Summer is finally upon us and it is time to let loose and soak up the sun while you can! We’ve put together a list of the best beaches in the GTA to help you live your best summer life. With beaches in the city, in small towns, and some that are family-friendly, we have every type of beach you are looking for. You might have 99 problems but a beach ain’t one!
Small Town Charms
For those that want to spend time on the beach and also enjoy a quaint little beach town, these beaches offer everything you’re looking for. These cute towns are so picturesque, you’ll hardly believe you’re still in the GTA!
138 Division Street, Cobourg
This beach is about an hour and a half drive east of Toronto. It may be a little bit of a drive, but trust me, this one is worth it. This charming little town is perfect for a day trip. It hosts many fun festivals and events throughout the summer, such as sand castle competitions and volleyball matches. The town of Cobourg has an abundance of shops, restaurants, and attractions to choose from when you get too hot on the beach or are looking for something to eat. Many people say the beach is very clean and well-maintained and even has a lovely lighthouse on a pier. This town is great for families, with a waterpark and playground, or for a beach day with your friends. Cobourg has everything you’ll need for your day off and its vibrancy will make you love summer even more. It’s not hard to believe that this beach is popular so it might be a little busy in these hot summer months!
348 Edith Cavell Blvd, Port Stanley
Port Stanley is about a 2-hour drive southwest of Toronto. This great little harbourfront town is perfect for a weekend getaway. Located on Lake Erie, enjoy the warm Blue Flag certified waters and sandy beach surrounded by adorable cottages. Embrace the small-town charms of Port Stanley by walking around and checking out the museums and historical features. There are lots of shops and restaurants to choose from while also admiring the view. Port Stanley has many attractions to keep you busy on the water with rentals for jetskis, canoes, kayaks, and SUP boards, making this beach a great spot for water-sport enthusiasts. Port Stanley also has great biking trails and volleyball courts if you can’t sit still! Of course, this little gem is starting to get busy as everyone flocks to the beaches in the heat!
Port Dover Beach
Walker Street, Port Dover
Port Dover is another amazing little beach town that is located on Lake Erie and has palm trees! That’s right, this beach is picturesque with tropical palm trees and hanging twinkling lights. About an hour and a half drive southwest of Toronto, this place offers a scenic pier and lighthouse along with beachfront shops and restaurants. To make your beach day complete, Port Dover offers stand-up paddleboard rentals and floating yoga classes. While not a huge beach, it still has a beautiful sandy shore to lounge on. This perfect little resort town is one hidden gem in southern Ontario so be sure to arrive early to be ahead of all the people coming to this tropical hotspot.
South Bruce Peninsula
Sauble Beach is a little bit of trek from Toronto, being a 3-hour drive, but don’t let that stop you! Plan a weekend away at this energetic beach town and you won’t regret it! It offers a large white sandy beach that is perfect for relaxing and soaking up the sun. Sauble Beach is also one of the longest freshwater beaches in Canada, giving you lots of room to play in the water! This town has lots to offer beyond a big and inviting beach. Sauble Beach frequently hosts events and festivals and offers an abundance of picturesque shops, restaurants, and activities that has quickly made it a popular vacation destination. With mini golf, boat tours, and ATVs, this charming town is a perfect place to let loose and enjoy life. However, be prepared for some crowds as the weather gets hot, people will flock to this beach favourite!
Vibrant and Fun
If you’re looking for a beach that is more energetic and engaging then check out these beaches. Many are known to draw younger crowds because of the beautiful beaches, yummy drinks, and nightlife. Get ready to live summer to the fullest with these vibrant and bustling beach towns.
Grand Bend is about a 2 and a half hour drive west of Toronto, but if you’re looking for a beach that is vibrant and lively, then Grand Bend is perfect for you. Arguably one of the best beaches in the GTA, Grand Bend is a rural and historic beach town located on Lake Huron. It has stunning white sandy beaches and great Blue Flag certified waters on a well-maintained and clean beach. Grand Bend offers an abundance of laid-back shops and beautiful patios that serve the perfect cocktails and food on those hot days.
Grand Bend has been known to attract a younger crowd both day and night due to the energetic restaurants and patios with evening events. Grand Bend also offers many water-sports that attracts those who seek some adrenaline, but it also has great activities for families. Go parasailing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, tubing or rent a jetski or paddle board from the local shops along the beach. Perfect for skateboarding and biking too, with a couple of playgrounds to keep the kids entertained. If you want to explore the town, immerse yourself in their culture of music and art. Definitely recommended for a weekend getaway out of the city to let loose and enjoy summer!
1675 Lakeshore Blvd E, Toronto
Woodbine beach is located in the city and is the perfect spot to cool off on a hot day while also being surrounded by dynamic and energetic people. This place is popular for picnics, sunbathing, swimming, and playing volleyball as it often hosts volleyball tournaments on its 90 courts. While not the ideal spot for a relaxing nap, it is the spot to live your summer life to the fullest. It has nice sand, water, food, and activities all within reach of Toronto. Woodbine has a fun and carefree vibe and is popular for young groups enjoying some sun and throwing around a frisbee.
