With the Great Lakes right at our doorstep, we’re fortunate to be in close proximity to a number of sandy beaches in Niagara. We don’t have to travel far for some fun in the sun! Here are some of the best beaches in St Catharines as well as some other recommendations close to the city limits.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Best Beaches in St Catharines
There’s no better way to enjoy the summer than with a quality beach day! Whether you’re a Niagara local or from out of town, you’ll soak up the sunshine at these public beaches in St Catharines Ontario.
IMPORTANT: Before heading to any beach, it’s always a good idea to check the water quality. The beaches in Niagara are tested regularly by the region between the end of May and the beginning of September. Click here to see the most recent results.
Lakeside Park Beach / Port Dalhousie Beach
Address: 1 Lakeport Road, St. Catharines, ON L2N 7R8
Parking Lot: Paid – $3 per hour for a limit of 3 hours
Lakeside Park Beach is located in the north end of St Catharines on the shores of Lake Ontario. It’s easily the most popular of all the St Catharines beaches – and for good reason!
Located in the historic Port Dalhousie, beachgoers will be greeted by approximately 300 metres of sandy beach that’s perfect for soaking up the summer sun. It’s not uncommon to see a game of beach volleyball happening as well as kids making sandcastles nearby. Stretch your legs with a stroll down the west pier for fantastic views of the harbour. Watch the ships come in and out as you admire the iconic Port Dalhousie lighthouses that guide the way.
INSIDER TIP: If you don’t mind walking a short distance, you can easily find free parking along the side streets north of Main Street and avoid the pesky parking fees of the Port Dalhousie public parking lot.
One of the reasons this is one of the best beaches in Niagara is the historic Lakeside Park Carousel. Sometimes referred to as the Looff Carousel, it’s a Charles I.D. Looff original which was carved in Brooklyn, New York between 1898 and 1905. It features 68 animals including horses, lions, camels, giraffes and more. While this is the only attraction left from what was once an amusement park, it’s one of the 9 antique hand-carved carousels in Canada that’s still in operation – at its original price of just 5 cents!
Make sure to spend some time exploring the neighbourhood during your visit. You’ll find a plethora of restaurants, boutique shops, bars and even a craft brewery! There’s nothing better than enjoying a pint in the beer garden at Locke Street Brewing after a day of fun in the sun. If you’d like to learn more about this historic part of St Catharines, check out this guided tour of Port Dalhousie!
Port Weller Beach / Sunset Beach
Address: 1 Lombardy Ave, St. Catharines, ON L2M 1H8
Parking: Paid – $3 per hour
Say hello to the largest beach in St Catharines! With almost 400 metres of sandy shoreline, Port Weller Beach is a popular spot for locals and visitors to enjoy the long sunny days of summer. It was officially renamed to Sunset Beach in 2015 as it’s one of the best locations to catch the sunset in St Catharines!
As it’s walking distance from my parents’ place in Niagara, Sunset Beach is near and dear to my heart. I spent many days as a teenager walking to the local corner store (known as Tropicana back then) for some ice cream before settling in to watch the waves.
Sunset Beach has undergone some fantastic developments over the years as new public washrooms, shower facilities and a wheelchair ramp have been constructed. Kids will have a blast on the playground making this a great spot for family fun in Niagara. There’s also a public boat launch for personal watercraft as well as an automated rental system for kayaks called the Kayakomat! If you choose to go for a paddle, make sure you check the weather conditions as Lake Ontario is one of the Great Lakes, meaning conditions can change on a dime.
With all this to offer, I’d say this makes Sunset Beach one of the best beaches in Ontario.
Cherie Road Park Beach
Address: 5 Halene Ct, St. Catharines, ON L2M 6M3
Parking: Free – Closest Stree Parking is Along Cherie Road
Just down the shoreline from Sunset Beach, you’ll find this hidden gem and my favourite of these beaches in St Catharines. Many will think it’s nothing special as there are no amenities, but it’s often quiet and a fantastic spot to enjoy the views of Lake Ontario.
