• By: OLM Staff

BEST OF OTTAWA 2021: Beaches and parks

After over 20-years writing about life in Ottawa, we think we have a pretty good idea of the best of what this city has to offer. In this weekly series, we share our picks with you — our top spots for takeout, live music venues, local brews, bands and more. Check, share and discuss #OLMBest every week!


Britannia Park and Beach

Richmond Road

Brittania is a large city-owned park and consists of both a traditional park with picnic areas and trails and a sandy beach. It is a super popular spot during the summertime with visitors lounging on the beach or even grabbing a bite at the on-site burger joint Baja Burger Shack.
Photo: OLM Staff

Hog’s Back Park

600 Hog’s Back Road

Hog's Back, located on the road of the same name, opened in the 1950s and makes you feel like you've been transported out of the city completely! It features scenic hiking trails, picnic areas and even impressive waterfalls.
Photo Credit: National Capital Commission

Mooney’s Bay

Riverside Drive

Mooney’s Bay is one of the city’s most popular summer spots. Located right on the Rideau River, it features a full beach, picnic areas, play structures, bike paths and even a fitness area. The park is also home to a scenic bridge and beautiful willow trees that make it a popular choice for wedding photos.
Photo Credit: WikiCommons

Meech Lake

Gatineau Park

Meech Lake is the city’s nearest lake and it is a great getaway. Home to not just one, but two beautiful beaches, O’Brien and Blanchet respectively, it’s an ideal summer spot for swimming, picnics, beach volleyball and more. As a special pilot project, open water swimming is also permitted at Meech Lake.
Photo: WikiCommons

Dominion Arboretum

Central Experimental Farm

Part of the Central Experimental Farm, the breathtaking Dominion Arboretum is home to over 2000 different species of trees and shrubs. It also offers gorgeous views of the Rideau Canal, Carleton University and Dow’s Lake.
Photo: Friends of the Central Experimental Farm

Petrie Island


Located in Orleans, Petrie Island is one of Ottawa’s most popular summer hangout spots. The island features both a beach and a park with tons of trees, picnic tables and public washrooms making it the perfect spot for an all-day picnic. We recommend you reserve a picnic table during the busy summer season via their website!
Photo: Sofia Donato

Lansdowne Park

1525 Princess Patricia Way

And great place for families and people of all ages, Lansdowne Park is located on the Queen Elizabeth Parkway side of the multi-use event and retail space called Lansdowne. Here you will find an accessible kids play space, a skate park, a water fountain, basketball courts, and lots of green space for a game of ultimate or for spreading a blanket and having a picnic. If you visit on a weekend, pop into the Aberdeen Pavilion and stock up on local produce at the year-round farmer's market.
Photo: City of Ottawa

Brewer Park

100 Brewer Way

Brewer Park is an urban, municipal park located on Bronson Avenue. The park features tons of green space for picnicking, play structures, ice rinks and, most famously, the largest legal graffiti wall in Canada, which is located under the Dunbar Bridge within the park.
Photo: Dmitri Lytov via Wikipedia

Major’s Hill Park 

Mackenzie Avenue

Located in the heart of the city, with stunning views of the National Gallery, ByWard Market and Parliament, Major's Hill is a gem. It was Ottawa’s very first park, opened in 1826, and has gone on to become a hot spot for both locals and tourists alike. Its vast lawns are the perfect place to relax with a book or have a picnic. It is also one of the official sites of the Canadian Tulip Festival.
Photo: OLM Staff

Strathcona Park

25 Range Road

Located on the eastern edge of beautiful Sandy Hill, Strathcona Park has a long history. The land was originally a swamp, and then it became the site of the Dominion Rifle Range before the Second Boer War, and then finally designated a park in 1904. The park features vast lawns, a beautiful fountain and ruin-like play structures.
Photo: City of Ottawa