Summer weekends were made for road trips, and where better to head to than the beach? Whether you prefer to lay out under the sun or take a dip in the water, there’s something for everybody.
While we have a few beaches here in Toronto, if you’ve lived in the city for awhile, you’re probably craving a change of scenery. Lucky for you, there are plenty of waterside escapes only a few hours from the Big Smoke.
Ranging in distance from shortest drive to longest, here are some excellent options for a quick beach getaway in Southern Ontario.
Darlington Provincial Park, Bowmanville
69 km (54 min)
This Bowmanville beach is just under an hour away from Toronto, but it’s quiet and secluded enough to make you feel like you’re in a whole new world. Bonus: the beach has an abundance of flat, black stones that are perfect for skipping.
Cobourg Beach, Cobourg
120 km (1 hr 25 min drive)
April and May showers mean they’re might be a little less beach to go around, but Cobourg Beach is still a solid choice for city dwellers looking for a taste of small town life. If you can, make plans to head down for the August long weekend for the town’s annual Sandcastle Festival.
Rock Point, Dunnville
131 km (1 hr 45 min)
This beach on the north shore of Lake Erie is made for picnics, with plenty of tables for a shoreside feast. The water is also quite warm, so once you’ve waited the appropriate amount of time, we highly suggest a swim.
Wasaga Beach, Simcoe County
145 km (1 hr 45 min drive)
It’s practically a rite of passage for every Torontonian to visit Wasaga Beach at least once in their lives. While it can be a pretty popular destination in the summer months, it is also the longest freshwater beach in the world, meaning you’ll be sure to find a spot on the sand.
Crystal Beach, Fort Erie
152 km (1 hr 42 min)
For a little taste of the Caribbean in Canada, head to Crystal Beach. With its white sand shores and warm clear water, you’ll feel completely transported – without the international travel price tag.
Port Burwell Provincial Park
202 km (2 hr 17 min)
If you’re more of a nature buff, this beach is the place for you. Complete with wild grass and driftwood, this place might be a little rougher around the edges but trust us, it’s worth the trek.
Dunes Beach, Picton
217 km (2 hr 30 min drive)
Named for the spectacular sand dunes that are quite rare for our part of the world, Dunes Beach is perfect for that Instagram-obsessed friend in your group. But don’t worry, this beach isn’t just pretty to look at – hiking over to the dunes will add a touch of adventure to your day trip.
Lion’s Head Beach, Bruce Peninsula
255 km (3 hr 19 min)
This small sandy beach has gorgeous views of the Niagara Escarpment and even has a farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. If you can, we’d suggest checking out the nearby Tobermory Grotto as well – its turquoise waters are mind-blowingly gorgeous.
Rondeau Park, Chatham-Kent
288 km (2 hr 58 min)
This beach may be narrow, but it’s also quite long, with around 11 kilometres of sandy beaches to explore. In short, you’ll be sure to find a nice, quiet spot away from other tourists, if that’s what you’re after.
Canatara Park, Sarnia
291 km (2 hr 55 min)
While a near three-hour drive is certainly not for the faint of heart, it’s certainly worth it to see one of the best beaches Ontario has to offer. Plus, if you stay for the night, you’ll have time to see the beautiful sunset over the lake.
Did we miss any of the best beaches for a day trip from Toronto? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.