It has been a beautiful summer in Alberta so far this year — with the exception of a few nasty storms, that is — but with great weather comes some serious heat.
We may not have the same options that BC does when it comes to natural swimming spots seeing as we’re a landlocked province, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any sandy beaches, cool (but not too cold!) waters, and awesome lakes to check out.
We’ve collected a few of the best spots to take a dip in this summer into one list, and while a few of these will take a couple hours to get to by car, we know it will be more than worth the trip.
Plus who doesn’t love an impromptu summer road trip now and then?
Pop over to Pigeon Lake for a sandy beach complete with marked swimming areas, a concession, and bathrooms. You may even see some pigeons.
This is one of Alberta’s go-to lakes during the summer, and for good reason. The clear, shallow waters are much warmer than the lakes you’d find up in the Rockies (don’t worry though, we’re getting to those soon), though the trade-off is that you’ll be competing with what seems like half the province for a spot on the beach.
Quarry Lake is more of a swimming hole than a traditional lake, but that allows for the water temperature to remain quite warm in comparison to its neighbour lakes that are glacial fed and freezing cold. This makes for a great place to spend a hot summer day.
Proximity makes this lake a sure bet. It’s only a 20-minute drive from Calgary, so it’s perfect for those late afternoons when you decide last minute to get out into the sun.
Horseshoe Lake features, unsurprisingly, a lake shaped like a horseshoe. The waters are cold — you’re in the Rocky Mountains, after all — but make for a perfect place to cool off, or just float around on.
The lake is also a popular spot for cliff jumping, with various natural platforms reaching as high as 80 feet… though we’ll just stick to ground level, thank you very much.
Once you make the drive to the BC-Alberta border, you can park at the Castle Falls campground, grab your fishing gear — or bathing suit — and head over to the falls where you can make a spectacular splash.
If you aren’t the active type, no worries. The falls are lined with smooth layered rocks that make for perfect lounging material.