GENERAL NOTE FOR ALL BEACHES: For all information, rates (if applicable), reservation details, and more, make sure to visit the official website BEFORE going. Water quality, maximum capacities, and staffing issues change often and may affect openings.
I was looking forward to just sitting on the beach and enjoying the SPECTACULAR view of the river and the NY mountains in the distance. And when we drove up, parked in the empty lot, and saw that we were the only ones on the beach, I though “Wow!”
Before heading to the sand we played in the toddler playground. This climber from Blue Imp is new-ish and with steps, slides, small climbing wall, tunnel and wall activities; it was a great start. It’s on a wood chip base and has lots of grass and shade surrounding it. There are TONS of picnic tables scattered around, including some under a wooden shelter, and permanent charcoal bbqs for public use.
The kiddos were raring to get to the beach so we trotted down and stopped.
While it looked nice and clean from afar, you couldn’t step five feet without being in a pile of poop. There were no geese around, but they’d obviously been there recently. And it was the whole beach. And then we saw that it was also the entire huge grassy area behind it. So much for playing in the sand and/or grass 🙁
Luckily someone had brought a few picnic tables right to the shore so we parked there and waded out to the water. Thankfully the water was really nice. No rocks and with a shallow sandy base.
You can check the water quality HERE.
The park is open from May long weekend to October (Thanksgiving Weekend), 7 days/week, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
We also played in the big-kid climber which is pretty great for a beach playground. It has stairs, all sorts of monkey bars and rungs, a couple of slides, a bridge, and various ladders and steps. It’s right beside the clean bathrooms (which were open), and the canteen (which was not). There are also a couple of baby and big swings. The toddler and big climbers are very far apart.
Having given up on the beach we checked out the map, and walked the path that runs along the river and marshland. It very pretty and quiet, though in some spots it feels like you’re walking right through someone’s campground. We passed the small marina, and then came to our favourite spot of the day: The wooden lookout. Here we could see the marsh, some big hawk-type birds in a man-made nest, the islands, and the mountains.
It would have been a great morning had the beach been cleaner and we could have played more. Perhaps call the office if you’re planning on heading out and seeing what the conditions are like. Website HERE!
Charlottenburgh Park (gatehouse) – 613-931-0944 – for information and reservations
Next time we come out this way we might check out The Cooper Marsh Conservation Area and Visitor’s Centre. Both that and the Charlottenburgh Park are just south of the Lancaster exit and right off Highway 2. Very easy to get to.
There are a number of beaches and campgrounds in eastern Ontario all along the St. Lawrence river. You can find photos and descriptions on the St. Lawrence Parks website.
Before you get to the gate for the beach area, there’s another parking lot where you can access the wetlands walk.
Want a meal before you head back home? There are restaurants in nearby Lancaster as well as a super cute playground near the north end of the town right off the main road.