Most of us can agree that this summer is unlike any other in recent memory. COVID has forced us to rethink our routines, pastimes, and general habits. We have cancelled travel plans, learned to eat at home more, and shrunk our social circles in the interest of safety. However, Hamilton is slowly recovering from the effects of the pandemic, and there are still plenty of long, sun-soaked days ahead for us to enjoy.
As we approach “Phase 3” of Ontario’s reopening plans, here are five places for outdoor activities that families can visit safely while making some great summer memories together.
Binbrook Conservation Area– 5050 Harrison Rd, Binbrook, ON L0R 1C0
One of four flagship properties of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, and within a 30-minute drive of just about any starting point in Hamilton, Binbrook offers fun on Lake Niapenco– the largest inland lake in the Niagara district- as well as a splashpad, picnic areas, and volleyball courts. You are welcome to bring your own non-motorized watercraft, although rentals are not being offered yet. Fishing enthusiasts can cast a line from the shore or pier. (Make sure to get the appropriate fishing license or Outdoors Card. Click here for more info. )
Pier 4 Park – 64 Leander Dr, Hamilton, ON L8L 1N6
This man made beach on the Hamilton Harbour at the city’s west end is a great place to spend a day, or even a couple of hours swimming, fishing (see above for licensing info), biking, or walking along the waterfront trail.
The popular Tugboat play structure is still closed, but you may still enjoy taking some pictures for posterity!
Ball’s Falls – 3292 Sixth Avenue, Lincoln, ON L0R 1S0
Located in Twenty Valley, less than an hour’s drive from Hamilton, and named after the Ball brothers who operated mills in the area, this beautiful conservation area offers the opportunity to admire the waterfalls and lush greenery, and to enjoy a hike or a picnic. If you’re feeling up to it, it’s a perfect spot to sneak in a little education for kids who have been away from the classroom since March Break. Some Heritage Buildings are open to visitors now, and there are even some day camps available. If you are interested in any of these activities, check before you go to see what’s open.
Confederation Beach Park – 680 Van Wagners Beach Road, Hamilton, ON, L8E 3L8
Locals have always loved summer days by the shores of Lake Ontario. Though the splash pad is still closed, the Lakeland Pool is reportedly now open, as is the beloved sandy beach.
Activities at Adventure Village are a highlight of a day at Confederation Park. All activities are open as of mid-July, 2020, except for the bungee trampoline and the rock climbing wall. Masks are mandatory throughout the park.
Royal Botanical Gardens – 680 Plains Road West, on the border of Burlington and Hamilton
- All the outdoor gardens and trails are open. This includes Hendrie Park, David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden, Laking Garden and the Arboretum. Sprawling over 2700 acres in Burlington and Hamilton, the RBG is a local gem that is in a constant state of change as the seasons progress. If you are looking for a quiet stroll and an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature, you must treat yourself to a walk through one or more of the showcased and perfectly maintained gardens. To see what’s in bloom before you go, take a peek at the RBG Instagram page.
What are some of your favourite day trips in the area?