11-22nd Street North, Wasaga Beach
Wasaga Beach is just under a 2-hour drive north of Toronto, located on Lake Huron. This place has been a beach hotspot for years since it is one of the longest freshwater beaches in Ontario. This beach is so huge that it has been divided into 6 beaches! While Wasaga gets busy in the summer months, it is still easy to find a quiet and relaxing spot to yourself once you walk further down the beach. The beachfront is lined with restaurants, shops, and activities that get pretty busy in the heat, but offer everything from flip flops to a nice cold beer. These restaurants have been known to attract younger crowds, along with the beautiful beach. Wasaga is vibrant and lively in the summer but could use some improvements regarding washrooms and maintenance. Nevertheless, the white sandy shore leads to warm and shallow waters that make this beach one of the best.
Rest and Relaxation
Looking for a place to bask in the sun and let all your problems go? These beaches are more isolated and quieter that give you all the RNR you need. Check out these little getaways actually in the city or close to it.
1 Brimley Road S, Scarborough
Bluffer’s Beach is about a half hour drive east of Toronto, located at the bottom of the Scarborough Bluffs. Bluffer’s beach has a nice sandy beach that leads to sparkling blue waters that are Blue Flag certified. There are also picnic spaces, so make sure to bring some snacks! If you’re done relaxing on the beach and are interested in some amazing views, hike up the Scarborough Bluffs to see the vast blue waters. This is definitely a top spot to enjoy a nap in the sun.
25 Dockside Dr, Toronto
Sugar Beach is the ultimate spot for soaking up the sun. It is somehow is super relaxing and quiet while also being in the middle of a bustling waterfront. Sugar Beach has white sand and cute pink beach umbrellas with white wooden chairs that are very instagrammable. However, seating is limited so you might want to bring your own towel to lie on just in case! Sugar Beach is located next to the water but there is no water access. There is a splash pad nearby if you feel like you need to cool off. You can sit and watch the boats go by or get the perfect tan. This spot is basically in your backyard and is perfect for a little RNR.
2075 Queen Street E, Toronto
Kew-Balmy is located in Toronto on Queen Street E, next to Woodbine Beach. Where Woodbine is bustling, Kew-Balmy is has a more laid-back vibe. This beach is smaller than Woodbine but is perfect for getting away from busy crowds while still being in the city. There is also a dog park nearby so be ready for some off-leash dogs enjoying the summer too! Kew-Balmy also has a boardwalk along the sand that has wooden beach chairs to relax in and some concession stands when you get hungry. It also close to a bunch of restaurants along Queen Street.
Ward’s Island Beach
Ward’s Island is located on the Toronto Islands where you need to take a ferry to get to it. Ward’s Beach is on the eastern side of the island and is a little more removed and quieter than the other beaches the Island offers. This Blue Flag Certified beach has some nice views and a cafe nearby. Perfect for people looking to not go too far from the city but still wanting to have a peaceful and relaxing day. Few tourists also venture to this side of the island.
Looking for a place to take the kids for a day in the sun? These beaches are family-friendly and have everything you need to keep the kids entertained for the day.
Centre Island is located on the Toronto Islands on Lake Ontario. You need to get a ferry to the island but the views offer a stunning skyline of the city. Centre Island the perfect place to bring kids, not only for the great beach but also for the other attractions it offers. There is an amusement park on the island called Centreville that is great for kids. There is also a theatre, a maze, a playground, and boat and bike rentals. With so many options, Centre Island is perfect for a day outing to the beach and for other fun in the sun activities. The beach is nice and sandy with quality water, and there are also lots of restaurants and fast food places around the island.
Kelso Conversation Area Beach
5234 Kelso Road, Milton
This small but picturesque beach is located an hour drive west of Toronto. It is a human-made reservoir that has a small sandy beach and an extensive green space that is designed for family picnics and BBQs. There is also a small concession stand that has hot food and cold drinks. The beach has lifeguards and designated swimming area with warm waters. There is a small entrance fee, $6.75 for adults, $5.00 for kids and kids under 4 are free. Another thing to keep in mind is that the parking lot is located above the beach so there are a good amount of steps to descend to get to the beach. However, this beach is perfect for a family day out to soak up the sun and eat some good food.
Sandbanks Dunes Beach
3004 County Road. 12 RR#1, Picton
Sandbanks Dunes Beach is located in the Sandbanks Provincial Park, about a 2 and a half hour drive east of Toronto. This one is a little bit of a drive but offers so much for kids to do. Warm waters and sandy dunes are perfect for a day at the beach. They also have playgrounds, a snack bar, picnic shelters, and BBQs to make the day complete. Since it is located inside a Provincial Park, there are canoe rentals, biking, and awesome hiking trails. There is a small entrance fee of $2.00 per person and free for kids under 6.
Laughter may be the best medicine but the beach in the summertime can make anyone feel better.