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Best Beaches in Ontario | 40 Sandy Shores to Visit This Summer

best beaches in ontario

The best beaches in Ontario can be beautiful year-round, but it’s a complete shame not to enjoy them in the summer. With soft, sandy shores and clean, shallow waters, these Ontario beaches are ideal for anyone. 

Whether your goal is to get the kids (and maybe pets) out of the house for a day in the sun, or you’re wanting some ‘me-time with your newest summer read, there’s a ​​beach in Ontario waiting for you. As soon as the warmer temps arrive the first thing we do is take the top off the Jeep (RTO Speedwagon). The second is to start planning all the beaches we’ll be visiting.

When you see these amazing Ontario beaches with soft sand, clear turquoise waters, and lush greenery, you’ll forget all about the tropical islands. If you’re itching for some summer travel, why not plan an Ontario weekend getaway to one of the beaches on Lake Ontario or nearby.

If you’re itching for some summer travel, why not plan an Ontario weekend getaway to one of the beaches on Lake Ontario or nearby. We’ve put together a great list of beaches and listed them geographically based on Ontario’s Great Lakes and Bays.

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click and buy, we will make a commission (at no cost to you). See my full disclosure policy for more details.

Beautiful Beaches in Ontario

A day at the beach in Ontario offers stunning views and the best chance to soak up the summer sun. But where will you find the best Ontario beach destination? Here are some of the most beautiful beaches in Ontario that we recommend you explore.

Lake Ontario Beaches

Lake Ontario provides a splendid space dotted with fruit trees and flocks of birds spending their time in the surrounding parks. But the lake is also home to some amazing Ontario beaches where you can easily spend a day out with the family. 

Sugar Beach

This urban beach park on Toronto’s waterfront is manmade but still absolutely stunning. The name comes from the nearby sugar factory. 

To find Sugar Beach, simply head to the Toronto waterfront and look for the signature pink umbrellas. Then grab a free one, set out your blankets and picnics, and settle in for a relaxing day on the sand. There’s no better place to be in summer.

And one more thing: It’s not a beach for swimming. It’s meant to be used at the beach for mingling and relaxing.

several sun umbrellas and Adirondack chairs on the beach | best beaches in ontario

Woodbine Beach & The Beaches

Woodbine Beach in the area known as The Beaches is Toronto’s most popular public beach and is usually crowded on warm summer days. The beach is a long, curved, three-kilometre-long stretch of sand with Lifeguards on patrol typically from June until Labor Day. There are also outdoor showers and changing rooms available for free.

Aside from being known as one of the best beaches in Toronto and the plethora of activities taking place on and in the water, there is a wide wooden boardwalk with benches and a bike path for biking and rollerblading. It’s perfect for long walks on the beach, one of the most visited places to go for a walk in the city.

The boardwalk will take you to Kew Park and another one of Toronto’s best beaches, Kew/Balmy beach, before ending at the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant which is a pretty impressive building architecturally.

birds eye view of a sandy beach at the edge of a city | beaches in ontario

Kew-Balmy Beach

One of the smaller and more underrated beaches on Lake Ontario, Kew-Balmy Beach is ideal if you’re looking for a pet-friendly beach for the kids and dogs to run and play on. These are actually two much smaller beaches (Kew and Balmy).

With green gardens full of trees, leading onto sandy shores and swimmable waters, this is a summer paradise for all. There is plenty of history on the sands of these beaches, and the locals here work hard to preserve it. If it’s laidback and calming that you’re after, this is the perfect spot.

Just a short distance away from the beach is the bustling Beaches neighbourhood, which offers plenty of dining and entertainment options for visitors.

birds eye view of a sandy beach | ontario beaches

Bluffer’s Beach

This is the only beach along the Scarborough Bluffs in Toronto and it offers a number of facilities. These include parking, ice cream trucks, snack bars, fishing and picnic areas, and great swimming water. 

