sunset on the beach

Best Beaches In Ontario: Where To Find Them

This post was most recently updated on November 18th, 2019

Are you planning on visiting Ontario in the summertime? Want to know what the best beaches in Ontario are? Read on!

Ontario experiences 4 different seasons year round. But my favourite season is summer. And probably the only season you’d want to check out the best beaches in Ontario.

The lakes are just warm enough to swim in from July to October. Unless  you’re really brave and like your water cold. Because in the summer, the water only reaches an average temperature between 70 to 75 degrees.

All of the best beaches in Ontario border one of the 5 Great Lakes. Home to some of the largest fresh water lakes in the world.

Canatara Beach

view of the beach in Sarnia

Situated in Sarnia, a border city to Michigan, you’ll find Canatara Beach. This beach is located on the shores of Lake Huron. The water can be perfectly calm, or a little rough at times.

Canatara Beach is a nice, long sandy beach with a few little stoney patches. It isn’t usually over crowded. And a lot of times is a very peaceful place to come and enjoy the day.

There is free parking here. Plus nice, clean change rooms to use. One of the best things about this beach is the large, beautiful 200 acre park that surrounds it. There are plenty of picnic tables and covered areas that are perfect for family reunions.

taco food truck in canatara park

You can bring your own picnic lunch, or grab something to eat at one of the food trucks. 

The park itself often has different events happening. There are car shows, movie night, food events, and concerts under the bandshell during the summer.

Canatara Park also has plenty of walking or biking trails, a large soccer or baseball field, volleyball nets, and dirt bike hills.

goats at canatara animal farm

This is a very family oriented park complete with a children’s playground. Train rides are available on the Canatara Choo Choo. Plus a free animal farm to walk through. Therefore, be sure to bring a bag of healthy food to feed the animals.

Who is this beach best suited for?

This Lake Huron beach is best suited for families. Especially for families with younger children because of all the extra facilities the park has to offer.

Best Accommodations

There aren’t any accommodations right at Canatara Beach. As a result, you’ll have to go a short ways down the road to find this Cozy Cottage on Airbnb.

Ipperwash Beach

view of Ipperwash Beach

Ipperwash Beach is another popular one of the Lake Huron Beaches. Due to the water levels being higher than they’ve been in years, this sandy beach has now shrunk in size. 

But it’s still a beautiful beach to spend the afternoon. There are a number of free parking areas to leave your car just east of the beach, with each area having washroom facilities close by.

Ipperwash Beach Club restaurant

For food, try out the Ipperwash Beach Club restaurant. They have a beautiful outdoor patio, plus plenty of indoor seating. You can get anything from burgers, fish, steak, wraps and pizza here. They also have over 25 flavours of ice cream.

There are a few good chip trucks near by. My favourite being Rob’s Fresh Cut Fries. Be sure to try the perch and chips dinner. Besides that, they also offer burgers, hot dogs, salads, wraps, ice cream and much more.

chip truck and ice cream stand

If you want to try paddle boarding or kayaking, the Ipperwash Beach Club have rentals.

Who is this beach best suited for?

You’ll find just about every age enjoying Ipperwash Beach. It is particularly popular with the older crowd though, and definitely not a party beach.

Best Accommodations

The Ipperwash Beach Club has two suites that can be rented out offering gorgeous lake views.

Ipperwash Beach Motel offers 4 cosy suites that include a kitchenette and air conditioning.

Wasaga Beach

Located 2 hours north of Toronto is Wasaga Beach. This beach boasts the longest freshwater beach in the world at 14 kilometres in length. The powdery soft sand, and clean water, help to make Wasaga Beach one of the best beaches in Ontario 

You can walk quite a ways out until it gets deep. Therefore, it’s great for little kids playing in the water. There’s a playground, splash pad, bike trails for cycling and also hiking trails. Water sports are also available to rent.

beautiful beach

Because the beach is so long, it’s divided off into sections 1-6. You’ll find washroom facilities at each. You have to pay for parking. But if you look around you can usually find something for $5-10 for the day.

What is called Beach 1 is where all the bars, restaurants and beach type shops are located. Whatever kind of food you’re looking for, you can find it here.

Wasaga Beach is known for attracting a younger crowd with it’s party type atmosphere. So if you’re looking for a quieter beach day, try farther away at Beach 5-6.

shops at Wasaga Beach

Wasaga Beach is also home to a boardwalk where you can walk along on the main strip. Check out some of the quaint shops. Sometimes you’ll see artists creating sand art or buskers. Or if you’re there at the right time, you could catch Ribfest, or one of the music festivals that happen every summer.

Who is this beach best suited for?

Wasaga Beach has a long time reputation for being a party beach. It is definitely the place to be for the younger crowd, although families do enjoy it too. Don’t expect a quiet, relaxing time unless you get farther away from the main core. Besides that, it is also a very popular beach for the motorcyclists.

