In Canada, we might be known for our winters, but that just means more beach for us when the weather warms up and the summer rolls around. Once we hit the dog days of July and August, it’s easy to see why so many compare the beach towns of Canada to Florida’s hip-strip of South Beach or the shores of Cancun. While these international locations are certainly beautiful spots, with beautiful energy, they can’t beat the accessibility of our backyard beaches. So, here’s our list of the 10 best beach cities in Canada, where you don’t have to drive far to frolic in the surf and soak up the sun.
For this list, we wanted to focus primarily on beach towns. Does your favourite beach have an awesome assortment of history, shops, attractions, and character? Nice waves and warm water just won’t cut it, because we’re looking for the whole package. We factored in size, notoriety, and beach quality when it came time to make this list.
Here is our list of the 10 best beach cities in Canada.
No. 10. Invermere (British Columbia)
The charming community of Invermere is a beach community like no other. During summer weekends, the population grows ten times in size! There’s a good reason for this weekend explosion of people: This is the perfect place to enjoy the ultimate day at the beach. Located in interior B.C.—on the sunny side of Canada’s famed West Coast—this town sparkles with charm, and the beach glitters with fine, white sand.
Why is it No. 10 on this list? Despite how amazing this beach and town can be, summers can be a bit unpredictable in British Columbia. The weather can be unpredictable with a few showery summers over the last decade. This pushes this sand-spot to No. 10 on our list.
No. 9. Grand Beach, Grand Marais (Manitoba)
Just an hour’s drive north of Winnipeg, Grand Beach is a great place to take a load off in the heart of Canada. Not only can you go for a hike on the surrounding trails or stroll along the boardwalk you can also simply marvel at the tall dunes amid the spectacular sunsets in one of the best beach cities in Canada.
Why is it No. 9 on this list? The sand quality at Grand Beach is some of the best in the country.
No. 8. Sauble Beach (Ontario)
Sauble Beach is a slice of idyllic Lake Huron life. Located in western Ontario, the town feels like it was plucked out of a 1950’s surfer movie. Not only do you have the happening main drag, but you have the most charming sign as you pull your jalopy into the parking lot.
Why is it No. 8 on this list? It’s the second-largest freshwater beach in Canada (the first ranks a bit higher on our top 10 best beaches in Canada list).
No. 7. Long Point (Ontario)
Imagine, more than 40 kilometres of sand stretching into the cool waters of Lake Erie. There is absolutely nothing short about Long Point, Ontario. There are campers, cottagers, and visitors galore; it turns out Long Point welcomes more than 100,000 people to its shores every year. When you have the opportunity to be this connected to nature, it’s no surprise why so many people are flocking here.
Why is it No. 7 on this list? While it might lack the same ambience as other beach towns, Long Point is a UNESCO designated World Biosphere Reserve, and that has to count for something.
No. 6. Bayfield (Ontario)
There is something undeniably charming about the quaint, rural vibes of Bayfield, Ontario. This is a beach town that is less of a party strip and more of a gourmet dream. Fantastic restaurants, like the Black Dog and the Little Inn, compliment what is an exciting walk down to the beach. Go for a stroll here and it’ll be quite clear: you’re in cottage country now!
Why is No. 6 on this list? One of the country’s more underrated beaches, Bayfield has hip style and good water quality making it the go-to place in the Goderich, Ontario area.
No. 5. Port Stanley (Ontario)
This quaint town sits on the coast of Lake Erie and has loads of historic charm to match the famed swimming conditions. You can take an old-timey train here, via the historic railway hub of St. Thomas, and stroll through the town that feels like it belongs somewhere in the Hamptons or on Coney Island.
Why is it No. 5 on this list? You can’t beat tradition and for more than 100 years Mackie’s, a Port Stanley institution, has been slinging hot dogs and their patented “fry sauce” right off the beach.
No. 4. Manitou Beach (Saskatchewan)
Manitou Beach is a resort village that has the perfect Canadian vibe. It is calm, welcoming, and utterly peaceful. What helps is that the beach is absolutely gorgeous.
Why is it No. 4 on this list? This is the closest you’re going to get to the Dead Sea in Canada. The high salinity means that you can bob in the water for hours, letting you soak and relax your way to serenity in Saskatchewan.
No. 3. Parlee Beach, Pointe-du-Chene (New Brunswick)
Come to the world’s largest lobster sculpture and stay for the beach! Parlee Beach is one of the most happening beaches in New Brunswick and for good reason. The town has character, the ocean water is refreshing, and the famed lobster sculpture is picture-perfect for Instagram.
Why is Parlee Beach in the third spot for the best beach cities in Canada? This beach has the warmest saltwater in Canada, perfect for a quick dip!
No. 2. Wasaga Beach (Ontario)
Those who live north of Canada’s biggest city, Toronto, know Wasaga Beach as the destination for beach bums in the summertime. Resting on the shores of Georgian Bay, this beach community is known for being party destination No. 1 throughout the warmer months.
Why is it No.2 on this list? Wasaga Beach is Canada’s longest freshwater beach (at 13 km). This means that for all the people journeying there in the summer, there’s always room for more.
No. 1. Grand Bend (Ontario)
Grand Bend has earned its name for being a party town, but that doesn’t mean this beach community isn’t appealing to people of all ages. The charming Main Street, iconic sunsets, and the nearby Pinery Provincial Park make visiting Grand Bend a full-day event.
Why is it No. 1 on the list of best beach cities in Canada? National Geographic ranked Grand Bend’s sunset as one of the prettiest in the world, and nothing caps off summer like a beautiful sunset.
Where do you see yourself this summer? Whether it’s building sandcastles, body surfing, or simply staring out at another sun melting into the horizon. The summer is where it’s at, and these beaches prove it. Where will you have your next summer adventure?