Summer time is here and that means pools and splash pads! Forster Park is a nice little neighbourhood park in Oakville with a good playground, splash pad, tennis court and washrooms. There are lots of nice tall trees, shade and a few picnic tables.
We’ve been to this park many times before but this was the first time our kids have ventured into a splash pad. Our previously splash pad hating children finally tried a splash pad!
I loved that the splash pad area was right next to the playground. We set up our blanket on the grassy area in the middle and then didn’t have to exert any energy moving around to different parts of the park 😊 It was a perfect spot for me to be lazy AND have a good view of my kids in each area of the playground.
If you are not quite ready to spend each weekend at a farm and want to head out to a good ol’ fashioned park before the weather turns, you might want to consider Lakeside Park in Oakville. We were pleasantly surprised by Lakeside Park, 6 years in Oakville and this was our first visit!
In our search for nice bike paths for young kids, I thought Lakeside Park and surrounding areas might be a good choice.
Lakeside Park is located at 2 Navy St. in Oakville, and as the name suggests, it’s right beside the lake.
Our Plan: Take the kid’s bikes; go for a short ride and then end up at the playground.
Our Reality: bike chain came off 30 seconds into the trip and we couldn’t get it back on. Kids saw the playground first and didn’t want to leave…so that’s where we spent our time.
There is nothing extraordinary about the playground here, regular swings, slides etc. but what made this a neat park were the small heritage buildings on site.
Oakville Historical buildings FREE to take a look
There are two historical buildings here. Oakville’s first post office and Thomas House (a farm house from 1829). Lakeside Park was not the original location for either; they were moved there by the Oakville Historical Society. https://www.facebook.com/OakvilleHistoricalSociety/
I had no idea these buildings were at the park and I was very excited to take a look! Both are FREE to go in (they are very tiny structures).
The post office has a staff member who can answer questions and provide you with information. There are also plaques along the wall with interesting facts (young kids won’t give a crap about these though J
But they do have a couple of small activities that kids might enjoy. Colouring pages and writing with a feather and ink. My kids really liked this and they seemed to be a natural at it!
A sandy beach with clear water, so close to home! If, like us, your trips to the beach usually include one of the non Lake Ontario popular destinations (Crystal, Dover, Wasaga etc) and you are looking for something a little closer to home, then you might want to give Bronte Beach a try.
Our family really enjoys the beach and we’ve visited Bronte Beach a couple of times in the past. I’m not quite sure why we forgot about it this summer – up until now – but perhaps it’s because I heard it was a victim of the 2017 summer flooding of Lake Ontario.
But as we were driving back home from Shell Park one day, I noticed a bunch of beach umbrellas so we decided to investigate….
Right in our own backyard
If you’re a fellow Oakville dweller then you’ll appreciate the closeness of this beach. I recently wrote about our trip to Valens Lake in Hamilton and thought that it was a fine place if your kids were just looking for a beach. If I compare these two places, on beach alone, I prefer Bronte Beach.
Bronte Beach is just west of Bronte Rd, south of Lakeshore Rd. W. off of W River St.
If you turn left into the driveway that leads to the beach (just off W River St.) you will get to an itsy bitsy teeny tiny parking lot. Don’t go there.
Instead, park in the little ‘park’ area just south of Lakeshore Rd W. When you turn left onto River St. it will be on your left. This is your best bet to find a parking spot. Learned that the hard way! All parking is free!
Nice Sand and Water and the fish were alive!
I didn’t see a single dead fish! 🙂 Seems like most of us have been conditioned to have an aversion to Lake Ontario beaches, but the water quality checked out and the beach area was nice. We saw schools of little fish near the shore, my son enjoyed trying to ‘catch’ them.
The water is clear and the temperature varies from ‘Canadian warm’ to freshly melted ice age glacier (as it was last weekend). Lots of people are swimming or wading in the water each time we’ve been there.
I decided to give Shell Park a try based on the description of the flower garden. This is a simple park, no extraordinary attractions here, but it was a decent area for my kids to practice riding their bikes.
It was a mostly pleasant drive across Lakeshore Rd. in Oakville to get to Shell Park (3307 Lakeshore Road West).
