10 Best Lakes Near Calgary for Swimming and Summer Fun

boating on Glenmore Reservoir
boating on Glenmore Reservoir
Top ways to cool off this summer

10 Best Lakes Near Calgary for Swimming and Summer Fun

Beaches, swimming, kayaking & boating, all in and around Calgary.

Looking for the best lakes in Alberta to paddle, swim, or boat? The top lakes near Calgary are perfect for all sorts of aquatic summer activities. Summer adventure is waiting for you so dive into these top 10 places for fun in the sun in and around Calgary.

The following bodies of water are not lifeguarded facilities. Use a life jacket and check for official safety rules before participating in any of these activities.

 

 

Best Calgary Lakes

 

1. Glenmore Reservoir

Features:

  • Kayaking/ Canoeing
  • Non-motorized Boat Launch
  • Picnic Tables
  • Sailing

Local Tip: Visit Heritage Park to sail aboard the S.S. Moyie paddlewheeler on the Glenmore Reservoir.


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Glenmore Reservoir canoes

Glenmore Reservoir canoes - Photo Credit: @jgourdeau.photography


2. Chestermere Lake

Chestermere Lake is a beautiful, 4.8 km long lake that offers a range of activities to help you cool down on hot summer days. Buoys are placed near Anniversary Park and John Peake Park that mark shoreline areas where you can enjoy a comfortable swim. Chestermere Lake also welcomes motorized boats, and you can expect to see several wakeboarders skimming across the water on any given day. You can also use non-motorized boats such as canoes, kayaks, sailboats & paddleboards. Book a rental at Hyperactive Watersports.

Features:

  • Boat Launch
  • Paddle Boarding/ Kayaking/ Canoeing
  • Picnic Area
  • Power Boating
  • Sandy Beach
  • Swimming

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3. Bowness Lagoon

Features:

  • Paddle Boarding/ Kayaking/ Canoeing
  • Picnic Area
  • Wading Area for Kids

Local Tip: Visit the Seasons of Bowness restaurant for casual fine dining with views that look over the lagoon.

 


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As a result of operational restrictions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic Sikome Aquatic Facility will remain closed for summer 2021.

Features:

  • Beach Volleyball Court
  • Picnic Tables
  • Sandy Beach
  • Swimming

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5. Harvie Passage (south channel)

Harvie Passage is definitely not a lake, but we included it on this list because it’s one of the best places in Calgary to cool off on a hot day. This channel of the Bow River was redesigned to provide a more enjoyable experience for river-based recreationists and has become a sort of natural water park. Get carried down the small rapids in a life jacket or floaty for a fun ride or set up a chair on the shore to watch the floaters go by.

Features:

  • Picnic Area
  • Swimming
  • Small Rapids

Local Tip: Harvie Passage is right next to the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary where you can see a variety of unique birds also enjoying the river.


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Best Lakes Near Calgary

 

6. Quarry Lake

Features:

  • Sandy Beach
  • Small Cliff Jumping
  • Picnic Area
  • Swimming (temperature dependent)
  • Paddle Boarding

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7. Johnson Lake

Features:

  • Swimming (temperature dependent)
  • Picnic Area
  • Sandy Beach
  • Paddle Boarding/ kayaking/ canoeing
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People hanging out on the beach at Johnson Lake, Banff

People hanging out on the beach at Johnson Lake, Banff - Photo Credit: @loudahlphotography


8. Barrier Lake

This glacial fed man-made lake is a wonderful spot for paddle boats and is large enough that you can spend a whole day exploring out on the water. You can rent paddling equipment from Kananaskis Outfitters, like canoes and paddleboards. Bring your portable chairs and barbeques for a beach side picnic while you enjoy picturesque views of Kananaskis Country. The pebble ridden beach is full of perfect skipping stones, try your arm at skipping one across the lake.

Features:

  • Boat Launch
  • Picnic Tables
  • Paddle Boarding/ Kayaking/ Canoeing
  • Swimming (temperature dependent)

Local Tip: Hike the Prairie View Trail for a great lookout over the lake. From above, the lake takes on a breathtaking turquoise hue. 


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9. Ghost Lake

Features:

  • Boat Launch
  • Power Boating
  • Wake Boarding
  • Sailing
  • Paddle Boarding/ Kayaking/ Canoeing

Supress from menu
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10. Lake Minnewanka

Features:

  • Boat Launch
  • Lake Cruise
  • Paddle Boarding/ Kayaking/ Canoeing
  • Picnic Area
  • Power Boats
Supress from menu
No
Lake Minnewanka

Photo credit: Mike Seehagel / Pursuit Banff Jasper Collection