Best Beaches in Ontario To Visit in 2024

Best Beaches in Ontario To Visit in 2024

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Ontario is our home. We have camped, hiked, biked, and road-tripped the entire province. As travel bloggers, you would think we’d be living in one of the digital nomad hot spots like Mexico or Thailand, but Ontario will always be our forever home. We are close to the Great Lakes, provincial parks, iconic places like Niagara Falls and the CN Tower, and, of course, amazing beaches.

Canadians love the summer season; it’s cottage season, when we get out on the water to enjoy the long, hot days. Ontario beaches will surprise you with their soft white sand, warm water (in some places), and beautiful scenery. So, if you are planning a weekend getaway, here are some of the best beaches in Ontario to plan your vacation.

Best Ontario Beaches

best beaches in ontario wasaga signbest beaches in ontario wasaga sign

Ontario’s freshwater beaches are awesome. No worries about sharks or jellyfish here! With sand dunes and sand bars, clear waters, and sandy shores, visiting a beach area near you is one of the best things to do in Ontario in summer.

1. The Beaches – Toronto

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My grandmother used to live directly on Kew Beach. Her backyard was Kew Gardens, and when we used to visit, we went skating on the outdoor rink in the winter and played in the sand in the summer. I wish we bought that house when she finally moved into a condo! Anyway, I digress.

Toronto has absolutely beautiful beaches. There is an entire neighborhood in the city called “The Beaches.” Woodbine Beach and Kew Beach are two popular beaches connected by a long stretch of soft sand. Woodbine Beach is the best beach and gateway to Toronto’s beaches, which stretch 3 km along Lake Ontario.

There are several volleyball courts, so you can join a game or choose a beach volleyball court of your own. It has a bathing pavilion, showers, and foot wash stations, and even Donald D. Summerville Outdoor Olympic Pool, complete with 5 to 10-meter diving platforms. You can walk all the way through Kew Beach to Silver Kew Beach along the boardwalk or ride you bike along the Mark Goodman Trail.

If you are visiting Toronto in the summertime, make your way out to The Beaches for a day. There’s plenty of dining, art galleries, boutique shopping and even nightlife. It’s also home to the Beaches Jazz Festival for the month of July.

Where to stay near the beaches

There aren’t many hotel choices near the Beaches, but they are easily accessed by streetcar from downtown. If you want a waterfront feel, the Westin Harbour Castle is a great choice.

2. Wasaga Beach – Georgian Bay

best beaches in ontario wasaga beachbest beaches in ontario wasaga beach

Wasaga Beach is a very obvious choice for beaches in Ontario, but how can you not put it as number one? It holds a pretty spectacular title and is globally recognized as the world’s longest freshwater beach. It stretches over more than 14km of white sand shoreline and is a beloved site of a coastal dune ecosystem. We used to live up north (as we like to call cottage country in Ontario), and this was our go-to beach.

The warm, shallow waters are ideal for swimming and wading, especially for young children. The beach is divided into eight sections and has amenities such as washrooms, picnic areas, playgrounds, and ample parking.

Wasaga Beach is also a hub for outdoor lovers, providing opportunities for water sports such as jet skiing, paddleboarding, and windsurfing on Lake Huron. The surrounding area offers excellent hiking and cycling trails, including the Wasaga Beach Provincial Park trail system, which meanders through scenic dunes and forests. In the winter, the park transforms into a haven for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Where to Stay Near Wasaga Beach

Located about two hours north of Toronto, Wasaga Beach is easily accessible for a day trip or weekend getaway. Wasaga Beach is just 25 minutes from Blue Mountain / Collingwood. We suggest staying in Blue Mountain Village at Westin Trillium House for the perfect weekend getaway.

3. Agawa – Lake Superior

best beaches in ontario agawa beachbest beaches in ontario agawa beach

One of the more remote beaches in Ontario, Agawa Beach is the best beach for a remote escape. This pristine beach is located in Lake Superior Provincial Park. Stretching over a kilometer along the rugged shores of Lake Superior, Agawa Beach has crystal-clear waters, albeit chilly waters, soft sandy shores, and views of the surrounding cliffs and forested landscapes. Check out The Wild Coastal Trail of Pukaskwa National Park

It may look like the Caribbean, but be warned, the waters are cold, so you may want to dip your toes in before diving in.

Agawa Beach is also a haven for outdoor lovers who enjoy kayaking or canoeing along Lake Superior’s north shore. The nearby Agawa Rock Pictographs are a must-stop. Hiking trails like the Orphan Lake Trail and the Coastal Trail are popular stops. This is not your typical beach; it’s more of an outdoor lover’s playground seeking something different.

