Photo supplied by RVCA

by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority

Ah, summer: a time for relaxing with friends, soaking up the sun and, of course, hitting the beach.

But sometimes beach days are more hassle than relaxed: fighting traffic, circling for parking and dodging rogue frisbees while you defend your tiny square of sand from the hordes of other beachgoers. Some fun!

But there’s a solution: instead of wasting 30 minutes parking, spend it heading to Baxter Conservation Area, Rideau Ferry Yacht Club Conservation Area near Smiths Falls, or Foley Mountain Conservation Area in Westport for a beautiful beach day away from the crowds.

Just a few minutes from your home, Baxter offers one of the cleanest, prettiest beaches along the Rideau River, complete with ample picnic tables, barbeque pits and green space to settle in for the day.

When you’re tired of toasting your toes in the sun, you can stretch your legs along five kilometres of easy walking trails and boardwalks through sun-dappled forests, meadows and wetlands. And kids (or kids at heart) can scan the buzzing Baxter Pond for leopard frogs, minnows and other curious creatures, too.

Rideau Ferry is a little further afield, but wins our Best Beach award: the beautiful, clean swimming area on Lower Rideau Lake is hardly ever crowded, and is just a short drive away. Make a day of it and enjoy the many picnic tables and grill pits.

Foley Mountain’s beach is smaller, but well worth the drive to Westport considering the property includes 11 kilometres of trails and a stunning view of the region from the famous Spy Rock. Work up a sweat before diving into the refreshing waters of Upper Rideau Lake!

Honestly, with all these fun activities, you may never want to leave (but please do, because the parks close at dusk).

And on top of all that, it’s great bang for your buck: parking is only $7 for the day or $50 for an annual pass, valid at all of our paid parking lots across the watershed.

For all the details and directions, visit

See you on the sand!


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