These are the best Alberta beaches to visit this summer

Visiting the beach is a great way to soak up some Vitamin D and shake off those quarantine doldrums. We have some fantastic beaches in Calgary and Edmonton, but there’s also plenty of other incredible Alberta beaches. We’re going to share with you our favourites.

Even in the middle of the prairie, it’s possible to find a beach! (Alberta Parks)

Alberta Beaches

Depending on where you’re located, it might be a bit of a drive to find the perfect Alberta beach for you. But who doesn’t love a summer road trip, especially with a beautiful lake as your destination? Jump into the water, sit along the beach, dig in the sand or have a picnic at one of these awesome beaches this summer.

Alberta Beaches
Be sure to head south to Writing on Stone Provincial Park for a kid-friendly beach.

Beaches in Calgary

There’s quite a few beaches in Calgary where you can dip your toes. If you want a lake view, check out one of the private community lakes in the city or Sikome Lake in Fish Creek Park. If you’re looking for a dip in the river, head to Calgary’s river beach areas in Edworthy or Bowness Park. Check out this post for more info on Calgary beaches.

Beaches in Calgary
You’ll feel miles away from city stressors at Sikome Lake (Credit Parks Canada)

Lakes near Calgary

If you’re willing to venture outside of Calgary, there are a couple of beautiful beach areas to visit. You won’t have to drive far to find these lakes near Calgary.

Eagle Lake beach area

Eagle Lake Beach is a beautiful sandy beach in Wheatland, just an hour outside of Calgary. The lake is best known for its fishing, with many different species. There’s also a boat launch for those wanting to fish past the shoreline. Eagle Lake Beach has a nice campsite and resort area. The campground is by reservation only, so be sure to call ahead.

Little Bow Provincial Park

Little Bow Provincial Park is a beautiful camping area just south of Vulcan, about 1.5 hours from Calgary. The lake is on a reservoir, meaning that the levels vary throughout the year. When it is high, it’s great for boating and there’s a floating pier to launch boats and kayaks from.

Little Bow has a large, sandy beach with a sweet playground area for the kids. The campground is quite a nice place to stay and there are some good hiking and biking areas nearby.

prairie beach
Water levels fluctuate at Little Bow, but the water is way warmer than in the mountains.

Banff Beaches

There are so many amazing things to do in the townsite of Banff that you’ll never be bored. However, when the Alberta summer heat is too much for you, you might want to jump into one of these lakes to cool off.

Lake Minnewanka

Lake Minnewanka is a popular lake, less than a 10-minute drive from Banff. It’s a lovely spot to relax by the water and has trails for hiking and biking. Like most lakes in this area, the views are beautiful. Not only is it great for relaxing, but you can also bring a picnic or some food to cook in the cooking shelters.

For the more adventurous, the lake is great for fishing, canoeing and boating, but it’s best known for its diving options. The most recent dam addition in the 1940s, submerged the village of Minnewanka Landing. Visitors can dive and explore the underwater scene.

jewel lake
The lakes near Banff, may be cold, but there’s no denying their beauty.

Cascade Ponds beach

Cascade Ponds beach is something out of a photograph. It’s surrounded by mountains that afford epic views for you to stare at when floating about. You can access this beach quite easily from Banff townsite.

This is not a lake for a cold day. The water in the lake comes directly from the mountains, so it can be quite cold. It’s the perfect way to cool down on a smokin’ hot day. There are also picnic spots, so bring a lunch and make a day of it.

Quarry Lake

On the outskirts of Canmore near the Nordic Centre, lies one of the most popular lakes for Calgarians to hit up – Quarry Lake. We go into a lot of detail on this lake in this post, but know that it’s lovely, framed by mountains, but is super cold. You’ll want to get here early.

quarry lake canmore
There are plenty of kayaks and paddle boards on Quarry Lake – remember to wear a lifejacket! (Photo credit: Katie Goldie/Travel Alberta)

Johnson Lake

Another popular Banff beach area, Johnson Lake isn’t as popular for beach goers as Quarry Lake, but that’s likely due to it’s size. It’s quite a bit larger than Canmore’s Quarry Lake, but Johnson Lake is still a worthy choice when you’re looking laze around the water’s edge.

