When people want sand and surf, they typically head south. But the Great White North boasts three coasts and is home to 2 million freshwater lakes and rivers, bordered by thousands of beaches. The best part? Many of those beaches are located in national or provincial parks, which makes it easy to pitch a tent, cook up a few s’mores, and kick back on a sandy shoreline in a single trip—and we’ve rounded up the 10 best places to go beachside camping in Canada.
- Green Point Campground, Pacific Rim National Park, British Columbia
This west coast park is best known for the seemingly infinite Long Beach, which is one of the top surf spots in the country. But you don’t need a board to enjoy the incredible 22 kilometres of undeveloped coastline, set against a backdrop of lush rainforests and mountains. Green Point Campground is just a short walk to the beach, so it’s still close enough to the water to fall asleep to ocean sounds.
- Sunnyside Campground, Cultus Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia
Just an hour-and-a-half drive from Vancouver, Cultus Lake Provincial Park is one of the most popular parks in British Columbia’s lower mainland— and for good reason. It’s divided by one large, freshwater lake, which is bordered by beautiful sandy beaches and scenic, forest-clad mountains. After a long day of swimming, camping, or taking part in water sports, you can take in views of the stunning lake from the nearby Sunnyside Campground.
- Grand Beach Campground, Grand Beach Provincial Park, Manitoba
Grand Beach is located along the eastern shores of Lake Winnipeg. The three-kilometre stretch of fine silica sand, bordered by dunes that reach up to 8 metres high, is a sun worshipper’s paradise, and the nearby Grand Beach campground is equipped with more than 350 campsites. With both electrical and off-grid options, plus nearby amenities like picnic shelters, a restaurant, and concession stand, this campground is the perfect place to bring the whole family.
- Burley Campground, Pinery Provincial Park, Ontario
Southern Ontario’s Pinery Provincial Park, also known as “The Pinery”, offers 10 kilometres of sandy beaches and some of the best sunsets you’ll find amidst unique habitats like a rare oak savanna and coastal dune system. The park is home to multiple campgrounds, but if you’re willing to forego electricity, Burley is the best. Furthest from the main gate, Burley’s sites are nestled between old pines and just steps from the beach.
- Richardson’s Campground, Sandbanks Provincial Park, Ontario
Sandbanks Provincial Park is home to three impressive beaches, including Lakeshore Beach, which stretches for seven kilometres along Lake Ontario. There’s even a pet-friendly section! Steps away from its south end, you’ll find Richardson’s Campground, which includes 50 drive-in sites with a mix of amenities, like electrical and water hook-ups. When you camp here, you can also hike across the world’s largest baymouth barrier dune formation to the stunning Dunes Beach, which will leave you wondering if you’re still in Canada.
- Lakeside Campground, Presqu’ile Provincial Park, Ontario
With 337 recorded bird species, Presqu’ile Provincial Park might be best known for bird watching, especially during the spring and fall migrations. But during summer, there’s another big draw—the sandy, 2.5-kilometre beach that runs along the shores of Lake Ontario. The park offers more than 300 car camping sites in a variety of settings, but the aptly named Lakeside Campground is where you’ll find sites right next to the lakeshore, including a few that don’t offer electrical hook-ups for those searching for an off-grid experience.
- Pointe Chevrette Campground, Parc National de La Pointe-Taillon, Quebec
Pointe Chevrette campground is located at the far end of a peninsula, steps away from a beach where you can find semi-precious gemstones, like garnets, zircons, and lodestones. The sandy shoreline stretches along the surprisingly shallow and warm Lac Saint-Jean, an ideal spot for swimming. The remote campground isn’t accessible by car, but there’s a variety of fun ways to get there, like hopping aboard a water shuttle in the nearby town of Peribonka, or renting kayaks and canoes.
- South Kouchibouguac Campground, Kouchibouguac National Park, New Brunswick
The more than 300 campsites at South Kouchibouguac Campground are roomy, well-maintained and, perhaps best of all, walking distance to 25 kilometres of sandy beaches. The park’s tranquil lagoons and tidal rivers are protected by sand dunes, creating the ideal conditions for kayaking and canoeing. On land, you can travel the kilometre-long boardwalk along Kelly’s Beach, which is lined with interpretive signs that teach you about the evolution of the barrier island sand dunes.
- Cavendish Campground, Prince Edward Island National Park, P.E.I.
The best beachside camping in Canada list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Prince Edward Island’s famous red sand beaches, which are just steps from Cavendish Campground. Located in the province’s one-and-only national park, Cavendish Campground offers guests a variety of accommodations next to a stunning oceanside landscape. Here, you can while away the hours eating lobster and watching the waves crash along the shore, or take a short hike to see the park’s wind-sculpted sand dunes.
- Sandbanks Provincial Park Campground, Sandbanks Provincial Park, Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland’s Sandbanks Provincial Park has only 30 unmaintained campsites, but its flat, white sand beaches are worth giving up some creature comforts. Bordered by grassy dunes on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, the vast, secluded beachfront is ideal for spotting popular bird species like pipers and sand plovers, or witnessing an intertidal marvel. When the ocean’s at high tide, salt water flows up a brook to the nearby Heron Pond, while at low tide, the fresh water flows down the brook and into the ocean.