This beach is located a whopping 9 hours drive from Toronto, so you will want to make a weekend out of it. Stop in Sault Sault Ste. Marie for the night to enjoy some true northern hospitality and then continue driving along the Trans-Canada Highway for another 130 kilometers. This is the best road trip in Ontario, so it’s worth it, trust me!

Where to Stay near Agawa Beach

Naturally Superior Adventures is the place to book your weekend getaway on Lake Superior. Located near the town of Wawa, you can book kayaking tours, hiking trips, do some stand-up paddle boarding, or take part in a truly Canadian Canoe Trip.

4. Pancake Bay Provincial Park – Lake Superior

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I’ll never forget stopping at Pancake Bay Beach while driving the Circle Tour from Sault Ste. Marie through the USA. Lake Superior has a surprisingly sandy shore that can look a lot like a Caribbean Island—that is until you feel the water temperature. Read more: 12 Amazing things to see on the Slate Islands – Ontario

Stretching over 3 kilometers, it offers visitors a pristine and expansive sandy shoreline that is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing. Pancake Bay Beach provides a safe and enjoyable environment for families and swimmers of all ages. Although, it is cold.

The beach has various amenities, including clean washrooms, picnic areas with tables, and convenient parking facilities.

Pancake Bay Provincial Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering numerous recreational activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and canoeing. The park’s scenic hiking trails are like the Edmund Fitzgerald Lookout Trail. Check out: 21 Most Beautiful Canadian National Parks

Where to Stay

Located approximately 75 kilometers north of Sault Ste. Marie is easily accessible via the Trans-Canada Highway. You can stay in Sault Ste. Marie but we suggest Naturally Superior Adventures to combine a stay with adventure. The park offers a well-maintained campground, allowing for extended stays.

5. Sauble Beach – South Bruce Peninsula

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Ontario houses not one but two of the longest freshwater beaches in the world. Sauble Beach is the second-longest freshwater beach on earth, spanning 11km (7 miles) along the shores of Lake Huron. I’ll never forget Mom and Dad taking us on a road trip to this beach, which has a sandbar along its shores, so we could walk out for what felt like miles.

Its soft white sand is perfect for sunbathing and swimming in its clear, fresh water. With its shallow waters, Sauble Beach is popular for kiteboarding and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). Pack a picnic, play some beach volleyball at one of the beach volleyball courts, or simply build a sandcastle.

Where to Stay near Sauble Beach

Located 3 hours from Toronto, you will want to make a weekend out of visiting Sauble Beach. The Sands Hotel is the only upscale hotel in the area with a rooftop terrace overlooking the beach. However, Wiarton is only 20 minutes away, so you may want to make a base here, and you can explore Tobermory on a day trip as well. Read more: The Best Things to Do in Tobermory, Ontario

6. Grand Bend Beach – Grand Bend

best beaches in ontario grand bend on lake huronbest beaches in ontario grand bend on lake huron

I spent many summers at Grand Bend Beach because my parents had their cottage there. Grand Bend was definitely one of Ontario’s original beach towns, and during college and high school, everyone always made a road trip to beach destinations, with this being the top! I even performed at Huron Country Playhouse for a season.

There are two areas: the Main Beach and the quieter South Beach. Grand Bend is a small but mighty beach with about 1km of golden soft sand located on Lake Huron.

What makes it such a popular destination is the beach town in which it is located. Grand Bend has plenty of shops, restaurants, ice cream parlors, and outdoor patios lining the streets.

Amenities include shaded picnic areas, outdoor showers, paid parking, and even a lifeguard on duty during peak season. Water sports include jet skiing, paddleboarding, and windsurfing, and campers can enjoy staying at Pinery Provincial Park.

Where to Stay in Grand Bend

Oakwood Resort is an excellent choice for a weekend getaway located on an expansive parcel of land with a private beach. It has a wellness center, golf course and restaurant, so you can have a quiet retreat away from it all.

7. Sandbanks Dunes Beach – Prince Edward County

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Sandbanks Dunes Beach, located in Sandbanks Provincial Park on the shores of Lake Ontario, is one of the best beaches in Ontario, with its main beach stretching more than two kilometers with golden sand and majestic sand dunes that create a rolling natural landscape. Read more: Things to do in Prince Edward County, Ontario

The beach is known for its warm, shallow waters which is ideal for swimming and family-friendly water activities. Amenities include washrooms, picnic areas, and ample parking.

