Explore Beach Towns Ontario

When many people think of Canada and Ontario, the first thought that enters their mind is snow, cold and ice.  No we don’t live in igloos!  You may be surprised to learn that our summer months get as high as 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), and often even higher.

Since Ontario summers seem to be getting shorter and shorter each year, we want to make the most of what short amount of time that we have.  What is known as our May 24 weekend kicks off our beach season, notwithstanding that the average temperature is on average 15 degrees Celsius (58 Fahrenheit) and an average of 2 degrees Celsius (35 Fahrenheit) during the evening.  This is one of the reasons that we are known as the “Crazy Canuks” lol.

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Explore Beach Towns Ontario

Ontario has many options for swimming and water sports all across the Province; however, the beaches that I have outlined here are the largest beach attractions and all are known for their beach activities.  I hope you join me as I hit the waves for some beach fun!

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Toronto to Grand Bend

Grand Bend

  • Population:                                2,102
  • Distance from Toronto:           220.5 km (137.01 miles)

OVERVIEW

Grand Bend is a small community in southwestern Ontario, nestled along the shores of Lake Huron.  It is one of only 27 beaches in Canada which has earned Blue Flag status for its commitment to water quality and safety.

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Welcome to Grand Bend, Ontario

Grand Bend is a destination that has more than “just a beach” to offer families, although the beach is to die for – and it offers mats to make it completely accessible!

EXPLORE ACTIVITIES

Grand Bend offers one of the most beautiful beaches of all of Ontario’s beach towns.  The beach is close enough to the main street to walk if you need to have a bite or a brew.

On the main street, just a short distance from the beach, you can rent seadoo’s from Splash Waterworks, or if you prefer to paddle board rentals are available at West Coast SUP.

To escape the crowds, visit Grand Bend’s Motorplex between May 11th and September 27th, or attend one of the live theatres at Huron County Playhouse.

EXPLORE SHOPPING

Grand Bend offers approximately two blocks of shopping, where you will find beachwear, hats, sandals, jewelry shops, candy shops, pubs and restaurants, as well as mini golf to give you a break from the beach and shopping.

For the more serious shopper, I recommend taking the 21 minute drive to explore Bayfield, which has the most amazing boutique shops.

EXPLORE RESTAURANTS

Grand Bend offers many different types of eateries, all on the main street within walking distance from the beach.  Whether you want to relax with a brew or grab a hot dog and fries while on the go, Grand Bend has it all.

Willie’s Beach Bar:  Just across the street from the beach, you can grab a bite and brew and hang out on the outside patio.  It’s a great spot to people watch.

Spud Shack:  You can even keep your bathing suit on for this one!  Grab some fries to munch on while wandering the shops.

The Dairy Dip and Pizza Place:  Burgers, fries or ice-cream anyone?  The Dairy Dip has it all, and you can eat at a table outside in the middle of all of the action.

EXPLORE ACCOMMODATIONS

Grand Bend offers various forms of accommodation, which include primarily cottage and cabin rentals and camping facilities.  However, if you don’t feel like “roughing” it, their is a hotel or two to stay at.

Visit Grand Bend Tourism to explore all that Grand Bend has to offer.

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Toronto to Port Dover

Port Dover

  • Population:                              6,161
  • Distance from Toronto:           133.2 km (82.77 miles)

OVERVIEW

Port Dover is located along the northern shores of Lake Erie in southwestern Ontario.  It becomes a hub of activity during the summer months and its primary source of income is from tourism and fishing.  Other than the beaches, Port Dover is well known for its Arbor Dogs, (hot dogs), perch and Friday the 13th.

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Fun in the sun and sand

EXPLORE ACTIVITIES

Whether you want to swim, boat, seadoo, or laze in the sun, Port Dover beach offers it all.  For the fisherman, take a short walk from the beach to the pier and drop your line.

This small beach town comes alive every Friday the 13th.  Bikers (motorcycles) flock to Dover from all across the globe, both in winter and summer months.  It is quite the sight to see.

EXPLORE SHOPPING

Like most beach towns, Port Dover has an array of stores to stock up on beachwear, sunglasses, beach toys, etc.  You aren’t there to shop anyways.  You are there to eat, drink and have some fun in the sun.

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Pick up some beach toys for the kiddies

EXPLORE RESTAURANTS

Port Dover is famous Province wide for its fresh caught perch, as well as the Arbor Dog.  To say that you have joined one of the millions in tasting this delicious food, be sure to visit:

Erie Beach Restaurant:  This restaurant specializes in locally caught perch, and offers The Cove Room for lunch and dinner, The Terrace Room and The Cove Bar.

The Arbor:  This takeout restaurant serves up the best hotdogs around.  While wandering the streets of Port Dover, be sure to stop by and pick up your Arbor Dog.

