As the weather heats up, Lake Huron’s endless—and endlessly beautiful—beaches are the perfect places to catch some rays, dip a paddle, and take a swim in the refreshing waters. Ontario beachgoers are spoiled for choice: whether you’re seeking out the perfect sandy strand to build a sandcastle with your family, take a reflective paddle at sunset, or catch some awesome waves with your standup paddleboard. There’s no end to the excitement this summer!
Providence Bay Beach
Peaceful and slow-paced, Manitoulin Island boasts an abundance of scenic lakes, rivers, and hidden sandy beaches. The largest is the fine sandy beach at Providence Bay on the island’s south shore. Shallow and sparklingly clear water is perfect for families, and there’s a beachfront playground to keep kids busy. Don’t miss taking a stroll or catching the sunset on the lovely boardwalk. Paddlers can explore the bay or venture up the meandering Mindemoya River towards the lake of the same name.
Amenities: Day-use park, picnic areas, washroom facilities, boardwalk, food concessions, camping nearby, and playground. Get directions to this beach.
Located on St. Joseph Island at the very top of Lake Huron, the village of Hilton Beach is an off-the-beaten-path treasure. The sand beach at Forbes Community Park anchors one end of Hilton Beach’s 1.5-km waterfront boardwalk, and features a buoyed area, swim raft, and picnic tables. Paddlers can explore the undeveloped headland just east of town.
Amenities: Day-use park, picnic areas, washroom facilities, boardwalk, playground, marina nearby. Get directions to this beach.
EASTERN AND SOUTHERN GEORGIAN BAY
Killbear Provincial Park
Georgian Bay is better known for polished granite shores than gentle sand beaches, but this stunning park near Parry Sound offers the rare chance to enjoy both. With a 2-km-long main beach and half a dozen smaller beaches flanked by rocky headlands and windswept pines, Killbear Park visitors enjoy some of the best swimming in Georgian Bay. Camp with a beach view under the pines and get to the water as the sun rises. Plus, scores of tiny, offshore islands make for fascinating paddle excursions. Amenities: Picnic areas, washroom facilities, boat launches, visitor centre, interpretive programs, camping. Get directions to this beach.
Awenda Provincial Park
For a natural and beautiful Georgian Bay beach experience, it’s hard to beat Awenda Provincial Park. Located at the foot of the Nipissing Bluff just north of Penetanguishene, this diverse park boasts four beaches, ranging from sandy and shallow to rocky and rugged. Only 1st Beach is accessible by car; reaching 2nd, 3rd and 4th beaches requires walking or biking up to 2 km along the scenic, lakeside Beach Trail. Six other trails crisscross the park, while pretty Kettle Lake entices paddlers.
Amenities: Picnic areas, washroom facilities, canoe rentals, playgrounds, interpretive programs, camping. Get directions to this beach.
Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park
Sturgeon Bay is actually a complex inlet of Georgian Bay and is situated in the heart of the 30,000 Islands near Pointe au Baril. The focus of this small provincial park is definitely getting out on the water—whether swimming at the shallow sand beach or exploring the bay by canoe, kayak or paddleboard. Spacious campsites and four cozy rental cottages offer lakefront living—if only for a weekend.
Amenities: Picnic areas, washroom facilities, canoe rental, boat launch, camping. Get directions to this beach.
Wasaga is synonymous with beach. At 14 km long, Wasaga is the longest freshwater beach in the world, and much of it enjoys great public access. This is the place to indulge in beach fat-biking, epic paddleboarding, water volleyball, body surfing, and more. For a classic family day on the sand, head to one of Wasaga Beach Provincial Park’s eight beach areas. Or enjoy the colourful sights, people watching, and entertainment along “the strip” in downtown Wasaga Beach. With over two million visitors each summer, one thing Wasaga isn’t is quiet.
Amenities: Day-use park, boardwalk, picnic area, washroom facilities, visitor centre, boat launch, kayak/paddleboard rentals, and food concessions. Get directions to this beach.
