Canada boasts incredible beaches from one coast to the other, some of which are even accessible in the heart of winter. Explore oceanfront beaches with imposing surf, serene inland lakes offering warm water, bustling beach towns teeming with crowds, extensive sandy stretches along the Great Lakes, and picturesque flat expanses on the East Coast.
The warm summers in central Canada draw locals to beaches in places like Ontario and lakes in Manitoba, creating bustling havens for beachgoers seeking relief from the heat. In British Columbia, the soft-sand beaches adorning lakes in the interior are favored summer retreats, while on the Pacific Coast, you can indulge in year-round surfing and beach enjoyment. The Atlantic Provinces and the Îles de la Madeleine entice beach enthusiasts from across Canada throughout the summer season.
Discover the ideal spot to unfold your beach chair with our compilation of the best beaches in Canada.
1. Long Beach, Tofino, BC
The coastal town of Tofino on Vancouver Island boasts stunning beachfront, with Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park being the most renowned and arguably the most magnificent. Appropriately named, this expansive beach spans 16 kilometers and bears the full force of the relentless Pacific Ocean.
The water temperature remains cold, ranging from 8 degrees Celsius in the depths of winter to 12 degrees Celsius in the height of summer. Nevertheless, this doesn’t deter enthusiasts from donning half-inch full-body wetsuits and surfboards to conquer the perpetual waves.
Surfing holds significant prominence in Tofino and serves as an excellent location for learning. The size and layout of the beaches offer various spots ideally suited for beginners. Sandy bottoms and shallow areas make the sport more accessible than it may initially seem.
Several other beaches in the vicinity also attract surfers. Cox Bay Beach, renowned as one of the best surfing beaches in Canada, if not the best, beckons enthusiasts. Additionally, exploring Florencia Bay Beach, Mackenzie Bay Beach, and other top beaches in Tofino is a must while in the area.
A stroll along Long Beach, especially on sunny days, is a cherished activity for nearly all visitors. The firm and easily traversable sand make it suitable for pushing a stroller or walking your dog. Alternatively, don your rubber boots and explore the beach at low tide, searching for elusive sand dollars. As the day concludes, warm up by a beachside campfire or relax by a cozy fireplace at one of the area’s luxury resorts and inns.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Tofino: Best Areas & Hotels
Read More: Best Campgrounds in Tofino, BC
2. Brackley Beach, PEI
Just beyond Charlottetown, Brackley Beach stands out as one of the premier beaches on Prince Edward Island. Extending for miles, the golden shoreline is complemented by impressive sand dunes. Typically, the surf is gentle, making this beach an ideal spot for families with young children.
The swimming areas feature long, shallow approaches, perfect for activities like wading, water football, or Frisbee. While the water does warm up during the summer, its temperature is often described as “refreshing.”
Situated within Prince Edward Island National Park, the beach offers numerous recreational opportunities, with one standout being the Gulf Shore Way. This paved trail meanders along the seashore and through the dunes. The flat, firm sand makes beach walking and running popular activities along this shoreline.
Read More: Best Places to Visit in Prince Edward Island
3. Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, BC
One of Vancouver’s most famous beaches, Kitsilano, offers everything for a perfect afternoon and stands as a popular summer attraction in Vancouver. Sit on a log, relax, and soak up the sun while enjoying the view of the North Shore Mountains. Locally known as Kit’s Beach, this beach forms a wide arc of sand along English Bay. A seawall runs behind the beach, extending further to connect with Stanley Park.
Although the water is cold, it warms up slightly in the shallows. For those seeking adventure, a swimming platform is anchored offshore. If cold seawater is not your preference, you can opt for a more refined experience at the Kitsilano Pool—a massive, 137-meter, heated saltwater pool right at the ocean’s edge. Waterslides and a water park provide hours of entertainment for kids.
Just behind the sandy shores, there’s a spacious park area, ideal for a family picnic. Alternatively, if you prefer someone else handling the cooking, concession stands, and the well-regarded Boathouse Restaurant offer great food. The park also features an off-leash dog park, tennis and basketball courts, and a playground with various climbing structures.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Vancouver: Best Areas & Hotels
4. Woodbine Beach, Toronto
One of Ontario’s best beaches is situated just minutes away from the attractions of downtown Toronto. Woodbine Beach has become a summer haven for the numerous young condo residents. This three-kilometer-long expanse of sand is where people gather to revel in all the joys of hot summer days in the city.
Crowds flock to this beach when the sun is shining and the temperature climbs. Taking a stroll along the boardwalk to soak in the scene is a favored activity for both the young and the old. Woodbine is a vibrant hub for beach volleyball, and every weekend sees courts filled with teams—some aiming for victory, while most are just out for a good time.
