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Ontario’s 12 Must-Visit Blue Flag Beaches Where You Can Swim Without Worries!

If there’s one thing I’m super proud of about being Canadian, it’s that I get to explore many beautiful beaches. As long as it’s not winter in Ontario when the waters are frozen, I’m all about swimming, kayaking, and canoeing.

Thankfully, I live in a place with 26 Blue Flag-awarded sites in the country and 17 are in Ontario alone. Summer is always a fun adventure! 

If you’re itching for an adventure this summer but want to be sure it’s in a spot with clean water because no one wants to get sick, we’ve got you covered!

Rock those swimsuits and cross off the best Blue Flag beaches in Ontario! Fun times don’t have to be unsafe—we’re all about clean beaches!

Woodbine Beach

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Location: 1675 Lake Shore Blvd E, Toronto

Lifeguard Supervision: Monday – Sunday: 10:30 am – 7:30 pm (summer)

Facilities: Washroom, changeroom, playground, picnic area, drinking fountain, exercise equipment, parking lot, beach volleyball

Time to get out of the house and head to Woodbine Beach for scenic walks and summer fun. This family-friendly spot close to downtown Toronto is perfect for morning picnics and exercise.

There’s a nice trail right on the boardwalk, with a playground for the kids, fitness equipment for exercise, and a decent-sized picnic area next to the food stations.

You can rent paddle boards and kayaks just next to the Donald D. Summerville Olympic Pools. Lessons for these are available for all skill levels.

Pro Tips:

Bring cash because most food stations do not accept card payments.

Weekends are usually crowded. Head there early for a better chance at spotting available parking and picnic tables.

Bluffer’s Park Beach

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Location: 1 Brimley Rd S, Scarborough

Lifeguard Supervision: Monday – Sunday: 10:30 am – 7:30 pm (summer)

Facilities: Washroom, changeroom, outdoor shower, bike trail, picnic site, parking lot, outdoor volleyball court

Just a 30-minute drive from downtown Toronto, Bluffer’s Beach is the perfect oasis for a short escape from city life. It’s quiet and peaceful, and the soft sands make this place ideal for long walks.

Scenic views of Scarborough Bluffs will envelop you as you walk the trails. It’s secluded that it doesn’t feel like you’re in the GTA anymore.

Bring your kayak or paddleboard and you can launch straight from the beach. There’s also a public boat launch near the parking area adjacent to Bluffers Park.

Pro Tips:

Parking is limited, so head there early. After 10:00 am, crowds will gather, especially on weekends and holidays.

If you want to avoid looking for a parking spot in the summer, you can ride the bus. The TTC 201 operates on a seasonal basis.

Centre Island Beach

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Location: Centre Island, Toronto

Lifeguard Supervision: Monday – Sunday: 10:30 am – 7:30 pm (summer)

Facilities: Bike trail, drinking fountain, picnic area, washroom, playground, firepit, zoo

One of the Blue Flag beaches in Ontario is Centre Island Beach. Head to Jack Layton Ferry Terminal to board a ferry that will take you to the car-free Toronto Islands.

This is a must-visit in the summer for Toronto residents. The beach is close to the docks and is a family-friendly spot offering various activities for kids and adults.

After a swim on the beach, the whole family can dine at one of the many concession stands. Then, head to the bike rental shop and wander about using tandem bikes or quadricycles.

You can walk to the Centreville Amusement Park and enjoy the rides or meet some animals. It’s not just the beach you’ll be visiting here because tonnes of activities are available for all ages.

Pro Tips:

Weekends and holidays are busy. If you want to avoid large crowds at the ferry terminal, book a trip before 10:00 am and return to the city before 5:00 pm or after 9:00 pm.

Parking can be expensive in Toronto. If you want to use public transport, Union Station is a short walk to the ferry. You can also ride the TTC streetcar.

