The Great White North is rich with great white sands. And red sands. And silver sands. And golden sands too! That’s right, in a country most-known for towering mountain spires, pristine lakes, vast flatlands and rugged coasts, we also boast epic sandy beaches that rival the world’s best.
And there’s no shortage of them—from coast to coast to coast.
So we’ve complied this mega-list of Canada’s best sandy beaches to guide your travels to the summer sun-worship vacation of your dreams. No matter where you live in Canada, or where you’re travelling to, you’ll likely find yourself within striking distance of these gorgeous shores.
Starting in the West, moving through the East and up North too, here are Canada’s 100 best beaches:
Chesterman Beach (North & South), Tofino
North and South Chesterman beaches are some of Tofino’s finest—and that’s saying something, given that this town boasts some of the world’s most beautiful coastline. Off-leash for dogs, campfire friendly and offering excellent surf year-round, these twin beaches are paradise. At ebb tide, you can walk over the tombolo separating the two sands; at flood tide they become two sides of a similar coin. (Also pictured at top.)
Jáji7em and Kw’ulh (Sandy Island) Marine Provincial Park
Locals call this one “Tree Island”—it looks like an islet where you might find pirate booty, but instead, you’ll find a ring of sandy beaches, arid fields and dense forest. This 30-hectare park is accessed by foot via sandy isthmus at the northern tip of Denman Island during low tide, or anytime by boat from Union Bay (Vancouver Island). Day trip or camp out—no facilities.
Tribune Bay Provincial Park, Hornby Island
Your eyes aren’t deceiving you—this is BC, not the Caribbean. An absolute gem accessed via two ferry rides from the central east coast of Vancouver Island, Tribune Bay, on Hornby Island, offers one kilometre of fine white sand and temperate swimming. It can be busy during the summer months—but is nearly empty during the moody and dramatic West Coast shoulder-seasons.
Nels Bight, Cape Scott Provincial Park
Imagine a 2.4-kilometre crescent of white sand, backed by dense coastal rainforest and lapped by rolling Pacific waves. Now imagine you’re the only person there. Welcome to Nels Bight, a secluded stretch of sand on northwestern Vancouver Island at the end of a 17-kilometre trail. Backcountry camping permitted onsite—and necessary unless you fancy a 34-kilometre day-hike.
South Beach, Savary Island
There’s no easy way to get to Savary Island. It often requires multiple ferry rides and eventually a water taxi or even a float plane. But the best secrets are often well-kept. At 7.5 kilometres long by one kilometre wide, this island is ringed by whitesand and lapped by the warmest waters on Canada’s Pacific coast. South Beach is one of the longest sandy areas, but you can’t find a bad beach on Savary.
Long Beach, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
Tourism Tofino/Jeremy Koreski
Long Beach is defined by one word: epic. With a total length of 16 kilometres, pristine silver sands and expansive vistas into the vast Pacific—marked by Incinerator Rock—this is the epicentre of Canada’s surf culture. As part of a national park, the highest conservation standards are upheld—but feel free to lounge, stroll, build sandcastles, surf, skimboard and simply bask in the West Coast’s finest natural surroundings.
Sombrio Beach, Juan de Fuca Provincial Park
Just shy of two hours from BC’s capital city, and a key stopover on the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, Sombrio Beach is a highlight of southwestern Vancouver Island. Home to a strong local surf scene, as well as a scenic ribbon of iron-grey sand overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca, it’s accessed by a 250-metre trail from the parking lot on Highway 14. Backcountry camping permitted.
Parksville Beach, Parksville
Destination BC/Graeme Oswianski
A beachfront park of almost 16 hectares attached to a lively downtown just a few minutes’ walk from the water has fostered the epicentre of beach culture on eastern Vancouver Island. During summer, the seawater can exceed 20 degrees Celsius; ideal for swims. Volleyball is a summertime staple, as are ice cream vendors, elaborate sandcastles and annual events. Stay nearby at one of the waterfront hotels.
Cadboro-Gyro Park, Victoria
Set just outside of downtown Victoria, in Oak Bay, this delightful southeast-facing ocean park features a two-hectare grassy area with playground next to a crescent of soft sand and a calm bay. It’s also home to the University of Victoria Sailing Club, as well as the mythical Cadborosaurus—a monster said to slither through the Salish Sea.
Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, Parksville
This 347-hectare park, set south of downtown Parksville, is home to a showpiece two-kilometre beach, that, at low tide, ebbs into a massive sandflat popular with birdwatchers, sandcastle-builders and sun-worshippers. Campsites are located nearby, in the thick Douglas-fir and arbutus forest, and luxury resorts are also a few-minutes’ drive away.
Gillies Bay, Texada Island
Set next to the town of the same name on the largest and northernmost Gulf Island in the Salish Sea, Gillies Bay offers an expansive stretch of sand with excellent beachcombing and tidal pool exploration. Time your visit to low tide and you’ll enjoy hours of beach walking complemented by expansive views towards Hornby, Denman and Vancouver islands to the west.
