For a large urban center so far north, Toronto has a surprising number of beaches. Some are sandy, some rocky, or and some are a mix between the two.
Toronto has a large waterfront on the Lake Ontario, and the beaches are part of many parks along the lake edge. There are also wonderful beaches a short ferry ride from Toronto’s downtown on one of Toronto Islands.
1. Bluffer's Park
Bluffers Park is one of nine parks along the Scarborough Bluffs, the scenic escarpment near Toronto, Canada. It is the only one with a beach. The park was established to make access to the base of the bluffs easier to the public, and it can be accessed from Brimley Road. The park has a wonderful sandy beach considered the most beautiful beach in Toronto. The park is snuggled at the foot of the white, towering Bluffs at the east end of Toronto and is one of those rare man-made parks that feel wild, like it has been part of the Scarborough Bluffs forever. The park has picnic areas, several lookouts, a boat launch, a visitors’ dockage, and a network of trails. The fine sand on the beach extends into the water, making it pleasant to wade in.
1 Brimley Road S, Toronto, ON M1M 1T9
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2. Centre Island Beach
Located in the middle of the three main Toronto Islands, Centre island is located between Hanlan's Point on the west and Ward's Island on the east. The beach is very popular in the summer as it is only 15 minutes away from downtown Toronto. It has excellent water quality and received the Blue Flag designation, an international indicator of a beach with good water quality and environmentally conscious management. The water quality is tested daily in the summer and the results are posted near the lifeguard stations. On a hot day, the clear blue water and beach make you feel like you are somewhere in the tropics, except that the sand is mixed with rocks and pebbles. The beach has lifeguards on duty in the summer, changing rooms, and lockers. No picnic tables, barbecues, or dogs are allowed.
9 Queens Quay West | Bay Street, Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, Toronto, Ontario M5J 2H3, Canada
3. Cherry Beach
Cherry Beach is a lakeside park located at the end of Cherry Street south of Unwin Avenue in Toronto on the city’s outer harbor east of the Eastern Gap. The park, which was originally called Clarke Beach Park, was connected until 1852 to Toronto Islands as part of the peninsula. It was also known as Fisherman's Island. Although it is located at the tip of Toronto's once heavily industrial Port Lands area, Cherry Beach has always been a popular gathering spot. There is no proper picnic area and no boardwalk, and a big part of the surrounding area is marshland or former factory grounds. After recent improvements, the park now has a paved entranceway, a washroom, and change rooms. Kite boarders can be often seen at the west side of the beach, and there is an off-leash dog area.
275 Unwin Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N2, Canada
4. Cobourg Beach
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Cobourg Beach is a popular Toronto beach on Lake Ontario just west of Victoria Park, with water at the south and a boardwalk at the north. Almost 1,000 meters of white sandy waterfront hosts many events every year, including volleyball tournaments, a sandcastle competition, Canada Day, and many others. The beach has a mix of pebbles and sand along with an area of naturalized grass. There are lifeguards on duty in the summer, picnic tables, a canteen, washrooms, change rooms, two playgrounds, a fenced basketball court, a splash pad, and a foot bath area. The beach is groomed and cleaned daily. There is an ecology garden at the north side maintained by local residents. More place to explore near Toronto
138 Division St, Cobourg, ON K9A 3P3, Canada
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5. Gibraltar Point Beach
Gibraltar Beach is Toronto's hidden gem snuggled between Centre Island and Hanlan’s Point. Facing out on Lake Ontario, this stretch of fine sand seems miles away from the city. The sandy beach is all that is left of the Gibraltar Beach Sand Dunes, which once lined the entire south shore of the island. The area is still classified as an Environmentally Significant Area as it provides home to some rare plant species. The beach can be accessed by taking the Centre Island Ferry. Once you arrive, follow signs to Centre Beach and head west. Smaller Hanlan's Point Ferry will also take you there, allowing you to avoid the throngs of tourists. On the way to the beach, stop by Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, which is said to be haunted. Gibraltar is a Blue Flag beach.
425 Lakeshore Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
6. Hanlan's Point Beach
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Hanlan's Point Beach is a long public beach located on Hanlan's Point in the Toronto Islands on the shore of Lake Ontario. Hanlan's Point Beach is famous for being one of the two official nude beaches in Canada. It is also known as a beach for people looking for a fun, party beach atmosphere not far from downtown Toronto. The beach can be accessed by taking the ferry or a water taxi to Hanlan's Point drop off. From there you can walk or bike. The south end of the beach is clothing optional. The north side, towards the airport, is a regular beach where clothing is required. The beach is also known for great water quality, wonderful sunsets, spectacular views of the city, shallow water, and a nice snack bar near the beach. Hanlan’s beach dunes create a secluded atmosphere and keep the beach safe from erosion, which is the big problem in the area. Do your part and stay on the path and do not walk through the bushes.
