It’s not summer without a trip to the beach! Though much of Ontario’s cottage country is characterised by rocky, tree-dense shorelines, it’s also home to some gorgeous sandy beaches worth building a whole vacation around. Whether you’re planning a resort-style getaway or a camping trip in a remote area, these sandy beaches in Ontario are worth adding to your list.
Sandbanks Provincial Park Beach in Picton, Ont.
It’s all in the name! Year after year, the spectacular main beach in this provincial park draws visitors from around the province and beyond. If the main beach is too busy for your liking, there’s also Dunes Beach, a gorgeous expanse of nature in the famous sand dunes. Got some furry friends with you? Outlet Beach, not far from the main beach, is dog friendly. Keep in mind that Sandbanks is one of the Ontario Parks that requires visitors to have a vehicle permit, meaning you need to book and pay for a spot before you arrive. If you’re entering the park on foot or camping, you usually don’t need a permit.
Boiler Beach in Kincardine, Ont.
If you’re looking for a sandy beach in Ontario day that blends in unique local history, Boiler Beach is a great option. Located in the charming town of Kincardine, this sandy beach is home to an old Great Lakes Steamer ship known as the Erie Belle, which juts out of the water just a few feet from shore. The Steamer crashed on the rocks of this beach in November 1883 and remains there as a landmark. Boiler is relatively quiet compared to other beaches on this list, so if you’re looking both for an adventure and more relaxing vibes, it’s a good choice. There are seasonal washrooms nearby but not much else in terms of facilities, so pack everything you’ll need for the day.
Sauble Beach in Sauble Beach, Ont.
As the second-longest freshwater beach in the world, Sauble Beach is a bucket-list sandy beach spot nestled by a charming town straight from a quaint summertime movie. This area is technically part of the Bruce Peninsula, so a vacation here offers lots to do, like exploring the famous Blue Grotto or the many hikes that offer views of crystal-blue Lake Huron waters. If you’re hanging out at Sauble for the day, be sure to check out some staples near the beach, like Sola’s Grill and the historic Crowd Inn hotdog stand.
Pancake Bay Provincial Park in Batchawana Bay, Ont.
Located along a historic paddling route, Pancake Bay is a gorgeous three-kilometre strip of sandy beach on the shores of Lake Superior. If you’re on the hunt for somewhere with fewer crowds, Pancake Bay is a great fit. It’s just off Highway 17, so it’s also worth keeping in mind if you’re on a road trip, since you can camp in the park, and there are motels and lodges nearby. No lifeguards are at the beach, and pets are not permitted, so be prepared and safe—sudden weather changes are common in this area.
Pinery Provincial Park Beach in Grand Bend, Ont.
National Geographic once included Pinery on a list of best sunsets around the world, so plan around that if you must. Located on the shores of Lake Huron in a uniquely biodiverse region, this sandy beach stretches over 10 kilometres long. There are numerous hiking and biking trails within Pinery, and it’s great for camping. Since the park is near Grand Bend (a popular destination), there are many accommodation options nearby to use as your home base.
Wasaga Beach in Wasaga, Ont.
You can’t have a list of sandy beaches in Ontario and not include Wasaga. This long-loved destination is perfect for relaxing by the water and enjoying the splendour of Southern Ontario nature at its finest. It’s the longest freshwater beach in the world. There are numerous accommodation options depending on what kind of trip you want, from multiple campgrounds to more resort-style lodging, like Bayfront Beach Resort or Edgewater Cottages.
Ipperwash Beach near Grand Bend, Ont.
Those familiar with Grand Bend know how busy it gets every summer, leaving some tourists looking for a quieter spot to sit back and relax—that’s where Ipperwash comes in. Located just south of Grand Bend with abundant hiking trails and a small, charming village nearby, this serene spot is worth a visit. The surrounding area consists mainly of owned or rented cottages, so some parts of the beach are technically on private property; be mindful of signage and stay in public areas.
Nickel Beach in Port Colbourne, Ont.
Looking at photos of Nickel Beach, you may scratch your head at the cars parked right at the shoreline. However, it’s all part of the unique experience at this Port Colbourne-area beach, where locals usually pull up in cars, open the trunks, and set up their space for the day. Be sure to be respectful of nature here—the beach has closed in the past due to trash left behind. In order to keep this spot fun for everyone, leave the beach the way you found it.
Port Stanley Beach on Lake Erie, Ont.
If you glance quickly at photos of Port Stanley Beach, you may think it’s somewhere like California or Florida, with the pristine sand and charming beachfront homes in the background. We’re lucky to have it here on the shores of Lake Erie. This beach stands out with its water quality certification and the special mats to help those with accessibility requirements enjoy the beach. Though it’s no longer a hidden gem, Port Stanley beach is definitely worth a visit or a whole vacation.
Batchawana Bay in Batchawana Bay, Ont.
Northern Ontario folks know this as a beloved spot that opens to breathtaking views of Lake Superior. Not far from the above-mentioned Pancake Bay, the swimming at Batchawana Bay is also great, thanks to the water being a little warmer than many other beaches. It’s also well suited for camping, canoeing, and other summertime activities. If you like fishing, you’ll find rainbow trout, walleye, and even salmon as possible catches.