Best Accommodations

Oasis By The Bay Vacation Suites is located in a quieter area near Beach 5. These spacious suites all come with a fridge and microwave. 

Saga Resort is situated just a short walk to Wasaga Beach. Offering 28 rooms and an outdoor pool. 

Sandbanks Dunes Beach

Sandbanks Dunes Beach is located on Lake Ontario about a 3 hour drive east of Toronto. It is one of 3 day use beaches which are part of the Sandbanks Provincial Park. 

It cost $21 for the day to use the beach and picnic area if you aren’t camping. If you do want to camp at the Sandbanks campground, you almost always need to book months in advance. This is one of the most popular Provincial Parks, and gets booked up early. 

Alternate Beaches in Sandbanks Provincial Park

Outlet Beach and Lakeshore Beach are the two other beaches inside Sandbanks Provincial Park. For small kids, Outlet and Lakeshore are the best, since the water is shallow quite a ways out. Where Dunes beach drops off and gets deep close to shore. 

The soft white, powdery sand and beautiful scenery of the sand dunes is what makes this one of the best beaches in Ontario. If you’re looking for a quiet, secluded beach though, Sandbanks isn’t it. During the summer the beach is usually packed to capacity and noisy. 

sand dunes at Sandbanks Provincial Park

All 3 of the beaches have washroom and change room facilities. There are canoes, paddle boards, or kayaks to rent. Dunes Beach has a small take- out spot to grab burgers and ice cream. While Outlet Beach offers a sit down restaurant with salads, pizza, burgers and more. Or there’s also a convenience store where you can pick up snacks and supplies.

Once you’re done at the beach, try out the hiking and cycling trails. Or climb one of the many sand dunes in the area.

Who is this beach best suited for?

All of the Sandbanks beaches are best suited for families. Children of any age will love it here.

Best Accommodations

West Lake Willows Camping Resort offer 8 beautiful waterfront cottages with a view of the sand dunes.

The Black Licorice Tree Bed And Breakfast have 3 rooms to rent with a full gourmet breakfast.

The Sandbanks Cottages and Campsite offer 9 cottages for rent on East Lake just a 10 minute drive to Sandbanks Provincial Park. Or for camping near Sandbanks, they have trailer and tent sites also.

Grand Bend Beach

people and umbrellas on the beach of Grand Bend

One of the most popular beaches in Ontario is the Grand Bend beach. Located on the shores of Lake Huron, this beach is a booming, very touristy spot. People come from hours away to spend the day at this beach. The town of Grand Bend itself has a population of 2000. But during the summer it can balloon up to 50 000 visitors.

This soft, light brown sandy beach will be packed from sun up to sun down. There are a few free parking areas a short walk away if you get there early enough. Otherwise parking right on the beach will cost $20 for the day. The washroom and change room facilities are also located here.

The main reason why Grand Bend beach attracts so many people is because of the atmosphere and abundance of beach type shops, restaurants, and bars available down the main strip. During the summer on Sunday nights, there are live concerts at the band shell on the beach. Just bring your own lawn chairs and enjoy the free entertainment.

The Growling Gator and Willie’s Beach Bar are two popular places adjacent to the beach where you can grab some food or drinks out on the patio. From here, you can enjoy a view of the sky blue water across the road. The Bend’s Original Pizza Place is the perfect spot to get a burger, fries, pizza or ice cream.

a pizza and ice cream parlour in Grand Bend

Xtreme Water Sports offer jet skis for rent right beside the Growling Gator. Or you could try your hand at Flyboarding over the water. They also have a 20 foot trampoline with 1/2 hour rates.

Grand Bend Parasail is the place to go if you want to try out parasailing.

Who is this beach best suited for?

Grand Bend beach definitely attracts a younger crowd. The beach is busy, noisy and a happening place. But that’s part of what makes it one of the best beaches in Ontario. You’ll find a few younger families here though too. There’s a splash pad and playground for the kids. The motorcyclist’s love it also since it’s part of the 130 kilometre cycling route.

Best Accommodations

Amber Hotel Grand Bend is about a 15 minute walk to the beach. They have 21 rooms available to book plus the hotel also has a swimming pool and free wifi.

Beach Walk Cottage is a great Airbnb to rent located just minutes to the beach. This clean, 3 bedroom cottage gets booked up quickly during the summer.

Pine Dale Motor Inn is located 1.6 kilometres to the beach. They have an indoor pool, games room and pub right at the motel.

Located less than an hour from Grand Bend is the charming town of Stratford, Ontario. Click here to check out why you should give this city a visit.

Long Point Beach

people enjoying the Long Point Beach

One of my favourite beaches in southern Ontario is the Long Point Beach. Most of the beach is located in the Long Point Provincial Park. It will cost $15.50 fee to get in for the day if you are not camping. There are plenty of washroom and change room facilities available.