Spanish Banks Beach, Vancouver
Hubert Kang/Tourism Vancouver
Stretching for almost three kilometres along Vancouver’s west side, Spanish Banks is one of the great urban beaches of the world. Soft golden sands. Dozens of volleyball courts. A vibrant social scene. Food vendors. But the main reason? Head there at an extreme low tide and you can walk a kilometre offshore, revelling in forest, mountain and urban views along the way. Dogs are allowed off-leash at the western edge.
Centennial Beach, Delta (Boundary Bay Regional Park)
The “boundary” in this park refers to the international border between Canada and the U.S—albeit the diminutive offshoot of Point Roberts, Washington State. It’s a lovely spot for families, with expansive sands, quality birdwatching, lengthy nearby trails, washrooms/change rooms, a concession stand and transit access. In summer, tidal pools invite wading and reliable winds allow for kite-flying and kite-boarding.
White Rock Beach (East/West), White Rock
A gorgeous eight-kilometre-long sandy beach looking out to Semiahmoo Bay and backed by a bustling boardwalk, White Rock is where Vancouver-area families go for the best beach days. Grab an ice cream and stroll the boardwalk. Build a sandcastle on quiet East Beach or plunge into the cool waters from the White Rock Pier (high tide only, be careful!) on West Beach.
Cultus Lake Park, Chilliwack
A crystal waterbody surrounded by lush mountains and ringed by sandy beaches—paradise. Cultus Lake is a beloved summer recreation spot for Fraser Valley locals. Swim in the temperate waters. Head to the nearby waterpark. Soak up the sun in some of the warmest summer temperatures in southwestern BC. But get there early—the secret is long out on this lakeside paradise.
Third Beach, Vancouver
Hubert Kang/Tourism Vancouver
Set next to the iconic Stanley Park Seawall on Ferguson Point, it’s hard to believe Third Beach is just minutes from one of the busiest downtowns in Canada. Backed by lush forest and looking across English Bay and the Burrard Inlet, this stretch of sand is a busy-but-manageable summer respite and a must-stop while cycling the seawall around 400-hectare Stanley Park.
Okanagan Beach, Penticton
Located at the southern end of Lake Okanagan, right next to downtown Penticton, Okanagan Beach merges soft sand and temperate waters with a lively summer beach town. Stand-up paddleboarding is popular in the lake—and for swimmers, there’s a protected area with rafts and slides. All services can be found onsite or nearby.
Agate Beach, Naikoon Provincial Park
This provincial park, located at the northeast tip of Haida Gwaii, is rich in thousands of years of Haida heritage and tens of thousands more of natural ecosystem development. There are some 100 kilometres of beaches located in this park alone, with sandy Agate Beach being the best. It’s a place for mindful contemplation, natural and cultural connection and to put down your phone and drift away.
Gyro Beach, Osoyoos
Set in front of the upscale Watermark Resort, Gyro Beach is the heartbeat of this desert-town’s lake culture. A narrow stretch of lake-sand backed by an expansive grassy area offers the ideal spot to refresh in the midst of summer days that can top 35 degrees Celsius with regularity. Concessions and change rooms are located onsite, and events and concerts keep the action going long into those balmy summer nights.
Sylvan Lake Provincial Park, Sylvan Lake
Travel Alberta/AV Wakefield
This is Alberta’s beach culture hot spot. Lively, busy, social and warm—bask in long days smack in the middle of one of Canada’s sunniest regions. Lakewater is temperate all summer long; bring your air mattress and float the day away. Volleyball is popular here, and families often set up elaborate picnics on the grassy areas and stay all day. A boat launch is located at the southwest end for powerboaters wishing to explore the less-visited regions of this 15-kilometre-long lake.
Ma-Me-O Beach, Pigeon Lake
The main draw of a summer recreation community, Ma-Me-O (which means “place of many shore birds” in Cree) attracts with its whitesand shores and temperate lakewaters. Central Alberta is one of the sunniest regions in Canada, with long summer days in which to soak up the rays and cool down in the protected waters. All services are available in town, during the summer.
Devonshire Beach, Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park
Set on the northeastern end of Alberta’s northern giant, Lesser Slave Lake, Devonshire Beach is a stunning 1.5-kilometre long sandy beach that attracts families from all over northern Alberta. Sandcastle building is de rigueur, and the water is cool and refreshing—perfect for quick dips in the Wild Rose Country sunshine. The town of Slave Lake is next door, and it’s all about three hours from the provincial capital.
Kinosoo Beach, Cold Lake
Brandon Born (@brandonborn)
Northeastern Alberta’s Cold Lake is home to a three-city-block-long stretch of fine sand, where kids build castles, swimmers frolic in the roped-off zone and watersports enthusiasts ply the deep waters paddling, fishing and wakeboarding. A play park, ice cream vendors and regular events make this beach a full-weekend-worthy destination.
