When you think of a beach town, what comes to mind? Most people will think about white, sandy beaches, warm weather, and tropical drinks. But beach towns are way more diverse than that! In fact, Ontario, Canada has a number of awesome beach towns to live in. This article is going to look at some of the best beach towns to live in Ontario.
Ontario is located in eastern Canada, between Manitoba to the west, Quebec to the east, the USA to the south, and the Arctic Ocean (Hudson’s Bay) to the north. While the north does have access to the ocean, the climate in that region is cold, and there are not a lot of people who live there. There are some remote communities to the north, but the majority of Ontario’s population live in the south; approximately two-thirds of Canadians overall live close to the border with the USA (within 100km).
So, where are these beaches? Ontario is blessed with multiple large and gorgeous lakes, including the famous great lakes of Huron, Eerie, Superior, Ontario. These lakes are home to some of the best beaches and beach towns. And because of the sheer size of these lakes, they can look and feel a lot like the ocean!
Let’s look further in detail about the best beach towns to live in in Ontario.
Location: Southern area of Georgian Bay on Lake Huron, 144km north of Toronto.
The town of Wasaga Beach is one of the most popular beach towns in Ontario. It actually holds the title of “World’s Longest Freshwater Beach,” so you can definitely enjoy a long walk on the beach here. The town has a population of around 21,000 people, with many more visitors coming in the summertime. Here are some highlights that make Wasaga Beach a great place to live:
- The beach! As mentioned, it’s the longest freshwater beach, so a great place for long walks or runs.
- Four-season outdoor recreation activities: hiking, boating, fishing, canoeing, biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and more!
- History and cultural attractions: Nancy Island Historic Site, Wasaga Beach Museum, Wasaga Community Theatre.
- Local schools for residents: two public elementary schools, public high school, and private school options.
- Municipal transit system linking local communities.
- Community programs including a health centre, youth centre, seniors active living centre, and chamber of commerce.
Location: On the shore of Lake Erie, 219km west of Toronto.
With a population of only 2,148, Port Stanley is a very small community. But, it’s a great place to both live and visit and one of the best beach towns in Ontario. Port Stanley is a beautiful harbour village, perfect for boat lovers.
Here are some of the highlights of Port Stanley:
- The beach! There are two amazing sandy beaches in Port Stanley—Main Beach and Little Beach. Main Beach has Blue Flag status, which marks its commitment to strict water quality and safety measures.
- The docks and marina. There are lots of boats in this community, which is perfect if you enjoy boating and sailing. Or, you can enjoy the beautiful views out over the lake from the marina.
- An excellent community for retirees. In 2016, Port Stanley was named in the six best places to retire in Ontario and offers an excellent quality of life.
Location: On the shores of Lake Huron, 232km west of Toronto.
Goderich is known as the “Prettiest Town in Canada,” and is a great place to both live and visit. It’s situated on the bluffs overlooking Lake Huron, with beautiful views from all over. There is a population of 8,000 living in Lake Huron and has a number of excellent amenities and services. Here are some of the top features of Goderich:
- The beach! There are many beautiful parks and walkways to stroll on and enjoy the beautiful lakeside.
- Has a hospital that cares for Goderich and the surrounding communities.
- Community amenities like a YMCA swimming pool and other recreation facilities.
- Strong commitment to arts and culture; hosts an annual Celtic Festival.
Location: On the shores of Lake Ontario, 157km east of Toronto.
Brighton is a quaint seaside town with a population of around 12,000 people. It has a beautiful waterfront area and a scenic main street with galleries, shops, and restaurants. Here are some of the highlights of Brighton:
- The beach! Brighton is actually more of a harbour town than one with a sandy beach. But, it is still very scenic and there are excellent opportunities to get out onto Lake Ontario by boat, canoe, or to go fishing.
- Local farms for produce and goods. Farming is one of the main industries in Brighton and the local produce and other goods are available for purchase in town.
- Access to the world-class Presqu’ile Park, which is an important stop for migrating birds.
Location: On the shores of Lake Erie, 133km southwest of Toronto.
Port Dover is one of the most scenic beach towns in Ontario. There is a pier that is perfect for fishing or taking a nice stroll along the beach. It’s a family-friendly area with lots to see and do. Here are some highlights of Port Dover:
- The beach! It’s very scenic, with lots of room to walk or just relax and enjoy the scenery.
- Connected to the “Cruise the Coast” route for motorcyclists.
- A downtown core with quaint boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.
- A growing community, especially popular with retirees.
Location: On the shores of Lake Huron, 218km west of Toronto.
Sauble Beach is located in the town of South Bruce Peninsula. The Beach is the second-largest freshwater beach in the world after Wasaga Beach. It’s a popular destination, and the small population of around 2,000 climbs much higher during the tourist-filled summer months. Here are some of the highlights of Sauble Beach:
- The beach! This spot was made for relaxing, swimming, flying a kite, playing volleyball, or just about anything else you can think of.
- Local services and amenities including a medical clinic, daycare, fire and police services, and many different shops and restaurants.
- Family-friendly attractions like the Ascent Aerial Park or Mini Golf.
This list should not be seen as exhaustive. There are thousands of kilometres of shoreline along the Great Lakes in Ontario, which means there are hundreds of beach towns to explore and choose as a destination to live or visit. Even Toronto can be considered a beach town—a big one!—because of its location on Lake Ontario.
But, to get you started, this article went through some of the best beach towns to live in Ontario. Happy exploring!