Lakeshore Ave, Toronto, ON M5J 2W2, Canada
7. Kelso Conservation Area
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Kelso Conservation Area is a 3.97 square kilometer park located near Milton, Ontario. It is owned and operated by Conservation Halton. This park includes Lake Kelso, which was built by damming Sixteen Mile Creek for flood control. It has a lovely sandy beach great for swimming in the summer. The beach has lifeguards on duty during the season, a boardwalk, a food concession, and the Boat Rental shop where visitors can rent kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and paddle boats.
The park also has 20 campsites, picnic sites, and two camping/picnic sites. Glen Eden Ski & Snowboard Centre is also part of the park and in the winter offers equipment for downhill skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. The park also includes the Halton Region Museum and a network of hiking and mountain biking trails.
5234 Kelso Rd, Milton, ON L9E 0C6, Canada
8. Kew Balmy Beach
Kew-Balmy Beach is the thin, long stretch of sand mixed with rocks, boardwalk, and park that runs from Kew Gardens to Silver Birch Avenue in Toronto's east. For locals, it is known as "The Beach." For more than a century, the beach has been a place for fun and outdoor entertainment. The line between sand and water is always shifting as Lake Ontario's waves lick at the unprotected two-kilometer stretch of waterfront, taking sand away. Every 200 meters, man-made rock fingers stretch out into the lake to create embayments that stabilize the shoreline and preserve the beach. The restored Leuty Lifeguard station has saved over 6,000 lives since it was built in 1920. Dogs can run free on this beach and artists can come and build rock sculptures on the sand.
Boardwalk, Toronto, ON M4L 1B8, Canada
9. Marie Curtis Park
Marie Curtis Park is a public park in Toronto and Mississauga, Ontario. It is located at the mouth of the Etobicoke Creek on Lake Ontario in the farthest southwest part of Toronto. This park was created in the late 1950s for flood control after Hurricane Hazel almost swept homes in the area into Lake Ontario. The park is full of wildlife and native plants. There is a kids’ playground, a public swimming beach, wading pool, picnic spots, a dog off-leash area, and a network of trails that are connected to the Waterfront Trail. This friendly neighborhood park is one of the very few beaches in North America named in honor of a female community leader, Mary Curtis, a Reeve of a small village of Longbranch.
2 Forty Second St, Etobicoke, ON M8W 3P2, Canada, Phone: 416-392-2489
10. Professor's Lake Recreation Centre
Professor's Lake Recreation Centre is located on the southern side of the Professor’s Lake, a 65-acre artificial lake located in a former gravel pit in Brampton, Ontario. The park and the lake are popular destination for sailing, fishing, windsurfing, and canoeing. The charming 400-foot long sandy swimming beach has a waterslide as well as a boathouse, and at the far end of the beach are three volleyball courts. Visitors can rent paddleboats, kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards. There is a nice patio, change rooms, and a kids’ playground. A network of trails runs through the park.
1660 N Park Dr, Brampton, ON L6S 5S8, Canada, Phone: 905-791-7751
11. Rouge Beach Near Toronto
Rouge Beach is a picturesque area where Rouge River meets Ontario Lake after winding through the popular Rouge River Park, one of the largest urban parks in North America. All around the beach is a marsh that offers a home to a range of plant and animal species. The whole area around the beach is wonderfully picturesque and calming. In the summer, it is very popular for fishing and swimming. It is also a fun spot for watching CN trains pass by in the distance. Nearby is the only camping ground in Toronto. Many people come to enjoy hiking, biking, and running.
195 Rouge Hills Dr, Toronto, Ontario M1C 2Y9, Canada
12. Canada’s Sugar Beach
Canada’s Sugar Beach is a two-acre fun, whimsical new park built in a former parking lot at the end of Lower Jarvis Street next to the Redpath Sugar Factory in the new waterfront neighborhood of East Bayfront. The park’s bright pink beach umbrellas and candy-striped rock outcroppings are the first things visitors see as they walk or drive along Queens Quay. The park has three areas: an urban beach, a plaza, and a tree-lined promenade that runs across the park. The beach is a playful, fun place to spend time in reading, playing in the sand or watching the lake and boats in the distance. The park’s plaza often features public events. The promenade is lined with large maple trees that offer pleasant shade to the people strolling along the water’s edge.