Good Spirit Lake Provincial Park
Paul Austring/Tourism Saskatchewan
Just a half-hour drive from Yorkton, Good Spirit Lake Provincial Park offers a welcome respite to the relentless southern Saskatchewan sun. Renowned for its warm water and soft sands—including the nearby sand dunes, great for exploring—this is an ideal spot to make family memories. Camping is available onsite so your crew can enjoy those epic Prairie sunsets and sunrises too.
Katepwa Beach, Katepwa Point Provincial Park
Greg Huszar Photography/Tourism Saskatchewan
Set in the scenic Qu’Appelle Valley of central Saskatchewan, this Prairie oasis is beloved by locals—it comes alive as a resort community every summer. The manicured grass is perfect for barbecues, and boaters love to wakeboard and fish in the waters. Pelicans feed offshore. Paddleboarders ply the calm waters. The valley is lush and green. It’s idyllic.
Kimball Lake Beach, Meadow Lake Provincial Park
Paul Austring/Tourism Saskatchewan
One of Northern Saskatchewan’s most scenic and sandy beaches, the crescent of gold lining the eastern side of Kimball Lake is an oasis in the boreal forest. Water in this 300-hectare lake is temperate and the beach itself is clean and soft. A full-service campsite backs the beach area, and hiking trails run throughout the park.
Palliser Regional Park Beach, Riverhurst
Located about eight kilometres from the town of Riverhurst, on the shores of massive Lake Diefenbaker—the largest waterbody in southern Saskatchewan—you’ll find a well-maintained white sand beach on the temperate waters of this manmade lake. If this lake is too cold, a public pool is nearby; if you fancy making a weekend out of it, camping is available too. Boaters launch here to explore the 225-kilometre length of this impressive waterbody.
Sandy Bay, Candle Lake Provincial Park
Paul Austring/Tourism Saskatchewan
Located at the edge of the great boreal forest of northeastern Saskatchewan, Candle Lake offers well-maintained beaches that attract families all summer long. The water is crystal-clear and cool and the days are warm. As with most northern Saskatchewan lakes, it’s also a fishing hot spot—with plentiful walleye and pike. Plus, there are two more beaches (Waskateena and Minowukaw beaches) on the lake, both sandy and inviting.
Manitou Beach, Watrous Manitou Beach
Welcome to Canada’s Dead Sea. Located in southern Saskatchewan, Watrous Lake is known as a place where “even a goat can float!” Rich in minerals, this ultra-buoyant waterbody invites you to slip in, lay back and float like you’re in zero-gravity. Plus, there’s a scenic beach and a full-service summer resort town next door. And the mineral spa is legendary.
Waskesiu Main Beach, Prince Albert National Park
Greg Huszar Photography/Tourism Saskatchewan
The key summertime draw of one of Saskatchewan’s Crown Jewels—Prince Albert National Park—the Main Beach on Waskesiu Lake offers 600 metres of golden sand, surrounded by mixed-woods forest and lapped by cool northern waters. Powerboats are allowed, paddling is popular and it’s all walking distance to downtown Waskesiu, for hotels, restaurants and sundries. Plus, the national park campsite is adjacent too.
Grand Beach Provincial Park
The eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg is home to one of Canada’s grandest beaches—aptly named Grand Beach. Backed by eight-metre-tall sand dunes, and featuring a three-kilometre-long stretch of fine white sand, it’s no wonder why Manitobans flock to this area during the summer. Shallow waters are temperate and refreshing. Paddling and hiking are popular. Or just lay out and revel in the long Prairie days.
Killarney Lake Beach (Erin Park), Killarney
Small town Manitoba at its finest. A warm lake with sandy shores. Protected swimming next to shore, powerboating further out. Head there for summer’s Beachfest or Dubs on the Beach, a celebration of various classic Volkswagens.
A lengthy white sand beach on the southeastern shores of Lake Winnipeg, Victoria Beach is primarily a community of cottage-owners. The population swells from fewer than 500 residents in winter to more than 16,000 in summer. Sailing is popular here, with a historic yacht club onsite—catamarans can often be seen racing and cruising offshore. Victoria Beach is 100 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
Kinsmen Lake (Quarry Park), Stonewall
Courtesy Kinsmen Lake
This is more like an au naturel pool than a classic lake—there is even an admission fee for entry. But for just $7 (adults), you get access to tropical-looking turquoise waters ringed entirely by soft sand. Onsite concession, shady trees and a diving dock round out the package for a lovely family day-trip in southern Manitoba.
Pinawa Beach, Pinawa
Set near a welcoming eastern Manitoba town on the edge of the Canadian Shield, Pinawa Beach has a lot to offer. This small-but-scenic crescent of sand features a protected swimming area and a large raft sits further out in the cool, clean waters. Sun worshippers will enjoy baking brown on the ancient granite slabs. It’s one of only a handful of true river beaches on this list—set along the Winnipeg River—which makes it a must-visit in its own right.
Gimli Beach, Gimli
A long stretch of white sand on the western shore of Lake Winnipeg serves as one of the main summertime draws to the town of Gimli—about an hour’s drive north of Winnipeg. Aside from the swimming and boating, the annual three-weekend-long Beach Bash is a reason to show up. Featuring big-name live music viewable right from the sandy shores, it draws in Manitobans province-wide.