With the magnificent bluffs on one side and the luscious parklands on the other, this is definitely one of the best beaches in Ontario for a day out. Just be aware that it’s popular and might get a little crowded.

birds eye view of a sandy beach and pathway through a Toronto green space | best beaches in ontario for swimming

Toronto Islands’ Beaches

The beaches of the islands are only a 15-minute ferry ride away from Toronto’s hustle and bustle. Looking at the city from the island not only looks surreal it’s hard to process how peaceful the beach and islands are with the city in the background – knowing how loud the city can be 🙂

There are four main beaches on the Toronto Islands: Hanlan’s Point (the largest), Centre Island Beach, Gibraltar Park, and Ward’s Island. During the summer, all the beaches have lifeguards.

view of Toronto from Center Island | lake ontario beaches

Centre Island

Centre Island Beach is one of the most popular beaches and it’s the easiest beach to get to from Toronto. To get here, you just need to walk off the ferry and head toward the south side of the Island.

Its narrow, south-facing beach has light tan sand and is a pleasant spot to walk and lie in the sun. Offshore a large rock wall (breakwater) runs the length of this beach which ensures the area has almost no surf 

After having been at the beach all day, there’s a small concession stand selling snack foods, along with bathrooms and changing rooms. 

canoe in the water on a beach full of people | beautiful beaches in ontario

Hanlan’s Point Beach

The first thing you need to know about Hanlan’s Point Beach is that this is one of the few clothing-optional beaches in Ontario, so don’t be surprised when you arrive. The naturalist section is separated, though, so you can stick to the fully-clothed part of the beach too. 

But if you’re comfortable with nudity, the Blue Flag status and on-duty lifeguards make it a great beach. Simply take the ferry from the mainland and a short walk will have you on the sandy shore.

Gibraltar Point Beach

Gibraltar Point beach is located between Hanlan’s Point and Centre Island beaches and is an underappreciated gem of a beach. It’s surrounded by tall trees and has a beautiful view of the bay. 

The fact that across the road from the beach is the historical and haunted Gibraltar Point lighthouse is probably the main reason why people visit. All this to say that being an underrated beach can be a good thing if you crave peace and quiet.  

lighthouse visible through the trees | beach in ontario

Ward’s Island

Ward’s Island Beach is the closest beach to the Ferry Terminal and not quite as nice as the others. However, if you have this urge to be on a beach ASAP and want to get there quickly, it will work. 

woman standing on a sandy beach | sandy beach ontario
sandy beach with a few trees | sandy beach ontario

Cobourg Beach

Cobourg Beach is a great place to enjoy the sun and surf. It’s located at the end of Victoria Park, with plenty of room to spread out and relax, and offers one of the best beaches near Toronto for families to enjoy. The beach is surrounded by grassy lawns, with several picnic tables a splash pad and a couple of playgrounds for the kids. Further west along the waterfront, Cobourg‘s West Beach is a less crowded alternative with a mix of sand, pebbles and rocks. There’s a scenic boardwalk connecting Ontario Street to Hibernia Street.

Darlington Beach

Darlington Beach is a long stretch of sand located along the shore of Lake Ontario. There are many activities you can enjoy here, including hiking, picnicking, and visiting in the winter for some cross-country skiing. Darlington Beach is one of the top beaches in Ontario.

If you love nature, then you should definitely check out the beaches at Darlington Point Provincial Park. You can even go kayaking if you like! If you’re looking for something a bit closer to Toronto, there are plenty of other parks within driving distance. Make sure to reserve your day pass in advance by visiting the Ontario Parks website.

Sandbanks Provincial Park Beach

A visit to Sandbanks Provincial Park’s Sandbanks Beaches in Prince Edward County will allow you the chance to spend some time at any of the park’s 3 beaches. This park is located on the shores of Lake Ontario and is known for its impressive sand dunes that cascade down into the water. 

