Beach Day! Three sandy spots to explore this summer
If it's a warm, sandy beach you're after this summer, we've got you covered.
The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority maintains three beautiful public beaches across the watershed: Baxter Conservation Area in Osgoode, Rideau Ferry Yacht Club Conservation Area near Smiths Falls and Foley Mountain Conservation Area in Westport - each of them offering a unique beach experience away from the downtown Ottawa crowds.
Just 20 minutes from urban Ottawa, Baxter Conservation Area offers one of the cleanest, prettiest beaches along the Rideau River - and fully accessible, thanks to a special beach mat that allows people with wheelchairs, strollers and other mobility devices to access and enter the water.
The beach area includes ample picnic tables, barbecue pits and green space to settle in for the day. If you're lucky, you'll even catch the Ice Cream Float when it motors across the river to sell scoops right on the water.
When you're tired of toasting your toes in the sun, you can also stretch your legs along five kilometres of easy walking trails and boardwalks through sun-dappled forests, meadows and wetlands. And kids can scan the buzzing Baxter Pond for leopard frogs, minnows and other curious creatures. Pack for a full day of fun!
7498 Carter Rd
$7 a day or $50 annual pass. Visit www.paybyphone.com and use code 5200 for a day pass or 5222 for an annual pass.
Rideau Ferry Beach
If you're keen to explore a little further up the watershed, Rideau Ferry Yacht Club Conservation Area near Smiths Falls wins our Best Beach award: the beautiful, clean swimming area on Lower Rideau Lake is hardly ever crowded, and is less than an hour from urban Ottawa. Make a day of it and enjoy the many picnic tables and grill pits on site!
It's also accessible with a mobility-friendly beach mat down to the water, and includes a boat launch ramp for motorboats.
133 Yacht Club Rd
Rideau Ferry, Ontario
$7 a day or $50 annual pass. Visit www.paybyphone.com and use code 5203 for a day pass or 5222 for an annual pass.
Foley Mountain swimming area
Foley Mountain's natural swimming area is well worth the drive to Westport. Park at the interpretive centre and walk the short path down to the water for a serene and secluded swimming experience.
With 10 kilometres of trails and a stunning view of the region from the famous Spy Rock, you can work up a sweat before diving into the refreshing waters of Upper Rideau Lake – and then find an ice cream cone in town!
Foley Mountain Lane
Westport, ON K0G 1X0
$7 a day or $50 annual pass. Visit www.paybyphone.com and use code 5204 for a day pass or 5222 for an annual pass.
Honestly, with all these fun activities, you may never want to leave (but please do, because the parks close at dusk).
And it's great bang for your buck: parking is only $7 for the day or $50 for an annual pass, valid at all of our paid parking lots across the watershed.
For all the details and directions, visit rvca.ca/conservation-areas.
See you on the sand!
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