Dive into Summer: Ottawa’s Top Swimming Spots for a Splashing Good Time

With the summer heat in full swing, there’s no better way to beat it than by taking a refreshing dip in one of Ottawa’s fantastic swimming spots. Whether you’re a local looking for a quick escape or a visitor seeking a fun-filled summer adventure, this picturesque Canadian city offers plenty of places for a splashing good time. From natural lakes to sandy beaches and charming pools, this blog will guide you through Ottawa’s top swimming spots where you can make lasting memories and embrace the true essence of summer.

NCC Riverhouse

The newly revamped historic Ottawa River Boathouse (1925) in New Edinburgh has been transformed into a destination for paddling, rowing, sailing, and swimming. The Boathouse, recognized as a national heritage building, reopened on July 25th and offers supervised public swimming from an enclosed dock area 7-days a week. There is also an outdoor patio with river views and food and beverage amenities.

Photo: Courtesy NCC

Mooney’s Bay Beach

Nestled along the sparkling waters of the Rideau River, Mooney’s Bay Beach is a beloved oasis for families and friends. This sandy shoreline is a perfect spot for sunbathing, picnicking, and of course, swimming. The beach features lifeguards during the summer season, making it a haven for both experienced swimmers and beginners. If you’re feeling more adventurous, rent kayaks or paddleboats and explore the river’s calm waters.

Photo: Lukeman Hakkim

Britannia Beach

Britannia Beach is another gem that offers breathtaking views of the Ottawa River, located on the western edge of the city. This sandy beach is ideal for a fun day out with friends and family, complete with picnic areas, play structures, and shaded spots for relaxation. The beach is well-maintained, and its buoyed swimming area ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. After a refreshing swim, don’t forget to catch the mesmerizing sunset over the Ottawa River – a sight to behold.

Photo: OLM file photo

Petrie Island Beach

If you’re searching for a more natural setting, Petrie Island Beach should be on your list. This hidden gem, located at the eastern end of Ottawa, boasts sandy shores and shallow waters, making it a fantastic spot for families with kids. Beyond swimming, the island is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers, with several nature trails and boardwalks. Whether you’re sunbathing, building sandcastles, or exploring the island’s natural beauty, Petrie Island promises an unforgettable day.

Photo: Sofia Donato

Westboro Beach

Westboro Beach, situated along the Ottawa River, perfectly blends urban and natural elements. Its proximity to the lively Westboro neighbourhood means you can easily access a range of amenities, including shops, cafés, and restaurants, before or after your swim. Although the beach facilities, including the pavilion, are under renovation, a portion of the beach remains open. There are no lifeguards on duty but they will return when the west end beach reopens sometime in 2024.

Photo: Yunowit

Meech Lake

If you haven’t yet been to Meech Lake in Gatineau Park, you’re missing out. The lake has two public beaches owned and operated by the NCC and a motorless boat launch for canoes, paddleboards, and kayaks. O’Brien Beach is closer to Chelsea and is the more conventional beach of the two locations, sporting picnic tables and a more expansive stretch of sand that is perfect for lying out in the sun and getting a tan. The beach is ideal for a picnic with friends or the kids and puts the brakes on life. Blanchet Beach is about three kilometres up the road and has the charm that makes it a return spot for many beachgoers. Blanchet Beach doesn’t have as much sand, but it’s a gorgeous natural spot with a stream that runs into the lake and a large lawn area covered in a canopy of trees, the perfect place for spreading out a blanket for a picnic. Both beaches have changing rooms and toilet facilities on-site, roped-off supervised safety buoy lines for swimmers, and are patrolled by bilingual lifeguards.

Photo: Mckenzie Donovan