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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Chesterman Beach, Vancouver Island, British Columbia
The north and south beaches are broken up by a sandspit that reaches out to Frank Island, offering about three kilometres of white sand. There’s great surfing (check out Tofino’s surf schools and equipment rentals if you’re up for adventure) and storm watching in the winter.
Wow factor: Humpback, grey, orca and minke whales. If you’re lucky, a great blue whale!
Nota bene: The hurricane-like winds might blow you away.
Where it’s at: Head up Pacific Rim Highway 4 to Tofino.