For a place without a sun-and-sand reputation, Canada certainly has an abundance of shorelines, stretching farther than in any other country in the world. Add to this the thousands of kilometres of lakeshores big and small, and you have a waterfront scene that could take lifetimes to explore. Here are our picks for the best beaches in Canada — those with the warmest water, the best sand, surf and swimming, the tiny hidden gems and the bountiful aquatic wonders, all right under our noses, from coast to coast.
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Long Beach, Pacific Rim National Park, British Columbia
With 16 kilometres of beautiful, accessible sand on Wickaninnish Bay, Long Beach lives up to its name. Spread out between the villages of Ucluelet and Tofino, this natural wonder is steeped in the history of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. Today, it’s a surfing hotspot, with surf guards on duty in the summer. Head to Wickaninnish Beach for a breathtaking view of crashing waves, and make a pit stop at the Wickaninnish Interpretive Centre for a hit of natural history.
Wow factor: This place has some of the most consistent surf on the planet. Catch a wave with Surf Sister Surf school.
Where it’s at: On the west side of Vancouver Island, about three hours west of Victoria.