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Parks & Conservation Areas

Kingston has an abundance of parks, gardens and recreational areas where individuals and families can relax and participate in many different leisure activities all year round, including walking and cycling. Most residential neighbourhoods in Kingston were designed around parks and green spaces for use by children and families.

Many parks are equipped with playground equipment for toddlers and older children. Most elementary schools in Kingston also have outdoor playground equipment and green areas, such as soccer fields, which are often in use by children before, during and after school.

NOTE: There is no charge to use city parks and recreation areas. Conservation areas and provincial and federal parks, however, usually charge modest fees for day and overnight use.

City Parks & Beaches

Five city parks — Rotary Park, MacLean Trail Park, Meadowbrook Park, the Memorial Centre and Grass Creek Park — have designated permanent off-leash areas for dog owners to exercise their pets without leashes or other restraints. See also Pet Ownership in Kingston.

During the summer, the city operates wading pools and splash pads in a number of municipal parks where children can play and stay cool (see For More Information links below). There are also a number of beaches, some of which are used for swimming while others provide access to the water for parasailing or other water sports during the summer months. Some of the beaches also have change room facilities. Beaches especially suitable for swimmers are:

  • Grass Creek Park on Highway 2, a 20-minute drive from downtown Kingston
  • Richardson Beach in Macdonald Park (next to City Park), about a 10-minute walk from downtown Kingston
  • Lake Ontario Park, a 10-minute drive from downtown Kingston
  • Arrowhead Beach Recreation Area, near the military base
  • Crerar Park, near the Kingston Airport

One of the largest and oldest parks in Kingston is City Park. Located a few blocks from the downtown, City Park is criss-crossed by paved walking and biking trails. It also has a large baseball diamond, soccer fields, a children's playground and splash pad, gardens, picnic tables, and a number of historical statues and war memorials. For historical reasons the baseball diamond in this park is called the Cricket Field, but it is not used to play cricket. There are plans to add an actual cricket field to the Memorial Centre’s grounds as early as 2015.

Kingston's waterfront provides a wide variety of recreational opportunities both on and off the water. Confederation Park and Flora MacDonald Basin in front of City Hall are popular with boaters and visitors. Breakwater Park is also popular for its unparalleled view of Lake Ontario and as part of Kingston’s eight-kilometre-long (five mile) waterfront pathway.

Conservation Areas & Other Parks

Kingston is also home to two large conservation areas that offer different types of recreational opportunities, depending on the season.

  • Lemoine Point Conservation Area, about 20 minutes from downtown Kingston (no fee for use)
  • Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, located two kilometres north of Highway 401 on the north side of Kingston

Kingston is less than an hour's drive from a number of provincial parks and recreational areas, as well as some federal ones. Overnight camping, boating, swimming, and hiking are popular in the warm weather. Cross-country skiing, ice skating and winter camping are favourite cold-weather activities.

It's important to dress appropriately when planning an outdoor recreational activity during the winter. You should dress in layers, wear a warm hat and gloves, and bring extra food and water to prevent dehydration.

For More Information

Parks & Trails
City parks and trails available for public use listed by type: area parks — which are large-area multi-use parks; walking trails — some of which are internal to Kingston, while others pass through; and specialty parks — offleash dog parks and skateboard parks. There is also a city parks map that provides an overview of all the city parks.

Kingston’s Waterfront Pathway
An eight-kilometre (five-mile) path follows Kingston’s waterfront that takes about two hours to walk from end to end. Trail access points, including which ones have accessible parking and pathway access, are listed. There is also a downloadable brochure with a map available.

Trails-at-a-Glance
Maps and information about recreational trails in the Kingston area that are good for hiking, biking, snowshoeing, skiing and other recreational activities. Includes links to conservation areas, provincial parks, urban trails, trans-Canada trail, waterfront trails and on- and off-road trails. Also has a downloadable Kingston Cycle Map of in-city cycling routes.

Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area
This large conservation area in north Kingston is a popular year-round recreation area, offering skating, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, canoeing and other activities. Regular programs and events are also offered including the annual spring Maple Madness event and summer day camps for children over six years old. There is an entry fee for use.

Lemoine Point Conservation Area
A heavily used and very popular large forested conservation area in the west end of Kingston. It offers a wide variety of recreational activities, including picnicking, swimming, hiking, cross-country skiing and opportunities for wildlife viewing. There is no fee for use.

Frontenac Provincial Park
A 30-min drive away from Kingston, this large provincial park and recreation area features year-round backcountry camping, over 100 kilometres of looped hiking trails, canoe routes through 22 lakes, swimming, fishing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, wilderness skills training and many other activities. Park information is also available on Twitter and Pinterest.

Charleston Lake
About an hour’s drive away from Kingston, Charleston Lake Provincial Park has overnight camping, swimming, hiking, skiing, boating and other recreational opportunities. Park information is also available on Twitter and Pinterest.

Rideau Waterway Land Trust
A charitable organization that works to preserve land and natural habitat along the Rideau Corridor linking Kingston to Canada’s capital city of Ottawa.

St. Lawrence Parks Commission
The St. Lawrence Parks Commission manages recreational areas from Kingston to near the Quebec border. Includes links to Kingston’s Fort Henry, Upper Canada Village and the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Includes details on camping, beach and picnic areas as well as special events. The commission is also available on Facebook and has videos on the parks and various events on YouTube.

Ontario Parks
Information about provincial parks in Ontario, including location, events, fees, operating dates, seasonal passes, activities for children, and park accommodations. Online registration is available. Also available on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Videos showcasing the various parks are available on YouTube.

What outdoor activities are available?
Information about the different types of parks in Ontario, how to find out about recreational opportunities and types of activities offered, such as hiking, camping, cross-country skiing and canoeing. Available in Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), French, Gujarati, Pilipino (Tagalog), Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tamil, and Urdu.

Hike Ontario
A guide to hiking and walking information and services in Ontario.

The Cold Facts on Hypothermia — Canada Safety Council
An explanation of hypothermia: includes lists of standard symptoms and precautions, and what to do if you suspect hypothermia. Also includes basic tips on how to take part safely in everyday and recreational outdoor activities in a Canadian winter. Also available on Facebook and Twitter.

Map Gallery — City of Kingston
More than 140 maps of trails, arenas, outdoor rinks, parks, electoral districts, neighbourhoods and other features of Kingston, many of them interactive. Also includes specialty historical maps, a downloadable Street Atlas, and a Data Catalogue of available datasets.

Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour
A community organization focused on the enhancement, stewardship and preservation of Kingston’s Inner Harbour waterfront. Includes information about the association, it’s initiatives — such as creation of the Inner Harbour Heritage Trail, heritage preservation and historical tours — community events, how to become involved, a photo gallery, links, and contact information.

Barriefield Village Association — A Heritage Conservation District
Information on Barriefield Village – a unique heritage conservation district — including maps, a gallery, and a listing of various heritage homes and sites. News, links and contact information for the association — which aims to protect the original heritage of the district, are also provided.

Wildlife
City information on how to deal with wildlife encounters such as bats in your home; dead animals; being bitten or having direct contact with wildlife, bears; and other situations.

Climate Action Tool Kit
A City of Kingston resource highlighting actions that people can take to help Kingston reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase our climate resilience. Includes suggestions on how to save energy and be more sustainable both at home and the workplace through food, transportation, and energy choices. General information is also included, as are useful tools to help measure energy use and GHG emissions from a variety of everyday sources. This toolkit was developed as part of the community-built Kingston Climate Action Plan.

Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority
Kingston’s local conservation authority manages seven developed conservation areas located both in and around Kingston. These areas offer hiking trails, picnic areas, and other amenities, including summer and winter programming and activities. Also available on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, with a selection of videos featuring the conservation areas on YouTube.

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