If your beach activities leave you hungry or thirsty, a stroll from the beach into the lively and eclectic Beaches neighborhood is a must. Here, you will discover trendy restaurants with outdoor patios, perfect spots for indulging in some serious people-watching.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Toronto: Best Areas & Hotels
5. Grand Beach Provincial Park, MB
Consistently recognized as one of the best beaches in Canada, Grand Beach earns its acclaim for its expansive sand dunes, warm shallow water, and lively atmosphere. Just an hour or so from Winnipeg, this beach is an ideal destination for a day trip and, consequently, draws crowds of visitors every sunny summer weekend.
Stretching for three kilometers in a gentle arc along the shores of Lake Winnipeg, one of the province’s best lakes, the beach boasts a wooden boardwalk where concession stands offer hot snacks, cold drinks, and popcorn. The soft, golden-brown sand provides an ideal canvas for crafting sandcastles.
The shallow water, heated by the hot Manitoba summer sun, reaches bathtub-like temperatures, making leisurely lounging a popular and effortless pastime. The generally calm shallow water is well-suited for families with small children.
Extending for a considerable distance, the shallow water features naturally occurring sandbars, creating especially shallow spots that are perfect for games of touch football or Frisbee. The grey-colored water warms up quickly each summer, allowing for extended periods of comfortable swimming.
Situated within Grand Beach Provincial Park, which houses a large campground, Grand Beach is considered one of the best campgrounds in Manitoba. It is advisable to book campsites online well in advance, particularly for a July weekend.
6. Parlee Beach, NB
Parlee Beach Provincial Park boldly declares itself to have the warmest saltwater beach in all of Canada. Situated just 20 minutes from downtown Moncton in the beach town of Pointe-du-Chene, the beige sands stretch for one kilometer and attract both locals and tourists during the cherished warm summer days of July and August.
The shallow water extends into the ocean, and as the tide recedes, the beach expands, creating warm pools that are perfect for kids. Lifeguards patrol the beach throughout the summer for added safety. Many families choose Parlee Beach as their summer holiday destination, opting to stay for a week or longer in the beautiful campground. With over 200 sites available in a mix of electrical and unserved formats, the campground is just a 10-minute walk to the beach.
The nearby town of Shediac proudly identifies itself as the lobster capital of the world. Locals showcase this claim with a giant lobster statue measuring 11 meters long by five meters wide and weighing 90 tons.
7. Wasaga Beach, ON
Wasaga Beach, one of Ontario’s lively beach towns, attracts over two million sun and surf enthusiasts from across the province. It is a place for socializing and enjoying the vibrant scene. Along the water’s edge, a continuous flow of sun-kissed individuals takes strolls, capturing selfies and relishing the good times. In the shallow, warm waters, numerous families and their children frolic and splash.
Situated on Georgian Bay, Wasaga Beach is reputed to be the longest freshwater beach globally, offering the option to either join the bustling sections or retreat to the nearly deserted stretches. The beach is conveniently divided into sections for easy navigation. Sections 1 and 2, located in town, host the liveliest scenes with amenities like volleyball courts and a boardwalk. The town, just a short distance from this area, provides various enjoyable activities.
Sections 3 through 6 offer a more tranquil setting, ideal for finding your own sandy spot to immerse yourself in the latest book. For those traveling with dogs, section 3 is designated, allowing canine companions to swim and relax on the beach alongside you while they revel in the sandy surroundings.
8. Pancake Bay, Lake Superior, ON
This incredibly beautiful, expansive stretch of sand stands out as one of the most pleasant beach areas on Lake Superior. The scenery is breathtaking, with protruding points of land safeguarding the bay on both ends and pine trees adorning the shoreline.
Usually, Lake Superior is known for its bone-chilling cold water, less suitable for comfortable swimming. However, at Pancake Bay, the shallow water and golden sand contribute to warming the water to a more agreeable temperature. Families with small children will discover that this beach is an excellent choice.
Picnic tables strategically placed just beyond the sand offer a delightful setting for lunch or a barbecue dinner. Additionally, Pancake Bay boasts one of the finest campgrounds in Ontario, featuring many of its 325 sites situated right at the waterfront, mere steps away from the lake.
Q: Are the beaches in Canada suitable for swimming?
A: Most Canadian beaches are suitable for swimming, but it’s essential to check local conditions and follow safety guidelines.
Q: Can I visit Wreck Beach in Vancouver with my family?
A: Wreck Beach is known for its clothing-optional atmosphere, so it’s advisable to consider this when planning a visit with family.
Q: Are there lifeguards on duty at the national park beaches?
A: Many national parks have designated swimming areas with lifeguards, but it’s advisable to check specific park regulations.
Q: How can I access Whitehaven Beach in Yukon?
A: Whitehaven Beach is primarily accessible by boat or air, and arrangements need to be made in advance.
Q: Are there accommodations near the featured beaches?
A: Yes, many of the highlighted beaches have nearby accommodations ranging from campsites to luxury resorts.