Minnedosa Lake Public Beach, Minnedosa
About 45 minutes from Brandon, and just 1.5 kilometres from downtown Minnedosa, this public beach is a popular summertime stop for the region’s rural Manitobans. Lengthy lakesand creates a warm swimming and play area—or hop a kayak and cruise the shoreline, taking in views of the Little Saskatchewan River Valley. Fun fact: this lake was manmade in 1910 to service regional hydro-electric needs!
Winnipeg Beach Provincial Park, Winnipeg Beach
Three kilometres of fine, soft sand lining the western shoreline of Lake Winnipeg. Volleyball and tennis courts. Cycling paths. Reliable winds for kitesurfing, sailing and windsurfing. Expansive waters for powerboating and paddling. And a new campsite offers 120 full-service sites. Summer lives here.
Sunset Beach, St. Catharines
Located close to the New York border, on Lake Ontario, Sunset Beach offers 365 metres of sand to lay out on and soak up the southern Ontario sun. The full gamut of amenities await—and it’s a popular spot for powerboaters as well. This beach makes a relaxing addition to your Niagara dream getaway.
Britannia Beach, Ottawa
Think all of Ontario's best beaches are on the Great Lakes? Nope—head to Canada's capital to lay out on the golden sands of Britannia, which traces the scenic and warm Ottawa River. Shallow waters make this beach popular with families, as swimmers can wade far into the gently flowing waters without going overhead. Lifeguards are on duty during summer (check hours) and you'll find change rooms, volleyball nets (for rent), a burger shack and picnic tables onsite.
Old Woman Bay, Lake Superior Provincial Park
Situated in the northern reaches of Lake Superior Provincial Park, just 20 minutes south of Wawa, Old Woman Bay is iconic. Flanked by 200-metre-tall granite cliffs to the south (if you look closely, you can see the face of an “old woman”) where an outlet creek meets the turquoise waters of Lake Superior, it’s a showstopper. For the best view, hike the nearby Nokomis Trail and relax at a Great Lake overlook.
Main Beach, Grand Bend
Another classic Ontario getaway, Grand Bend is proud to be one of just a couple dozen beaches in the country to achieve the Blue Flag status for environmental protection and clean water. Which is just one reason Ontarians flock to this white-sand stunner on Lake Huron. Other draws? Parasailing, wakeboarding and even skydiving overtop the scenic beach town for the ultimate bird’s-eye view.
Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, Wasaga Beach
You didn’t think we’d skip Ontario’s most famous beach, did you? Noted as the world’s longest freshwater beach, this stunner features a staggering 14 kilometres of fine white sand to laze on. With safe swimming, Blue Flag environmental protection, legendary sunsets and almost 170 hectares of protected natural environs—this beach has it all. The town comes alive every summer as one of the province’s most sought-after getaways—find out why.
Presqu’ile Provincial Park
Set on a peninsula along the north shore of Lake Ontario, Presqu’ile Provincial Park offers one of the province’s best beach vacations. Come for the 2.5 kilometres of sandy beaches and endless Great Lake views. Stay for the 300 drive-in campsites, one-kilometre interpretive boardwalk trail, 16 kilometres of hiking trails and plentiful bird species that flock to this area—a watcher’s delight!
Pancake Bay Provincial Park
This is where residents of Sault Ste. Marie spend their summers. Just an hour’s drive away, Pancake Bay is legendary for its Caribbean-like three-kilometre-long crescent of white sand that looks into Lake Superior. Hike the Edmund Fitzgerald Lookout Trail to pay homage to that infamous shipwreck. Camp onsite or rent a yurt. And stock up at the nearby Agawa Crafts, a kooky roadside attraction just a few minutes down the road.
Sauble Beach, Bruce County
Overlooking Lake Huron, Sauble Beach is more than just a destination for sun, sand and swimming. It’s known for its cycling, hiking, sand dunes, fishing, an aerial park and summer events. But the sun, sand and swimming are reasons enough to visit—the 11 kilometres of sand are second in size only to Wasaga Beach in the entire province.
Northwinds Beach, Grey County
Northwinds Beach is one of the most popular summertime respites in southern Georgian Bay. The beach draws-in stand-up paddleboarders and kayakers particularly, as the calm waters and easy-put ins invite long days of paddling. A grassy park with a playground, washrooms and picnic tables make full-day outings easy. And it’s a short drive to Blue Mountain Resort, for luxe accommodations.
Sandbanks Provincial Park Beach (Outlet Beach)
Formed on the world’s largest baymouth dune barrier formation—yes, that’s a thing (think: natural dam)—Outlet Beach is simply breathtaking. Protected as part of Sandbanks Provincial Park, families flock to these sandy shores to camp, sail and swim all summer long. Birdwatchers love the area too, and cycle tourists include it on a stop while they pedal through Prince Edward County’s wine regions.
