As soon as summer rolls around, the question always comes up – where are the best beaches in Ontario? Where are the best beaches close to Toronto?
Here’s a list of the top five best beaches in Ontario to enjoy – all within driving distance of the Greater Toronto Area.
Sandbanks Provincial Park – The Beach and Dunes
Located south of Belleville, Sandbanks Provincial Park is not too far of a drive from Toronto. Wake up early in the morning to head out to this beautiful beach to grab a prime spot. People start showing up as early as 9:00 a.m. to get settled in in prime spots along the beach.
Tip: You can camp at the park and enjoy a little bit of extra time to sleep in before finding a prime spot on the beach.
Time to get there: Approximately 2.5 hours east from Toronto.
Port Burwell Provincial Park – The Beach
Large expanses of sand, shallow water and camping sites (232 spots) make the beach at Port Burwell Provincial Park one of my favourite places to visit on a hot summer day. Located about 2-1/2 hours drive from downtown Toronto, this beach is quieter on the weekdays, offering a chance to recharge your batteries without the crowds. It’s a must-visit if you have a day or two off during the week. You can reserve a campsite in advance and enjoy a quiet night away from the noise of city life. Day use is also available. See my previous post for more information about why this is one of the best beaches in Ontario.
Tip: For day-trippers, pack a picnic lunch – there are several picnic tables throughout the park that are under the shade, offering you a bit of respite from the sun.
Time to get there: Approximately 2.5 hours west of Toronto
Our recent visit to The Pinery Provincial Park to check out the beach scene has confirmed what we only heard about – the beach at The Pinery is beautiful. Sand dunes and native vegetation make for a different setting from all other beaches listed in this post.
Like with Sandbanks and Port Burwell beaches, you can enjoy camping at The Pinery. Give yourself at least 3-1/2 hours on the road if you are traveling from Toronto.
Tip: The park has 1,000 campsites but is an extremely popular spot so book early!
Time to get there: approximately 2 to 3 hours west from downtown Toronto (200 km)
Long Point is a gorgeous, extremely long beach that offers hours of exploring and walking along the shoreline.
The beach at Long Point Provincial Park, with a long shoreline and fine sand, is a must-visit. On-site camping ( 256 camp sites) and the close vicinity to the Greater Toronto Area (about an hour and 45 minutes away from Toronto) makes this one of the most popular beaches in Southern Ontario.
Tip: You may want to camp here for a night or two and then head to Port Burwell Provincial Park just about an hour’s away from this spot if you are feeling like exploring.
Note: There is an area of the beach that is recognized as a biosphere reserve by the United Nations. While you can potentially walk along this protected part of the beach, please make sure you don’t damage anything. There are endangered species, unique to the area living on this beach.
Time to get there: approximately 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours west from Toronto
One of the most popular beaches closest to the Greater Toronto Area, Wasaga Beach is a hotspot for youth and families. With shallow, warm waters of Georgian Bay, it is a fun play area for either a day trip or a weekend. Look into staying at one of the many cottages and bed and breakfasts in the area. Or just grab food for a picnic at the beach and head up for the day.
Tip: Avoid taking Highway 400 and dealing with its traffic congestion – instead, wake up early and take one of the many smaller side roads up through Stayner and then Wasaga Beach.
Time to get there: depending on when you go, and which route you take – anywhere between 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours or more.
What are your favourite beaches close to Toronto?