The Best Calgary Area Lakes And Beaches

20110825 sikome - 6

SEE ALSO: The Best Outdoor Pools In Calgary

[twitter]There are about a dozen lakes in and around Calgary – few of them, however, offer public access.

In the summer, when it gets hot and you want to break out to the beach, it means a road trip.

The lakes are locked up by community associations and members with “lake access priveleges.” It all started 40 years ago with Lake Bonavista, a man made lake with access restricted to members of the subdivision immediately surround it.

Then there was Midnapore, Lake Chapparal, Sundance Lake, Arbor Lake, McKenzie Lake, Auburn Bay … all beautiful gorgeous lakes with sandy beaches that have access for those who live in the area – or have friends that live in the area.

If you want to have a lake experience living in Calgary, you have very few choices. Sikome Lake (photo at top) is in Fish Creek Provincial Park – but it’s only up for a few months every year and even then it’s been closed some seasons. Why do 20 000 people flock there on weekends? Because it’s pretty much the only game in town when it comes to public access beaches.

View Calgary Lakes and Beaches in a larger map

Even checking Google to spot the spots of water in Calgary trying to find other places for Z to build sandcastles didnt work. After trying out Edworthy Park, Bowness Park, Glenmore Landing and others we came out with nothing but very rocky public access to the water. Even Sandy Beach is nothing more than a few metres of pebbly shore alongside the Elbow River.

SEE ALSO: When Do Calgary Outdoor Pools Open?

No wonder on weekends so many campers make road trips to Sylvan Lake, The Kootenays or The Shuswap. It’s pretty much the only way to get your beach on in Calgary without a favour from a friend.

See Also: Why There Isn’t Public Access To The Best Lakes In Calgary

UPDATE: See our picks for the 5 Best Beaches In Calgary!


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  1. Dave September 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Buzz, for people who are not die hard born and raised southern Albertan, please don’t direct them to Sylvan Lake. It’s a hole, if they want real beaches with weather like Washington or southern Montana they need only to drive 160km’s southeast of Calgary to Lake Newell in Brooks, Alberta. It’s a bigger cleaner Lake way more Sunshine and heat! (average daytime highs in July and August are low 30’s only Medicine Hat is warmer..) Also for exploring you have UNESCO site at Dinosaur Provincial park only 30 minutes away. The Cypress Hills are only just over an hour away with Elkwater lake and some of the best scrambles east of the Rockies.. (Southern Alberta, check it out! You don’t need to drive to BC, it’s all right here!)

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