour away from downtown Montréal, this nature park has a beloved beach where you can rent kayaks, SUPs, windsurfing boards, and even family-sized canoes. You can also rent bikes and explore the extensive bicycle path, 10 km of which is paved.
The golden sand of this beach is a great spot to park your party and relax a while, but there are also fun picnic areas for more elaborate get-togethers. You can also rent kayaks, canoes and pedal boats, plus there are play structures for the kids and a full-service chalet with snack bar and restrooms.
If a sandy beach isn’t your cup of iced-tea (it really does get everywhere), then check out the legendary pool at Parc Jean-Drapeau. The massive aquatic complex includes a pool with a gradual slope for children, a competition-sized pool and a diving tank. During the summer they set up trampolines, water games, and, on “Inflatable Saturdays,” a giant inflatable water game is installed on the water with on-site shows!
This park in the heart of the Plateau-Mont-Royal is an urban oasis with everything for family and friends to have fun. There’s an outdoor public pool, a soccer field, two baseball fields, BBQ pits, picnic tables, trees, grass, and other general park things. For a full list of all the city-run pools, check out the Ville de Montreal website.
Let’s be honest, the Montreal Bonaventure might not be the prettiest building on the block, but it’s the inside that counts. Inside this hotel, you’ll find a rooftop courtyard with a heated swimming pool surrounded by a beautiful garden. Details here.
This hotel’s heated pool is located on the 12th floor high above Montreal, so the view from the hot tub at night is stunning. There’s also an indoor saltwater swimming pool, a Swedish sauna, an on-site spa and a fitness centre with that same gorgeous view.
Isa Tousignant, blogger
Isa Tousignant is an art and lifestyle writer based out of Montréal’s ecclectic Park Ex neighbourhood. She is Contributing Editor for Canadian Art magazine and freelances full-time for a wide variety of magazines and brands. She’s also a jewellery designer and passionate about animal costumes and their role in contemporary art.
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