The ultimate guide to beaches and pools in and around Montréal
This article was updated on August 6, 2019.
Montréal 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 cool, 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 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. Cool off and have fun on the Parc Aquazilla obstacle course, with its 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 tele traction system. Did we mention there’s free Wi-Fi throughout the beach?
Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques
For the adventurous urbanites that feel like making a trek to Montréal’s largest park with a nice sandy beach, make your way to Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques. 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 at an obstacle course!
Pointe-Calumet 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 boat 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 at the Old Port of Montréal
Okay, so maybe you can’t swim at Clock Tower Beach, but it’s a gorgeous urban beach. Right smack bang in 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 trucks 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.
Just behind the Verdun Auditorium and Parc Arthur-Therrien, you’ll find the beautiful Verdun Beach, an urban project that gives locals and visitors a lovely place to hang, chill and bake on either sand or grassy knolls. Swim in a beautiful stretch of the St. Lawrence River, laze in a hammock or get sporty on the slides or climbing wall.
Plage de Saint-Zotique
It may be a 45-minute drive away, but Plage de Saint-Zotique is 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!
RécréoParc, 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.
Parc-nature du Bois-de-l’île-Bizard
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 Parc-nature du Bois-de-l’île-Bizard 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!”
Parc national d’Oka
Just over an hour away from downtown Montréal, Parc national d'Oka 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.
Beach of the Regional Park of the Saint-Timothée Islands
The golden sand of the Beach of the Regional Park of the Saint-Timothée Islands 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.
Aquatic Complex at parc Jean-Drapeau
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 are set up trampolines and water games on the water – sometimes there are even on-site shows!
Parc Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier, 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 Montréal website. And for a complete guide to hotel pools, head here!
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.