No matter which direction you decide to go, there’s a perfect beach for everyone but these 10 beaches in Ontario are summer favourites that promise to reinvigorate your mind, body, and soul.
The Best Beaches in Ontario | Our Top Hotels for Relaxing Lakeside
Be Wined and Dined in the Sandbanks Provincial Park
Distance from Toronto: 3 1/2 hours
Ontario’s Prince Edward County is a big island with quaint hamlets, antique shops, exceptional wineries, and incredible beaches. Three of them are found within Sandbanks, a provincial park that’s home to the world’s largest badmouth barrier dune formation. Outlet Beach is shallow, gentle and perfect for families, Sandbanks Beach is a large, one-kilometre long strip perfect for windsurfing and picnics and Dunes Beach, with its gorgeous, white-hot white sand, calm, cool and shallow waters, looks and feels like a soothing, serene Caribbean paradise.
Stay in a Hotel That is Both a Winery and Inn Near The Sandbanks Provincial Park
A long day on the dunes deserves a great night’s rest, with vino, of course. Huff Estates is not only perfectly located in the centre of The County but it’s both a winery and an inn. Breathe the honey-scented air and sip on Riesling – with hints of lychee, melon and white peach – as you enjoy the Oeno Gallery and sculpture garden nestled between the vines. Gorgeous, modern rooms located adjacent to the winery greet you, fireplace sitting areas warm your soul and rooms with patios overlooking the vineyard make you drop your shoulders and relax.
A Lakeside Retreat on a Beach in Cobourg
Distance from Toronto: 1 1/2 hours
Visitors have had a love affair with Cobourg’s waterfront for decades. Throughout the 20th century, a ferry service connected it with Rochester, New York, bringing hoards of tourists and American industrialists to the growing small town. Many loved it so much, they built summer homes here, some of which you can still see today. These days, Victoria Park and the large nearby beach is home to an annual Arts and Crafts Waterfront Festival as well as the Sandcastle Festival which has been named one of the top travel experiences in Ontario. Thousands descend on this beach annually as it’s an ideal spot to eat ice cream along the boardwalk, play a game of beach volleyball, jump around in the splash park and take a dip in the water.
Sleep in a Four Poster Bed at the Woodlawn Inn
Start and end your beach day at the charming and elegant Woodlawn Inn, located steps from the water and downtown Cobourg. Marisa and Stephen Della Casa offer a complimentary breakfast for all guests and several types of rooms that satisfy all tastes. Charming Rooms feature quality period furniture, 11-foot ceilings, garden access, and balconies. Superior Rooms are a bit more spacious and offer whirlpool tubs, antique furniture, and garden courtyard views. For a bit more privacy, the 1930s Cottage Superior Room is a newly renovated, elevated rustic suite with hardwood floors and a gas fireplace.
Gather a Group and Head to the Beaches of Port Dover
Distance from Toronto: 2 hours
Port Dover has been a popular beach destination for 100 years. Famous for its small–town charm, California-style vibe and street-side fast food, Erie Beach features several palm trees along the water, making getting here early enough in the day to claim a spot in the shade somewhat of an urgent matter. Summer nights here have the look and feel of Mediterranean-style romanticism. Take a seat on the cool sand, listen to the ebbs and flows of the gentle tide and fix your gaze towards the lighthouse as it absorbs and reflects the moonlight.
A Cozy Hotel with Original Period Details
Quiet and cozy, Dover House will completely refresh your senses. Built in 1947, it’s located both adjacent to other century homes and well within walking distance of both the town and beach. Inside, this three-room bed and breakfast oasis features coved ceilings and original hardwood floors. Wake up, soak in the fresh air and enjoy your morning java with delicious home-baked pastries on the large deck under the trees or if you prefer, in the garden with views overlooking the ravine below.
Go Wildlife Spotting on a Beach at Long Point
Distance from Toronto: 2 hours
Stretching 40 kilometres long, well beyond the shoreline and onto Lake Erie, Long Point is a precious and sensitive piece of land that is home to not only a World Biosphere Reserve but the fourth oldest provincial park in Ontario. Established in 1921, Long Point is a well known and much loved summer wonderland, home to one of the largest bird migration staging areas on the continent, and is a retreat for nature lovers and beach worshippers alike. Nearly two kilometres of soft sand and warm water is available for you to enjoy here, including near Monarch’s Rest and Turtle Dunes day-use and campground areas.
Stay in a Quaint Country Inn from 1875
Built in 1875 and originally a general store, the Normandale Century Inn has undergone a big expansion as current owners, Hans and Brenda, have added five bedrooms and a restaurant to the existing local store. Enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast and delicious, local home-cooked country meals for dinner in the lounge or large outdoor patio, then take a load off and relax in the gazebo overlooking the gardens, barn and of course, bird feeders.
