City Name
Home » Recent posts » Visit the Top 10 Lakes in and around Ottawa

Visit the Top 10 Lakes in and around Ottawa

Visit the Top 10 Lakes in and around Ottawa

When visiting Ontario, it’s impossible not to visit a lake—there are thousands in the province! 

These beautiful waters, surrounded by lush trees and home to a variety of wildlife, make one hell of a spot to visit. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful place to hike or a family-friendly spot to swim in, Ottawa has the lake that you need. 

Here are the best lakes in and near Ottawa that should be on your bucket list!

Dow’s Lake

Media credit: dows_lake


Address: Dow’s Lake Pavilion – 1001 Queen Elizabeth Driveway, Ottawa, ON K1S 5K7, Canada

Contact Information: Dow’s Lake Pavilion – 613-232-1001, [email protected]

Dow’s Lake is a man-made lake, small, and has a depth of five feet. But don’t let that fool you because it offers cool activities you should try.

One of the popular things to do is rent a canoe to paddle the calm waters, which also means it’s ideal for beginners since you won’t encounter strong currents. While in the water, you can stop every now and then and take in the beautiful scenery.

If you have a boat, you can dock it at Dow’s Lake Pavilion, which has 26 serviced docks and 16 non-serviced ones, and a fueling station for unleaded and diesel gas. The pavilion also has on-site restaurants and facilities, making it a convenient spot to go to.

Pro Tip:
If you’re looking to swim in a lake, you’re going to have to skip Dow’s Lake because swimming isn’t allowed here. 

Pink Lake

Media credit: xoprincessmina


Address: Pink Lake Trail, Gatineau Pkwy, Gatineau, Quebec J9J 3L3, Canada

Contact Information: NCC – 613-239-5000, 1-800-465-1867 (Toll-Free)

Distance from Ottawa: 21 minutes by car, 14.8 km

One of Canada’s most beautiful spots is Pink Lake in Gatineau. Despite the name, which it got from the family that settled there, the lake actually has more of a blue-green colour and not pink.

A popular and pretty much the only activity you can do at the lake is hiking to reach the viewpoint and get panoramic views of the scenery. It’s a 2.3 km loop trail, which takes less than an hour to complete, depending on your skill level and speed.

You see, swimming, boating, and kayaking aren’t allowed on the lake, which is why many visitors hike the trail instead. From the top, you can do some birdwatching while enjoying the fresh air and the magnificent views.

Pro Tip:
The trail starts at the Pink Lake Parking Lot, which also has washrooms available to use. And if you plan on hiking, don’t bring your dog because they aren’t allowed on the trail.

Lac Meech

Media credit: david.mcguffin


Address: Lac Meech, Chelsea, QC, Canada

Contact Information: NCC – 613-239-5000, 1-800-465-1867 (Toll-Free)

Distance from Ottawa: 28 minutes by car, 24.3 km

Looking for a lake near Ottawa for you to swim in? Check out Lac Meech! But note that the NCC only allows open-water swimming here from May to October, but do take note of possible changes by checking advisories.

The best part about this lake is it’s small, which also makes it a family-friendly spot for summer vacation. Better yet, visit in October for the turning of the leaves, which makes for a picture-perfect view.

Another popular activity at Lac Meech is kayaking since only non-motorized boats are allowed in its waters. But do stick to the buoyed areas to prevent straying too far from the shore for safety, especially if you’re a beginner or alone.

Pro Tip:
There are private properties along the shoreline of the lake. Hence, it closes at 9:30 pm and is only accessible when the parking lots open at 5:00 am at O’Brien Beach and 7:00 am at Blanchet Beach. 

Lac Edja

Media credit: evely.wild

Address: La Vallée-de-la-Gatineau Regional County Municipality, QC, Canada

Distance from Ottawa: 1 hour and 28 minutes by car, 113.3 km

One of the most beautiful lakes that’s easy to visit from Ottawa is Lac Edja, or Lake Edja, a hidden gem in Quebec. This lake isn’t huge, but isn’t entirely small either, so the entire area is easy to explore, ideally through kayak, paddleboard, or canoe!

Once you’re in the water, head to the sandy area, a shallow part that kind of separates the lake in two. You will also see incredible underwater rock formations while kayaking, which are absolutely stunning if you get a photo from a bird’s eye view.

Just note that you must wash your lightweight boat of choice before getting in the water to ensure the safety of the water, but this is free to do at the Boat Washing Station. If your boat’s a bigger one, fees will apply, though.

Pro Tips:
Before leaving, don’t forget to wash your paddleboard to ensure no microorganisms will hitchhike from the lake to another body of water you’ll visit in the country.

Weekends can be particularly busy, so drive there early to get a slot since the parking area is pretty small and gets full fast, especially on weekends.

Lac Leamy

Media credit: melissalita_


Address: Leamy Lake Pkwy, Gatineau, Quebec J8X 3P5, Canada

Contact Information: NCC – 613-239-5000, 1-800-465-1867 (Toll-Free)

Distance from Ottawa: 10 minutes by car, 6.2 km

Leamy Lake Park is 174 hectares big, making it an ideal spot for family trips because there are plenty of outdoor activities to do. One of these is open-water swimming, which is one of the main things to do in the summer.

Since this place is supervised, you’ll see lifeguards on duty to ensure everyone’s safety. But, unfortunately, there are times when they’re unavailable due to a shortage of staff.

