You don’t have to fly far from home to revel in vacation-calibre sunbathing and watersports.
Partly bordered by four Great Lakes, Ontario is positively bursting with beaches to satisfy everyone, from the enthusiastic adventurer to the avid birdwatcher to the zealous sun worshipper. Here, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best to add to your bucket list. It might surprise you to find such beachy beauty so close to home!
1. Bluffer’s Park Beach LAKE ONTARIO
This large and shallow beach is nestled at the bottom of Toronto's stunning Scarborough Bluffs Escarpment. The 100,000-year-old ridge towers 300 feet above the coastline and stretches 15 kilometers wide—so when you swim, you can’t help but marvel at life as a speck on this massive, ancient planet. TORONTO.CA
2. Pancake Bay Beach LAKE SUPERIOR
Smooth, sugar-white sands meet turquoise waters at this 3.2-kilometre beach that calls to mind the Caribbean. Located in Pancake Bay Provincial Park, along the historic paddling route of the voyageurs, this extraordinary beach curves so deeply that beachgoers can catch both the sunrise and the sunset here—but the latter is what’s most celebrated. ONTARIOPARKS.COM/PARK/PANCAKEBAY
3. Long Point Beach LAKE ERIE
Beloved by families, birders and cyclists alike, Long Point is a 40-kilometre sandspit jutting into Lake Erie. It’s located in Ontario’s fourth-oldest provincial park, and is part of a World Biosphere Reserve that protects one of the largest bird- and waterfowl-migration areas in North America. Visit the 2.2-kilometre beach for its white sand, warm water, sweeping views— and feathered friends. ONTARIOPARKS.COM/PARK/LONGPOINT
4. Killbear Beaches GEORGIAN BAY
From forest hikes to breathtaking vistas, boardwalks through the woods, quaint campgrounds and wildlife habitats (including those of rattlesnakes and black bears), Killbear Provincial Park provides a quintessential cottagecountry backdrop to its four beautiful tree-lined beaches. Whether you’re looking for family fun, windsurfing and sailing, ample shade or a remote retreat, Killbear’s got the beach for you.
5. Agawa Bay Beach LAKE SUPERIOR
With crashing waves and a shore bordered by towering pines, this stretch of sand-and-rock beach, part of Lake Superior Provincial Park, boasts scenery that inspired the Group of Seven. That dramatic landscape also makes dipping your toes in the cold water worth it. If you’re here on a calm day, be sure to hike to the 35 sacred ancient rock pictographs. ONTARIOPARKS.COM/PARK/LAKESUPERIOR
6. Sauble Beach LAKE HURON
Warm, shallow waters and great castle-making sand make this massive freshwater beach a favourite for kids and parents alike. But there’s lots more to do here than just play on the shore. This is a perfect destination for an actionpacked getaway filled with beach volleyball, windsurfing, waterskiing and other watersports. Family reunion, anyone? SAUBLEBEACH.COM
7. Dunes Beach LAKE ONTARIO
Long and lush, Sandbanks Provincial Park is one of southern Ontario’s most popular beach destinations—so it’s often busy. For a calmer stretch of the Sandbanks shoreline, visit Dunes Beach. Protected by sand dunes, the water here is shallow, so you can count on it being warmer than other swimming areas. And after you get your fill of splashing around? Dig into wine and dinner in nearby Prince Edward County. ONTARIOPARKS.COM/PARK/SANDBANKS
8. Toronto Island Beaches LAKE ONTARIO
A short ferry ride from downtown Toronto, you’ll find an escape that feels uncannily far from the hustle and bustle of the big smoke. With restaurants, bike trails, a theme park, a lighthouse and stunning views of the city, there’s lots to explore, but the beaches are unmissable. Find the one that best suits your style, whether you’re looking for family fun (Centre Island), a quiet hidden gem (Gibraltar Point) or a nudist haven (Hanlan’s Point). TORONTOISLAND.COM
9. Wasaga Beach GEORGIAN BAY
The longest freshwater beach in the world, Wasaga is a retreat for fun-in-the-sun vacation days, with both quiet and action-packed areas along its 14-kilometre expanse. Restaurant- and barhop along the boardwalk, enjoy watersports (hydroflight?—Yes, please!), take a long evening walk or simply swim and sunbathe! WASAGABEACH.COM
10. Indian Head Cove Beach GEORGIAN BAY
Explorers, adventurers and photographers, rejoice! This spot on the Bruce Peninsula boasts crystal-clear waters, limestone cliffs and a grotto. Though it’s nothing short of stunning, it’s also not exactly a relaxing day at a sandy beach: The Georgian Bay water is icy cold, the shoreline is rocky (bring water shoes!), and it’s a half-hour hike to get here. But the experience? Unlike any other. PC.GC.CA/EN/PN-NP/ON/BRUCE