Relax in California-Like Temperatures at Point Pelee National Park
Distance from Toronto: 4 hours
Point Pelee’s big draw: it’s the southernmost tip of mainland Canada. A compact park that’s home to an annual bird festival, Point Pelee also gives visitors a chance to soak up the sun on both of its extended coastlines. Fun fact: the park is located just south of the 42nd parallel, meaning it’s as far south as Rome and Northern California and because of its milder, southern climate, the park offers gentle tropical-like breezes coming in from the lake and an overall warmer water beach experience.
Stay in a Hotel Directly on the Lake's Shore
Located between Leamington – Canada’s tomato capital – and the park is Point Pelee Lakeshore Bed & Breakfast, the perfect spot to start and end your day in Canada’s “Sun Parlour” region. Lise and Al greet you with a glass of wine, three-course gourmet- style breakfasts – with matching theme and decor – and offer terrace views overlooking the morning mist coming off the lake and gorgeous, tropical-like coastal sunsets.
A Toronto Beach Escape to the Georgian Bay Islands National Park
Distance from Toronto: 2 1/2 hours
You don’t have to travel far from Toronto to enjoy island life. 30,000 islands made from rugged Canadian Shield dot this region of central Ontario. Smack dab in the middle sits Georgian Bay Islands, a national park accessible only by the DayTripper ferry and only with a reservation. You can choose to visit either the north or south end of Beausoleil Island as both have incredible vistas and beaches. On the south end, Cedar Springs, Wana Keta and Sandpiper day-use areas offer gorgeous views of Beausoleil Bay, while Honeymoon Bay in the north is more secluded, laid back, making you feel as if you’ve discovered a pristine, refreshing blue water beach and have it all to yourself.
Look Forward to Breakfast at the 1875 Charters Inn
1875 Charters Inn in Midland, Ontario is the best-kept secret in the region. Host, chef, and captain Gerry Lesperance is at the helm of this charming three-bedroom Victorian bed and breakfast which offers garden and wrap around veranda access to view the night sky and inhale the summer wind. Wake up refreshed and enjoy a gourmet, multiple course breakfast prepared by Gerry and if you like, book a charter cruise with him as he takes you in, through and around the Georgian Bay islands.
Indian Head Cove and The Grotto, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Distance from Toronto: 4 hours
You can hike, canoe and kayak. But for many visiting The Bruce, swimming is top of mind. Visually stunning, Indian Head Cove’s flat, limestone rock and white boulder beach is a tropical, turquoise water paradise that feels like you’re living your beach fairytale. Go on in, the water’s fine and while you’re at it look around in total awe as you take a moment to appreciate the natural environment. Before long, your attention veers off to the Natural Arch, a hole in the rock on the way to the infamous Grotto, a large sea cave containing a pool of water, spectacular serenity and a true beach escape at its most exotic.
Keep it Chic and Simple at the Escarpment Heights Motel
A perfect launching pad to explore and enjoy both the pristine beach and cave as well as nearby Flowerpot Island and Fathom Five National Park is the Escarpment Heights Motel in Tobermory, Ontario – the Scuba Diving Capital of Canada. Family-owned and built, this 15-room motel is a short walk from Tobermory’s restaurants, boutiques, and harbour. Three and four bedroom cottages – each with full kitchens, raised decks and patio furniture – are also available for added luxury.
A Family Friendly Beach in Goderich
Distance from Toronto: 2 1/2 hours
Considered by many to be ‘the prettiest town in Canada’, Goderich features a charming, retro octagonal town square, scenic mile-long boardwalk, and three warm, teal coloured beaches. A family-friendly environment with playgrounds and picnic shelters, the Main Beach allows for perfect views of boats entering the harbour, St. Christopher’s Beach is a bit more shaded and dog-friendly while sandy and shallow Rotary Cove Beach is popular with locals. As the sun sets, make your way to Lighthouse Park on the bluff, overlooking all three beaches. Take in one of the best sunsets in Ontario and watch the dimming rays reflect on the silky smooth Lake Huron waves.
A Homey Family-owned Beach Hotel in Goderich
Run by Emilios and Connie Gergolas, Colborne Bed and Breakfast sits perfectly between, well, everything and offers five gorgeous rooms that make you feel like you’re home. The Anderson Suite overlooks the back gardens, Caesar Room is cozy and cool while the Sunset Suite has it all including a kitchen area with fridge, microwave, single burner induction cooker, and dishes. Here, the focus is on total hospitality and that includes the “Breakfast Experience”. Three courses of fresh and in-season delicacies, including fresh baked muffins or scones served with local preserves and butter, fresh fruit and yogurt and a hot entree such as Herb and Cheddar Individual Frittatas, Cointreau Orange French Toast with Maple Berry Compote or Belgian Waffles served with fresh whipped cream.