BRUCE PENNINSULA AND SOUTHWEST ONTARIO
Eleven kilometres of soft, white sand and shallow water make Sauble Beach the second longest freshwater beach in the world. With so much beach—and convenient parking right on the sand—it’s easy to find a spot to pitch your umbrella or launch your paddleboard. Cafés, restaurants, and shops are a short walk away. Plan your visit in early August to catch Sauble Sandfest, with its astounding sandcastle-building competition and classic car show. Amenities: Day-use park, washroom facilities, picnic area, paddleboard/kayak/canoe rentals, and food concessions. Get directions to this beach.
Gazing west across the expanse of Lake Huron from the base of the Bruce Peninsula, Southhampton is renowned for its spectacular sunsets and 4 km of accessible golden sands. Relatively shallow waters make for ideal swimming, paddling, or simply taking in the views offshore of Chantry Island and its Imperial Lighthouse. When you’ve worked up an appetite, Gerry’s Fast Food is a beach-side institution for burgers, fries, onion rings, and breaded pickles.
Amenities: Day-use park, boardwalk, picnic areas, washroom facilities, playgrounds, food concessions. Get directions to this beach.
Kincardine’s Station Beach
During the summer, Station Beach at Kincardine Pier is the place to be for swimming, sunbathing, pick-up volleyball, surfing, and watching the sunset. Lying midway along the eastern shore of Lake Huron, the town of Kincardine charms visitors with its friendly downtown and terrific network of waterfront and forest trails for walkers and cyclists. Paddlers can ply the quiet lower reaches of the Penetangore River, or brave the waves alongside surfers at the pier.
Amenities: Day-use park, boardwalk, picnic area, washroom facilities, playground, volleyball nets, SUP/surf board rentals, marina. Get directions to this beach.
Inverhuron Provincial Park
Powdery sand dunes and clear waters are a highlight for campers at Inverhuron Provincial Park. Located just north of Kincardine, this small park boasts a 1-km sand beach, tranquil cobble beaches, a scenic shoreline cycling/hiking path, and a plethora of spacious and private campsites. Paddlers can also explore the nearby Saugeen River. Amenities: Picnic areas, washroom facilities, playground, camping. Get directions to this beach.
Lion’s Head Beach
Bookended by the limestone cliffs of Cape Chin and the craggy, lion-shaped formation that gives this peaceful village its name, Lion’s Head is tucked halfway up the Bruce Peninsula on Isthmus Bay. Head to the sandy Harbour Beach for family-friendly swimming, camping and a great Saturday farmer’s market. Then take in the view of the bluffs and lighthouse from the cobble terraces of the sprawling Peninsula Beach. Better yet, paddle the turquoise waters at sunrise or sunset when the limestone turns an unforgettable pink.
Amenities: Day-use park, picnic areas, washroom facilities, playground, observation deck, marina, camping nearby, food concessions. Get directions to this beach.
Grand Bend Beach
For southern Lake Huron’s liveliest beach scene, head to Grand Bend’s Main Beach. Each year, this popular beach attracts thousands of visitors to swim in the warm shallow waters, paddle up the meandering Ausable River (a hairpin turn in the river gave the town its name), and browse the colourful beach-themed shops. After a day in the sun, choose from a variety of dining and nightlife options.
Amenities: Day-use park, lifeguards, boardwalk, picnic pavillion, washroom facilities, paddleboard rentals, observation deck, splash pad, playground, volleyball nets, food concession. Get directions to this beach.
Pinery Provincial Park
Sunsets at this 10-km sand beach just south of Grand Bend are so good, National Geographic ranked it among the world’s top 10 best places to observe the day’s end. Before sundown, Pinery Provincial Park also offers exceptional bird-watching, interpretive programs, a 14-km bike trail, 10 short and scenic hiking trails, and fascinating paddling among the provincially significant wetlands of the Old Ausable Channel.
Amenities: Picnic areas, washroom facilities, visitor centre, bike rentals, canoe/kayak/paddleboard rentals, food concession, camping. Get directions to this beach.
PLAN YOUR GETAWAY
Ontario has lots of incredible beaches to enjoy. What's your favourite?