Summer is easily one of my all-time favorite seasons, mainly because I know it means I’ll get a few days at the beach.

Last year, while living in Toronto, I wasn’t so sure that I’d get the same quality beach time that I’d enjoyed growing up stateside.

I’ve always associated Canada more with cold weather and snow, than with sandy beaches and summer fun. 

Thankfully, with a little research, I found out that I could get my summer beach fun in at multiple beaches across Ontario.

It honestly blew me away by how nice some of these spots are and how wonderful Canada actually is during the summer.

In fact, I loved it so much that I’m hoping to spend at least a month one summer soon chilling in the Canadian sun again. 

Below you’ll find everything you want to know about the best beaches in Ontario to get in some summer fun in the sun!


1. Sauble Beach


Are you looking for inviting sandy beaches, sparkly blue water, plenty of waves, and a main strip of shops and restaurants? 

Then you want to go to Sauble Beach on the Bruce Peninsula along the shoreline of Lake Huron. It’s about a three-hour drive northeast from Toronto.

In addition to swimming, it’s a popular spot for beach volleyball, jet skiing, paddle boarding, and kiteboarding. 

It’s easy to spend an entire day enjoying the water, summer favorites like ice cream, and shopping.

The beach gets really crowded most weekends, so arrive early or plan a weekday trip to avoid crowds.



2. Wasaga Beach


About an hour and a half from Toronto, you’ll find the longest freshwater beach in the world, more commonly known as Wasaga Beach.

They divided the beachfront into multiple sections. The first two are the busiest, and near the boardwalk. You’ll be able to easily find restaurants and shopping to break up your time in the sunshine.

Head to sections three through six if you want a more low-key beach day. You’ll find yourself on more isolated sands, giving you plenty of quiet time to enjoy an excellent book or a nice afternoon nap.

If you’re visiting on a Tuesday, swing by the Wasaga Beach Market for some delicious homemade pastries, fresh produce, and adorable crafts stands. It’s the perfect place to stock up on items for a beach picnic.



3. Killbear Provincial Park



Drive three hours north from Toronto and you’ll hit Killbear Provincial Park.

Since it’s one of the most popular provincial parks in Ontario, it’s one of the best spots for a camping trip.

The beach has both rocky and sandy stretches and gets plenty of wind for sailing and windsurfing.

They also have excellent hiking paths that both birdwatchers and biking enthusiasts love.



4. Woodbine Beach


Known to locals at “The Beaches”, this is one of the most popular spots for locals to catch some rays during the summer. 

It’s about a twenty-minute drive from downtown and a welcome relief from the chaos of the city. 

While I was in Toronto, this was one of my favorite beaches to escape to. With its boardwalk, multiple volleyball courts, and nearby shopping on Queen Street, it’s the perfect spot to spend the entire day exploring.



5. Sandbanks Provincial Park


On the shores of Lake Ontario, about two-and-a-half hours outside of Toronto, in Prince Edward County, you’ll find Sandbanks Provincial Park.

There are three beaches in the park. Dunes Beach, which basically has a bunch of sand dunes. Outlet Beach, which has shallow swimming areas perfect for children. And Sandbanks Beach, which is the most low-key stretch of beach and my favorite, because it’s not as crowded as the others.

Sandbanks has camping sites, hiking trails, boating,canoeing, and swimming.



6. Pancake Bay Provincial Park


To find Pancake Bay Provincial Park also on Lake Superior, just drive eight-hours down the Trans-Canadian highway from Toronto. 

If you don’t love the long drive time, just hop on a flight. With connections, you’re looking at a much more do-able three and a half hours of travel.

They have two beaches, including one that’s specifically for dogs. 

Full disclosure, I don’t have a dog. I love going to dog beaches because I get to make friends with all the adorable little pups.

If hanging with dogs isn’t your thing, head to the non-dog beach, hit the hiking trails, go biking, or canoeing.



7. Agawa Bay


If you’re looking for a proper weekend road trip from Toronto, head about nine-hours north west to Agawa Bay

You’ll find this beautiful sand beach on the edge of Lake Superior. It’s got stunning sunsets, beautiful blue water, and cliffs for the more adventurous to jump into the water from. 

There’s also world-class hiking, canoeing, boating, and fishing.

Depending on how outdoorsy you are, you can either pitch a tent at the campground, or head down the road to Best Northern Motel.



 8. Toronto Islands Beaches


The beaches on Toronto Islands are some of my favorites to spend my summer days lounging around at.

You’ll take a charming 15-minute ferry ride from the city over to the picturesque islands. 

From there, you can wander around beautiful gardens, go bike riding, and even hit up an amusement park, besides getting in quality beach time. 

Lake Ontario has the perfect water for paddle boarding, kayaking, and swimming. If you really want to let loose, the islands even have a dedicated nude beach on Hanlan’s Point.



