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Ma-Me-O Beach

August 24, 2010

Last summer I googled “best beach day trip from Edmonton with kids” and received the suggestion “Tulum, Mexico.”

Um. I’ve been there. It’s so lovely. But not so much a day trip.

So we just had to answer that question ourselves by doing an extensive tour of Alberta’s Redneck Riviera with our babies in tow. 

And now I feel obligated to tell the people, with all the authority I can muster in this floppy sunhat — the BEST beach day trip from Edmonton with small kids is to Ma-Me-O Beach, Alberta.

Oh Ma-Me-O! Let us sing your praises…

Ma-Me-O is about an hour’s drive southwest of Edmonton.

A lovely drive.

A country drive.

A lovely summertime country drive.

You’ll see cows and horses and hawks and wildflowers and coyotes and wispy clouds and, of course, fields of canola screaming YELLOW!


You can leave your portable DVD player at home. It’s the kind of drive that’s fun with kids because it’s not long enough for them to get bored and there’s a lot to see.

Ma-Me-O is on the south side of Pigeon Lake. Head South of Edmonton on Highway 2 and then exit onto Highway 13, following the signs.

Look for the main entrance to the beach. There are change rooms, bathrooms, a water fountain, and ice cream and hotdog stands at peak times there. Park your vehicle on the road. Hoof your stuff to the beach and look for a place to spread your blankie.

Ma-Me-O is a real beach. With real sand. Lots of sand.

You can lie about soaking up the rays…

Or, you can muck about in the water.

The wee ones are pretty fond of mucking about in the water. 

The reason Ma-Me-O is awesome for small kids is because the lake is very shallow for a long ways and there are lots of sandbars to play on.

They will happily relocate buckets of sand and water and little sticks for hours while you kick-back and soak up some “D”.

Yes, there is someone within arms reach of the chilluns in these photos. He’s been cropped out, though, because he’s shy to appear on the internets in his itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny-yellow-polka-dot bikini.

You’re welcome.

We suggest leaving just before the weather turns afoul or as the kids begin passing out. I suppose some responsible parents might choose to leave before their children collapse. Do whatever floats your boat, but remember to save enough energy to haul everyone and everything back to the car. The kids will surely have to be dragged away.

Don’t forget your floppy hat.

If you are interested in an alternate route back home or in pie, Papa Flurfel, who is always interested in both alternate routes and pie, suggests driving the 795 back. Then you can stop here:

The Pipestone 795 Café is a very fine place for pie.

If Gus had opposable thumbs, he would give Ma-Me-O two thumbs down for their “No Dogs Allowed” policy. We left him in the backyard. Otherwise he’d a been tortured by the heat and the number of balls and frisbees whizzing about in the water that he wouldn’t be allowed to chase.

The rest of us give Ma-Me-O beach a hearty 5 Flurfel rating.

“Awesome daytrip. Do it.” Mama Flurfel

“Beauty day. Just magical.” Papa Flurfel

“Ma-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-buh!” Baby Flurfel (She means, “Take me to the beach again soon.”)

“Me!” Toddler Flurfel (He means, “What an enriching experience that was!”)

“Good.” Big Sister Flurfel (She means, “Leave me alone, I’m playing with my Littlest Pet Shops. Now is not the time for reflection.”)

You maybe think I am tormenting you with all this beach talk now, during the end parts of August, post-Fringe, while Alberta’s brief summer is so quickly hurling towards fall. But one of our favourite beach days EVER, up there with that day we spent at Tulum, Mexico, was Ma-Me-O on a hot (32 degrees C!) Indian Summer day in mid-September. Oh, sweet Ma-Me-O! 

Our beach season is not long, but it is lovely, so go beach while the beaching is good!

The Flurfels

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura Barakeris permalink
    August 24, 2010 5:56 pm

    Nice to know! We’ve never been there, just driven by and said the name over and over ( it is a cool name!). We also like Wizard Lake by Calmar (great beach and store, but yucky outhouses) and Long Island Lake by Dapp (great beach, adequate store, OK outhouses, a bit longer drive). We’ve also heard that Miquelon is very kid-friendly (i.e. shallow), but haven’t been there for years.
    Desperately hoping for more warm days. Summer went by too fast this year. Beautiful pics of your kidlets!

  2. August 24, 2010 6:59 pm

    Oh, I want to go there. Your family gets more gorgeous every day.

  3. fiona. permalink
    August 25, 2010 2:51 am

    We like to stop by the Eco Cafe at the Village at Pigeon Lake for some delicious food – they don’t mind if you’re sandy and the peanut butter cheesecake alone is worth the drive!

    • August 25, 2010 8:34 pm

      You always have the best foodie tips! I would defiantely be interested in a House of Slorton food blog.

  4. Jeanette Flesher permalink
    August 30, 2010 4:04 am

    Mam-e-o was our childhood beach when mom had The Tea Kettle Inn restaurant there for a couple of summers. It’s the perfect “kid’s beach”. I’m so glad you all had a chance to enjoy it.

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