Ontario is the largest Canadian province, both in population and area. It has a diverse and beautiful landscape, with many forests, lakes, and rivers. There are actually more than 250,000 lakes in Ontario, including four of the five Great Lakes; Ontario contains one-fifth of the world’s freshwater! Therefore, with so many lakes, there are definitely a lot of beaches. There are many swimmable beaches in Ontario if you are looking to cool down and relax!
Since Ontario is such a large province, it’s useful to break it down into different regions. When we look at swimmable beaches in Ontario, we can break it up based on where they are located. Some people might prefer to stay near the city, while other people want to road trip to an area that’s a bit further out.
Let’s look at the different regions of the province and explore some of the beautiful and swimmable beaches in Ontario.
Beaches near Toronto
Since a lot of people live in Toronto and the neighbouring cities of Mississauga, Hamilton, and smaller suburbs, we’ll first look at the urban beaches. This urban area, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), is located on the shore of Lake Ontario. There are beaches dotted all along the coastline of the lake.
There are both official city-run public beaches and “wild” beaches that are not kept up by the city. Even though Lake Ontario is considered to be the most polluted of the lakes, because it receives the runoff from other lakes, it is still considered safe to swim in. If you are very concerned about water quality, you can also look out for blue flag-certified beaches that are tested for their quality and environmental friendliness.
Some of the most popular swimmable beaches to visit near the GTA include:
- Coburg Beach (1.5 hours from Toronto) has soft sand and clear waters, great for swimming!
- Sunnyside Beach, Bluffer’s Park Beach, and Cherry Beach are all located near the city, perfect for an urban getaway.
- Dunes Beach, near the town of Picton, is about 160km from Toronto and a popular getaway from the city. It was named after the large sand dunes. There are shallow waters, which are perfect for swimming with the family!
Great Lakes beaches
As mentioned, the GTA is located on Lake Ontario, and there are a number of great beaches in that area for swimming and relaxing. But, there are three other Great Lakes that are in Ontario—Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Superior. There are some amazing beaches and beach towns throughout the Great Lakes area, many of which are perfect for swimming.
Here are some of the best swimmable beaches in the Great Lakes region of Ontario:
- Sauble Beach, Lake Huron: this beach was voted as Canada’s #1 Freshwater Beach! It’s a big beach with tons of activities like swimming, fishing, beach volleyball, and more. It’s known for its beautiful sunsets, too!
- Port Burwell, Lake Erie: this beach is an ideal swimming spot because of its warm waters!
- Port Stanley, Lake Erie: this beach has been referred to as the “Coney Island of the Great Lakes” because it is such a popular spot for vacationing in the province. It has a sandy shore with a gradual slope into the water, so it’s the perfect spot for swimming. This is also a beach that is patrolled by lifeguards, so again, great for swimming, especially with young kids.
This is just a very small sampling of some of the amazing beaches along the Great Lakes. There are literally hundreds of beaches in this area. There are also some popular beach towns to spend a few days having a vacation and relaxing. The Great Lakes are overall considered safe and clean to swim in, so you can take a dip at any beach you visit!
Remote beaches in Ontario
The beaches we have covered so far are generally fairly accessible from the main urban areas in Ontario. They are great for a short getaway from the city. However, Ontario is a big province and there are a number of spots that are even further away. If you want to go for a bit of a longer road trip, consider checking out some of these swimmable beaches in Ontario that are a little more remote.
Here are some of your top choices:
- Rock Lake: this is a secluded lake near the small town of Bruce Mines. It is a scenic spot to visit, with a beautiful drive through some farmlands to get there. It’s a great place to go swimming and spend the day—you might even get the beach to yourself!
- Johnson’s Lake: this quiet, secluded lake is located near the small town of Hearst. It’s a great family-friendly spot with a swimming area, playground, picnic area, and campsites.
- Lake Nipissing: this beach (Marathon Beach) is a sandy beach that’s great for swimming or going for a stroll. It’s located in North Bay, in the Nipissing District.
There are many more remote lakes and beaches in the northern areas of Ontario. You can definitely explore and find a spot to go swimming at a beach! Take some time to explore this region—get in the car and go on a road trip! Stop off at some of the beautiful parks, lakes, and beaches you’ll see along the way.
Just remember that remote communities might not have the resources to provide lifeguards or other safety features. It’s important to research wherever you are going and make sure it is a safe spot for swimming. If you are unsure whether the lake is safe for swimming, it’s best not to do so! You can always enjoy the beach without going in for a swim by taking a walk, making some sandcastles, or having a picnic.
Ontario is a large province with tons of lakes. This offers so many opportunities to head to the beach! There are swimmable beaches in Ontario, and in general, it is safe to swim in most lakes in the province. Different regions of Ontario have different beaches, and this guide provided some of the most popular options. Enjoy your time swimming and relaxing at an Ontario beach!