Port Dover Beach, Port Dover
This beach town may just typify summer living in Ontario’s southeast. A picturesque lighthouse adorns a golden-sand beach. Waterfront restaurants bustle all summer long. Sailboats and powerboats ply the waters—as do stand-up paddleboards and folks floating the days away on inflatable tubes. Cast a line right from the pier. Build a sandcastle with the kids. Stay in town. What more could you want?
Sugar Beach, Toronto
A sandy beach in the heart of Canada’s biggest city! Sugar Beach is urban transformation at its finest—a former industrial park turned into a whimsical summer getaway, complete with pink umbrellas and soft white sand. It’s 8,500-square-metres of summertime social scene on Queen’s Bay, a short walk from T.O.’s Entertainment District.
Clock Tower Beach, Montreal
Good things come in small packages. Walking a similar path to Toronto’s Sugar Beach, Clock Tower Beach in the Old Port of Montreal is a manmade chunk of white sand located right below the iconic 100-year-old Clock Tower and overlooking the St. Lawrence Harbourfront. Arrive early to grab an umbrella, and while you can’t swim, you can soak up the sun and enjoy a lively social scene.
Plage Lac-Saint-Joseph, Fossambault-sur-le-Lac
Located about a 40-minute drive northwest of Quebec City, the beach on Saint Joseph Lake offers 500 metres of soft sand, crystal-clear water rated “A” (the best) by the Ministry of Environment, on-duty lifeguards and a variety of services nearby. There is an admission fee to the largest lake in the province's capital region—but it’s worth it.
Parc national d’Anticosti, Anticosti Island
Anticosti Island is hiding in plain sight—at 160 kilometres long and just a short hop from mainland Quebec at the mouth of St. Lawrence River, it’s relatively easy to get to. So why do so few go? It’s home to impressive waterfalls, densely forested hiking trails and rich culture. But we’re here to talk about the beach—and the pristine pebble-sand in the park is about as serene and beautiful as it gets.
Sept-Iles Beach, Sept-Iles
As the regional centre for Quebec’s Cote-Nord, Sept Iles is known for natural environs like dense boreal forest, rushing rivers and clearwater lakes. Also, and less expected, gorgeous whitesand beaches right next to town. Running for kilometres along the vast St. Lawrence River, expect cool waters, gorgeous views, rich wildlife and serenity.
Baie De Beauport, Quebec City
A whitesand beach with a lively summer community just five minutes from downtown Quebec City? Welcome to Baie De Beauport—a swath of sand overlooking the St. Lawrence River. Watersports like kayaking and windsurfing are popular here, and there is a protected swimming area. Families will love the park, playground, restaurants and food trucks. There’s even a water park!
Parc Nature de Pointe-aux-Outardes, Pointe-aux-Outardes
Renowned for its rich biodiversity, this stopover on Quebec’s Cote-Nord is home to sandy beaches overlooking the St. Lawrence, plus boardwalk paths winding through lush ecosystems, 10 kilometres of hiking trails and rich First Nations cultural experiences. Make sure to hit the beach for sunset though—it’s reason alone to come.
Dune du Sud (South Dune), Iles de la Madeleine
This breathtaking island chain offers more than 300 kilometres of sandy beaches overlooking the wild Gulf of St. Lawrence. Dune du Sud Beach, on Havre aux Maisons, offers an incredible 22 kilometres of golden sand backed by iconic red cliffs leading to swaths of treeless meadows. Sheltered waters are calm and inviting. Picnic tables and washrooms are on site—it’s one of the archipelago's most popular beaches.
Du Havre Beach, Iles de la Madeleine
Du Havre Beach, on Havre-Aubert Island, has a staggering 12 kilometres of golden sand. It's home to an annual sandcastle contest and it's a draw for kayakers and windsurfers throughout the summer. Watch for shorebirds riding the updrafts as you overlook nearby Entry Island.
Grande Échouerie Beach, Iles de la Madeleine
Also on Havre-Aubert Island, and part of the East Point Wildlife Reserve, this 8.5-kilometre-long whitesand beauty is sheltered from strong west and north winds (though currents can be strong) and attracts seals and birdlife to its shores. In fact, birders particularly love this beach for its plentiful avian life.
Dune du Nord (North Dune) Beach,Iles de la Madeleine
Linking Île du Cap-aux-Meules and Île de Pointe-aux-Loups, this 16-kilometre-long showpiece of white sand and white-capped waves is a home to seals on the lagoon side, and draws windsports enthusiasts on the ocean side. Rather than a swimming beach for families, this one is a more for scenic strolls and birdwatching—currents and waves can be treacherous.
Oka Beach, Parc national d’Oka
Located about 60 kilometres from downtown Montreal, on the scenic Lake of Two Mountains, Oka Beach is the showpiece of its namesake park. Lifeguards monitor the sandy beach, and families stay all day—barbecuing in the charcoal pits, renting pedal-boats and stand-up paddleboards or even sailing. Camp onsite or drive back to Montreal for dinner.
Plage municipale Gratuite, Metabetchouan-Lac-a-la-Croix
Just a short drive northwest from Saguenay, this lake beach offers white sand shores with lapping clear waters, boardwalk trails though protected forest and great birdwatching. The water is shallow and welcoming for children. A bike route passes through. And during the summer, the nearby restaurant is lively and fun. Change rooms and services onsite.
