6 beaches near Montreal: Where to go for sun, sand, and surf

Published by: BouncePosted
Beaches near Montreal

Montreal, the largest city in the French-speaking Canadian province of Québec, might be a long way from the coast. But with its position on the Saint Lawrence River, you don't have to look far to find a sandy beach. Montreal is one of the cultural capitals of Canada, but if you want to take a break from the city and enjoy the fleeting Canadian summer, heading to a local beach can be the perfect way to do that. While it is not ordinarily known as a beach destination, there are, in fact, some great beaches near Montreal where you can stretch out and enjoy the warm weather and beautiful scenery on a natural sand beach.

This region of Québec is packed with beautiful parks, so along with the beach, you'll get access to forest trails, mountain views, and everything else that makes Canada such a beautiful place to live. Plus, with downtown Montreal so close by, you'll be able to access everything it has to offer in terms of food, culture, and nightlife.

Drop off your bags at a Montreal luggage storage and bring only what you need to explore these fantastic beaches. It might not be the coast, but as you stretch out on the soft sand or paddle in the freshwater, you won't miss the sea at all.

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Clock Tower Beach near Montreal in winter

Clock Tower Beach

Old Montreal is one of the most charming parts of the city and a place you'll definitely want to explore while you're in town. But it's also home to this fun urban beach. Located in the Old Port, this isn't the place to swim, but there's so much to do here that you'll hardly miss the water.

Travel distance from Montreal

Clock Tower Beach is within the city itself. Located in the Old Port, it's within walking distance of downtown Montreal.

Activity recommendations

The beach: at the foot of a clock tower built in 1921, this beach is famous for its bright blue parasols and lounge chairs that you can rent to spend the day relaxing on the sandy beach and enjoying the beautiful views of the St Lawrence River. There are also misting stations to keep you cool without swimming, making this a wonderful place to relax and get a taste of the beach life in the heart of the city.

Food: This is easily one of the best beaches near Montreal for food since it's so close to the city. You'll find tons of food trucks here in the summer ready to serve beach patrons, and it's only a short walk from the beach to get access to some of the best restaurants the city has to offer. Whether you're looking for a snack bar, ice cream shop, or something more substantial, you will easily find it here.

This beach is only open in the summer, with everything packed away by Labor Day in early September. However, the Old Port of the city is a great place to explore at any time of year, so even if you can't hit the beach in the winter, you can still make the most of this charming area.

Great beaches near Montreal

Cap Saint Jacques

Cap Saint Jacques is a beloved nature park in Montreal full of walking trails through the woods where city-dwellers come to get a taste of nature. This regional West Island park is a popular place all through the year, but it really comes alive in summer when it hosts one of the best beaches in Montreal.

Travel distance from Montreal

A little under 40 km from the heart of the city, you can reach Cap Saint Jacques with a drive of 30 minutes.

Activity recommendations

Cap Saint Jacques Plage: The beach here is crowded in the summer, and it's no surprise why. With soft sand stretching down to Lac des Deux Montagnes, with its surprisingly warm water in the summer, this lifeguard-patrolled beach also offers beach volleyball courts, outdoor showers, bathrooms, and pay parking. You can also rent kayaks in the summer to explore the waterways around the nature park. Easily one of the best beaches near Montreal, this beach is in many ways a victim of its own popularity, but that shouldn't stop you from going there to enjoy the summer.

Nature Park: When you've had enough of the golden brown sand and hot summer days on the beach, take a walk through the nature park to get some shade and some exercise. The park is full of beautiful hiking trails that will take you through dense forest and give you an experience of the Québec wilderness without straying far from the city.

The beach here is very much a summer destination, but the park is open all year round. In winter, it makes a great destination for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, so while you certainly won't be swimming in the St Lawrence River come wintertime, that's no reason not to explore the park. There's even a sugar shack here where you can take part in the great Québec tradition of maple syrup manufacturing.

Family-friendly beaches near Montreal

Plage de la Sabliere

This small beach, located in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac just outside Montreal itself, is a great place to come for families. Visitor numbers are limited to 500 per day, so you'll want to get there early to get a spot on the warm sand. However, if you do, you'll be rewarded with a great beach experience not far from the city.

Travel distance from Montreal

It's about 50 km from downtown Montreal to this popular beach. Expect the drive to take around half an hour or more, depending on traffic.

Activity recommendations

Swimming: Watched over by a lifeguard, this beach has a roped-off area designated for swimming. That makes it an ideal place to cool off from the heat of the Montreal summer and get some swimming in. The freshwater can be surprisingly warm during the summer months, and the lack of waves makes it a great place for children and those who aren't especially strong swimmers. There are also beach volleyball courts if you want to get some exercise before cooling off in the lake.

