Considering how cold the winters can be, talking of Ontario beaches may seem counter-intuitive but Ontario has great beaches and most of them are uncrowded even in the hottest summers.
The big one, in Ontario terms, is Wasaga Beach on Georgian Bay.
It's miles of golden sand are generally full once school is out and, because it's the busy one, it has the amenities to go with it.
Whatever your beach needs are, Wasaga Beach has them. This is the teen beach, if a beach can be described that way.
It's so big, we've given it a page of its own -- Wasaga Beach
Another great beach for families is Sauble Beach on Lake Huron. Its 10+ kilometres of paler, finer, sand is a great fun place for younger kids.
This beach is famous for its Canada Day Festival and Sandfest, a sandcastle building event, which is held in August at the same time as its annual classic car show.
Getting there isn't a straightforward as going to Wasaga but it's worth the extra driving. Head west from Toronto on Hwy 401 until you reach Hwy 10 North to Chatsworth. Take the road to Owen Sound (Hwy 6 North). Go through Owen Sound to Hepworth. From Hepworth, follow County Rd 8 west into Sauble Beach. It's about 3 hours on a regular day.
And here's where you can get more details about Sauble Beach.com
Another popular beach area with the teen crowd is the Sandbanks Provincial Park in the Quinte region near Brighton. These beaches border Lake Ontario and are among the very few Ontario beaches easily reached from Highway 401. Generally Sandbanks is a two hour drive heading east from Toronto toward Kingston, but in the summer with everyone heading for their cottages you should allow more time.
Sandbanks soft white sand has a real Caribbean feel to it and the trails through the dunes and park behind provide something to do when you're finished with tanning and watersports.
For more great ideas on things to see and do during your stay in Ontario, click on any of the 'Tours' links, which you'll see above on the right-hand side of the page.
With thousands of lakes and bordering four of the Great Lakes, Ontario has too many beaches to list all of them. It's safe to say most holiday locations have good beaches for visitors and most are open to the public.
Not all Ontario beaches are sandy but they're fine too. Striding out along a gravel beach is still a pretty good way of seeing a place.
Unlike the sea, however, freshwater rock pools aren't usually full of interesting critters. There's no equivalent of sea-urchins or starfish to find, though you may see small fish, crayfish or freshwater mussel like these empty shells show.
Another popular beach with Ontarians and American visitors from the Buffalo area is Crystal Beach near Fort Erie. This has been a busy vacation destination for a century or more.
Today, it's quieter. Cottages and homes line the beach and the big attractions of yester-year are gone.
Crystal Beach looking to the west and further around the bay.
Crystal Beach is only one of many fine beaches on the north shore of Lake Erie. Another one is at Port Stanley.
And, when summer is over for the Ontario beaches, fly off to beaches elsewhere. Here a site to help you...
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