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Stop for a bite to eat while on the go

Callahan’s Beach House:  For those of you who don’t want to miss out on the action happening at the beach, throw on some clothes and head to The Beach House for a relaxing lunch of pub food.

The Ice Cream Tank:  For dessert, a stop at The Ice Cream Tank is an absolute must!  Be sure to try the cherry caramel swirl, with the made on site waffle cone.  It is simply the best!

EXPLORE ACCOMMODATIONS

Port Dover is primarily a road trip destination not far from Toronto, and not many spend the night.  If you have had too much to drink, the Erie Beach Hotel is located on the main strip and offers front row seating of all of the action.

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Spend the night at the Erie Beach Hotel

Long Point and Turkey Point are popular spots for camping and located a short drive from Port Dover and BONUS….they are on the beach.

If visiting Ontario, a visit to Port Dover is an absolute must!

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Toronto to Sauble Beach

Sauble Beach

  • Population:                                  2,000
  • Distance from Toronto:           218 km (135.46 miles)

OVERVIEW

When visiting Sauble Beach, you will find 11 km (7 miles) of white sandy beach in the Bruce Peninsula, along the eastern shores of Lake Huron.  Much of the Sauble Beach lands continue to be owned by the Saugeen First Nation.  The land is then leased to the cottagers, which benefits all.  Ontarian’s continue to be thankful for the first settlors who discovered this little peace of heaven in 1877.

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Welcome to Sauble Beach

EXPLORE ACTIVITIES

With 11 km (7 miles) of beach, it goes without saying that the beach is the main attraction in Sauble Beach.  With its large sandbar creating shallow and warmer water, this beach attracts thousands of tourists, young and old, every year.

There are plenty of activities to keep you busy when you need to escape the sun and crowds at the beach.  Sauble Beach offers golf, mini golf, boat tours and the newly opened Ascent Aerial Park.  For the water lover, visit Sauble Falls to rent a sea-doo, kayak, SUP, canoe.

For the fisherman or waterfall chaser, a visit to Sauble Falls is in order.  Spend the day fishing, canoeing, kayaking or hiking at Sauble Falls.  Don’t forget to bring a picnic!

Whatever activities interest you, Sauble Beach offers activities and adventures for the entire family to enjoy.

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Fish or canoe at Sauble Falls

EXPLORE SHOPPING

Sauble Beach is not known as a shopper’s paradise, unless of course you are shopping for beach or surf wear.  Then this is the place to go.  You will have no shortage of options in this department.

EXPLORE RESTAURANTS

Even though it is summer and I always prefer a picnic to a restaurant, there are places to grab a quick bite to eat:

Casero Taco Bus:  Grab a fresh taco to go from the window of double-decker bus.  If you also need a brew, hang out on the licensed patio.

Two Chicks Café and Smoothie Bar:  A visit is a must to this fun and energetic cafe.  Enjoy the patio and listen to some tunes, while enjoying a sandwich or wrap.

Beach Burger:  Visit this iconic landmark, located on the main street by the beach, for their world famous burger.

EXPLORE ACCOMMODATIONS

As most beach towns, Sauble Beach does not offer many hotels.  The tourists who visit this beach destination usually prefer cottages or campgrounds and Sauble Beach offers an abundance of both.

Be sure to visit Sauble Beach if you want to explore paradise!

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Toronto to Wasaga Beach

Wasaga Beach

  • Population:                                  20,675
  • Distance from Toronto:           147.4 km (91.59 miles)

OVERVIEW

Wasaga Beach is located along the southern shores of Georgian Bay on the Nottawasaga River.  It is known as the longest fresh water beach in the world, spanning a distance of 14 km (8.70 miles).  During the summer months, you will want to arrive early, as the entire 14 km of beach is packed with visitors.

While Wasaga Beach offers many activities for the entire family, it is known for attracting older teenagers, millennial’s and xennials.  Having said that, this baby boomer made a visit to this beach during our most recent May 24 weekend, and had a blast.

 

EXPLORE ACTIVITIES

Obviously, it is the beach that attracts an over-abundance of tourists, many of which you will see out riding the waves.  If you want to join in the fun, water equipment rentals are available at Ride On Rentals.

EXPLORE SHOPPING

Like many of Ontario’s beach towns, tourists to not visit for the shopping, however you will find many stores along the beach strip to purchase beachwear, hats, sunglasses, summer clothing and souvenirs.

EXPLORE RESTAURANTS

Lucky for you, you don’t have to stray far from the beach in order to find a quick bite or brew.

The Sandbar:  Grab a quick bite and a brew and enjoy the beach vibe from the patio of this roof-top restaurant.

