It’s officially that time of summer to celebrate Canada. For many of us, summer happens by the water and what better way to celebrate Canada Day than going to the beach! With the help of Swim Guide you can find your closest and favorite beach that you could be heading to on the long weekend. Here’s some info on a few popular beach destinations in Alberta.
Wabamun Lake Provincial Park Beach
Located in Moonlight Bay on Wabamun Lake about 70km west of Edmonton. This is one of the most popular beaches in central Alberta and for good reason. The water is mostly clear and on a hot day there’s really no better way to cool off.
If you’re not a fan of the water then there are many other ways to enjoy this provincial park. Bird watching and frontcountry hiking are two just to name a few.
You can expect some crowds on a hot day, but if you like people watching and getting to know someone new then this could be your “close to home”, dream Canada Day Long weekend destination.
Ma-Me-O Beach at Pigeon Lake
Ma-Me-O comes from a Cree word meaning “white pigeon” which seems fitting as the lake itself was most likely named for the abundance of passenger pigeons that once inhabited the area. This family friendly little beach town really gives off those summer holiday vibes and is only less than an hour south of Edmonton.
There has been water quality issues over the last few years, with blue green algae being the main cause. As always take caution and look for advisories before using the water.
This is an ideal place to bring a picnic and enjoy the white soft sand that this beach offers. Look for the local ice cream shop located at the main beach entrance, it’s a sweet way to finish off the day.
Sylvan Lake Provincial Park Beach
Sylvan Lake Provincial Park Beach is probably the most popular beach to be at in central Alberta. Its Located about 20km west of Red Deer. The town has become a tourist destination and on hot summer days people of all sorts flock to enjoy the water and amenities.
Along with the restaurants, shops, and recreational activities, many in walking distance from the beach park, clear water adds to this lakes popularity.
However, if you’re looking for lots of sand where you can pull out the frisbee or volleyball this may not be your go to spot. Most of the beach is a built up grassy park with a small drop as a shoreline. It still has that beachy feel though and is a great place to enjoy with friends and family if you don’t mind the long weekend crowds.
They also put on a full slate of activities on Canada Day including a firework show, just another reason to head out to Sylvan Lake on July 1st.
Ghost Lake Provincial Recreation Area
About 60km west of Calgary down highway 1a, you’ll find Ghost Lake. This lake is created by the Ghost Reservoir Dam and fed by the Bow River. Its name comes from Indigenous stories of a ghost that prowled the nearby Ghost River which flows into the east side of the lake. (Source: https://www.cottageclub.ca/history)
This lake is popular for boating and offers great opportunities for recreational use. The water is clean but since it’s fed by the bow river that originates in the nearby Rocky Mountains, this lake is cold. Nonetheless the brave ones can enjoy an icy dip on a hot day and others can admire the beauty of the rocky mountains that create a picture perfect backdrop.
There is a campground located at the recreation area as well so if you’re wanting to admire the beauty Canada has to offer on its big birthday weekend than this might be the place to be.
Fort Edmonton Footbridge Sandbar
Although not as popular as some of these other lakeside beaches, I would say the sandbar at Fort Edmonton Park Footbridge is every bit as great if you’re looking for a beach day this weekend. The natural surrounding of dense forest and large riverbanks makes for a beautiful setting that is different from your average beach. It is located right in the City of Edmonton even though it doesn’t really feel like it at all.
The beach is on a river which means flowing water so take caution if you decide to take a dip. Also be advised that this beach is not routinely monitored so water quality results are not always available. Riverkeeper sampled the water here last summer for the months of August and September and passed 100% of the water quality tests.
If you’re looking for a more natural, intimate, beach environment this is a spot to check out. The sand is soft, the crowd is mellow and the beauty of the river valley really makes this spot special.
Where will you be this Canada Day Long Weekend? We suggest taking out the sunscreen, checking out one of these great beaches and enjoying the beauty that Canada has to offer. To find out more about many other beaches around you check out the Swim Guide website and app.
We do not have 2018 water quality results for Alberta beaches yet, but Swim Guide can still help you find a place to spend time by the water with your friends and family.
Remember to bring reusable drink and food containers with you to the beach, fireworks show, or wherever your long weekend takes you. Litter and plastic pollution is a huge problem and we need to keep our parks and beaches clean for future sustainability and enjoyment.
Above Photo: Attribution-ShareAlikeLicense, Created by Kurt Bauschardt