9.  Grand Bend


Grand Bend has parasailing, wakeboarding, tubing, and of course, plenty of swimming.

Plus, it’s got twenty-five miles of sandy beaches along Lake Huron. 

For a chill beach day, head to South Beach. It’s always quiet and perfect for a low key afternoon of sun.

If you’re in the mood for a more social day in the sand, hit up Main Beach. 

It takes about two-and-a-half hours driving from Toronto to find Grand Bend.



10. Indian Head Cove, Bruce Peninsula NP


The beautiful blue waters of Indian Head Cove will have you thinking you’ve wound up in the Caribbean. 

They’ve got plenty of cliffs to dive off of, wonderful snorkelling conditions, tour boats, and hiking trails. 

I’m a big fan of bringing an evening picnic to the beach to enjoy while the sun is setting. You’ll see some pretty spectacular colors in the sky from this spot. 

The beach is fairly rocky, so bring an extra thick soft towel or blanket that will give you a bit of extra padding.

You’ll just have to drive about 3 and a half hours from Toronto to the edge of Lake Huron to make this dreamy beach vacation a reality.

Local’s Tip: This beach fills up so fast that they recommend making a parking reservation to visit during peak seasons.




11. Port Dover



Head to the shores of Lake Erie to enjoy the beautiful Port Dover beach. It’s a quick hour and half drive from Toronto, making it a simple day trip.

You’ll find lots of patios dining along the shore, swimming, boating, a pier, sandy beaches and even some palm trees to lie under. 

Parking can be a bit of hassle during the high season, so arrive early to score a prime spot.



12. Southampton


About three hours northwest of Toronto, you’ll find the serene sandy beaches of Southampton

The beach is clean and the water is relatively shallow with some waves. 

Even though the beach is sand, there are quite a few rocks once you get into the water. Bring some water shoes to protect your feet if you plan on spending a lot of time in the water.

You can walk down the Pinafore Boardwalk where you can find a bench to read on, or a spot to enjoy a beautiful sunset. 

There are also plenty of cafes, restaurants, and boutiques along the main strip to cool off in.



13. Crystal Beach


Crystal Beach, known as Bay Beach to some locals, is a cute and quiet little spot to spend the day enjoying the outdoors. 

Named after its crystal clear water, this stretch of sand on Lake Erie is a solid day trip option from Toronto. It’s in Fort Erie, which is only about an hour and a half drive away from the city. 

Besides its crystal clear waters, it’s got soft sandy beaches and beautiful rental cottages.

Fair warning, they charge a small fee to get onto the beach, and they go through all your bags, including checking water bottles for alcohol.



14. Awenda Provincial Park


For uncrowded beaches and beautiful views of Giant’s Tomb Island, head two-hours north of Toronto to Awenda Provincial Park

You’ll find super clean beaches, beautiful hiking trails, and clear calm waters.

Besides swimming, they have cycling, fishing, canoeing, and camping available.

There are four different beaches to choose from. Naturally, I go straight to the dog beach to hang out with other people’s adorable pups.

There’s also a rocky beach that’s great if you’re looking to do some rock jumping or diving. A little laguna that’s got calm, warm water to wade in. And one that takes an hour and a half to hike to that’s on the edge of the forest. This one is the cleanest, unique, and totally worth the hike. 

Just be aware that multiple people have commented that they don’t have the best cell service here. So be ready to go off the grid while you’re visiting.



15. Sugar Beach, Toronto


Sugar Beach was one of my weekly go-to’s during the summer I lived in Toronto. 

It’s an urban beach that’s across from Redpath Sugar Refinery

It’s a brilliant spot with a beautiful view of Lake Ontario and plenty of permanent umbrellas available to sit under. They’ve even brought in sand to make it feel extra beachy.

Since it was down the block from the Airbnb I was staying in, I was there basically any time the weather was nice.

Grab a spot and settle in with a book for the perfect afternoon staycation.



16. St. Mary’s Quarry


This old quarry is less than a two hours’ drive west of Toronto. It’s the perfect spot for a day of swimming and fun in the sun. 

The beach is fairly small, but they more than make up for it with all the activities available. 

This place has a diving ledge, water trampoline, paddle boarding, and a water slide!

Full disclosure, I’m dying to check out the water trampoline. St. Mary’s Quarry is at the top of my summer fun list the next time I’m in Canada.


Final Thoughts

BEST BEACHES IN ONTARIO SUGAR BEACH TORONTO 2

I must admit that I’m completely amped for some summer fun in the sun after writing this. 

Canada is way more than the stereotypical winter skiing destination that some American’s seem to write it off as. 

I should know, since I used to be one of them.

Trust me, you’d be wise to spend a summer vacation hitting up some of these gems. 

I’m already planning on using some old flight credits to hit up the area again this summer (assuming borders open up by then).

Let me know in the comments below which spot you’re most looking forward to enjoying this summer!

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