The top beaches in and around Toronto offer the ultimate summer escape from city life. There are many sandy retreats located within just a few minutes of Toronto's highly urbanized areas for a quick jaunt, but Southern Ontario is also blessed with a wide collection of shores on both major and minor lakes that make great day trips and weekend getaways.
Here are our picks for the top beaches in and around Toronto.
Everyone know Hanlan's as the clothing optional beach, but it's so much more. It's got some of the best sand of Toronto beaches, there's an open and inclusive vibe, and the impromptu camp fires at sunset are the stuff of legend.
This sandy, man-made beach is located right in the city, though you'll probably have to drive to get here. Regardless, it'll transport you outside of Toronto with plenty of room for relaxing, activities and swimming.
Consistently one of Toronto's quieter beaches except during the mid-summer weekend rush, Ward's feels secluded and far away from the city, facing south toward the lake and away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. This is a great spot if you're after a calm day of sunbathing.
The water at Cherry Beach is some of the coldest in the Toronto area, but this is a great beach for watching windsurfers skim through the water or to have a barbecue on the grassy area. The old lifeguard station is one of the city's most photographed sites.
Surely the most under-appreciated of Toronto's official beaches, Marie Curtis Park is a breath of fresh air if you're used to crowds that flock to Woodbine and the Scarborough Bluffs in the summer. It's a relatively short stretch of sand, but it's nicely secluded from the rest of the city.
It might get busy, but that's part of Woodbine Beach's appeal. It offers some excellent people watching opportunities as well as a sandy waterfront and some gorgeous skyline views.
Kelso Conservation Area
Kelso Lake is a human-made reservoir that helps to control flooding of the nearby Sixteen Mile Creek. It's also a popular place to swim as its relatively small size leads to warm water temperatures throughout the season. The conservation area maintains a sandy beach and picnic areas.
Christie Lake can get busy on mid-summer weekends, but it still feels like a hidden place tucked away in a conservation area in Dundas, Ontario. In the past the water was chlorinated to keep bacteria levels down, but that practice ended five years ago when it became clear that the lake didn't require such treatment. It's now a far nicer place to swim.
If you want to get out of the city, but don't feel like doing much driving, Cobourg is a great option. It's only an hour and a half away, but still features a beautiful beach and a lovely lighthouse.
Fifty Point Beach
Tucked away near Hamilton, 50 Point Beach offers a stunning view of Toronto in the background, but also a lovely protected beach that never gets super busy based on the other options in the area (e.g. Beach Park). Water temperatures here are consistently some of the warmest in Lake Ontario.
Sibbald Point is still in York Region and it's not too far from Toronto. This beach on Lake Simcoe is a great spot if you're looking to extend your trip up north by camp out for a night (or two).
It'll take you only about two and a half hours to get to the Kawarthas from Toronto. Once there, you'll get to enjoy a sandy beach as well as a provincial park that features lots of shady campsites.
While you may have to dodge rowdy youths at Wasaga, a trip to one of the world's long freshwater beaches is definitely worth it. Along with gorgeous white sand, the water here is generally warm because it's pretty shallow, making it easy to go for a dip or lounge around in Georgian Bay.
Southampton's on the shore of Lake Huron and includes lots of beaches for all of your summer needs. It's about two and half hours away from Toronto, but a bit longer with traffic.
It can also get quite rowdy at Grand Bend, but you should head here if you're looking to party as you enjoy beautiful Lake Huron. With plenty of patios, bars and restaurants, it's easy to have fun here during both the day and night.
Brave the three hour journey to get to Sauble Beach and reward yourself with an afternoon relaxing on a white sandy beach. Sauble's also on Lake Huron, but it's not quite as raucous as Grand Bend.
This beach on Georgian Bay, near Penetanguishene and Midland, feature sandy shores. While away a few hours in the sunshine and stay for the night because Balm Beach hosts concerts on certain nights throughout the summer.
Sandbanks Provincial Park is a must-see if you're heading to Prince Edward County for a weekend trip. Along with the wineries and cideries nearby, this area features gorgeous beaches that'll transport you out of Ontario for a little while.
This white sandy beach on the shores of Lake Erie gets very busy, but that just gives it a party vibe reminiscent of American beaches much further south. Don't go here if you're looking for peace and quiet, but do seek it out if you want to meet people and take in the spectacle.
Lake Erie has the warmest waters of the Great Lakes thanks to its relatively shallow depth. Turkey Point is nowhere near as busy as Wasaga or Grand Bend, but the swimming is great and the cottage rentals far cheaper than Muskoka. You can also head to the provincial park for the day.
Over 40 kilometres in length, it's amazing to walk out as far as you can for a look at the shanty cottages,wildlife, and glistening waters of Lake Erie. The Provincial Park is the main place to explore if you haven't rented a cottage, and it features about two kilometres of fine sandy beach, which never seems to get overpopulated.
Port Stanley is a cute harbour town on Lake Erie with a big sandy beach that attracts a decent number of tourists over the summer months. The temperature of the lake is a major plus (it's comfortably swimmable by the end of June) and the attractions like the old 1940s steam train provide good fun for family-oriented vacationers.
Port Dover is as chill as busy Beaches come. Located immediately south of the the town, it's marked by a scenic lighthouse and very warm waters in late July and early August. Be forewarned, it's not a huge beach, so if you want your preferred spot, you'll have to arrive in the morning,
Port Burwell is another gem of a beach on Lake Erie that boasts fine-grain sand, almost remarkably warm water temperatures in the late summer, and all the amenities of the eponymous provincial campground. You get a really good breeze here, so overheating shouldn't be a problem.
Originally posted by: Staff, BlogTO