Plage St-Zotique, St-Zotique
With palapas, beach volleyball courts, sun-drenched summer days and lifeguards, you could be forgiven for mistaking this for a tropical destination. But in fact it’s a river-beach on the St. Lawrence, located just an hour’s drive southwest of Montreal. Pedal-boat rentals and an aquatic obstacle course make for family fun in the summer sun.
New River Beach Provincial Park
Aaron Mckenzie Fraser/Tourism New Brunswick
Located on the Bay of Fundy, about a 35-minute drive southeast of Saint-John, this impressive tidal beach shows off its glory when the ocean ebbs to create a vast stretch of golden sand. Tidal pool exploration is a draw, as you’re basically walking on the ocean floor in the home of the world’s most extreme tides. Play beach volleyball, hike the interpretive trails and eat at the onsite restaurant.
Escuminac Beach and Family Park, Escuminac
Tourism New Brunswick
Set in the beautiful Mirimachi Region, Escuminac offers seven kilometres of gorgeous white sand. Swimming is popular, but many people come just to stroll and search for driftwood and smooth beach stones. Boardwalks, gazebos, birdwatching and a privately-owned full-service campground make this a must-visit summertime destination. (Don’t miss the annual pig roast in late July!)
Centennial Beach, Moncton
This white sand beach next to temperate waters and lush forests isn’t actually on the coast‚ it’s in the middle of Moncton. A manmade beach popular with sun worshippers, the showpiece of 94-hectare Centennial Park offers beach-going fun with a splash park, playground and biking trails.
Kellys Beach, Kouchibouguac National Park
Tourism New Brunswick
Every province has its signature beach, and for New Brunswick, legendary, 25-kilometre-long Kellys Beach, in Kouchibouguac National Park, is it. Golden sand with impressive dunes. Tidal pools full of fish and clams. Change rooms and concession. And it’s all protected at the highest level by a 238-square-kilometre national park. Make a weekend of it by camping on site. Oh—did we mention it’s home to Canada’s warmest saltwater?
Charlo Beach, Charlo
A fascinating natural phenomenon, Charlo Beach is a 1.5-kilometre-long sandbar that is lapped by the ocean on one side and holds back a freshwater lake on the other. So you can swim in the salt-chuck then rinse off right after! During the summer months, facilities include a seafood shack and change rooms. A campground is located onsite as well.
Youghall Beach Park, Bathurst
Tourism New Brunswick
Overlooking the Bathurst Harbour and the Bay of Chaleur, this sandy supervised swimming beach is a serene spot to soak up the sun. With warm and shallow water for swimming, plus local opportunities for shore-fishing and strolls on boardwalks, Youghall has something for everyone. Playground, volleyball courts, a marina and changerooms on-site.
Parlee Beach Provincial Park, Pointe-du-Chêne
Tourism New Brunswick
Another of the province’s signature beaches, Parlee offers some of the warmest saltwater in Canada to complement its soft-sand shores. Boardwalks, lifeguards, volleyball courts, sand-sculpture competitions and a 210-site campground round out the package. Plus, the nearby town of Pointe-du-Chêne offers all the services you’ll need to make a weekend stay. (Check out the world’s largest lobster sculpture.)
Martinique Beach Provincial Park
You’ll find the longest sandy beach in the province just an hour from Halifax. Protected by a provincial park, Martinique Beach offers five kilometres of white sands, with crashing Atlantic waves, on the Eastern Shore. A picnic area is tucked away behind rolling dunes and there is supervised swimming in July and August, with change rooms onsite. Keep watch for the piping plover—a protected bird species common to these shores.
Conrad’s Beach, Dartmouth
Located just a few minutes from the famous surf beach at Lawrencetown, Conrad’s offers a calmer, quieter experience. It’s sheltered from the waves, so it draws less of a crowd. There are no services onsite—even the parking lot is just a tiny gravel patch, so arrive early to get a space.
Inverness Beach, Inverness (Cape Breton Island)
Tourism Nova Scotia
On one side of this golden beach, golfers play one of Canada’s most scenic links. Then a meandering boardwalk running through beach grass separates the swingers from a 1.5-kilometre-long stretch of sand. In summer, expect warm and shallow waters ideal for swimming and frolicking. Plus, last year the beach introduced a variety of aids that allow people with mobility concerns to access these wondrous shores.
Hirtle’s Beach, Bridgewater
South of Halifax abounds with beaches and Hirtle’s is one of the best. Three kilometres of sand awaits—and it has a living personality. The beach actually shifts and moves, receding and growing with the seasons and the weather. Enjoy views over pounding surf, backed by drumlin cliffs. If you’re up for it, hike the seven-kilometre Gaff Point loop trail that starts at the beach.
