With Spring having sprung and Summer just around the corner, your little ones must be itching to get some summer fun into their lives. Ontario has some beautiful and family-friendly beaches where you can take your kiddos swimming, learn about the area, or simply take advantage of the attractions close to the beach after a long day of sandcastle-building.
Here are our picks for the best beaches in Ontario for families:
- Canatara Park
- Port Burwell
- Bruce Peninsula
- Sauble Beach
- Port Stanley
- Grand Bend
- Innisfil Beach Park
- Horseshoe Beach, Pukaskwa National Park
1. Canatara Park
Head out to Sarnia, Ontario to experience this 1km stretch of beach with pebbles and soft sands along a section of Lake Huron. Cantara is one of Ontario’s 27 Blue Flag beaches, so it’s guaranteed that you will be swimming in clean waters at this beautiful location.
You can also rent out life jackets if needed and for added safety, there are lifeguards on duty during the Summertime.
The park also has BMX biking trails, an animal farm, beach volleyball courts, bike rentals, picnic areas, and a playground to keep the kids entertained outside of swimming.
2. Port Burwell
Another Blue Flag beach, Port Burwell is 2.5km of sandy beach along Lake Erie, a jewel of the northern shore. This beach’s waters are warm and clean as per Blue Flag standard regulations.
With a dog beach, Discovery drop-ins from Ontario Parks for great learning opportunities for the kids, and camping, you can enjoy the wonders of nature when you’re not swimming at this beautiful beach. In the fall there is even something for the bird-lover in your family since this is a great spot to witness some migration action.
3. Bruce Peninsula
Bruce Peninsula National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in Ontario with its gorgeous Canadian Shield rock formations, hiking trails, and crystal clear waters, your family is sure to enjoy a trip to this location.
While not a sandy beach like some others on this list, Bruce Peninsula is more of a rocky beach, so water shoes or some sort of foot protection is recommended. Close to this park is the tourist town of Tobermory with boat tours, shops, and restaurants to explore when you’re not swimming or hiking.
There are also a few campgrounds in the area with both summer and winter camping, and accommodations in Tobermory as well.
4. Sauble Beach
Just south of Bruce Peninsula is one of Ontario’s most popular beaches, Sauble Beach. Rated as the number one beach in Canada by Maclean’s Magazine, this beach has a cool, laid-back atmosphere and attracts thousands of visitors every year.
This swimming destination has 7km of beautiful sandy beaches making it the second-longest freshwater beach in the world. The waters are warm and some of the most pristine on Lake Huron.
After a day of swimming and exploring the local surf shops and restaurants, head back to the beach to enjoy the location’s signature best sunsets the region has to offer.
Rent a cottage close to the beach or local hotels all short drives away from the beach itself.
5. Port Stanley
Port Stanley is another Blue Flag beach and was the first on Lake Erie to receive the distinction. This beach has beautiful warm waters that have a gradual descent from the shore for one of the best swimming experiences for kids.
Lifeguards are on patrol during the summer months as well so you can be sure that your kids will be safe swimming in these waters.
When you’re not swimming, there are local shops in town to explore. Take a train with the kids to St Thomas on the Port Stanley Terminal Rail to find the Elgin County Railway Museum to learn more about the history of the area and some of the oldest railway tracks in Canada.
6. Grand Bend
Another beach along Lake Huron’s coast, Grand Bend is one of Ontario’s most well-known beach spots, especially for families. Located close to Pinery Provincial Park, there is much more than swimming and beach activities for you and your family to enjoy.
Grand Bend is yet another Blue Flag beach with certified clean waters, and lifeguards are also on the beach in the summer months as well. South Beach is the more family oriented part of the beach whereas North Beach has more of a party-centric vibe to it.
Pinery Provincial Park has 10km of sandy beaches and 21 square kilometers of sprawling sand dunes and forests not seen much anywhere else. Take the kids for a fun hike on the dunes or even on a forest trail.
If you’re looking for more water activities, Pinery Provincial Park offers kayaking, paddle boats, and canoeing on the Old Ausable Channel. This is a significant Ontario wetland and a prime place to take the kids to explore.
7. Innisfil Beach Park
Located on the southern coast of Lake Simcoe just outside of Barrie, this park has a total of 5 sandy beaches. The warm and calmer waters on these beaches are perfect for your kiddos to swim in safe conditions.
Other activities in this park include soccer pitches, snack bars, baseball diamond, picnic areas, and a playground for those looking for a nice, fun location for their summer family barbecue.
If you’re looking to avoid crowds, head down to 10th Line to the smaller secondary beach in the park.
8. Horseshoe Beach, Pukaskwa National Park
Heading up to Northern Ontario for this diamond in the rough, Horseshoe Beach is located in Pukaskwa National Park, close to the town of Marathon Ontario. Along the shores of Lake Superior, Horseshoe Beach is surrounded by boreal forest with a stretch of golden sand and gorgeous granite rock formations that are a part of the Canadian shield with beautiful views.
Stay at a campsite at Hattie Cove Campground to walk an accessible boardwalk to this idyllic summer beach getaway with crystal clear waters and driftwood formations to keep the kids entertained with their interesting shapes. Pack a picnic for a wonderful location for a midday swim with some lunch and views on the side.