Johnson Lake is also a great spot for budding photographers to snag a sunrise shot in Banff National Park. (Photo credit: Travel Alberta)

Jasper Beaches

Jasper National Park sports some of the loveliest sandy beaches you’ll find in the Rockies. Here’s two of the more popular:

Lake Annnette

About a five-minute drive from the town of Jasper, Lake Annette is situated near Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, on the other side of the Athabasca River from the townsite. While you can also swim in Lake Edith, which is mere steps away from Lake Annette, many locals claim Lake Annette is warmer. (Lake Edith has paddleboard rentals though…)

Lake Annette is at it’s warmest at the end of August and into Sept. A paved trail encircles the lake and there’s outhouses, a playground and swings, plus picnic shelters with wood-burning ovens. Though you’re in the mountains, the beach here has sandy shores and is a popular spot for families. 

Shockingly, nobody was at Lake Annette the July day I visited.

Patricia Lake

A lot of folks visiting Jasper make the trek to Pyramid Lake – which is fine. It’s just that Patricia Lake, the lake you pass by on your way to Pyramid, has the better beach. There isn’t a lot of room for parking, but there are a few different places to pull in to access the water. The beach is sandy and there’s picnic tables and fire pits for you to make a day of it. The water is cold (glacier fed and all that), but it’s a lovely spot for a dip.

jasper beaches
Pack picnics and paddleboards when you visit Patricia Lake.

Other Alberta beaches worth checking out

Depending on where you live, these Alberta beaches may be a bit of drive. If you’re willing to make the trip, these are some of the best beaches that Alberta has to offer.

Kinosoo Beach, Cold Lake

Kinosoo Beach, located in Cold Lake, about 3 hours north of Edmonton (and 6 hours from Calgary), has been rated one of Canada’s top 25 beaches. Not only is it a beautiful sandy beach, but it also has a splash park, children’s playground, a concession stand and beach volleyball court. There is a roped off swimming area along the 3-block-stretch of beach.

There are some amazing rental options in the area if you aren’t the swimming type. Visitors can rent paddleboards, kayaks, flyboards and more to enjoy on the lake.

alberta beach
(Travel Alberta)

Writing on Stone Provincial Park

Closer to Lethbridge and about a three hour drive from Calgary, is the beach at Writing on Stone Provincial Park. The beach is sandy and sits upon the Milk River. The water is shallow, warm and slow moving, making it a good destination for families.

While you’re there, do the Hoodoo Trail walk. This hour to hour and a half walk takes you through impressive hoodoo sandstone formation and to a site where you can see centuries-old pictographs made by Indigenous Peoples. Even better is snagging a campsite at this campground.

southern alberta beach
Kids spend hours in the warm(ish) waters of the Milk River at Writing on Stone Provincial Park

Kinbrook Island Beach on Lake Newell

Kinbrook Island Beach is located on Lake Newell in Kinbrook Island Provincial Park. This beach is about 13km south of Brooks (making it about a 2-hour drive from Calgary). This is a great location for anyone looking to make a camping trip out of their beach visit. Kinbrook Island Campground has 160 campsites suitable for RVs and tents.

The island has a beautiful sandy beach with a marked off swimming area. There is a playground and a picnic area, making it a prime location for spending a sunny afternoon!

Save these tips

Beaches in Alberta

Keep these tips for hitting Alberta beaches for future reference. Simply pin the image above to Pinterest. I hope you’ll follow Travels with Baggage on Pinterest while you’re at it!


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Best beaches in and around Calgary

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What is your favourite Alberta beach to visit?

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