Choose from the long and often quiet Sandbanks Beach, the more family-friendly Outlet Beach, or the thrilling Dunes Beach. And why not make it an overnight visit and camp over in the park? 
Lastly, let’s not forget that Prince Edward County is one of the most popular wine destinations, and dinner in the city of Belleville is a short drive away!

Again be sure to reserve your day pass in advance by visiting the Ontario Parks website.

people with sun umbrellas and lawn chairs on a sandy beach | Sandbanks Beach

North Beach

A dear friend of Road Trip Ontario and Belleville native Kathryn from Kathryn Anywhere is not going to be happy that I’m sharing this secret. North Beach is Prince Edward County’s less busy alternative to Sandbanks. This provincial park offers a quieter beach day trip as the park straddling Lake Ontario and North Bay has two sides: 1,200 metres face Lake Ontario, while 800 metres face North Bay.

As we mentioned before: Underrated = fewer people

Lake Erie Beaches

Boasting shallow and warm waters, Lake Erie is a popular destination for families and groups of friends to enjoy a day out at one of the lake’s beaches. If you’re anywhere near this spectacular body of water, here are some of the top beaches to visit.

Port Dover

Port Dover is more commonly associated with the Friday the 13th motorcycle rallies, but it also has the only beach in Ontario that has palm trees.

Port Dover is a small town located on Lake Erie about an hour north of Toronto. It is a great place to visit during the summer months when there are fewer tourists around, with several restaurants and shops along the waterfront. The beaches are usually pretty empty except for the occasional family vacationing together, as the beach tends to attract older folks and young families.

Port Dover has been a beach destination in Ontario for centuries.

view from the pier into the water at sunset | nicest beaches in ontario

Turkey Point Beach

You’ll find the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure at Turkey Point Provincial Park’s beach. There are watersports available, with all gear and equipment rentals offered, as well as camping and swimming on offer here. 

The water is warm and shallow and there are plenty of sand bars scattered throughout the beach. Bring the little ones and prepare for a great day out. 

Port Stanley Beach

When it comes to sandy beaches in Ontario, Port Stanley Beach really shines. The beach has safe parking, and it’s wheelchair accessible. There are lifeguards on duty from late June until early September, and there are so many things to do nearby. 

Explore the historical town, go boating or kayaking, or simply laze on a towel and watch the crowds go by. There are also washroom facilities and a beach volleyball court.

Port Burwell Beach

One of the top beaches in Ontario, located on Lake Erie, Port Burwell is a favourite among locals and draws in a crowd of tourists too. The beach provides a long stretch of soft sand, volleyball nets, and shallow waters to splash around in. 

The designated dog beach makes it one of the best beaches in Ontario for families as the whole family, including the family dog, can play together freely. It includes both an on-leash and off-leash area to suit dogs of all ages, temperaments, and obedience levels.

Nearby, the historic lighthouse and marine museum also offer some entertainment for visitors. There are hiking trails too, for those who prefer to keep moving. And you can camp overnight in Port Burwell Provincial Park if you like.

trees growing along the sandy shore of a lake | beautiful beaches in ontario

Crystal Beach, Fort Erie

Also known as Bay Beach, Crystal Beach is found in the Town of Fort Erie and it’s a public beach, open to residents and visitors. Take note of the strict rules for anyone entering the beach, to keep everyone safe and having fun.

Crystal Beach has ‘crystal-like’ waters and it’s wheelchair accessible. The facilities at the beach are minimal, so be sure to pack a cooler and take all essentials with you.

Lake Huron Beaches

Lake Huron is a large body of water located in eastern Canada. It is the largest lake entirely within the boundaries of a single Canadian province (Ontario). Lake Huron is connected to Lake Michigan via the St. Clair River. The two lakes form the Great Lakes Basin.

Canatara Beach

Located inside ​​Sarnia’s Canatara Park, Canatara Beach is another of Ontario’s Blue Flag beaches. Here you will find a kilometre of sandy shore leading into the waters of Lake Huron. It’s a wheelchair-accessible beach offering tons of fun for all ages. 

