Summer is a magical time in Castlegar when the air temperature is warm but the water is cool. It’s the perfect season to bury your toes in the sand while watching the kids frolic on the shore and luckily the city has many areas to do just that. In fact, Castlegar has some of the highest numbers of beaches near its downtown core in the entire Kootenay region.

Whether your preferences lean toward the active, like beach volleyball and swimming laps, or you prefer something more mellow such as book reading and napping, here are seven beaches in Castlegar and area that are our favourites. The qualifier for this list is that each one of these can be accessed via car. If you have a boat at your disposal, then there are myriad of choices available to you from camp-worth sandy beaches up Arrow Lakes to secluded rocky pull-outs on the Columbia. It should also be noted that many of the beaches listed below, such as Syringa and Sandy Beach, are located near some of the best waterfalls in the area. You can find out more about those by reading our story, “6 Of The Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Castlegar.

Millennium Park and Ponds

Located five blocks from downtown Castlegar and sprawling over 23 hectares, Millennium Park is not only one of the largest urban parks in the province, it’s also the most convenient to reach. And it boasts multiple sandy beaches that front the Columbia River. There are also kid-friendly swimming ponds connected directly to the river so water is constantly recirculated, beach volleyball courts, soccer fields, tennis and pickleball courts and multiple playgrounds for the kids. The largest bike park in the Kootenays is also located here so in between your lounge sessions in the sand, you can hit the pump track or take part in any number of other activities nearby. For more about all the amenities offered at the park, check our our story “18 Reasons Why Millennium Park Is The Best Urban Park In The Kootenays.

Syringa Provincial Park

Located 18 kilometres from downtown Castlegar on Broadwater Road, Syringa is a unique environment because on one hand it’s a protected grassland ecosystem featuring large Ponderosa Pine, huge boulders and an arid climate, but on the other hand it’s a lakeside paradise boasting three large beaches. All of them front Lower Arrow Lake, which tends to have warm water temperatures despite its size, and are easily accessible to both campers (there are over 80 sites in the park) as well as day-trippers. The Big Horn beach is the northern-most one and it’s also the sandiest, then there’s a smaller dog-friendly beach and the Main Beach is rockier and has a kid’s playground. There is lots of space to run, play, swim, picnic, and relax. For more about Syringa Park,

Sandy Beach

On the way to Syringa National Park there’s a popular local spot appropriately named “Sandy Beach.” It’s on the shores of Lower Arrow Lake, just past Scottie’s Marina, and is a public beach that welcomes everyone, including dogs. The size of the beach can fluctuate depending on water levels, which fluctuate in accordance to the Hugh Keenleyside dam downstream, but there is always somewhere to sit. There’s a pullout parking area across from Allendale waterfall, before the curve, or you can easily park on the side of the road to access the beach as well.

Nancy Greene Beach

Nancy Greene Provincial Park is located on Highway 3 about 30 kilometres west of Castlegar. It has a beautiful sandy beach with shaded spots, picnic tables, and a nearby creek to keep things fresh. It’s a family-friendly destination that has a small area on the beach for dogs as well. There are also many walking trails in the park and a campsite with 10 spots to accommodate drive-in traffic and one walk-in camp spot.

Shoreacres Beach

Shoreacres Beach is located 20 kilometres north of Castlegar on Highway 3 towards Nelson. It is a beautiful sandy beach located on the Slocan River near where it merges with the Kootenay River. There is lots of room to run and play or just lay down and relax. For the more adventurous people, there is a rope swing underneath the train bridge which is beside the beach and you can jump off that and float down to the beach again.

Crescent Valley Beach

Crescent Valley Beach is located at the beginning of Crescent Valley on the Slocan River, about a 22-kilometre drive north of Castlegar. The water can be fast here and is a popular spot for play boaters and kayakers but there is a little swimming hole at the end of the beach that is child friendly. Dogs are also welcome here. Across the road from the beach you’ll find Endless Adventures where you can hire a paddling guide or rent all sorts of watercraft.

Glade Beach

The Glade ferry, which is used to access the community’s sandy beach. Photo by Steve Archdekin.

The community of Glade is worth a visit not only for its beach but for its waterfall too. (You can find more information about that in our story “Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Castlegar.“) Glade is located 19 kilometres north of Castlegar on Highway 3 towards Nelson but requires a free, three-minute cable ferry ride across the Kootenay River in order to access it. Once you depart the ferry, turn left at the first intersection and follow the pavement until it becomes a dirt road. This will take you to the shoreline where you’ll find a beautiful sandy beach that welcomes everyone, including dogs. It’s a great place to swim, fish and just take in the views. It should be noted that depending on the water levels of the Kootenay River, there can be a lot, or a little, bit of beach to play on.