There’s also a picnic area for families to enjoy, so bring food so you won’t go hungry after swimming. Biking pathways are also available near the lake, open for kids and adults.

Pro Tip:
Lifeguards are only on duty at Leamy Lake from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. But due to a shortage of lifeguards, there may be hours when they aren’t available, so don’t stray too far from the shores.

Swimming hours are only from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm any day of the week. But swimming in the lake is only allowed from June to September.

Mud Lake

Media credit:


Address: Mud Lake Trail North Access – Cassels St, Ottawa, ON K2B 8C2, Canada

Contact Information: NCC – 613-239-5000, 1-800-465-1867 (Toll-Free)

Mud Lake is a wonder in Ottawa, being one of the most important lakes in the National Capital Region. The place is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including 269 species of birds.

Since this is a protected wildlife reserve, water activities like swimming and paddleboarding in the lake are prohibited. But you are free to hike the beginner-friendly trail, which is only 2.9 km and won’t take over an hour to finish.

Once there, you’ll probably hear birds singing since this spot isn’t crowded at all. It’s a perfect place if you’re looking for a peaceful hike away from the noise of the city.

Pro Tips:
Do check for NCC updates regarding Mud Lake because it may be closed for a specific amount of time for rehabilitation. 

Make sure to follow the rules when hiking this protected area, such as no cycling, no animal feeding, no pets allowed, stay on the trails and don’t venture out, and practice Leave No Trace.

Lac des Chats

Media credit: bluebludger

Address: Renfrew County, ON, Canada

Distance from Ottawa: 52 minutes by car, 82.4 km

Lac des Chats, or Chats Lake, is a lake that sits in the middle of Ontario and Quebec, creating its boundary. It’s made from the waters of Chats Falls Dam and is home to a diverse ecosystem. 

It’s also called the Lake of the Cats, but not for the reason you think—it’s actually due to the large number of catfish in the area. There are many types of fish in the lake, so don’t be surprised if you see fishermen in boats waiting for their catch.

Now, the lake isn’t a popular spot for water activities, so you get a tranquil spot. Another positive to not being a hotspot is you can go kayaking and not worry about boat traffic.

Pro Tip:
Before fishing in Lac des Chats, get your fishing licence first. It’s a requirement for both residents and non-residents in Canada.

Philippe Lake

Media credit: laura.ottawa


Address: Lac Philippe – Parc de la Gatineau, 300 Chem. du Lac-Philippe, Sainte-Cécile-de-Masham, QC J0X 2W0, Canada

Contact Information: NCC – 613-239-5000, 1-800-465-1867 (Toll-Free)

Distance from Ottawa: 41 minutes by car, 46.8 km

If you’re looking for a swimming area near Ottawa, head over to Philippe Lake, which has three beaches for everyone to enjoy—two of which are open for swimming!

Breton Beach is the largest and ideal for families due to the many amenities. You can find charcoal BBQs, picnic areas, changing rooms, and an accessibility ramp to the water.

Meanwhile, Parent Beach is ideal for paddleboarding because there’s a boat launch. There are also boat rentals in the area if you need non-motorized boats, like kayaks and canoes.

The third beach of Philippe Lake is Smith, which is exclusively for campers. Although you can’t swim here, it’s still a peaceful place to visit that gives you close access to the lake.

Pro Tips:
Before going to Phlippe Lake, check the NCC’s updates regarding the water quality. All three beaches are tested on a bi-weekly basis.

You cannot bring your pup to Philippe Lake because they’re not allowed, even on the campgrounds and picnic areas.

La Pêche Lake

Media credit: littlemissregina


Address: Chem. Sincennes, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais, QC J0X 2W0, Canada

Distance from Ottawa: 50 minutes by car, 56.1 km

Contact Information: NCC – 613-239-5000, 1-800-465-1867 (Toll-Free)

One of the top spots to visit near Ottawa is Gatineau Park, which is home to La Pêche Lake. It’s also the largest lake in the park, which makes it an excellent spot for Ottawans to kayak and swim.

You can drive to Gatineau Park and bring your own kayak, but you can also rent a non-motorized boat near the lake, including a rowboat! Plus, the boat launch is conveniently located at La Pêche Lake beach.

One of the best things about this lake is it isn’t crowded, unlike other park beaches in the National Capital Region. The peacefulness of the place is alluring, making it a great option for a short trip away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Pro Tips:
Like other park beaches in the National Capital Region, check the water quality results before driving to the lake. The water is tested every two weeks.

It’s important to note that the beach is only supervised from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. So, always be alert and stick to swimming near the shores.

Charleston Lake

Media credit: charlestonlakepp


Address: Charleston Lake Provincial Park – 148 Woodvale Road, Lansdowne, ON K0E 1L0, Canada

Distance from Ottawa: 1 hour and 37 minutes by car, 158.0 km

Contact Information: 613-659-2065

Weekend trips are always a blast, and Charleston Lake Provincial Park is one you should cross off your list. It’s a perfect place for outdoor activities, like swimming, boating, and kayaking, or just soaking up the beauty Ontario has to offer.

Backcountry camping is a must-do at the park, where you get to stay near the lake and admire its natural beauty. 

You can also hike easy and challenging routes. One must-hike is the 7.1 km Bach’s Lookout for panoramic views of the lake—just note that this isn’t for beginners.

Pro Tip:
Charleston Lake Provincial Park is only open from May to October, so plan your visits accordingly.