It’s summer! That long-awaited season in Edmonton that we dream of during our eight months of winter! Okay, so that is an exaggeration – a very slight one – but for a city that can easily boast more than a foot of snowfall in November and December (each month) the return of the hot summer day is a welcome one.

That is, until we are parched with thirst and our skin is slathered in sunscreen.

Fear not – there are many ways to enjoy the heat while keeping your cool. Here are just a few of them.

How to cool down in edmonton

Alberta Beach: At 60 kilometres west of the city, it’s about an hour’s drive but Alberta Beach is worth it. There is a residency of about 865 people, but during the summer this little village attracts an average of 3,000 visitors. While the few shops and small restaurants will keep you in bottled water and ice cream, you’ll want to spend most of your time here enjoying the beautiful shore and the shallow water. It’s a great place for families with kids to hang out during the dog days of summer.

Hasse Lake: Want to try your hand at a little fishing? Have a nice place to walk the dogs? Ramble on trails or go boating? Then head down to Hasse Lake. Located in Parkland County, the 3 kilometre loop of trails winds through the trees, giving you ample shade. Swimming in this lake is not recommended, but the nice breeze on the expansive dock as you fish or practice your photography will keep you cool. Keep your eye on the island in the centre of the lake. Herons have been known to hang out there in groups.

Wabamun Lake: Who says you have to fly south to get a good beach? If its sand you’re after, you’ll be shaking your shoes out for hours when you spend the day at Wabamun Lake. A large lake, it’s a popular spot for group hangouts, family reunions, hikers, boaters, fishermen, bird watchers and swimmers. This is another family favourite location, so come early to save your spot on the beach.

West Edmonton Mall: What’s a mall doing on a list of cool places to beat the heat? Well, not everyone likes hanging out in the sun, so if you have a hot day with nothing to do, what’s cooler than the 800 air conditioned stores at West Edmonton Mall? When you get tired of shopping you can go for a dip in the massive water park or rest up in the theatre. There’s so much to do, you can easily spend a few days here having fun out of the sun.

Telus World of Science: Fight the summer brain drain by heading to Telus World of Science. Here fun, interactive exhibits and films will keep you entertained and learning all summer long. The grounds are beautifully manicured with trails and picnic areas for an outdoor lunch, but when the sun beats down at midday, you can be tucked inside the science garage, the robotics lab, Discoveryland or Space Place. If you stay until the sun goes down, you can check out the stars with the huge telescopes in the observatory.

The summer is hot and we like it that way, but when it’s time to cool down, there is no shortages of fun, family-focused and educational ways to beat the heat in and around Edmonton.