“Don’t grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach.” ~ Michelle Held
A beach vacation is a must for any summer getaway, but don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll only get the ideal beach experience if you pay for a plane ticket. There are many fabulous destinations where you can sink your toes into the sand within a three-hour drive of here. Map out these ten destinations and plan out your summer beach trip.
Fifty Point Beach, Hamilton
This protected beach offers a spectacular view of Toronto and does not get very busy. Water temperatures are perfect for more than just the tips of your toes – said to be some of the warmest water in Lake Ontario.
Burlington Beach, Burlington
This list wouldn’t be complete without Burlington’s own sandbanked beauty. Burlington Beach has everything you need for a whole day, a few hours, or a respite on your lunch break. Note that, due to our high water levels this year, Burlington Beach Rentals has had to relocate for the season. However, the canteen sells all the tasty summer staples: hamburgers, hotdogs and ice cream.
Sandbanks Beach, Lake Ontario
A trinity of golden sand in Prince Edward County awaits here: Outlet Beach, Sandbanks Beach and Dunes Beach. Said to be some of the most beautiful in Ontario, complete with huge sand dunes and shallow water perfect for kids.
Grand Bend, Lake Huron
Luxuriate on this 30 km stretch of sand – plenty of room for soaking up the sun. This is a popular spot, though North Beach tends to be quieter if you’re looking for something more tranquil for the family. There are lots of bars and restaurants, hotels, motels and inns and the water is warm. A beautiful sunset signals the end of the day.
Pinery Provincial Park, Lake Huron
Just south of Grand Bend, Pinery Provincial Park is home to the world’s third largest active sand dune ecosystem. Campers make the most of this spot, which offers nearly five miles of blissful beach and lovely sunsets.
Port Stanley Beach, Lake Erie
A short drive to Lake Erie’s north shore and you will find an urban sand beach with beach volleyball, a boardwalk and supplied BBQs at Pavilion (near the beach washrooms). This beach is staffed with lifeguards from late June to early September. Stay at a nearby historic B&B, harbourside inn or cottage for a long weekend.
Crystal Beach, Fort Erie
An aptly named destination for sun, surf and sand. Water sport rentals are available across the road at the Paddy Wagon, which also happens to be a bar and grill. Swim, craft a sandcastle, sail around Point Abino Bay, go fishing, or refuel with some local fare at any of the quaint eateries and patios.
Long Point Beach, Lake Erie
Accessed through Long Point Provincial Park, this southern beach offers warm water and lots of sand: 2 kms of pretty dunes and shallow water await you. While it’s fun for the day, it’s very popular for campers who want to add some extra beach time to their trip.
Nickel Beach, Port Colborne
Here on the southern portion of Lake Erie, close to downtown Port Colborne is a lovely spot for those that want to do more than just relax on the beach. Nature lovers will appreciate the sand dunes and the local Carolinian forest, home to the Fowler Toad. Over 2 kms of white sands, shady picnic areas, washrooms, swimming, and more.
Wasaga Beach, Georgian Bay
Relax, recline, read and play on 14 km of soft, white sand. If you don’t mind more crowded congregations, Beaches 1 & 2 are busier. A more tranquil option lies east and west of these two areas. There are lots of restaurants, diners and bars where you can fuel up at midday or before heading home.
by Becky Dumais