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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.