The beach also features designated areas for barbecuing and shaded spots perfect for relaxing with a picnic. Lifeguards are on duty during peak seasons to ensure a safe environment for all.

The surrounding Sandbanks Provincial Park has numerous hiking and cycling trails, there’s bird watching or you can go canoeing.

The nearby Outlet Beach offers even more opportunities for swimming and sunbathing, while West Lake provides an excellent spot for fishing and boating.

North Beach Provincial Park is also nearby. With its ribbon of sand slicing through Lake Ontario, it seems more like a beach from Mexico or Thailand. This was once a quiet beach, but now you need to book your day permit in advance. However, it is worth it to enjoy a day at the Beach. Visit Ontario Parks to plan your visit.

Where to Stay near Sandbanks Provincial Park

Located in Prince Edward County, Sandbanks Dunes Beach is approximately a two-hour drive from Toronto and just over an hour from Kingston. The Birch is just 8km from Sandbanks Provincial Park and has modern holiday homes for rent with refrigerators and coffee makers

8. Port Dover Beach – Port Dover

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Port Dover is a small beach overlooking a long pier with and white-and-red-painted lighthouse but it is one of the most popular beaches in Ontario, thanks to its lively downtown, famous hot tog stand and Friday 13th gatherings.

The waters are shallow, warm and calm thanks to being located in the bay sheltered by Long Point Provincial Park. You’ll find ice cream shops, restaurants, and shopping selling local handcrafts. We love this beach, we can cycle to it from our house!

Where to Stay in Port Dover

Port Dover sits on the north shore of Lake Erie and is just under two hours drive from Toronto. The Erie Beach Hotel is located right in the heart of all the action beside the Arbor and just one block from the beach and lighthouse.

9. Cobourg Beach

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Located just an hour’s drive east of Toronto and easily accessible via Highway 401, Cobourg Beach is a convenient and popular destination for a day trip or weekend getaway making it one of the more popular beach destinations in Ontario.

Visitors to Cobourg Beach can enjoy a range of amenities, including washrooms, outdoor showers, and picnic areas. IF you have kids, the beach is also equipped with playgrounds and splash pads. It is also home to a picturesque boardwalk and access to various shops, cafes, and restaurants. The nearby Cobourg Marina is a great spot for boating and sailing, while Victoria Park has green spaces for picnicking, concerts, and seasonal events like the annual Sandcastle Festival.

Cobourg is a great town for tourists, with plenty of its own attractions. You can visit the Northumberland County Archives and Museum, Sifton-Cook Heritage Centre, and the East Pierhead Lighthouse. It’s a fun place to wander around for a day, with enough to see to keep you occupied but small enough to do justice in just a few hours.

Where to Stay in Cobourg

The King George Inn is. located in the historic downtown, steps away from boutique shops and restaurants.

10. Port Stanley

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My sister lived in Port Stanley all her life, and we watched it grow from a sleeping fishing village to one of Ontario’s hot spots located on the shores of Lake Erie. The golden sand stretches for about half a kilometer. Have you noticed a trend that a lot of the best beaches in Ontario are located along the Great Lakes?

The town of Port Stanley is split in half by a river, joined by the iconic King George VI Lift Bridge (which you should aim to try to see in action although it drove me crazy when I visited her). And, as an extra tip, if you find the main beach too busy, head to Little Beach. This tiny beach is hidden away and much less well-known.

Port Stanley is a beautiful harbour village with fishing boats and a laid back atmosphere. It is a nice place to spend a day, and it has plenty of amenities, such as cafes and restaurants. And there is even a train that the whole family can hop aboard to enjoy a ride!

Where to Stay in Port Stanley

Inn on the Harbour is located on the Lake Erie waterfront with views of the lake and the village. Visitors can sit on the outdoor deck to take in the views at night and the air-conditioned rooms have a romantic fireplace.

11. Centre Island Beach

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If you want to escape the city, Centre Island Beach in the Toronto Islands is just a short ferry ride from downtown Toronto to the Toronto Islands of Lake Ontario. It is beautiful for sunbathing or planning a nice picnic. Dave and I had one of our first dates on Centre Island, where we enjoyed a picnic. There are several beaches on the Toronto Islands including a nude beach. Ooooh.

The soft sands are backed by greenery and hiking trails through woodland, which would give it a secluded feel if it wasn’t located in such a popular area. Instead, Centre Island Beach is a corner of solace in the whirlwind of excitement that is Centre Island.

