When you think of Toronto the first few (and obvious) things that come to mind are the CN Tower, our hockey team the Maple Leafs and the Eaton Centre. This landlocked city with a population of 2.5 million and its surrounding areas are not known for having white, sandy pristine beaches… or is it?
Scoop your jaws off the floor and get your tanning oil out because we’re letting you in on a well-kept local secret. There are six most beautiful beaches in the Greater Toronto Area, which would make you think you were on the shore of the Caribbean – well, almost.
Canada’s Sugar Beach (Toronto) – opened in 2010 Canada’s Sugar Beach is an man-made, urban beach park located at the foot of Lower Jarvis Street next to the Redpath Sugar Factory (look for the white concrete building with the red sign). It’s a charming two acre park complete with colourful pink beach umbrellas, white Muskoka chairs, imported white sand and a large plaza and promenade space.
Visit for: instant beach gratification or if you want to play hooky from the office for the afternoon.
Presqu’ile Provincial Park (Brighton) – if you’re looking to get far away from the city for the weekend drive [time] east on Highway 401 to Brighton to pass the time by at Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Here, you’ll find 2.5 km of soft, sandy beach ready and waiting for you, as well as 16 km of trails and eight campgrounds if you feel the urge to pitch a tent.
Visit for: weekend country getaway.
Rouge Beach (Toronto) – for a beach that’s not too close and not too far from the city head to Rouge Beach which straddles on the Scarborough-Pickering boarder, approximately 30 minutes east for the city. Here, the Rouge River meets Lake Ontario, making it a popular area for local residents and families to bath in the sun and nature lovers. The marshes at Rouge Beach are the best and biggest in the city and you can fish along the river – just don’t eat your catch them.
Visit for: easy and quaint fun for the family.
Sandbanks Provincial Park Beach (Picton) – approximately 63 km south of Presqu’ile is Sandbanks Provincial Park Beach, another hidden beach gem. Sandbanks is the world’s largest baymouth barrier dune formation and has three massive sandy beaches which are known as the best in the country. It also has a campground, trails and is a perfect jump-off point to go on a bicycle tour or experience the wineries, food and antique shops of Prince Edward County.
Visit for: if you’re missing the beaches of Mexico, Cuba or any other Caribbean country, Sandbanks will make a suitable substitute.
Sauble Beach (Bruce Country, Lake Huron) – go north, way north, approximately a three hour drive to Sauble Beach located on the shores of Lake Huron. Set in a rural Ontario, Sauble Beach has more than 6 km of stunning sandy beach and is surrounded by a natural dune ecosystem. Nearby are restaurants and boutiques where you can get your tan and shopping on.
Visit for: northern beach getaway.
Wasaga Beach Provincial Park (Wasaga Beach) – most everyone in their university/college years in Ontario have visited Wasaga Beach and if you haven’t checked this destination off your travel list, then it’s time to change that. It is the longest freshwater beach in the world with 14 km of soft, sandy shoreline and is the first provincial park in Canada awarded the Blue Flag designation for its international environmental standards. The nearby Wasaga boardwalk offers stores and restaurants to satisfy your hunger, thirst and shopping needs.
Visit for: long weekend getaway but beware of tourists.
Woodbine & Kew-Balmy Beaches (Toronto) – if you looking for where the residents of Toronto run to for beach excitement look to Woodbine and Kew-Balmy beaches. Located along Queen Street East, this location offers a long stretch of sandy beach as well as tons of activity; beach volleyball courts take up a large portion of Woodbine Beach, bike trails and the boardwalk snake along the shore, picnic grounds are peppered throughout and an off-leash dog park can be found. It’s accessible by taking the 501 Queen streetcar, then walk south to the beach.
Visit for: sporty activities and if like to people watch.
Toronto is not land locked. If it were it would be surrounded on all sides by land. The lake makes it not land-locked.