Lawrencetown Beach Provincial Park
Welcome to a surf beach that’s renowned for having one of the best point breaks in the world. In fact, it’s given rise to one of Canada’s few pro surfers (Nico Manos) and come September, when the hurricane swells roll in, surfers from around the world get pipelined in overhead waves. Midsummer, though, even beginners can learn to catch a wave. But any time of year, the red-golden sand and expansive views are a draw. Washrooms and parking onsite.
Carters Beach, Port Mouton
Carters Beach is a sandy respite that could be mistaken for the Caribbean. Sand as white as bones. Turquoise waters. Wind-beaten flora. Sand dollars embedded in the shoreline. There are three distinct crescents to explore. Arrive early to find parking—especially important on midsummer weekends.
Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park, Halifax (Metro)
Drive 30 kilometres south of the capital and you’ll discover Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park, where boardwalk-lined grassy dunes lead to three crescents of sand. Along with the usual beachgoing fun, ambitious visitors can hike the 10-kilometre (each way) trail to Pennant Point and spot abundant birdlife along the way.
White Point Beach Resort
Tourism Nova Scotia
At the centre of Nova Scotia’s Southern Shore, White Point Beach Resort offers access to an impressive one-kilometre-long expanse of bleached-white sand. An accessible place to learn to surf, there are lessons and rentals available onsite and year-round. Swim in the cool waters. Build castles in serenity. And enjoy the luxury of a full-service beach resort during your stay.
Clam Harbour Beach Provincial Park
There are a lot of reasons to make the near 100-kilometre drive from downtown Halifax, up the Eastern Shore, to Clam Harbour. The wide and long natural sands. The sandcastle competition every August. The interpretive boardwalks and nature trails. But the best of all might be the tidal stream, which invites visitors to toss in a tube and ride that river right into the lapping waves.
Ingonish Beach, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Dean Casavechia/Tourism Nova Scotia
Freshwater or salt, take your pick! This gorgeous golden crescent in Cape Breton Highlands National Park has the cool Atlantic lapping at the eastern shore and a pebbly freshwater Ingonish Lake on the other side. Surf in the waves, then paddleboard on the calm lake! Lifeguards are on duty in July and August; national parks pass required to visit.
Baltee Island, 100 Wild Islands
Oops, we accidentally put a Hawaiian Island on this list! Nope—that’s Baltee Island, part of the boat-access 100 Wild Islands on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. Paddling a kayak from Tangier is the most pleasant way to arrive, and the reward for your effort is a white sand cove with (likely) zero people. While away the day swimming and exploring—look for middens leftover by the regional First Nations and regional remnants of settlements long-gone.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Tourism PEI/Stephen Harris
Hop in your car and drive 15 minutes north from Charlettown to find Brackley Beach, a pleasant piece of red-golden sands on Brackley Bay. Stroll for kilometres, admiring the views. Lay out on the dunes that line the beach. If the sun gets too much, head over to the Dunes Gallery to enjoy some local artwork and grab lunch at the café.
Wood Islands Provincial Park
What Woods Islands lacks in size it makes up for in quality. A small park overlooking the Northumberland Strait, with views of the passing Nova Scotia ferries and a historic lightstation onsite, this day-use beach looks out to moored fishing dories used for generations by local fisherman. Cycle-touring is popular in the area and this beach is a great spot to refresh. Washrooms and food services (summer only) are available onsite.
Cavendish Beach, Prince Edward Island National Park
Tourism PEI/Carrie Gregory
Set within the 60-kilometre-long expanses of PEI’s only national park, Cavendish Beach is a popular stopover for folks on the Anne of Green Gables circuit. Stroll the dunes. Gaze off to the barrier islands. Explore the wetlands. Swim in warm, protected waters during the summer. And the nearby town of Cavendish offers attractions to keep your family busy all weekend long.
Cabot Beach Provincial Park
Welcome to the largest park in western Prince Edward Island. Families visit to swim in the protected waters of Malpeque Bay—supervised during summer months. Take note of the children’s programs that run through the summer break too—they’re usually set in and around the onsite play area. Camping is available onsite, as are day-use facilities and a boardwalk for strolling.
Singing Sands Beach, Basin Head Provincial Park
Tourism PEI/Stephen Harris
Located near the town of Souris, Basin Head Provincial Park offers an all-encompassing family beach getaway. Protected in a provincial park, Singing Sands Beach offers pristine water, change rooms, supervised swimming (check schedule), onsite food and a play area. But the main reason to visit is to hear the Singing Sands for yourself—due to the mineral makeup of the sand, it squeaks when you step on it.
Sally’s Beach Provincial Park
Drive to the Eastern Shore of Prince Edward Island if you want to beat the crowds and enjoy a scenic beach in serenity. It’s pared-down of services, with unsupervised swimming and a simple washroom/changeroom facility. There are two short hiking trails onsite and an eating shelter to escape the sun. Explore the tidal pools at low tide and build sandcastles at high.
Greenwich Beach, Prince Edward Island National Park
Tourism PEI/Heather Ogg
While Cavendish Beach gets most of the national park’s visitors, make sure to stopover to quieter Greenwich Beach too, at the park’s northwestern edge. Wander over the long boardwalk trails and admire the largest sand dunes in the province. Stroll the soft sand with fewer crowds to disrupt your mindfulness. And stop by the interpretive centre to learn why this beach is so vital to the regional ecosystems.