Boating: The calm waters of the lake make this an excellent place to explore by boat. You can rent kayaks or pedal boats and head out beyond the swimming area for a relaxing day on the lake. Pedal boating is a great way to get away from the crowds at the beach area and enjoy the natural environment, making this one of the best lakeside beaches for families to explore.

Old Port of Montreal

Pointe-Calumet Beach

Another highly popular beach that lies close to the city, Pointe-Calumet is famous for its beach club, which makes this possibly the best beach near the city for those who like to party. Along with the stunning beach itself, this destination has tons of fun activities that will make sure you never get bored.

Travel distance from Montreal

It's just over 50 km from the heart of the city to this popular beach. Expect to drive to take around 45 minutes, depending on traffic.

Activity recommendations

Beachclub: Located on Pointe-Calumet Beach, this lively music venue is party central in the summer. Open seven days a week, it hosts some of the biggest local acts and international performers. With a capacity of 10,000, this popular beach club is one of the top party destinations in Montreal during the summer and is the perfect place to come if you want to dance the night away.

Beach sports: Pointe-Calumet Beach may be the best venue near Montreal for beach sports. With soccer, beach volleyball, and spikeball on offer, there are tons of ways to stay active and get out of your beach chair. There are also dance workshops so that you can work on your moves before hitting the club.

Super Aqua Club: Although Pointe-Calumet is often seen as party central, that doesn't mean there's nothing to do for families here. One of the top attractions for anyone traveling with kids is this splash park. Along with the themed slides and lazy river, the park also offers a beachside picnic area where you can have a bite to eat between exciting rides.

Exploring Montreal's beaches

Verdun Beach

This urban beach is a great place to come if you want to take a swim or enjoy beach life without leaving the city. Paddling in the water under the shadow of the towers of the city is an unusual experience, but it's another great way to enjoy the summer in Montreal.

Travel distance from Montreal

Verdun Beach is located just to the south of the center of Montreal. It's only a 13-minute drive from the heart of the city to this beach, and you can also get there by taking the train from McGill to De l'Eglise, then walking 500 m from the station to reach the beach.

Activity recommendations

Swimming: Swimming isn't always permitted at this urban beach due to strong currents and high water levels. However, if swimming is allowed when you visit, it's a great place to cool off from the heat of the city. Just make sure to stay within your comfort zone, as there are no lifeguards here, and swimming is at your own risk. The beach offers changing rooms and showers so you can rinse off and enjoy views of Nun's Island and the South Shore of Montreal.

Playgrounds: This area is full of urban playgrounds that are great places for kids to explore. In the summer, the playgrounds offer spray areas so the kids can cool down, so even if you don't get to swim at the beach, you can still keep cool and enjoy the summer weather.

Best beaches near Montreal

Major Beach

Located on Lac-des-Sables, this is the perfect place to get away from the city. Although it's quieter and more secluded than many of the urban beaches in Montreal, Major Beach also offers tons of things to do, so you won't get bored while you enjoy the beach here.

Travel distance from Montreal

A little further from the city does some of the other beaches on this list, Major Beach is about 100 km from the center of Montreal, requiring a drive of about one hour and 20 minutes. Public transportation isn't really an option, so you'll need to rent a car or bring your own. However, the wilderness feel of this beach makes it well worth the journey.

Activity recommendations

Water sports: No need to bring anything with you. On Major Beach, you'll find plenty of places where you can rent a kayak, a canoe, or paddle boards so you can go stand-up paddle boarding on the calm water. This beloved beach, with its golden sands, is the perfect place to launch a craft and explore for yourself. It's also an excellent place to swim if boating isn't your thing.

Picnics: There is an on-site café here, but there are also barbecue facilities where you can cock your own food. Bring some tasty treats from a Montreal delicatessen and do some cooking on the beach to enjoy the great Canadian outdoors in the tastiest way possible


Although not normally known as a beach destination, Montreal has a surprising amount of beaches to explore both in the city itself and in the surrounding area. And while many of the beaches in the area do charge admission, some, like Verdun and Major Beach, are free of charge, making them ideal if you're traveling to Montreal on a budget.

If you're willing to head a little further out of town, places like Oka National Park offer incredible beaches that can provide some of the best weekend trips from Montreal. But even if you want to stay in the city itself, there are tons of ways to live the beach life. Just remember to drop off your unneeded bags at a Montreal luggage storage before you go.

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