Alberta is home to beautiful lakes, rivers and mountains, making it a great destination to explore. Whether you’re planning a day trip out of Edmonton or are set on a weekend of camping, you’re bound to find a park that’s the right fit for your family. It should be noted that lakes around Edmonton are monitored and controlled during algae season (July to mid-September), so be sure to check the health advisories before visiting.
1. Long Lake Provincial Park Beach
With both a campground beach and a beach for day use, this park has a lot to offer. They both have clear, warm water, so little ones (or parents) with cold feet need not worry. Parents will feel at ease knowing there’s a barrier marking the shallow water, making this a great beach for new swimmers. Plenty of amenities are available at the beach, including change rooms, washrooms, fountains and a playground. And barbecue lovers rejoice because cooking shelters are available in the day-use area! Didn’t bring anything to grill? No problem. Fishers can use one of the fish cleaning stations and throw their catch on the barbecue. However, there’s also a concession stand if you want to buy munchies on-site. If you’re anticipating a long day at the beach, finish it off by roasting some marshmallows at one of the available firepits. Yum! This beach is quite popular, so make sure to come early if you want a spot close to the water.
Ellscott, 135 km north of Edmonton
2. Sylvan Lake Provincial Park Beach
Known for its clear, shallow waters, Sylvan Lake Provincial Park Beach is the perfect spot to take your little ones. The long beach is wheelchair-accessible and includes amenities such as washrooms, change rooms, showers, water fountains, life jackets and pay phones. Once you and the kids are done swimming, you can head on over to the concession stand to grab a bite to eat. Enjoy lunch at the picnic shelter area then head over to the playground for some more fun! Older kids can play some volleyball, while dads can enjoy the on-site golf course. But wait, there’s more: Canoeing, kayaking, fishing, power boating, sailing, water skiing and wind surfing can all be done at Sylvan Lake, as well. So much fun!
Lakeshore Drive and 44 St.
3. Aspen Beach at Gull Lake
Aspen Beach is about an hour-and-a-half away from Edmonton and makes for a great day trip spot. Young families will love the stroller-friendly boardwalk, and tots will have fun building sandcastles on the shoreline. The water is pretty shallow, so it’s perfect for your kids to just splash around in. After bobbing up and down in the still water, he can enjoy the adjacent playground and go down the slides. Once lunchtime rolls around, there’s a cash-only concession near the beach that sells hotdogs, hamburgers, fries and ice cream—it can’t get any better than that! Other on-site amenities include change rooms, washrooms and fountains. The beach is wheelchair-accessible and there’s free parking. For an additional fee, you can buy some lumber on-site and light up a bonfire at one of the many firepits. Who wants s’mores?
Off Highway 12, Bentley
4. Ma-Me-O Beach on Pigeon Lake
This beach is perfect for young families who want to go on a day trip, but don’t want to drive for hours. Just over one hour south-west of Edmonton is Ma-Me-O Beach, a summer village home to white, sandy shores. The term Ma-Me-O is the Cree word for “white pigeon.” The lake is shallow and the waters are clear—perfect for young swimmers and tots who like to splash around! Though young people do tend to flock to this popular beach, there are great amenities necessary for a family outing, such as a picnic area and a playground. You’ll also find change rooms and washrooms on-site, along with a water fountain your little swimmers can sip from when they get thirsty in the summer sun.
605-2nd Ave. (Highway 13A), Ma-Me-O Beach
5. Ol’ MacDonalds Resort on Buffalo Lake
If you’re looking for an unconventional beach trip—or even a prime, family-friendly camping spot—Ol’ MacDonalds Resort on Buffalo Lake is the place for you! The resort has a sandy shore where your kiddos can take a dip and build some sandcastles. After they’re done splashing, they’ll have their hands full with one of many activities available for kids at the resort, such as hayrides, a merry-go-round, minigolf, train rides, a petting zoo and even an arcade. There’s a playground on-site where your little monkeys can swing, climb and slide. After a long day of play, you can head to the concession stand and grab some ice cream and snacks. Other necessary amenities on-site include washrooms, laundry, showers, fountains and picnic shelters.
PO Box 26, 21246 Twp Rd 40-2, Erskine
6. Wabamun Lake Provincial Park
If you’re looking for a lake close to home, Wabamun is less than an hour away from Edmonton. It’s a popular spot for day-trippers and it offers a wide beach with both sandy and grassy areas that are perfect for picnicking. This kid-friendly beach has shallow waters for young fishies to splash around and blow bubbles in. Young swimmers who want to head into deeper waters with Mom and Dad can rent life jackets for safety. Once the kiddos are dried off, you can take them to the playground or walk up to the pier and watch the boats. You’ll also find change rooms, firepits, washrooms, picnic areas and water fountains on-site.
Highway 16, Wabamun