What’s better in the summer than cooling off with a jump in the lake, or soaking up some sun on a soft patch of sand? If you’re hoping to do some beach-hopping this summer, Toronto is a great place to do it. The city is home to several beautiful stretches of waterfront – but which one is right for you? Whether you simply want to swim or hang out in the sun, take advantage of walking along waterfront trails, or spend some time somewhere with playgrounds or public pools, there’s a sandy spot for you. Here are the best beaches in Toronto, based on interest.
01 of 08
This east end beach is one of the most popular stretches of sand in the city, especially on warm weekends. Here you’ll find an off-leash dog area making it an ideal beach for water-loving dogs and their owners. The beach area itself is rugged, without the manicured lawns and park benches of some of the city’s other beach areas. But this is a great place to set up shop on a sandy patch, or if you’re feeling active, do some stand-up paddleboarding or windsurfing on the west side of the beach. Cherry Beach has ample parking, bike trails nearby, picnic areas and is easily access by TTC.
Best for: Dog walkers, water sports
02 of 08
Sunnyside Beach has a little something for everyone. Not only will you find a long stretch of sand featuring beach volleyball courts and a plethora of paddlers (canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards) thanks to calm waters, there’s also a waterfront boardwalk for walkers and joggers and the Martin Goodman Trail for cyclists. Anyone who doesn’t want to venture into the lake itself can take advantage of a dip in Gus Ryder Outdoor Pool, the largest public pool in Toronto. Hungry beach-goers can grab a seat on the lakefront patio at Sunnyside Café for a snack.
Best for: Paddlers, families, active beach-goers
03 of 08
Marie Curtis Beach Park
West end beach-goers can make their way to Marie Curtis Beach Park at the farthest southwest corner of Toronto. In addition to swimming, visitors can also make use of walking trails (including a connection to the Waterfront Trail), picnic spots, an off-leash dog area and for the younger set, a playground and wading pool.
Best for: Swimming, families
04 of 08
Another east end beach, Kew-Balmy Beach is a two-kilometre stretch of waterfront where you’ll find a busy boardwalk popular with joggers and walkers, as well as another stretch of the Martin Goodman Trail. Balmy Beach Park is also home to an off-leash dog area and like Sunnyside Beach, Kew-Balmy is another great spot for stand-up paddle boarding, which you can do with SUPGirlz (classes and board rentals).
Best for: Paddle boarding, dog-walkers, joggersContinue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Located next to Kew-Balmy Beach, Woodbine Beach is another popular east end stretch of sand where you’ll find three kilometres of shoreline for some serious fun in the sun. In addition to the wide, sandy waterfront ideal for swimming, Woodbine Beach Park also offers access to the Ashbridges Bay and Martin Goodman trails, Donald D. Summerville Outdoor Olympic Pool, playground, outdoor fitness equipment, beach volleyball courts and a bathing station with a patio, change rooms, water bottle filling station and showers.
Best for: Swimming, sunbathing, families
06 of 08
Trade your summer sandals for some hiking shoes and make a trip to Rouge Park, the largest urban park in North America, which is home to the sandy shores of Rouge Beach, located at the mouth of the Rouge River. The marshes here are some of the biggest and best in Toronto and home to various birds and wildlife. Visitors can swim, canoe on the river, hike nearby trails, fish (with a provincial licence) and even camp at the park’s campground.
Best for: Outdoor adventure
07 of 08
Sugar Beach and HTO Park
The first thing you’ll notice about Sugar Beach and HTO Park are the bright pink and yellow umbrellas that cover each respectively. There’s no swimming at either beach (which does sound strange, considering you’re on the sand), but they do offer a scenic space by the waterfront to relax on the sand or in one of the Muskoka chairs that each beach offers. If you don’t have outdoor space where you live, Sugar Beach and HTO Park offer an easy way to enjoy the summer sun.
Best for: Sunbathing, relaxing
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Bluffer's Park Beach
Known as one of the most beautiful beaches in Toronto thanks to the towering, picturesque bluffs that surround it, Bluffer’s Park Beach is also a great swimming beach due to generally calm, shallow water in comparison to other beaches in the city. When you’re not cooling off in the lake, there’s a full service restaurant and bar at Bluffer’s Park Marina, or you can pack a picnic to enjoy at one of the park’s picnic areas. Bluffer’s Beach Park also features walking trails, bike trails, showers and restrooms.
Best for: Swimming, scenic walks