Hanlan’s Point Beach

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Location: Lakeshore Ave, Toronto

Lifeguard Supervision: Monday – Sunday: 10:30 am – 7:30 pm (summer)

Facilities: Changeroom, washroom, outdoor shower, firepit, playground, pickleball court, outdoor volleyball court

Hanlans’ Point is another Blue Flag beach in the Toronto Islands. It’s famous for its breathtaking sunsets complete with the Toronto skyline.

But Canadians know this as a nude beach and a long-surviving queer space—it’s also home to the world’s longest rainbow road, celebrating equality.

Once you get there, you need to look out for the signs because there are two sides: clothing optional and clothing-mandatory areas.

One of the best parts about Hanlan’s Beach is it’s less crowded than Centre Island Beach. You can set up your beach towel and lay on the sand without worrying about too many people gathering in one area.

Pro Tip:

There aren’t concession stands here, so you may want to eat first before heading to Hanlan’s Point Beach. 

Ward’s Island Beach

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Location: Ward’s Island Beach, Toronto

Lifeguard Supervision: Monday – Sunday: 10:30 am – 7:30 pm (summer)

Facilities: Washroom, bike trail, ball diamond, gazebo, drinking fountain

Like Hanlan’s Point, Ward Island Beach is one of the quieter spots in the Toronto Islands. It’s ideal if you’re looking for a tranquil space close to the mainland—it’s the shortest ferry ride to Toronto Islands.

We think this is actually one of the prettiest beaches in the Toronto Islands. You can lie on the sandy beach and enjoy the magnificent views of the city. 

The Riviera is a cannot-miss if you want to eat good food and drink a pint on a hot summer’s day.

Pro Tip:

If you’re kayaking, you may want to avoid Ward’s Island Beach. The waves here can get rough at times.
We suggest wearing aqua shoes or slippers on the beach. The waters tend to bring sea glass to the shores.

Gibraltar Point Beach

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Location: Gibraltar Point Beach, Toronto

Lifeguard Supervision: Monday – Sunday: 10:30 am – 7:30 pm (summer)

Facilities: Walking trail, washroom, concession stand

Gibraltar Point Beach is a more secluded beach than Hanlan’s Point. It’s the place to go if you want to experience raw nature without large crowds.

This is a relatively new beach (the newest in Toronto Islands), so it’s not the most visited in the area. Because of this, individuals looking for tranquil escapes will have a pleasant time here.

The stretch of sand dunes gives you gorgeous sunset views of Lake Ontario. The beach is also surrounded by trees that make this spot feel undisturbed. 

Pro Tip:

Don’t miss out on seeing the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse. This historic spot is the oldest but still standing lighthouse you’ll find on the Great Lakes.

Bell Park Beach

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Location: Bell Park Boardwalk, Greater Sudbury

Lifeguard Supervision: Monday – Sunday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm (June to August)

Facilities: Washroom, gazebo, play area, canteen, monumental sculpture

When the sun’s out, it’s time to head over to the boardwalk at Bell’s Park Beach. This Blue Flag beach is perfect for scenic walks, given that it’s Greater Sudbury’s largest urban waterfront park.

Visiting this spot is all about fresh air, exercise, and beautiful scenery. You can bike at Bell Park or take refuge from the summer sun at the gazebo.

You can enjoy water activities on Lake Ramsey as well, such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and swimming.

Pro Tip:

Bell Park Beach hosts many events and festivals you don’t want to miss. The Northern Lights Festival Boréal is an annual music event held in Bell Park.

Moonlight Beach

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Location: Moonlight Beach, Greater Sudbury

Lifeguard Supervision: Monday – Sunday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm (June to August)

Facilities: Washroom, playground, picnic area

Moonlight Beach, one of Greater Sudbury’s Blue Flag spots, is for swimmers and hikers. This is on the eastern side of Sudbury and is perfect for leisurely walks as the shorelines span 700 ft.

Bring your dog around to catch sticks in the waters. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the scenic views and the tranquillity because this isn’t a crowded beach.

After a dip, you can go for a hike on the Moonlight Beach Trail, which is simple enough for beginners but slightly challenging. There’s a short 3.5 km path you can follow. The gravel path does get muddy, so bring appropriate shoes.

