A visit to one—if not all—of the best beaches Ontario has to offer is needed when temperatures become hot and sticky.
Whether you’re planning weekend getaways, a camping trip or just looking for ways to cool off or with friends, these beaches in Ontario are a quick subway, ferry, or bus trip away.
Check out our guide to the best beaches Ontario has to offer.
When it comes to the quality of the water, each city in Ontario conducts its own testing. Water quality is monitored daily or weekly by the City for coliform and e-Coli bacteria.
A no-swimming advisory will be issued if bacteria levels are over 200 E. coli per 100 ml of water tested or if they are over 100 E. coli per 100 ml of water tested on two or more consecutive days, or if there is 20 mm of rain.
Reasons for beach contamination
The reasons for a beach being contaminated with bacteria could be many, including one or more of the following:
- seasonal surface run-off into lakes and rivers
- rainfall events
- warmer water temperatures in the summer
- the number of bathers
- other sources of contamination
For further information on Environmental Health call or visit your city's website.
Here Are The Best Beaches in Ontario
1. Cherry Beach ( Toronto)
Nice spot for a lazy summer day. Located on the north shore of the Outer Harbour at the foot of Cherry Street.
The beach has two sections: the one to the left of the washrooms has a slimmer sandy beach. The one to the right of the washrooms has a wider sandy beach but part of it is reserved for water activities.
There is public parking on both sides. I would caution against parking outside of the designated spots as cars get fined $100. There is a gated dog park/beach which leads to the Toronto cruise ship dock.
Cherry Beach typically achieves annual blue flag certification.
For more beaches Check our best beaches in Toronto guide
2. Petrie Island Beach (Ottawa)
Petrie Island is one of the best spots in the Canadian national capital region that gathers family friendlessness and nature during the summer season.
A wonderful sandy beach with spectacular views across the Ottawa River. Great for picnics, a stroll, a swim, a game of volleyball, or watching the boats go by.
- From May 21 to September 5, 2022, paid parking from 7 am to 6 pm (seasonal passes available).
- Picnic tables
- Play structure
- Volley-ball net rental
- Stand-up Paddleboard Rental (16+ years of age)
For more beaches Check our best beaches in Ottawa guide
3. Jack Darling Memorial Park Beach (Mississauga)
Jack Darling Park is located south of Lakeshore Road between Mississauga Road and Southdown Road in Mississauga
One of the best beach parks in Mississauga with plenty of picnic areas and a nice sandy beach! with a beautiful view of Lake Ontario and the City of Toronto.
There is a bike trail, a great playground, and a splash pad for the kids to enjoy. The hotdog stand and ice cream cart are definitely a bonus! Parking can be an issue since it's very crowded during summer days.
For more beaches Check our best beaches in Mississauga guide
4. South Shell Park Beach (Oakville)
Located on Lakeshore Road. South Shell Waterfront Park, in conjunction with Shell Park, Bronte Woods, and Burloak Woods north of Lakeshore Road is considered by many local birders to be the best migrant stopover site in the greater Hamilton area.
Great little getaway! There is a waterfront path that you can walk or simply go to the beach. The beach is sandy but also has seashells thus would recommend bringing water shoes.
It does have a really small parking lot, I would recommend to come here really early if you're planning to spend the day swimming. Or you can park at Shell Park and wheel your things over in a wagon. They're not too far from each other.
Other amenities include:
- Interpretive signs
- Naturalized passive parkland
- Parking lot - 31 spaces
- Shade structure
- Waterfront picnic
- Waterfront trail
- Washroom facilities
For more beaches Check our best beaches in Oakville guide
5. Beachway Park Beach (Burlington)
A well-groomed park and beach with trails, washrooms, and a playground. Nearby is Spencer Smith Park and all the good stuff downtown Burlington has to offer.
There is plenty of parking along the roadside but naturally, it fills up fast on summer weekends.
The Dofasco Waterjet Park and Playground are right around the corner and Rotary Centennial Pond is a great place to sail your model boat! If you are in the mood for a more relaxing pace.
The Beachway Park is always open on a daily basis pending water quality results. To view results before you go, dial 311 or visit halton.ca/beaches.
For more beaches check our best beaches in Burlington guide
6. Valens Beach ( Hamilton)
Swimmers and sunbathers can enjoy the sandy beach and natural swimming area. Enjoy the Beach store, featuring pre-packaged snacks and cool treats to add that special something to your picnic lunch.
If swimming isn't your gig you can opt to explore Valens Lake by boat in a kayak, canoe, rowboat, or stand-up paddleboard. Fish from the boat or just enjoy the scenery and wildlife of Valens Lake.
For more beaches check our best beaches in Hamilton guide
7. Sunset Beach (St. Catharines)
Located at 1 Lombardy Ave., Sunset Beach sits along the shores of Lake Ontario with 365 meters (or 1,200 feet) of sandy beach to enjoy.
A lovely beach, often not busy, with a long beachfront to explore. If you're fond of picking up rocks or sea glass, you'll find lots along the shore.
- On-site paid parking (free for St. Catharines residents with a Resident Beach Parking Pass) with a capacity of 150 vehicles
- Three off-site, free long-term parking areas
- Public washrooms
- Picnic area
- Public boat launch ramp, used for small and personal watercraft during the daylight hours of boating season
- Ten boat launch paid-parking spaces
For more beaches check our best beaches in St. Catharines guide.
8. Darlington Provincial Park Beach
Darlington offers a beautiful stretch of sandy beach, perfect for swimming, on the shores of Lake Ontario.
This park truly is a hidden Gem, it is well staffed and clean. The layout is very well thought out and kept very tidy. The beach is almost like being down south!!
For more beaches check our best beaches in St. Oshawa guide.
Best Beaches in Ontario FAQs
Lake Erie is the shallowest of all the Great Lakes, making it the warmest. Crystal Beach by far the town of Fort Erie's biggest draw. Go for a swim, lounge on the white sand, sail around the bay, go fishing, try out the water-sports galore, or explore the quaint town of Fort Erie.
lakes are confined to smaller fetches which limit wave size, but the Great Lakes are large enough to produce frequent swells up to several meters.
While ocean waves are created by distant storm systems, waves on the Great Lakes are formed by localized winds.
Generally, the water is clean and safe for swimming. However, to ensure public safety, the water is tested for contamination by bacteria. If problems are found, signs advising the public are posted at affected beaches.