Travelling home to Montreal after a visit at the Grandparents in Eastern Ontario, I took advantage of having our “emergency swimming supplies” in the trunk and took a teensy detour down to the Lancaster area and this beach.
Well, first we pulled into the wrong campground (there are some private campground/beaches along the same road), so two minutes later, we turned into Glengarry Beach!
Located on Lake St. Francis with great views of Saint-Anicet and the Adirondack Mountains across the The St. Lawrence River; the Glengarry Campground features 180 campsites, three new camper cabins right on the water, beach volleyball and soccer, and a small sandy beach with a playground and lots and lots of picnic tables (some reservable and with charcoal bbqs).
Last year we visited Charlottenburgh Park in Summerstown (about 15 minutes on the other side of Lancaster) and had been pretty shocked by the goose poop. So we were a bit apprehensive, and though there was quite a bit again this year, it was way better and the beach was at least walkable. I’d suggest keeping your shoes on though as there are many deposits all over the grass from the parking lot right down to the water. Not exactly the place to go frolicking in your bare feet. And I would be hesitant to let an infant crawl on the beach sand.
The beach here is un-groomed, and unfortunately some people are slobs so there is a bit of trash around (bottle caps in the sand, candy wrappers etc). While the sand is not as nice as some of the other beaches we’ve seen around Montreal, the boys had fun puttering around making castles and moats and driving their trucks up and around. The water was clean (see the link at the bottom), and very shallow. We walked about 50 feet out and it was still only to the toddler’s waist. And once past the bits of rocks near the shore, it’s soft and sandy.
There are NO lifeguards, so as stated by the posted signs, it’s swim at your own risk.
If you’re tired of the beach, there’s a playground with big-kid swings and one baby swing, and a large Miracle Recreation play structure on sand that features stairs, slides, monkey bars, ladders, and the Big Kahuna fish climber.
Beside the parking lot is the chalet to pay the beach fees (when you enter) and they also sell snacks, frozen treats and regular camping essentials like firewood, beach toys, bug spray etc. The St. Lawrence Parks website says that there’s waterfront food concession but we were at the beach until 1pm on a Sunday and there was nothing there. Luckily I’d packed a gazillion snacks and water, so we also didn’t spend any more money besides the entrance fee. I did however, almost offer someone 10$ for a hamburger because the aromas from the bbqs was soooooo yummy.
Kids 12 and under are FREE!
–Beach water quality link
So, overall we had a nice morning, and if you’re in the area this is a great (cheap) pit stop. But if you’re looking for a big beach with soft sand you’d be better off at one of the others around such as Oka or the Saint-Timothée Islands in Valleyfield