You’ll find the Centreville Amusement Park, a hedge maze, and bike rentals. It’s where to head for a break from the city without actually having to invest much travel time. You just catch a scenic ferry from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal in central Toronto, which takes literally 15 minutes to reach Centre Island. From there, it’s a 15-minute walk top to Centre Island Beach.

Where to Stay

Chances are if you are making your way to Centre Island, you want to enjoy the best of Toronto. So, we suggest staying in the Entertainment district. The  Ritz Carlton is our go to luxury hotel. Or you can try the more affordable Strathcona Hotel located close to Union Station. 

12. Sugar Beach

We couldn’t go without mentioning Sugar Beach in a guide on the best beaches in Ontario. This urban Ontario beach is right in Toronto. Named after the nearby Redpath Sugar Factory, this once-industrial setting has turned into one of the trendiest beaches in the province. Read more: 50 Best Things to do in Toronto Canada

Sugar Beach is a white sand beach backed by glitzy glass skyscrapers and pink umbrellas. It comes with one caveat; no swimming. Of course, this does put the more active beachgoers off, who prefer to travel further and enjoy a swim or two. However, if you want a beach day purely to top up your tan, then Sugar Beach is great for you. It has beach chairs and loungers galore. It’s somewhere in the inner city where it’s socially acceptable to don swimwear and stretch out on a lounger to catch some vitamin D.

Where to Stay Near Sugar Beach

Located on Toronto’s Waterfront, you can really stay anywhere you like, but our top choice to be closest to it is Westin Harbour Castle. You can walk to the beach from here, and it’s one of our favorite hotels in the city.

13. Crystal Beach – Fort Erie

As you may guess, it coined its name from its “crystal clear” waters, and the beach is a top choice for anyone wanting a relaxing beach day. Crystal Beach’s shallow waters are dreamy for swimming and water sports, and the fact that it backs onto a friendly lakefront township is just an added bonus for a lovely day out.

Crystal Bay Beach, often referred to as just Bay Beach, is a narrow slither of white sand that opens straight out onto beautiful waters of a rich emerald green. The sand is soft and there are washroom facilities onsite. The only thing to note is that the beach charges an entry fee during peak times.

The town of Crystal Beach sits on Lake Erie, known for its warmer and shallow waters, and has some great cafes where you can get refreshments.

Where to Stay

Fort Erie is close to Niagara Falls and although you can stay in Fort Erie, We’d highly recommend combining a trip with Niagara and staying there. Our favorite hotels in Niagara include The Marriott Fallsview Hote, one of the best hotels for couples. Sheraton Fallsview Hotel has undergone a 50 million-dollar renovation and if you have kids it’s a good place to stay with its close proximity to Hershey’s, Clifton Hill, and the Waterpark

Best Beaches in Ontario

Ontario beaches are impressive; there’s no doubting that. Before you head off to your sandy beach of choice though, check out these quick FAQs. We’ll summarize everything we’ve covered and clear up any indecision you have.

What is the nicest beach in Ontario?

Sandbank Dunes Beach is a really stunning addition to the beaches in Ontario. The sand dunes aesthetic makes it stand out that extra bit more, winning it our vote as the nicest of the Ontario beaches.

What beach in Ontario has the clearest water?

Sauble Beach has a beautiful, clean waterfront and is a great choice if you want to swim in clear water.

Which beaches have the warmest water in Ontario?

As the shallowest of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie typically has the warmest waters. For this reason, we suggest picking one of this lake’s beaches, like Port Stanley Beach.

What beach has white sand in Ontario?

Wasaga and Sauble Beach have gorgeous white sands, and there are quite a few white-sand beaches around Ontario.

As you can see, Ontario is really blessed with beaches. The province is unique for beach lovers because it has predominantly freshwater beaches. The pristine nature gives way to beaches that could honestly rival Caribbean destinations.

Ontario is an incredible place for natural beauty. You’ve got all the provincial parks, including Sandbanks Provincial Park, Pancake Bay Provincial Park, Lake Superior Provincial Park, and North Beach Provincial Park. And that’s without including Bruce Peninsula National Park. Bruce Peninsula National Park is set in Georgian Bay with black bears and ancient cedar trees and is ideally combined with a visit to Toronto and Niagara Falls.

If you fancy more inspiration about visiting this gorgeous province, sit tight for a second. We’ve got guides on the best glamping experiences, wellness resorts, and weekend getaways. If you’re really organized, you could plan your Ontario winter itinerary – when these beaches become less appealing.

Whichever of these best beaches in Ontario you choose, we hope you have an incredible Ontario beach day. Have a fantastic stay.

Plan Your Ontario Vacation

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