Besides the gorgeous beach, you can also enjoy the lakeside park, stroll along the walking trails, and visit the animal farm. This sandy beach in Ontario makes a worthwhile weekend getaway from Toronto.

Grand Bend Beach

This Blue Flag beach is located in one of Canada’s best beach towns. Not only is Grand Bend an amazing beach spot, but there is also plenty of fun to be had off the sand. The town’s main strip offers numerous nightlife spots, as well as restaurants and shops. 

But the beach is definitely a highlight and rightfully earns its spot on this list of top beaches in Ontario. It has all the facilities needed for a full day out, including washrooms, adequate parking, concession stands, and even a playground.

group of people carrying a large water float | top beaches in ontario

Southampton Beach

If you’re looking for a quiet beach that is off the beaten path then Southhampton might be calling. It’s a place where you can walk for kilometres surrounded by peace and tranquillity while you gather your thoughts.

The beach is sandy with a mix of small rocks and pebbles and you move offshore so water shoes are recommended.

Just back from the beach, you’ll find the historical Pinafore Boardwalk, just a little ways back from the beach. It runs from High Street to Beach Street with benches placed along the way to allow you to rest and soak up the view.

Sauble Beach

Speak to any Toronto local and they will very likely tell you that this is one of the top beaches in the world, never mind just Ontario. This is because it once landed on this exact list compiled by the Toronto Star. 

The beach is the second longest freshwater beach in the world, boasting 7 kilometres of sandy shore. There’s space to swim, play volleyball, or enjoy one of the many watersports like kiteboarding. You’ll also find some of the best sunsets here.

The beach is well suited for summer visitors, with plenty of restaurants serving typical beach fare, from ice cream and other snacks to burgers and sandwiches. Its waters offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy water sports, including jet-skiing, kayaking, kiteboarding, stand-up paddle boarding etc.

road leading into Sauble Beach with a sign | sandy beaches in ontario

Bayfield Beach(s)

Bayfield Beach is located at the mouth of the Grand River. It’s a great place to spend time with family and friends. You can enjoy a picnic lunch while watching the kids play in the sand. There are plenty of activities available for all ages. If you’re looking for something different, check out the local art galleries, restaurants, and shops.

Pier Beach

Bayfield’s Main beach is located right beside the marina. It offers a lot of space for sunbathing and swimming. There are also many shops nearby. You can enjoy a nice walk along the pier or visit the historic village.

Howard Beach

Howard Beach aka The South Beach is a small, quiet neighbourhood beach located just south of Bayfields main beach. It is accessed via a stairway with about 80 steps to the sand.

Houston Heights Beach

Houston Heights Beach Park is located at the end of Pavilion Rd., just south of Bayfield. There is ample parking, a large picnic area with washrooms, a woodlot and a playground with swings for the kids. This secluded location offers easy access by way of a stairway approximately 85 steps down. This location is great if you’re looking for a quiet place to enjoy your family time.

Lake Superior Beaches

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in North America, covering about 1,300 square miles (3,400 km2) and reaching depths of nearly 2,000 feet (600 m). Its name comes from the Ojibwe word meaning “great water”.

Pancake Bay Provincial Park

This beach sits on Lake Superior, just north of the town of Sault Ste.Marie, Ontario. It is surrounded by beautiful forests and mountains. It is a great spot to relax and enjoy the scenery. There are picnic tables, washrooms, and a playground at the top of the hill.

At Pancake Bay, the waters of Lake Superior warm up to a comfortable level and allowing you could actually spend some time in the water. If the wind is light or offshore, this would be an ideal spot for stand-up paddling.

a collection of umbrellas and lounge chairs in the distance on the beach | best beaches in ontario

Agawa Bay Beach

One of the best beaches along the coast of Lake Superior is Agawa Bay. This is a particularly gorgeous spot for families looking for a family beach vacation.

