In conjunction with our “urban camping” trip (which will be its own post shortly) we visited this man-made beach located on the South Shore, and which is only about a 20 minutes from downtown or the West Island*.
With views of Montreal and the rapids of the St-Lawrence River, the setting is very pretty and the water is calm, clean, and great for varying ages. The “lake” is divided into different areas including a large shallow zone that’s great for toddlers and babies and which includes two mini slides; a deeper area where some very fit triathletes (seriously, it said so on their shirts) were doing laps; and a deeper zone (1.6 metres) where older kids can use a tall slide.
What I liked here is that there are no rocks at all, the sand is smooth and groomed, and the water is warm. But, because it’s all man-made it does have a rather unnatural vibe. Does that make sense?
Within the beach and grass area you’ll also find a gazebo that you can rent for large groups (includes electricity, potable water, and 10 tables), a playground, and a beach volleyball court. There are tons of picnic tables, lots of grass to run around on, and a canteen with the usual beach food like Slushies etc.
The building which houses washrooms, the first aid area, and changing rooms could use some updating so don’t expect anything fancy, as it was all a bit grubby, with broken locks, and nowhere to hang or place your stuff while getting changed.
We visited on a sunny, hot Saturday and arrived before the 10am opening. There weren’t too many people, though there was a steady trickly in, but when we left at noon, the line up of cars waiting to access the beach parking lot was about 30 cars long. So if you want some quiet, a picnic table to yourself, and no waiting, I HIGHLY recommend getting there right when they open, and not after lunch.
The normal daily fee for a family is 27$, which I find really pricey. This is about double what we’ve paid at other beaches. If you’re staying the whole day it might be ok, but we were only there 2 hours. Luckily, because we’d camped the night before we paid half price (so 13.50$), which isn’t mentioned anywhere on the website (that I can find), and would have been nice to know beforehand to plan out our two days. If you visit the beach after 3:30pm, you automatically pay half price already, but the beach is only open until 7pm and you have to be out of the water at 6.
Though the RécréoParc website is very pretty, I found it hard to find some information, and now see that as campers we shouldn’t have even had to pay the parking fee, which the gate person should have known when we showed her our camping bracelets.
Things to note:
-No glass is allowed and your bags and coolers will be searched.
-There is no shade near the water or by the surrounding picnic tables. Bring an umbrella or rent one there for 5$. Some people had popup tents and those little beach shades staked into the sand.
-Parking fees and equipment rental rates can be found HERE.
-You can rent life jackets and buy sand toys at the ticket counter.
-You need to pay for parking AND the beach entrance fee. No fees for residents of Sainte-Catherine, and obviously no parking fees if you walk or bike in. Children under 2 are completely free, so factor that in if you’re buying the family pass.
-Once you park your car, you need to pay the entrance fee at the booth, which is near the gate to the fenced beach.
*Except it wasn’t 20 minutes either way because of that &*!%@$@$ Mercier bridge, an accident, and road closures. So it should have been 20 minutes, but was more like 40.