Beaches in Montreal

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When headed to Montreal, beaches may not be the first scenic location that pops into your mind. However, Montreal is an island surrounded primarily by the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers, and its beaches make popular destinations, particularly in the summer months. Some of the most popular Montreal beaches include:

Plage Dore

Plage Dore is somewhat unique in that it's a man-made beach along a man-made lake on a man-made island, the Ile Notre-Dame. However, the lake's more than 1.3 million square feet afford plenty of opportunities for swimming, beach volleyball and low-key activities in the water. You can also rent boats or rest at nearby shops and restaurants. Because the water is only about 5 feet deep, there is no diving allowed, and more rigorous watersports such as skiing are prohibited. However, the pluses are that the water is generally cleaner than the surrounding river water, and the atmosphere is quieter and more low-key.

You can easily access the Plage Dore from downtown Montreal via the Montreal Metro if you exit at the Jean-Drapeau station. Admission during the day is CAN $8 per adult, $7 per senior and $4 for children ages 6 to 13. After 4 p.m., prices are reduced to $5 per adult and $2.75 per child ages 6 to 13. Children 5 and under are free all day. A lifeguard is on duty from June to August, when the beach is open. The Plage Dore is located quite close to the Jardin des Floralies, so you can tour the blooms if you get bored of beach activity.

Cap Saint Jacques

If a more natural beach is what you're looking for--and you prefer a fairly less crowded place to relax--then Cap Saint Jacques, alongside Deux Montagnes Lake in the northwest area of Montreal, may be the right beach for you. Kayaking, canoeing, sunbathing and swimming are the most popular activities at this beach in the Parc Cap Saint Jacques. Admission is free, too. You can get to the park via the Montreal Metro; just exit at Ste-Marie and take a taxi or walk to the somewhat nearby park. The beach is closed during the winter and most crowded during the summer. To avoid crowds, you may want to visit during the late spring or early fall.

Oka Beach

Oka Beach is an ideal locale for boating sports such as as windsurfing, sailing, pedal boating, kayaking and canoeing, the equipment for all of which you can rent nearby. Of course, there's plenty of room for swimming and sunbathing at this one-mile-long beach, which has a lifeguard on duty. You don't even have to get in a swimsuit if you want to take your family for a picnic at one of 90 picnic tables available. The Parc national d'Oka is open year-round, but the beach is only open from June to early September. Admission is $3.50 for adults, or $7 for a family of three or more.

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March 25, 2010 new by amymc

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