Beautiful beaches with long stretches of amber-coloured sand and shallow, clear water. You might think you’re in the Caribbean as you stare out at the seemingly endless expanse of blue water stretching to distant islands and the horizon beyond from your beach chair.

If you want to enjoy an unforgettable experience in the park, go camping at the edge of the beach! With waterfront campsites, you can up your tent in the sand under big pines and fall asleep listening to the lake

We should note that the Agawa Canyon is one one to top fall drives that we recommend

Old Woman Bay Beach

The beach at Old Woman Bay has long been one of the most popular beaches in Canada. It’s located near the town of Sault Ste. Marie, which means it’s close to many lakes and rivers, making it a great place for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, and boating.

drift wood laying in grass by the beach | nice beaches in ontario

Georgian Bay

Wasaga Beach

This beach, situated at the southern end of Ontario’s Georgian Bay, is popular among locals and visitors alike during the summer months. This is largely due to the 14-kilometre-long sandy beach that provides enough space for the crowds of people who arrive here.

The waters are warm and shallow, making this the ideal beach for the whole family to swim. And with the surrounding mountains, you get some amazing views – especially during the sunset.

The beach is divided into six sections: Sections 1 and 2 are located in town and are backed with a boardwalk. Being close to town will give you quick access to all the restaurants, services and stores. 

As we mentioned in our things to do in Collingwood article (Collingwood a great town a short distance away) Wasaga Beach is considered a rite of passage for young adults and with its nightlife scene its get packed when school is out! We all have memories of partying on Wasaga Beach

a row of brightly coloured Adirondack chairs on the beach | best beaches in ontario

Awenda Provincial Park

Awenda is a provincial park located at the tip of Georgian Bay, about 30 minutes north of Midland. The park offers stunning views of the bay and its islands. Its beaches are uncrowded and provide great opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

Awenda Beach is a great place for dogs and their owners to enjoy the outdoors together. There are designated areas where you can let your dog run free and play in the sand. 

BTW: The best beach is at Methodist Point Bay and is sheltered from the wind and waves by the bay.

large rocks in the sand on the shore of a lake | beaches in ontario

Killbear Provincial Park

Killbear Beach is located near Parry Sound, Ontario. Unlike many other beaches around the area, these are small crescent shaped beaches surrounded by rocky cliffs. People like to go swimming at the beach, as well as the cliffs when the water is calm and clear.

Killbear Provincial Park is one of the most visited provincial parks in Ontario and offers seven campsites located in tall trees, all close to the lake.

Indian Head Cove & The Grotto, Bruce Peninsula NP

One of the most beautiful beaches is located in Bruce peninsula national park, near the town of Tobermory. It’s reached via an easy 30-minute hike through the forest. People come here to just lounge on the pebbles but there’s also some activity.

In this area you’ll find the Grotto, an underwater cave where you can swim through. Nearby, you’ll also find a natural arch called Natural Arch.

teal blue water by a rocky shoreline with forest | ontario beaches

Waubuno Beach

If you’re visiting Parry Sound in Ontario, you might hear locals talking about “New Town Beach,” but they’re actually meaning Waubuno Beach. This is yet another of the top public beaches in Ontario and it holds Blue Flag status. 

This beach offers a buoyed swimming area in the water, washroom facilities, free parking, and a snack bar. And for safety, lifeguards are on duty for the summer months. 

Balm Beach

You’ll find Balm Beach (in Tiny Beaches) a little farther up the Georgian Bay coastline from Wasaga Beach along. As mentioned earlier Wasaga Beach is quite popular and Balm Beach is a great alternative

Balm Beach is is one of the best beaches best beaches located along the Tiny Townships, 70km of coastline. That said some of the other beaches located in Tiny Township is: Bluewater Beach, Woodland Beach, Jackson Park, and Lafontaine Beach Park.

Best Beaches In Ontario For Unique Swimming & Sunsets

If you’re eager to dip your toes into Ontario’s clean and crisp waters, these beaches are ideal. Pack in your bathing suit, a picnic, and don’t forget a beach towel!