Pro Tip:

You won’t find concession stands at this beach since it’s pretty secluded. It’s a good idea to bring food and hang out at one of the picnic tables on the shoreline.

Port Stanley Beach

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Location: Lake Erie, 162 William St, Port Stanley

Lifeguard Supervision: July to September

  • Monday – Friday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Saturday – Sunday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Holidays: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm

Facilities: Beach mats, washroom, change room, playground, beach volleyball

In Southwest Ontario, Port Stanley Beach is one of the family-friendly beaches in the area. Beach mats are available on the shores for wheelchairs and strollers, making the place accessible to anyone.

As a beach town, there are plenty of activities to do. You can take a leisurely walk at the Port Stanley Pier.

Beachgoers, bring your inflatables, kayaks, or SUP paddleboards and enjoy the warm waters during the summer. 

The Main Beach is a long stretch. Even on busy weekends and holidays, you’ll most likely secure a spot on the beach.

This has also been a Blue Flag-designated beach for 14 consecutive years. That means it has consistently met the rigorous standards for water quality, safety, and environmental education.

Pro Tip:

Don’t forget to bring a beach umbrella if you’re planning to stay long. Most families bring their own to protect themselves from the sun.

Canatara Beach

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Location: Lake Chipican Dr, Sarnia

Lifeguard Supervision: Monday – Sunday: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm (June to August)

Facilities: Rubber mat walkways, washroom, picnic area

Canatara Beach is located in the largest park in the City of Sarnia. There’s a long stretch of sandy beach to enjoy for families.

As a family-friendly beach, there are beach mat walkways for direct access to the waters for strollers and wheelchair users.

Once you’re done swimming in the clean and clear waters, you can head to Canatara Park and hike the trails. Bring your BMX bike and go on an adventure on the many paved and unpaved trails.

Pro Tips:

The waves do bring small rocks to the water’s edge, so wearing aqua shoes would be a good idea for kids.

Don’t bring your furry companions! Dogs aren’t allowed on the beach, even when kept on a leash.

Grand Bend Beach

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Location: Main St W, Grand Bend

Lifeguard Supervision: Mid-June to Labour Day weekend

  • Monday – Thursday: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
  • Friday – Sunday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Holidays: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm

Facilities: Washroom, outdoor shower, foot washing station, splash pad

The vibrant Grand Bend Beach is a prime spot for relaxation. Lay down your beach towel and read a book while listening to the waves of the waters.

For everyone’s safety, new beach rules have been implemented. Playing sports and bringing sports equipment are not allowed anymore at the main beach.

But fear not! You can still enjoy this Blue Flag beach because Lambton County keeps it accessible. You can even borrow a lifejacket or an amphibious wheelchair at the Information Booth.

Pro Tip:

If you plan on bringing inflatables, only single and two-person kinds are allowed on the beach. 
Beach umbrellas are only allowed if they’re 2.4m in diameter or less. Remember to set them up in an upright position.

Port Burwell Beach

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Location: Erieus St, Port Burwell

Lifeguard Supervision: None, swim responsibly

Facilities: Washroom, concession stand

Grab Fido and the kids and bring ’em to the jewel of Lake Erie’s north shore. Port Burwell is home to a Blue Flag beach, the Port Burwell Provincial Park, the Marine Museum, and the Historic Lighthouse.

It’s a super popular destination for families in the summer because you can do so many things to cross off your bucket list. The sandy beach on the east of P1 is the ultimate dog-friendly spot (it allows off-leash).

Afterward, head over to the 1.1 km hiking trails and catch the beautiful scenery of Lake Erie. Dogs are allowed on the trails as well, so it’s the ideal setting for family adventures.

Pro Tip:

If you’re bringing your dog, enter the beach through the designated access points. There’s one on the eastern side of the parking lot #1 (P1).

Always keep your dog on a leash unless you’re in a designated off-leash area. The leash should not exceed 2 m.

FAQ about Blue Flag Beaches in Ontario

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