This 40 kilometre long stretch of warm, white, sandy beach is one of the most beautiful beaches along the shores of Lake Erie. In the spring and fall you’ll be able to witness a lot of migrating song birds, swans, geese, ducks, herons and shore birds.

The beach isn’t overly commercialized yet, so you’ll have a nice, more quiet, relaxing day here. There are a few chip trucks to grab something to eat. The Chip Ship, Stubs Grub or First Mates offer fish and chips, burgers, and hot dogs at reasonable prices. If you’re looking for a sit down restaurant, close by in Port Rowan are the Country Fork and the Boat House Restaurant.

The Long Point Provincial Park is part of the UNESCO World Biosphere. Home to some ever changing sand dunes and a variety of plants and wildlife.

sand dunes at Long Point Provincial Park

Besides swimming at the beach, there is also cycling trails, boating, canoeing and fishing.

Who is this beach best suited for?

This is a very family oriented beach. A place to bring your barbecue, have a picnic and enjoy the 23 C or 75 F average Lake Erie water. The beauty and tranquility make it one of the best beaches in Ontario.

Best Accommodations

Cute Beach House on Long Point is an Airbnb located within close walking distance of the Long Point beach. It includes a private back yard with a gazebo and fire pit.

Cute Cottage on Long Point is a pet friendly Airbnb with 2 bedrooms and located just steps from the beach.

Goderich Beach

sandy beach in Goderich Ontario

Goderich Main beach is located along the shores of Lake Huron is the historic town of Goderich. Not only does this picturesque town have a beautiful square with quaint shops, it also boasts 3 of the best beaches in Ontario.

Head down to the water off of Harbour Street and you’ll find a 1.5 kilometre long wooden boardwalk that connects all 3 sandy beaches. The first beach is called Main Beach. Drive a little farther down the road and you come to St Christopher’s Beach. Keep going on Cove Road and you come to the last and newest beach called Rotary Cove Beach.

About The Beaches

All 3 beaches have plenty of free parking, picnic tables, and clean washroom facilities. There is playground equipment for the kids, and plenty of benches to sit at along the boardwalk. Besides that, they even have workout equipment along the shoreline.

The Main Beach is a little more rocky with sandy patches. Where Cove Beach has more soft brown sand. Therefore, you might want to bring water shoes if you don’t like walking on pebbles. One of the things that make these beaches so pretty, is the gorgeous turquoise coloured water resembling the ocean. The salt mines in Goderich have helped contributed to the colour of the lake.

If you want the best view of the beach, try climbing the stairs to the park at the top of the cliffs. Or get out on the water with 360 Bikes ‘n Boards. They offer paddleboard rentals for an hourly or daily rate.

chip truck on Goderich Main Beach

For food, you have the choice of a chip truck, snack bars, an ice cream stand, or the lovely Beach Street Station restaurant. The Beach Street Station was originally built in 1907 as a railway station. Then in 2013 was moved to it’s present location along the Goderich Beach and turned into a beautiful restaurant.

restaurant Goderich Main Beach

Who is this beach best suited for?

This Lake Huron beach is best suited for families. Even though the beach is usually packed on weekends, you can still have a nice, quieter beach day to relax and read a book.

Best Accommodations

Colborne Bed and Breakfast offer a delicious breakfast and is within walking distance to the beach.

The Maple Leaf Motel Goderich has 11 rooms and is close to the town square.

Port Stanley Beach

people on the beach in Port Stanley

Port Stanley beach is a wide, beach located on Lake Erie in Southern Ontario. It’s a very popular beach with crystal clear water and soft velvety sand.

There are clean washrooms and change rooms available. It’s a very busy place most days of the summer. Parking at the beach will cost you $20 for the day. So make sure to get there early if you want to park in the main parking lot.

Right on the beach, there are 8 volleyball courts to have a game. Or a children’s play area for the younger kids.

Part of the charm of this harbour front village are all the unique shops to browse in. Men’s and ladies wear, artsy stores, beach stuff, it’s all here.

You don’t have to go far from the beach to find some great restaurants in Port Stanley. Try Mackie’s for some great fries, or Brodericks just up the street for a tasty waffle cone. GT’s was voted the best beach bar, and has a 400 seat patio right on the beach.

bar on the beach in Port Stanley

You can listen to some bands on certain nights of the week at GT’s on the Beach. They have an extensive food and drink menu to enjoy as you take in the view of the water.

Who is this beach best suited for?

Port Stanley beach is a very popular beach for families. But also for the younger crowd due to the great bars/restaurants on the street. All which help to make it one of the beach beaches in Ontario.

Best Accommodations

Inn on the Harbour Port Stanley overlooks the beautiful harbour where you can watch the boats go by. And just a short walk down the street to the beach.

Kettle Creek Inn offers 15 rooms and has an on site spa for a variety of treatments.

How about you? What is your favourite beach in Ontario?

One comment

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