Good beaches near Montreal are a hard find. You're often left to choose between the brown waters of the Saint Lawrence River or some pungent, stagnant lake with dead bugs floating at the surface. There are some hidden gems, however. The beach at parc Jules-Léger in Saint-Anicet might be one.
The park occupies a small point that juts out into the Saint Lawrence. The beach itself is no more than an approximately 10-metre long water access point alongside a small pier. But the one-hour-15-minute trek from Montreal to this humble public dock has a big payoff: sweeping westward views of the river and clear water that occasionally takes on a bright blue or emerald hue.
It's unclear what gives the water at the beach its distinctive colour. Does its location in a small inlet spare it from the mighty river's muddy current? Or might microalgae be the cause? We're not asking too many questions. It's nonetheless a fun and photogenic summer escape from the city.
The water takes on another colour entirely come sunset. Those westerly views make the parc Jules-Léger a great place to watch the sun dip below the horizon as it sets the river ablaze with reds and oranges.
The park and beach are free to visit. According to the Saint-Anicet municipal by-laws, there's even a supervised swimming area, though it's unclear when in the season it opens.
Visitors will have to be content with just floating and splashing in the waves, however. Barbeques, camping, fireworks, alcoholic beverages, and pets are not allowed in the park. The complete set of park rules is posted online.
In 2022, the beach at parc Jules-Léger was open every day between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. from July 6 to August 30. The municipality has yet to announce the 2023 schedule.
Get all the details below.
Beach in Saint-Anicet
Where: Parc Jules-Léger, Saint-Anicet, QC
- 2023 schedule TBD
- In 2022: every day, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., from July 6 to August 30
Why You Have To Go: For a road trip to a hidden gem with clear waters along the Saint Lawrence River.
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your trip.
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