Chelton Beach Provincial Park
Overlooking the Northumberland Strait, not far from Confederation Bridge, on the province’s iconic Red Sands Shore touring route, Chelton Beach offers signature crimson shores, supervised swimming (June to September) and a day-use area with picnic tables and changerooms. Time your visit for low tide to take full advantage of the sandy shores.
Cedar Dunes Provincial Park
Tourism PEI/Heather Ogg
The most famous landmark at Cedar Dunes Provincial Park is the black-and-white striped lighthouse that now serves as Canada’s only hotel housed within a lightstation. Admire it as you stroll by on the boardwalk—the real reason to visit are the golden sands lapped by waves from the Northumberland Strait. During summer, there is supervised swimming; the nearby PEI Potato Museum is worth a visit too.
NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR
Sandbanks Provincial Park
An absolute showstopper on the island’s southern shores, this park offers camping and day-use facilities to complement the white sands, grassy dunes, inshore rocky islets and expansive vistas. Like all Newfoundland beaches, the ocean is frigid—but on a hot day it might just serve as the refresher you need. Birdwatchers flock to the area to spot the endangered piping plover.
Point Lance Beach, Point Lance
The southern edge of the Avalon Peninsula is hiding a secret below the grassy fields. Point Lance Beach is a serene expanse of sand that offers surfing, boogie-boarding, beachcombing and birdwatching galore. Local farmers and fisherman have known about this gem for generations—discover it for yourself during a Newfoundland road trip.
Sandy Cove, Eastport Peninsula
Tourism Newfoundland & Labrador
Backed by an impressive sand cliff and looking out to the Bonavista Bay, near Terra Nova National Park, Sandy Cove is one of the province’s most beautiful beaches. Waters are relatively calm and protected. Crowds are light. Nearby you’ll have a chance to spot icebergs in-season, see a Newfoundland pony, stop by the towns of Salvage and Happy Adventure and soak up the best of rural Newfoundland’s welcoming culture.
Shallow Bay Beach, Gros Morne National Park
Tourism Newfoundland & Labrador
This beach actually warms up to a pleasant swimming temperature in summer—sort of a rarity in Newfoundland and Labrador. Backed by high dunes, with shallow water and abundant birdlife, this is the finest beach in the The Rock's most-famous national park. Walk the boardwalk, enjoy the views; you might be the only one visiting this mile-long expanse of fine white sand. Change rooms on site.
Windmill Bight Park, Lumsden
One of the nicest beaches on The Rock, about a four-and-a-half-hour drive from St. John’s (expect long drives when touring this island), Windmill Bight offers a breezy crescent of silver sand. In June, you may be able to spot icebergs floating by (watch for whales too). Camping and day-use facilities are located onsite.
Wonderstrands, Akami-Uapishkᵁ-KakKasuak-Mealy Mountains National Park
Barrett & MacKay Photo/Tourism Newfoundland & Labrador
One-thousand years ago, when Vikings sailed across the Atlantic and landed on Labrador’s shores, they saw this staggering 50-kilometre-long whitesand beach and named it “Wonderstrands.” It’s easy to see why—and today, where else in the world could you find a pristine, protected beach of this magnitude with zero people on it? Yup, if you can make the trek to this newly-formed national park, you’ll likely be the only one there (or at least your group will be). It’s boat-access only, with no services, but backcountry camping is allowed with permit.
Bennett Beach, Carcross
Derek Crowe/Travel Yukon
Rich in history, from the Tagish First Nations to the industrial exploits of the 19thcentury, Bennett Lake Beach is one of the few sandy beaches in Yukon. The lake is shallow, so it warms up a bit more than other sub-Arctic waterbodies—still cold though—and the reliable breezes offer excellent windsports opportunities. Powerboating and paddling are popular too. Summer days are staggeringly long—and it’s one of the driest spots in the territory
Hay River Public Beach, Hay River
Yes, there are beaches in the Northwest Territories. You have to be pretty brave to go for a swim—this sandy stretch is located on the southern shores of Great Slave Lake, where the water is always frigid. Still, on summer days, it’s a pleasant place to lay out—or wander the shoreline and sort through the abundant driftwood. Picnic areas and a playground are located onsite. And with nearly 24 hours of sunlight midsummer, you’ll enjoy mega-days of sun worshipping.
Pond Inlet Public Beach, Pond Inlet
This beach makes this list for uniqueness alone. Plane or boat access only, this sandy stretch looks toward Bylot Island in front of the remote Inuit community of Pond Inlet. You can swim if you like, but the water is near-freezing even in summer—after all, it is situated at 72 degrees north. In season, it’s likely the sunniest beach in Canada as when the sun rises in May it doesn’t set until August. Best to stay dry and spot icebergs, narwhals and maybe even polar bears in the offshore waters—then warm up with a coffee at the most northerly Tim Horton’s in the world.
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