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.
Cobourg Beach, Cobourg, Ontario
Lake Ontario isn’t known for its crystal-clear waters, but Cobourg beach is a way-less-gross alternative to Toronto beaches for the city-dweller with a car. It has plenty of soft sand and a clean shoreline.
Wow factor: They sell legendary hot dogs by the beach.
Where it’s at: An hour and a half drive east of Toronto, near Port Hope.
Originally published May 2018; Updated May 2019.