Best Places to Beat the Heat in Canada


Summer has finally arrived in Canada. For some of us, the two or three months of scorching weather leaves us melting in our hiking boots, desperate for a beach, watering hole, waterfall or lake to cool off at. Even if you’re not sweating buckets, it’s still a good idea to take a dip or two in a cold body of water. Here are some of the places across Canada that we recommend you beat the heat at.

If you plan on visiting any of these destinations, please remember to follow Leave No Trace principles. Keep these spots clean and taken care of so we can all enjoy them. 

As many of these destinations do not have water safety protocols in place, exercise extreme caution and don’t swim or take a boat out if conditions are dangerous or local signs/areas advise against it.    


White Pine Beach, British Columbia 

Izzy Cheung

White Pine Beach is the perfect place to take a dip or go on a hike. As someone who grew up in the Port Moody area of BC, White Pine has always been a go-to when the typical Vancouver beaches are packed. Bring a towel, a SUP, some snacks and some friends, and enjoy the various waterfront spots along the Sasamat Loop trail.  


30 Foot Pool, British Columbia

Jeff Hitchcock, Flickr, CC By 2.0 

Vancouverites are no strangers to Lynn Canyon, so be prepared for some crowds when you stop by Lynn Canyon’s 30 Foot Pool. You can cross the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge and head up Baden Powell trail in order to reach the pool. Upon arriving, you can sunbathe on the rocks and cool down by taking a dip in the chilly waters. Due to the unpredictable nature of the waters, cliff-jumping is not recommended and strongly cautioned against—but if you have confidence in your swimming abilities, feel free to swim to your heart’s content.


Bow Lake, Alberta

Terry Ott, Flickr, CC BY 2.0 

Located between the Saskatchewan River Crossing and Lake Louise, on the cusp of the British Columbia-Alberta border, is Bow Lake. This lake is home to views that you’d think you could only see in a painting—until it’s standing right in front of you. Take in the stunning image of the mountains reflected onto the water while cooling down from a tree-lined trek. We recommend only taking a brief dip when scorching hot out, as the temperature of Bow Lake rarely gets above 5C or 41F. 


Horseshoe Lake, Alberta

Ron Cogswell, Flickr, CC BY 2.0 

A 28-kilometre drive south of Jasper will bring you to Horseshoe Lake, where the water is a crystalline mix of blue and green. Surrounded by mountains, this is the perfect place to indulge in a quick Instagram photo-opportunity (if you do, be sure to tag us, @exploremagazine, so we can see it). Bring all the gear you’d need for a beach day—towels, floaties, snacks and more—and spend a day at this beautiful lake. 


Minowukaw Beach, Saskatchewan 

Looking for a place to set up camp? Check out Minowukaw Beach in Candle Lake Provincial Park. If you’re planning on camping during a particularly warm weekend, set yourself up at Minowukaw and spend the duration of your days in the cool, refreshing water. Minowukaw also boasts fine, white sand—so no slipping and sliding on any rough rocks!


Good Spirit Lake Beach, Saskatchewan

Good Spirit Lake Beach is the place to go if you want to feel the soft sand beneath your feet (and not have to spend a fortune on a plane bound for the south). Go for a sunset beach walk, take a paddleboard out on the water or enjoy an icy treat while sitting at the shore. 


Steep Rock, Manitoba

Rob Swystun, Flickr, CC BY 2.0 

Situated on the northeast shore of Lake Manitoba, Steep Rock has plenty of tiny beaches to explore if you’re looking for a place to cool down. Steep Rock Beach offers various walking trails and coves, as well as ATV-riding for those looking to feel the wind riffle through their hair.


Patricia Beach Provincial Park, Manitoba  

If you’re looking to do more than cool down in the water, Patricia Beach Provincial Park boasts a variety of terrains to explore such as a natural sand beach, sand dunes, a marsh and forested areas. You may also catch a glimpse of a Piping Plover, a species that often uses the area as a nesting ground.


