“Beach” might not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of Canada. But from coast to coast, Canada boasts some of the most beautiful, diverse, and downright cool beaches. Sure, they may not have palm trees, but what they lack in tropical flare, they make up for with surprisingly warm (and often turquoise waters), sand dunes, cold-water surfing, and more.
Here’s proof that Canada could be your next beach destination. Just be sure to visit in the summer.
Wasaga Beach - Ontario
It may not be seaside, but Wasaga Beach on Georgian Bay in Ontario is the longest freshwater beach in the world. Measuring in at almost 14 kilometres long, this sandy stretch is perfect for lounging, sunset watching, and enjoying a hot summer day. Stop by the visitor centre to check out its theatre and museum, or hop on a hiking trail and explore the nature surrounding one of the most picturesque areas in Ontario.
Sombrio Beach - British Columbia
Vancouver Island is home to a ton of rugged beaches, and Sombrio is definitely a favourite. On the west side of the island, you’ll find a rocky beach with sandy patches that’s a perfect representation of West Coast beauty. Though it’s not your typical beach, there are definitely places to lounge. Better yet, there’s forest to explore, waves to play in, and surfers to watch. Plus, there’s wilderness camping and a suspension bridge to add to the vibe.
Grand Beach - Manitoba
Another favourite freshwater beach can be found in Manitoba. On the shores of Lake Winnipeg — Canada’s fifth largest lake — you’ll find Grand Beach, an extremely popular summer institution. With sugary white sand, dunes, and plenty of activities to partake in — think swimming, windsurfing, and hiking — you’ll understand why this is a local hangout. Dive in!
Magdalen Islands - Quebec
Now this is the kind of island getaway we’re talking about! Take a cruise from Montreal or even Prince Edward Island to the Magdalen Islands. There’s almost 300 kilometres of beach here across the ever-changing sand scape. Though there are tons of beaches to explore, we’re partial to Havre-Aubert Beach which hosts a sandcastle festival each August. Because of the wind here, you’ll often find the shape of the beaches change, which makes for a new adventure every day.
Basin Head Beach - Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is known for scenic beaches. Just outside of Souris, you’ll find one of the best: Basin Head Beach. With pristine white sand, you’ll love splashing in the warm waters here. Once you’ve gotten enough sun, head to the Basin Head Fisheries Museum and explore, or hit the road and discover more costal spots. But before you leave, make sure to listen to the “singing sands,” where the sand squeaks beneath your feet as you meander down the beach.
Parlee Beach - New Brunswick
You’ll want to stop by this beach if only because it’s home to the warmest salt water in Canada. Parlee Beach, in Parlee Beach Provincial Park near Shediac, is a great place to spend a day in Atlantic Canada. With sandy shores, dunes, and plenty of activities like volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and sandcastle competitions, you can see why locals and travellers alike flock here. Plus, there’s an amazing seaside campground and the world’s largest lobster statue to visit.
Clam Harbour Beach Provincial Park - Nova Scotia
Head to Nova Scotia and check out Clam Harbour Beach Provincial Park. Explore the bluffs, lay out on the sand, and be sure to pack a picnic. Visit in August for the Clam Harbour Sandcastle Competition. To really relax and enjoy the Maritime vibe, bring a floaty to ride the warm, shallow tidal stream.
Sylvan Lake Provincial Park - Alberta
Though the beach isn’t massive, Sylvan Lake, between Calgary and Edmonton, is still a welcome reprieve on a hot summer day. With a beautiful lake for swimming and a surrounding resort town, Sylvan Lake is great for a daytrip or even an overnighter. We recommend grabbing a bite at the concession, walking the boardwalk, and then going for a dip, of course!
Good Spirit Lake Beach - Saskatchewan
This amazing beach is found on one of Saskatchewan’s many, many gorgeous lakes. At Good Spirit Lake, you’ll find world-class fishing, swimming, mini golf, tennis, and beach volleyball courts. Spend a day out on the sand, or hike on a nearby trail. Plus, there are sand dunes to explore and the sunsets here are incredible.
Bennett Lake - Yukon
Yes, Canada’s North is home to gorgeous beaches too! On Bennett Lake, you’ll find a long, sandy beach that’s perfect to recline on before heading into the clear, refreshing water. Added bonuses are the gorgeous mountain views and the lake’s proximity to Carcross, which is a quaint little town that’s great for exploring.
There you have it. Canada does have a selection of amazing beaches — and these are just a few. Pack your swimsuit and check them out.