Beaches in Calgary, Alberta

Photo by alh1

Calgary is the metropolitan hub of southern Alberta. When you first think of this city, perhaps the Calgary Stampede or the magnificent Rocky Mountains come to mind, but this sunny city also has plenty of nearby beaches that showcase its natural beauty.

Situated on the northwestern tip of the Great Plains in the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the Bow River meets the Elbow River. There, you will find nestled the bustling city of Calgary. Calgary’s downtown core is mostly situated on the Bow River’s south bank, and the Elbow River’s west bank. The city’s surrounding highlands and valleys are an abrupt change from the flat terrain of prairie regions.

Calgary’s rivers tend to have rocky or stony beaches, grassy or rocky banks, and shallow wading areas. There are also many lakes close to Calgary, which attract swimmers with their crystal clear waters, sandy or pebbly beaches, and rustic mountain and prairie landscapes.

Water Monitoring

In Calgary, Alberta Health Services monitors 46 freshwater beaches across the province. Water samples are tested in Alberta Public Laboratories. Sampling begins around the May long weekend, which is the beginning of the swim season in Alberta’s recreational areas. Most swim spots are monitored weekly, although some may be monitored less often.

Recreation

Many recreational entry points for Calgary’s waters are accessible by transit from the city’s downtown area. With the city’s extensive paved pathways and over 700 kilometers (435 miles) of bike paths, cycling is another easy way to get around.

Although swimming is not recommended in the Elbow River, many enjoy boating, rafting, canoeing, and fishing in this waterway. Locals also flock to Calgary’s neighbouring lakes to go swimming, cliff jumping, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, windsurfing, waterskiing, power boating, camping, hiking, fishing, and birdwatching.

Ghost Lake Reservoir, fed by the Bow River, is one of Calgary’s most inviting lakes. Its rocky beach and deep, crisp waters are right next to the stunning Rockies and are only a 45 minute drive from the city’s centre. Camping and boating are favourite pastimes here. A little under two hours north of Calgary, Sylvan Lake greets water-lovers with grassy areas, a sandy beach, volleyball nets, a boat launch, and clean, clear, shallow waters.

Climate in Calgary

Calgary has a dry climate with warm summers and cold winters. Temperatures are generally mild compared to most of Canada, but the weather can be unpredictable. The sun is usually out to warm things up, shining an average of 2,300 hours yearly. During the summer, temperatures during the day can vary greatly from 10 °C (50 °F) to 25 °C (77 °F), though from June to August they can be higher than 30 °C (86 °F).

Calgary has the best of what both pristine nature and exciting city living have to offer. With the rivers that traverse this city and the lakes that surround it, there are plenty of opportunities for fun by the water.

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