The 9 Best Lakes in Canada for Swimming

Written by Nixza Gonzalez
Updated: July 13, 2023
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What better way to cool down from the Canadian summer heat than to go for a swim? While Canada has some impressive beaches, there are even more breathtaking lakes to take a quick dip! Since Canada drops below freezing, though, there are only a few months out of the year when swimming is recommended.

Did you know Canada has more than 30,000 lakes? Not all are suitable for swimming, though! Keep reading to discover the 9 best lakes in Canada for swimming.

Many of the swimmable lakes in Canada are in British Columbia, including Buntzen Lake.

1. Horseshoe Lake

To get to Horseshoe Lake, you need to hike 1 mile.


A lot of Canadian lakes are cold because they are glacial and surrounded by snowy mountains. Thankfully, Horseshoe Lake is an exception. This crystal clear lake is perfect for taking a swim, but you have to walk a one-mile trail to reach the water. If you have a liking for adventures, you can also partake in cliff-diving, but always be careful! It is also a relatively small lake, perfect for the locals as a hidden gem in Alberta’s Jasper National Park.

2. Mystery Lake

Mount Seymour

Mystery Lake is located within Mount Seymour Provincial Park, shown here.

©No machine-readable author provided. Keefer4~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 2.5 – License

With the name ‘Mystery Lake,’ you are bound to have a great time! Located in British Columbia, Mystery Lake is a favorite for locals and travelers. It requires some moderate-level hiking skills since it is deep within Mount Seymour Provincial Park. The water is clear, and small rock islands are scattered around the lake. While at Mystery Lake, you can swim and rest on the rock islands to enjoy the gorgeous view.

3. Berg Lake

Taking a trip to Berg Lake requires a multi-day hiking trip.

© Turnbull

There was no way Berg Lake in British Columbia was not going to make this list. It is a beautiful and pristine lake, but it takes work to enjoy. For instance, when planning to visit Berg Lake, know it requires days of hiking trips into parts of the Canadian Rockies. The best times to visit Berg Lake for swimming are between July to September when there is no snow on the hiking trail. Sadly, as of April 2022, Berg Lake Trail was closed because of flooding.

4. Buntzen Lake

Buntzen Lake is a 45-minute drive from Vancouver.

© Ltd

Many of the swimmable lakes in Canada are in British Columbia, including Buntzen Lake. This lake features crystal clear waters and is fun for the entire family. The lake is deep and reaches a maximum depth of 213 feet, although swimmers rarely travel that far out. Surrounding the lake are various wildlife like black bears, cougars, otters, and the American crow. Buntzen Lake is well-known for its beauty and charm, and it has been featured in movies like Highlander and Freddy Vs. Jason.

5. Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario is the smallest Great Lake.

©Michael J. Eves/

Swimming in Lake Ontario is not permitted everywhere, but there are some fantastic beaches where you can catch the sun and rest. A very famous Lake Ontario beach is the Gord Edgar Downie Pier. If you are a strong swimmer and have the guts, you can jump from the pier into the lake. If swimming is not for you, the sandy beach is wonderful with a towel, picnic basket, and snacks!

6. Lake Minnewanka

Lake Minnewanka is Banff National Park’s largest lake.


For thousands of years, Lake Minnewanka was home to many indigenous people that fished in the waters. Now, it is a destination for locals and tourists during the summer and winter. In the winter, you won’t have any luck swimming, but you can walk on top of the frozen water. This large glacial lake is not cold all year round, though. During summer, many people swim, boat, fish, and kayak in Lake Minnewanka.

7. Garibaldi Lake

Garibaldi Lake is near Squamish-Lillooet Regional.

© Charykov

While you can’t take your dog on a hike to Garibaldi Lake in British Columbia, there are still many fun things to do! It is an 11.6-mile hike, which takes 5-7 hours to complete. You can take your time while on the hike and spend a few nights camping. Swimming is allowed in this lake, but usually between April to September. The water is cold all year-round, though, since it is glacier fed, but the ice melts after May.

8. Emerald Lake

Located in Yoho National Park, Emerald Lake is a stunning lake for a fun summer getaway.


The Canadian Rockies are breathtaking. Spread throughout and in between these tall mountains are hundreds of lakes, but not all are suitable for swimming. Emerald Lake is safe for swimming, but only during the summer when the ice has melted. Actually, surrounding Emerald Lake are many cabins and rentals to enjoy the outdoors. It leaves people speechless and looks like a painting.

9. Lake Louise

Louise Lake

Swimming is rare in Lake Louise because of the cool temperatures rarely exceeding 39 degrees Fahrenheit.


When you get a chance, write down Lake Louise as a must! This gorgeous glacier-fed lake is in Banff National Park. Surrounding the lake are lush snowy mountains like Mount Victoria. Many people visit Lake Louise in the summer to take a dip, but not for long. Since it is glacier fed, the average temperature of the water is 39 degrees Fahrenheit. If you like the cold, you can still visit, but maybe don’t dive into the frozen lake.

Summary of The 9 Best Lakes in Canada for Swimming

RankBest LakeLocation
1Horseshoe LakeAlberta’s Jasper National Park
2Mystery LakeBritish Columbia
3Berg LakeBritish Columbia
4Buntzen LakeBritish Columbia
5Lake OntarioOntario on the North, New York on the South
6Lake MinnewankaBanff National Park
7Garibaldi Lakenear Squamish-Lillooet Regional in British Columbia
8Emerald LakeYoho National Park
9Lake LouiseBanff National Park
Summary Table of The 9 Best Lakes in Canada for Swimming

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Krishna.Wu/

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About the Author

Nixza Gonzalez is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics like travel, geography, plants, and marine animals. She has over six years of experience as a content writer and holds an Associate of Arts Degree. A resident of Florida, Nixza loves spending time outdoors exploring state parks and tending to her container garden.

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