Top Beaches in Toronto

The top 5 beaches in Toronto

The top beaches in Toronto may not rival those to be found at more southerly destinations around the globe, but throughout the summer months they're a more than adequate substitute for those who find themselves city-bound and in need of a little sand and sunshine.

Here are my picks for the top beaches in Toronto.

Woodbine / Kew / Balmy beaches

Woodbine Beach Toronto

Volleyball at Woodbine Beach. Photo by scott3eh.

Although technically different beaches, I group these three together based on their close proximity. Woodbine is the city's best spot for beach volleyball and people watching. Kew takes some of the overflow and rewards those looking for a more serene experience, while Balmy is the quietest of the three, and thus ideal for those seeking seclusion.

  • Water Quality: Blue Flag
  • Sand Quality: Best at Woodbine (rockier at Kew and Balmy)
  • Attractions: Olympic swimming pool, multiple snack bars and change areas, people watching
Hanlan's Point

Hanlan's Point

Toronto's only nude beach — Hanlan's Point. Photo by karin!

Notorious for its clothing optional area, Hanlan's Point also has a side for the less adventurous, even if it's generally far less populated than its nude-friendly neighbour (only the second of its kind in Canada). This is surely the most fun beach in Toronto.

  • Water Quality: Blue Flag
  • Sand Quality: Fine-grain, some of the best the city has to offer
  • Attractions: Um, naked people
Sunnyside

Sunnyside Beach Toronto

People have flocked to Sunnyside to swim for well over a century. Photo by Deep-Fried Goodness.

Not the best beach when it comes to water quality, Sunnyside is nevertheless deemed safe to swim most of the time. Perhaps due to the proximity of Gus Ryder pool, the beach itself never seems to get altogether that packed (and certainly not like it used to), so it's a good spot to chill with bit of privacy.

  • Water Quality: Often swimmable (check here), but E. Coli levels do periodically exceed safety levels
  • Sand Quality: Decent if not great, darkish hue and small (smooth) rocks by the waterline
  • Attractions: Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion (built in 1922), Gus Ryder Pool
Cherry Beach

Cherry Beach Toronto

The iconic lifeguard station at Cherry Beach. Photo by Still the Oldie.

A popular spot for kite-boarding and surfboarding, Cherry Beach has a decidedly laid back atmosphere. The smell of charcoal barbecues often wafts over the beach from the small wooded area to the north. At night, the parking lot serves as one of the city's best-loved makeout areas.

  • Water Quality: Blue Flag
  • Sand Quality: Let's say "rustic"
  • Attractions: Ice cream truck, 1930s lifesaving station, watching surfer types show off on the water
Bluffer's Park

Bluffer's park

Bluffer's Park can look almost tropical in the summer. Photo by dtstuff9.

Located at the bottom of Brimely Road (one of the steepest hills in the city), the beach at Bluffer's Park is one of the nicest in the city. Bounded by the Scarborough Bluffs to the north, the park is both scenic and well-manicured (as far as Toronto beaches go). Arrive early on summer weekends if hoping for a parking spot.

  • Water Quality: Blue Flag
  • Sand Quality: Some of the best
  • Attractions: The bluffs, scenic hiking trails, a busy marina

Lead photo by

~EvidencE~


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