Grandma’s Beach Treats:  Grab an ice cream from Grandma’s to cool you off while you wander the beach strip.

Beacon Restaurant:  After hours pop into the Beacon Restaurant for some live music and evening fun.

Wasaga Beach Brewing & Beach Bar:  When the sun gets to hot, stop in for a cold one, and try their own Beach 1 Cervaza.

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Shopping in Wasaga Beach

EXPLORE ACCOMMODATIONS

You will find no shortage of accommodations in Wasaga Beach.  From hotels, cabins, camping and cottage rentals, you will have no problem finding your preferred type of accommodation.  Remember though that you are in a beach town and the majority of the accommodations will not be a 5 star rating, but are more than comfortable for your time at the beach.

To explore more activities, restaurants and accommodations that Wasaga Beach has to offer, visit Wasaga Beach Tourism

This by no means is an exhaustive list of the lakes you will find in Ontario.  With more than 250,000 lakes in Ontario, you will have no problem finding a spot to rest and cool off when visiting Ontario during the summer months.

WATER SAFETY IN THE GREAT LAKES

All of the beaches mentioned in this article are situated along the shores of one of Canada’s 5 Great Lakes.

  • Lake Huron
  • Lake Erie
  • Lake Ontario
  • Lake Michigan
  • Lake Superior

While the lakes look beautiful and harmless, they can be quite deadly if they are not taken seriously.

There have been over 600 drownings in one of the Great Lakes since 2010.  Be aware of what to look for before entering the water.  Avoid these situations and you will be guaranteed to have a safe and fun swim in one of Ontario’s Great Lakes:

  • Rip tides or swift currents
  • Structural Current (do not swim near a pier or breakwall)
  • Waves that exceed 3 feet should be avoided
  • Temperatures below 25 Celsius (77 Farenheit) can be dangerous to life threatening
  • Algae and mosssandals

“If you need me, call me on my shell” – Unknown

SAFE & HAPPY SWIMMING!

Kelly xoxo

48 thoughts on “Explore Beach Towns Ontario

  1. italiantripabroad

    I didn’t know there were those amazing big beaches up there. I don’t think the water temperature could be really good to swim in, but in a clear sunny day will be perfect lying on the beach.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      I was in Lake Huron last week. Still very cold (60’s) lol. Lake Huron is the coldest of the Great Lakes, other than Lake Superior, but the water can get up to the 80’s. With the temps being in the 90s the past week, I’m sure the water temperature has risen to the 70s by now

      Like

  2. Eden Fite

    You’re totally right, I never really thought of Canada as a place with beaches, though now that I think about it, there is a lot of shoreline there! I’m from Wisconsin so I grew up near Lake Michigan and I always loved visiting the beaches during the summer. It’s true, when you’ve got long, cold winters, your definition of beach weather really gets very liberal!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mohana

    No idea that Canada had such a thriving beach life, even if it is short lived. Do you think it is because of climate change that the summers are shortening each consecutive years?

    Like

  4. Pingback: Oakwood Resort – An Ontario Southwest Coast Playground

  5. Danik

    I never done a beach in this part of Canada (its even weird to see beaches around the lakes here for me). I done the lake shores of Toronto itself and that was kinda nice, but its great to get away from the city and relax.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sam Peach

    I’m originally from Ontario and I really enjoyed reading these! So informative and definitely something I will use in the future while exploring this lovely area 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Candy

    I’ve visited Canada a few times and have yet to make a trip to Ontario. I have always visited during the cooler months, but def need to make a stop during the summer. I think I would enjoy While Wasaga Beach too. I like places that offer an array of activities for everyone 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. kcbiniahan

    When i think of Canda, beach never springs to mind. But reading this, the whole atmosphere looks so great. Everyone really taking advantage of those warmer months. Thanks for sharing. Would love to visit one of these lakes one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jeremy

    You have short summer, we have all year summer here in my part of the world ! =p
    You have some lovely and clean beaches there !
    Sauble Falls look so pretty ! And in your shot, I think there’s a fish, kinda looks like a baby shark ? =p

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yukti

    I love beaches and it would be great to explore some beach towns around Ontario. I loved the shopping street of Great Bend as it looks very colorful and I can shop many things for my beach vacation.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sage Scott

    While on a business trip to Toronto a few years back, I got up early and walked along the water every morning and every evening. On our last day there, we got to take a ferry out to an island in the lake and spend a few hours in the sun. It was like being at the ocean (yet it was a great lake). Amazing! It would be so fun to explore more of this beautiful area!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Michelle

    Man, arent’ beach towns great. Everyone keeps telling us how great Ontario is. I had no idea it had so many diverse areas. We will definitely have to put it on our list!

    Liked by 1 person

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