When I hear summer, I immediately think beach time. Nothing beats sand between your toes and catching some rays on a brilliantly sunny day in July or August! Ontario has some amazing beaches, many of which are only a 2-hour drive from the GTA. With so many to choose from, it can be tough to know where to go. Well, I’ve done the legwork for you! These Southwestern Ontario beaches are perfect for enjoying summer along the Great Lakes.
All of these beaches I have listed are free. Yes, free. No parking or entrance fees, just a whole bunch of fun! Check out that weather forecast and go enjoy these awesome Southwestern Ontario beaches along the Great Lakes!
BAYFIELD MAIN BEACH
Situated on the shore of Lake Huron, Bayfield’s beach is a great place to enjoy a hot summer day. The beach itself is a mix of sand and rock while featuring a walking path and pier close by. If you walk south away from the pier, you’ll find steps which will take you up to Pioneer Park. While nobody likes taking the stairs upward, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view at the top! Heading back to the harbour, you’ll find brick & mortar washrooms as well as a water fountain. Be sure to fill up your water bottles to avoid dehydration! If you forgot yours, don’t worry – the beach is a short walk from the town of Bayfield. Here you’ll find a menagerie of shops and restaurants. If you’re looking for a full day of exploring with some beach time thrown in, this would be my suggestion!
Heading north to the shores of Georgian Bay, Christie Beach is a quiet little slice of paradise. I visited on a hot summer Saturday and there was one other car… ONE. If you’re looking to have a sandy beach all to yourself? Look no further! There is limited parking, however with my experience, I don’t think you’ll have a problem. The area is also great for groups as there is a shaded pavilion with benches and tables. Oh, and a swing set too! The green space isn’t large, but there’s enough room for kids (young and old) to play some soccer or break out the frisbee.
Don’t let the name fool you – it’s not that little! Nestled on the shore of Lake Erie, Little Beach is a beautiful place to spend a day sunbathing. While it can get busy (the parking lot itself can be a little crazy!), there’s plenty of room on the beach. You’ll find lots of families enjoy a sunny day along with the occasional parasailer in the distance. It’s a 5-minute walk into one-half of Port Stanley for some ice cream or a cup of coffee. If you walk another 20 minutes to the other side of Port Stanley you’ll find the main beach, however I’m sure it’ll be much busier than Little Beach!
The crystal clear waters of Georgian Bay make Northwinds Beach a perfect beach destination. Extremely popular for standup paddleboarding, you’ll enjoy relaxing along the sandy shoreline. The parking lot isn’t the biggest, so I’d suggest arriving earlier to ensure a parking spot. If you have any four-legged companions however, you’ll have to leave them at home as no dogs are allowed. It is also close to both Collingwood and the Blue Mountains, making it a great stop during a weekend excursion!
POINT CLARK BEACH
Last but certainly not least, we return to the shores of Lake Huron and Point Clark Beach. My favourite of theese Southwestern Ontario beaches, Point Clark is also home to a beautiful lighthouse. Learn about the history of the imperial style lighthouse and climb the 100+ steps to get a bird’s eye view of the beach. Take note of the washroom & change room building as it’s easy to miss, then make your way for some beachy fun! The sand can be quite hot and with small stones mixed in, can hurt your feet after a while. I’d suggest some water shoes or flip flops if you’re going to be going in and out of the water a lot. There are also a few volleyball courts close to the parking lot but it’s BYON – bring your own net!
TURKEY POINT BEACH
What’s probably the busiest of all the Southwestern Ontario beaches on this list, Turkey Point stretches over 2km along Lake Erie’s shoreline. It’s next door to Turkey Point Provincial Park where you can get your hike on before cooling off at the beach. The beautifully soft sandbars and shallow water make it great for families. Although it can be hard to walk through the clay-like patches so be wary. I almost fell a few times, but at least the water would catch me! While most people park in the paid lot, take Cedar Drive to Reserve St and you’ll hit Ordnance Drive. There’s plenty of street parking here – just be sure to obey the signs!
BONUS :: LORA BAY BEACH
What will be the quietest of all the beaches, Lora Bay is a residential complex in the Blue Mountains. Open to the public, you can drive down and access this beautiful little cove. It can be quite breezy so it’s great for those scorching summer days! While there is what looks like a bathroom, it was locked when I visited and surrounded by hornets. I’d steer clear and if anything hop in the car 2 minutes down the road to Christie Beach and use the facilities there.
One thing to note as well is that all of these Southwestern Ontario beaches have washrooms. It may not be something you immediately think about, but using the facilities is key when you’re staying hydrated on a hot summer day. Also, moist towelettes are always a good idea as many of the beaches only have portable washrooms. Better to be prepared than not!
Now, what are you waiting for? Each of these Southwestern Ontario beaches has its own charm and beauty, so why only choose one? Go out and visit them all – and be sure to use #IveBeenBitTravel on your Instagram photos so I can see your adventures!
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