This beach is walk-in only as there are no direct parking lots. Follow the Walker’s Creek Trail through tall trees and calm neighbourhoods towards Cherie Road Park. Then, go up the hill and head in the direction of Sunset Beach where you’ll find a tall tree with a rope swing. This section is a little steep so carefully clamber down to the waterfront. You’ll see Walker’s Creek to your right which you can cross to make your way towards Port Weller Beach if you can hop the divide.
Since there are no amenities here, please make sure you pack out everything you bring with you. This goes for all beaches and natural spaces in general, however you may have to carry your items a little further before finding a garbage can near Cherie Road Park Beach. So please, do your part!
Address: 142 Broadway Ave, St. Catharines, ON L2M 1P3
Parking: Free, Spots are Limited
The most eastern of the St Catharines beaches, Jones Beach is located across the Welland Canal towards Niagara-on-the-Lake. This protected bay offers calm waters and a serene spot for quiet reflection.
Jones Beach is simply that, a somewhat rocky expanse of beach. There are no amenities (aka no bathrooms or lifeguards) so you’ll need to take this into account when visiting. There are portapotties located at Lock 1 of the Welland Canal in Charles Ansell Park as well as just west of the lock along Lakeshore Road inside the Malcomson Eco Park.
SOMETHING TO NOTE: Unlike most of the beaches in St Catharines, Jones Beach is not monitored for water quality so if you choose to go in the water, you’re swimming at your own risk.
Just off Broadway Avenue, you’ll find access to the George Nicholson Memorial Trail, one of the top hiking trails in St Catharines. Follow it to the end of the peninsula where you’ll find a guiding range light. This is also a great spot to catch the transport ships as they travel from Lake Ontario to Port Colborne on Lake Erie!
If you’re an early bird, Jones Beach is one of the top spots in St Catharines to catch the sunrise. Plus, there’s a good chance you’ll have the beach all to yourself – so bring along your coffee and enjoy the early golden hour views!
More Top Niagara Beaches
Of course, these St Catharines beaches aren’t the only spots for a great beach day! If you’re looking for more recommendations, here are some more top Niagara beaches to check out.
Charles Daley Park Beach in Lincoln – Here you’ll find not one but two beaches along the shores of Lake Ontario! This is also where Fifteen Mile Creek and Sixteen Mile Creek flow into Lake Ontario so it’s not uncommon to see paddlers out on the water. Charles Daley Park features a playground, a bandshell which has free concerts in the summer, a pavilion that’s available for rent, plenty of greenspace and washrooms – but they’re only open Victoria Day through Labour Day.
Nickel Beach in Port Colborne – Just a short drive from downtown Port Colborne, Nickel Beach is one of the top beaches in Niagara. It features some of the softest sand in the region and its shallow waters are a fan favourite for families with young children. However, there are only washroom facilities so if you’re planning on staying a while, make sure you pack some snacks!
Crystal Beach in Fort Erie – Also known as Bay Beach, Crystal Beach was once the site of an amusement park which was a draw for visitors for a century until it closed in the 1980s. Besides crystal clear water (hence the name), visitors can enjoy a children’s playground, pavilion, washroom and change room facilities as well as beach access ramps. Don’t forget to check out the viewing deck before you go!
Wainfleet Public Beach – Unlike its counterpart, Long Beach, which charges an entrance fee, Wainfleet Public Beach is free to use! It’s also often much quieter than other beaches on Lake Erie, making it the perfect spot to hang out on a summer day.
Ready to Visit These St Catharines Beaches?
Chances are St Catharines isn’t top of mind for a beach day but we’re certainly lucky to have a number of fantastic ones in the city. Make sure to come prepared with plenty of water, sunscreen, towels, and anything else you may need for a day of fun in the sun. If you’re looking for more Ontario beaches, make sure to check out my guide to the best beaches in Ontario!
Looking for More Things to Do in Niagara?
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…and check out my archives for more Niagara fun!