Elora Quarry

One of our favorite places is the adorable town of Elora. There are so many things to do in Elora from hiking the Elora Gorge, eating a fine meal after spa treatments at the Elora Mill, beer at the Elora Brewery and tubing down the Grand River. Let’s not forget about the Elora Quarry.

the Elora Quarry is an old stone quarry turned into a swimming hole, and swimming in the Quarry surround you with 40-foot-tall limestone cliffs. In addition. If the scenery wasn’t already amazing, there is a large sandy beach

That said, you’ll need to book  online in advance, and jumping off cliffs is not permitted.

lake surrounded by large rocky cliffs and forest | things to do in elora
sandy beach surrounded by forest | what to do in elora

Spine Beach

Found in Elliot Lake, Spine Beach is beautiful, clean, and completely safe for swimmers. There is a designated swimming area and lifeguards on duty from the end of June until the end of August. This is also a Blue Flag beach. 

Spine beach has a small walking trail that connects it to Spruce beach, which offers the same great quality water to swim in – so you practically get two beaches in one.

Pinery Provincial Park

Pinery Provincial Park in southwestern Ontario is one of the few remaining tracts of oak savanna in Canada. It’s also one the longest freshwater coastal dunes in the province and one of the best beaches near London, Ontario.

Pinery Provincial Park has both white sandy beaches and several beach areas along its length of sand.

Visit the Best Ontario Beaches Now

Whether you’re looking to spend the day suntanning on soft sandy beaches or go for a refreshing swim, the nicest beaches in Ontario are easy to find. Pile the family into the car and enjoy a stunning Ontario road trip to whichever of these seaside destinations you find the most appealing.

A beach Ontario getaway is arguably the best way to spend summer in this region. What could beat a day out in the sun, full of laughs, ice cream, and memories in the making? Not much, if you ask us. 

Don’t forget to pack in plenty of sunscreen and a beach umbrella, even if you’re seeking out the sun, it’s best to be safe.

three people on a stand-up paddle board at sunset | lake erie beaches

FAQs

What beach has the warmest water in Ontario?

If you’re looking for comfortably warm water or simply to extend the length of your beach season, several beaches could fit your criteria – but they all have one thing in common! If you’re searching for a beach along the shores of one of the great lakes, you should consider the beaches along Lake Erie. Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes, home to Port Dover, Port Burwell, Turkey Point, Long Point, Rock Point, Crystal Beach, and more.  

Are there any white-sand beaches in Ontario?

Are you searching for an epic beach vacation with beautiful blue waters and white-sand beaches? If so, you don’t necessarily need to leave the province. There are some beautiful beaches in our backyards with the beautiful white sand appearance that is often associated with tropical and distant vacation spots.

Depending on where you are and how far you wish to drive, we recommend checking out:

  • Agawa Bay Beach
  • Canatara Beach
  • Centre Island Beach
  • Cobourg Beach
  • Gibraltar Point Beach
  • Point Pelee National Park
  • Port Stanley Beach
  • Sauble Beach
  • Spruce Beach

Is your favourite beach not on the list? With so many amazing beach locations to visit in the province, there are sure to be beaches we didn’t include! Feel free to share your favourites in the comments section below.

Where is the longest beach in Ontario?

The longest freshwater beach in the world (let alone the province) is in Wasaga Beach, Ontario. This stunning sandy getaway stretches more than 14 kilometers along the shores of Georgian Bay, with beach areas. This beach welcomes over 2 million tourists annually, so it can be busy! There are eight beach areas, including one dog beach, three playgrounds, and two boat launches.

What should you pack for an enjoyable beach day?

Are you planning a fun beach day for yourself, your friends, spouse, children, or dog? Set yourself up for success by considering the following gear recommendations:

Most importantly, ensure that you can accommodate two key points – providing shade for everyone in your group and plenty of cool, fresh water to prevent dehydration.

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