Sizzling summer FUN at the beach


Looking for a sensational summer getaway without leaving city limits? Take the day – and pack a picnic – to savour the season at one of Ottawa’s gorgeous beaches. Here are some of the best ways to enjoy the beach with your family this summer.



What I love most about the west Ottawa neighbourhood in which I live is its proximity to the beach – about a 10-minute walk. Every summer, all summer long, my four-year-old daughter and I can be found enjoying this picturesque beach.

Surrounded by lush green trees and grass, plenty of hot sand and lovely views of the river, as well as a children’s playground, rocks for climbing, and a beachside café, we are happiest when we’re out enjoying this serene, endlessly delightful oasis just minutes from home.beach-frisbee-jj15

Going to the beach is a fun outing, no matter what you do. It’s an ideal local escape, where you can get away from your home, soak up the sun and cool off in the water.

But a day at the beach is more than swimming and sunning. There are TONS of great family activities and things to do at the beach. Here are some ideas:

Frisbee: A classic, simple beach game and your family can even play with the dogs (if you’re at a beach that’s pet-friendly)

Imaginative play: Join your kids in cooking, baking, and creating with sand.

Build your child’s vocabulary: Beach trips are a prime opportunity to teach toddlers new words. Identify sailboats, waves, fish, parasails, airplanes, seagulls and seaweed, and more.

Embark on an active adventure: Take a walk; climb on the rocks, and splash in the waves. Get some exercise! Toss your kids in the air. Dance. Do water aerobics with your youngsters.

beach-lazy-jj15Create a scavenger hunt and have the kids collect rocks, shells, seaweed and sand.

Make sand angels.

Play Ring Around the Rosie in the water: The huge splash at the end when you “all fall down” is sure to delight the kids.

Fly a kite: Buy one from the dollar store or make your own.

Bury someone’s body or feet in the sand.

Play tag or chase.

Read a beach-themed book.

Look for rocks to paint.

Pick up trash: Talk about how litter can hurt animals and the ocean. You can even turn it into a game.

Engage in child-led play: Simply follow your child’s lead, and go with the flow.beach-dslr-jj15

Have a ‘crab walk’ race.

Take a hike: Many beaches offer nearby trails to hike to or from the water. This is an excellent way to get in a workout and the water is awesome for cooling down afterward. Your family can take in lovely views while immersed in nature.

Enjoy a delicious picnic: There are usually food vendors near popular beaches, but it’s less expensive, healthier and more fun to pack your family a picnic lunch or dinner filled with fresh fruits, vegetables and other nutritious snacks. And the kids will love to help with preparing and packing!

Make a friend: You’ll often find and meet people from different countries and cultures all around you at the beach. Kids don’t need to speak the same language to enjoy play, fun, and laughter.

Take lots of photos: The beach is ideal for taking many breathtaking photos, perfect for sharing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Wander along the beach with your camera and discover interesting angles, colours and scenes to capture.beach-sunset-jj15

Write messages in the sand: Write them big or small, say whatever you want and snap a pic to remember your trip. Try taking a family footprint picture.

Watch the sunset: This is a favourite beach activity because it offers such a breathtaking sight. It never gets tiresome, and the kids will love it, too.

Celebrate a holiday or special occasion: People often go to the beach to watch fireworks or to celebrate a summer birthday or some other occasion. There’s nothing like the sound of crashing waves and feeling of sand between your toes to mark a special day.

Relax: Take a break from the fun and just stop where you are and don’t do anything at all. You can just sit, relax and take it all in. Focus on breathing or meditating. Unwind and enjoy your surroundings.

Build a sandcastle: Another classic beach activity for kids and adults. Sandcastles are an engaging, creative and fun way to pass time at the beach. Run a Google search for inspiration!beach-sunscreen-jj15

*DON’T FORGET: Bring plenty of water to drink, slather on tons of high-SPF sunscreen (and be sure to reapply after swimming and throughout the day), wear a hat, and talk about sun safety with your kids. article-end-jj15-30px


Beach Description Amenities
Britannia Beach
2805 Carling Ave.
Located on the Ottawa River at Britannia Bay, the beach
is great for swimming, picnics or just watching the
sailboats go by on a beautiful summer day.
  • Washrooms
  • Free parking
  • Canteen and outdoor showers
  • Picnic tables and barbecue pits
  • Play structures and fields
Mooney’s Bay Beach
2926 Riverside Dr.
A popular summer destination for swimmers, rowers,
and volleyball players, the beach is located on the
east shore of the Rideau River, just south of Carleton
  • Washrooms and change rooms
  • Paid parking (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • Seasonal parking passes available at the Terry Fox Field House – 2960 Riverside Dr.
  • Canteen
  • Picnic tables and barbecue pits
  • Tennis courts and play structures
Petrie Island Beach
727 Trim Rd.
Ottawa’s newest beach offers a wonderful sandy beach
and spectacular views across the Ottawa River.
  • Washrooms
  • Paid parking (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • Seasonal parking passes available at the Orleans Client Service Centre
  • Interpretation cottage
  • 12 picnic tables and canteen
Westboro Beach
745 Sir John A. Macdonald Pkwy.
A somewhat smaller beach and park located on NCC
property at Kitchissippi Lookout, on the Ottawa River.
  • Washrooms
  • Free parking
  • Canteen and patio with tables

Photo: © viperagp
Photo: © Voyagerix
Photo: © shalamov
Photo: © Violin / alenkasm
Photo: © yanlev
Photo: © yanlev