25 Dockside Dr, Toronto, Ontario M5A 0B5, Canada
13. Sunnyside Beach
Sunnyside Beach is an iconic Toronto beach that at some point from 1922 to 1955 was the main Toronto recreational area. The beach and its bright white bathing pavilion were the scene of famous concerts by Count Basie and Duke Ellington and many other memorable events. In the summer, it was packed with bathers having fun and cooling off in the lake. After running through some rough times, the beach has been undergoing a quiet renaissance during the last 20 years. The famous bathing pavilion was renovated in 1980 and the water pollution has been fixed. The water is good for swimming again when the green flag is up. The Palais Royale re-opened and the boardwalk and waterfront trail are full of people again. If you do not come for swimming, rowing, or paddling a boat, come for the magical sunrise and sunset.
Lakeshore Blvd., Toronto, Ontario M6S 5A3, Canada
14. Ward's Island Beach
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Ward’s Island Beach is a part of the small community on the Ward’s Island and can be reached by taking the Ward’s Island ferry at Queens Quay and Bay Street. This hidden gem is far less touristy than the park at Centre Island. Ward's Beach is somewhat protected by the Leslie Split, so its water is calm and ideal for swimming. Nevertheless, there is just enough wind for wind boards and kites. Ward's Beach is the place to hunt for beach glass as the current brings it to the shore. Ward's Island beach is a Blue Flag beach.
Toronto Island, Toronto, ON M5J 2H3
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15. Woodbine Beach
Woodbine Beach, a popular 15.2 hectare Toronto park, is a wide, lovely sandy curve at the end of Woodbine Avenue. It is the gateway to three-kilometer long sandy waterfront along the Lake Ontario shoreline. The wide sandy stretch of fine sand of the Woodbine Beach is very popular for picnics, swimming, and sunbathing. In the summer, there are lifeguards and a bathing station. The Donald D. Summerville Outdoor Olympic Pool is nearby. The bathing station has been recently renovated and now has a new roof, change rooms, an enlarged patio, washrooms, a beach shower, and a foot wash. The park also has a playground, beach volleyball courts, outdoor fitness equipment, picnic shelters, snack bar, a restaurant, and access to several hiking trails.
1675 LAKE SHORE BLVD E
16. Christie Lake
If you’re looking for a beach destination near Toronto that has it all, look no further than Christie Lake. This location is one of the most beautiful and sought-after vacation destinations at the Niagara Escarpment and is great for family trips or weekend getaways with friends. Christie Lake has every recreational activity you can think of with several trails to explore, fantastic cycling opportunities, picnicking areas, disc golf courses, fishing, boating, and swimming, among other activities. Christie Lake is great to visit at any time of the year, too, with equally exciting experiences to be had when the winter months descend like skiing, trail walking, and wildlife viewing.
1000 Highway 5 West, Dundas, Ontario, L9E 5E2, Canada, Phone: 905-628-3066
17. Fifty Point Beach
Come and explore 80 hectares of fantastic marina facilities at Fifty Point Beach. This conservation area on Lake Ontario is popular amongst families and is the best place to enjoy a swim in the lake’s area. The best way to enjoy Fifty Point Beach is through weekend camping trips. There are 70 sites available at this conservation area with full hookups and a convenient location on the lake’s southern shore. Guests can then enjoy the marina and boating opportunities, which are largely regarded as the best in the lake’s western area, swimming at the lake’s warmest and cleanest beaches, as well as hikes on the area’s 3.4-kilometer loop.
1479 Baseline Road, Winona, Ontario, L8E 5G4, Canada, Phone: 905-525-2187
18. Grand Bend
Nestled on Lake Huron’s shores in Southwestern Ontario, Grand Bend is a popular destination in Lambton County with spacious stretches of beaches that beckon beach lovers to visit. This waterfront community offers busy beaches as well as quiet and secluded beaches. Main Beach, for example, is where all the action is at. Meanwhile, North Beach is the place to be for avid sunbathers. For families, South Beach is a popular choice. In terms of recreation, Grand Bend has a ton to offer such as parasailing, golfing, watercraft rentals, and even skydiving. The nearby Pinery Provincial Park frequently hosts live music and has many art galleries nearby. Don’t forget to take a walk along the walkway to enjoy unbeatable sunset views.
Grand Bend, Lake Huron, Ontario, Canada
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