I say ‘mostly’ because, we were coming from the east along Lakeshore, meaning we pass Coronation Park.
Meaning my kids saw Coronation Park from the car window.
Meaning they wondered why we weren’t stopping where all the other kids were playing.
Meaning we had to listen to ‘no fair!…’ a hundred times as we drove to our destination. (Repeat the process on the way back home too…)
My kids are fairly new at bike riding so we were looking for a relatively safe, enclosed area for them to take a spin.
There weren’t any formal bike trails here, just a winding road that made it’s way around the different areas of the park. We were there on a hot summer Saturday afternoon and the park was pretty empty.
Although the speed limit was only 10k along the road, it would have been nice if there was a dedicated bike area.
I chose Tiffany Falls and Sherman Falls for a few reasons;
Easy access to the falls from the parking area (no long/difficult hiking with little ones and one of the paths is stroller friendly)
Easy to get to these falls from the highway and close proximity to each other
Free and almost free (Sherman Falls is free, Tiffany Falls was just 2 bucks for parking)
As I mentioned in my About page, my husband and I are originally west-coasters and we still love spending time there. We are always on the lookout for hikes and trails in the Halton area that come close to that beautiful scenery (not fair I know, but we still look!).
These 2 waterfall areas are pretty close to meeting that criteria!
First up – Tiffany Falls
I really liked the trail to the falls and I would definitely go back. I’ve seen some pics of this area in the winter and I think it would be a neat spot to check out when everything is frozen over.
Tiffany Falls is located near Wilson St. E. and Lower Lions Club Rd. in Hamilton. There is a very small parking lot and if you are coming north on Wilson St. E. there is not a lot of warning that it’s coming up.
The trail to the falls is really beautiful and stroller friendly. It is not perfectly flat and you will encounter a few spots with some rocks and uneven ground. When you arrive at the falls, there is a viewing platform with stairs, but everything before that should be easily navigated with a stroller.
I think it took us a leisurely 10-ish minutes to reach the falls from our parked car.
There are many reasons we like LaSalle Park in Burlington. In a nutshell – 6 bucks entertains our kids for a few hours! Specifically, a great wading pool, really nice nature trails with great scenery and a good playground.
LaSalle Park is located at Lasalle Park Rd and North Shore Blvd E.
There is no charge to get into the park , to use the playground or explore the trails. The wading pool has a small fee of $3.35 per child and parents don’t have to pay (bonus)!
Finally, a real wading pool!
My kids hate splash pads. Hate. Back in my day, wading pools were everywhere, but now, not so much. Bronte Provincial Park has a sort-of wading pool, but what I don’t like about that pool is that it starts out shallow and just gets deeper and deeper…
The LaSalle wading pool is a nice sized square pool that is shallow (only goes up to my knees!). There is a lifeguard on duty and even a small splash pad area for normal kids who like that sort of thing 😉
The small pool size + shallow water + lifeguard means us parents can sit back and relax a bit. We can let our kids wade in the pool without having to constantly be right beside them.
They even have some comfy chairs available for lounging – but they are very limited, so I recommend bringing your own folding lawn chairs. The deck around the edge of the pool is cement, but you are free to put a blanket down if you like.
I’m a shade lover, so there is a decent amount of shade from the umbrellas and the trees.
There are signs that say no food or drinks but I see lots of parents feeding their kids so I”m not sure if it’s fully enforced. Outside the pool area there are lots of areas to sit and have a picnic so that’s always an option as well.
Bathrooms – last year they had a portable thing inside the fenced area of the pool. We went there on opening day this year (2017) and it wasnt there. Not sure if it’s will be back, but if not there are bathrooms located at the gazebo/shelter.
The nature trails at LaSalle park are a nice little trek in the ‘woods’. Stroller friendly and very scenic. It usually takes us about 30 minutes to walk the trail. The trail is somewhat of a loop, starting at the main parking lot (if you are facing the playground, the start of the trail will be behind you).
The trail loops around and ends near the boat launch area. You can then walk up the hill (or the stairs) to get back to the shelter/pool area.