Katherine Cove, Ontario

Timothy Neesam, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0 

For an alternative to The Grotto in Bruce Peninsula Provincial Park, try Katherine Cove. Found on the edge of Lake Superior, this beach is the perfect place to spend a day exploring your surroundings while staying cooler than a cucumber. Some waterside wandering will lead you to the nearby Bathtub Island—aptly named for the natural bathtub shape that it forms when filled with the waves.


Paradise Lagoon, Ontario

Also known as Blue Lagoon, Paradise Lagoon is located around an hour outside of Sudbury, and requires either a canoe ride or a specific combination of driving and hiking instructions in order to reach it. As this destination requires careful navigation in order to reach it, exercise caution when traversing the terrain.


Witches Pot at Sutton National Environment Park, Quebec   

Inside Sutton National Environment Park are hikes and lakes that are perfect for exploring. Following the Village-Mountain trail will bring you to a spot with hidden pools called Witches Pot, where you can stop and rest after a day of hiking through the park.


Meech Lake, Quebec

Vlad Podvorny, Flickr, CC BY 2.0 

Another place where you can enjoy a scenic hike before cooling off in the water, Meech Lake is an optimal spot for summer outdoor exploration in Quebec. Lifeguards are on duty from June 16 – September 4, so bring your beach equipment and enjoy a day on the shore. If you’re looking to enjoy the water without getting wet, bring a canoe, kayak or SUP and paddle your way around the lake.


Laverty Falls, New Brunswick

Getting to Laverty Falls requires a bit of a hike—but once you get to the falls, you’ll be greeted by the perfect place to relax. Water from the falls cascades into cool pools that gather at the base, allowing you to find a spot to sit and enjoy as you prepare to head back into the forest. As the trail is quite rugged, remember to keep an eye on your path. 


Howland Falls, New Brunswick  

Andrew Feicht, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0 

Howland Falls is notably easier to get to than Laverty Falls, requiring a 0.3-kilometre adventure. The falls themselves supply a small pool for us humans—and our furry, on-leash companions—to soak in. While there is no marked trail, the path is easy enough to follow on its own.


Gypsum Mine Lake, Nova Scotia

Providing a mix of a refreshing hike and an aesthetically pleasing place to pose for Instagram photos, Gypsum Mine Lake is an optimal choice for spending a summer day. Admire the scenery from the highest point overlooking the lake or take a dip in the waters, but ensure that you’re being safe when doing either. 


Singing Sands Beach, Prince Edward Island

Nicolas Raymond, Flickr, CC BY 2.0 

No, this beach is not from The Little Mermaid—but yes, the sands do sing! Singing Sands Beach in Basin Head Provincial Park will serenade you as you with soft sounds as you step or slide across the sand. If you’re looking for a unique experience to accompany your daytime dip, consider checking this beach out.


La Manche Provincial Park, Newfoundland and Labrador

There are so many small waterfalls or ponds to cool down in at La Manche Provincial Park. Hike, camp, swim or visit their suspension bridge while you’re here. Duck into the trails to find your own little spot to spend the day.


Hopeall Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador

This waterfall is a challenge to get to—but a rewarding one. The trail to Hopeall Falls is 1.9 kilometres, but the state of the trail itself makes it more difficult, as there are many protruding roots and rocks. Be sure to exercise caution when walking and come prepared with waterproof footwear.


Lady Evelyn Falls, Northwest Territories

Swim and splash at Lady Evelyn Falls! A trip to Lady Evelyn Falls Territorial Park itself is great for camping but can be made even better with a day spent in the water. Hike to the falls and find comfort bathing in the waters. Who knows, you might even come across a fish or two!  


Pine Lake Beach, Northwest Territories  

Inside Wood Buffalo National Park is Pine Lake Beach. Home to sand, sun and swimming fun, Pine Lake Beach is a great place to spend a couple of day. Set up camp, bring a boat out on the lake or admire the nighttime views. 

Kathleen Lake, Yukon

John Johnston, Flickr, CC BY-2.0 

Kathleen Lake offers an endless supply of activities, from kayaking to hiking. The views are incredible no matter how far into nature you plan on going. You can also try to spot some Kokanee Salmon.

Have a spot to recommend? Post a photo on Instagram and tag us (@exploremagazine) to let us know!


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