The Best Beaches in Toronto

Explore some of Toronto’s best beaches

Image courtesy Canadian Tourism Commission

What’s summer without at least a few trips to the beach? Toronto is home to several stretches of sand worth setting up a beach blanket on. Whether you’re looking to swim, play beach volleyball, do some canoeing or kayaking, or just relax by the water, there’s a beach to suit your needs in the city - and here are some of the best.

Ward’s Island Beach

Ward’s Island Beach is one of several beaches on the Toronto Islands along with Centre Island Beach, Hanlan’s Point Beach and Gibraltar Point Beach. A short ferry ride from downtown Toronto, you can find this scenic beach on the southeastern shore of Toronto Island Park and because it’s set away from most of the action of other parts of the island and a more residential area, it tends to be a bit quieter. The water here is mostly calm and shallow making it good for swimming, and there is a volleyball net for beach volleyball fans and a disc golf course nearby.

Once you’ve had enough sand and sun, both the Rectory Café and Island Cafe are a short walk from the beach.

Bluffer’s Park Beach

Located at the foot of the Scarborough Bluffs on the east side of the city, Bluffer’s Park Beach is one of the most scenic in the city thanks to those towering bluffs that create a dramatic backdrop. The soft sand beach here is popular for its length, the beautiful views you have while you’re here and the access to nearby hiking trails and bike paths. Facilities include drinking fountains, change rooms, washrooms and a picnic site. Bluffer’s Park Beach is also known to be a good fishing spot.

Sunnyside Beach

Located between the Humber River and Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion, Sunnyside Beach has a lot to offer in terms of summer fun. The beach itself is popular with sunbathers and paddlers. Canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards can all be rented and the water is ideal for all three thanks to the offshore breakwall that protects the area and ensures mostly calm water. Also at Sunnyside you’ll find Gus Ryder Pool (one of the biggest public pools in the city) and Sunnyside Café, which has a large lakefront patio.

Facilities at Sunnyside Beach include beach volley ball, change rooms and snack concessions.

Kew-Balmy Beach

The long sandy beach is popular with everyone from sunbathers and paddlers to dog walkers and joggers. The Martin Goodman Trail runs through Balmy Beach Park parallel to the boardwalk and beach so there's ample space for bikers, walkers and rollerbladers. Kew Balmy Beach Park is also home to bike trails, an off-leash dog area, outdoor fitness equipment, a snack bar, a playground and bowling greens. Anyone looking for something to eat after the beach can easily do so with a quick walk to Queen Street East where there are ample bars and restaurants.

Rouge Beach

Located at the mouth of the Rouge River at the east end of Lawrence Avenue, Rouge Beach is a great place to go if you want to feel like you’re getting a little escape from the city - without actually leaving the city. In addition to swimming and sunbathing, the marshes at Rouge Beach are good for wildlife viewing. You can also fish or canoe one the Rouge River. Other beach facilities include a bike trail, change rooms, washrooms and an outdoor volleyball court. And if you feel like spending the night for some extended beach time, there are ample campsites within Rough National Urban Park.

Cherry Beach

Toronto’s Port Lands neighbourhood is where you’ll find popular Cherry Beach. The beach is ideal for swimming, sun bathing, walking and kiteboarding. The west side of the swimming beach is known to the best for kiteboarding. There are also several bike trails here, a designated off-leash area for dogs to roam, washrooms and a picnic area.