With summer comes hot weather and what better way to cool down than a refreshing swim. If you don’t have a cottage or prefer staying close to the city, you will want to check out as many Toronto beaches as possible. Several Toronto beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status, which means they have achieved high standards and meet 33 important criteria including water quality. The Blue Flag program conducts eco-certification and lets the public know if beaches meet safety standards with good water quality that is clean and safe. This valuable program also helps protect the ecosystems and shorelines. Starting in June and until Labour Day, the City of Toronto will be taking daily water samples from the supervised beaches and testing for bacteria to determine if they are safe for swimming. So grab your bathing suit, towel, sunblock, water, snacks and head to one of Toronto’s Blue Flag Beaches this season, so you can relax on the beach without ever leaving town.
Bluffer’s Beach Park.
Bluffer’s Beach Park, located beneath the Scarborough Bluffs, consists of a long sandy beach with nearby lookouts for the perfect view of the historic Bluffs. After a swim, walk or hike the nearby trails or bring lunch to enjoy in one of the many picnic areas. If you are driving, enter Bluffer’s Park going south on Brimley Road.
Centre Island Beach.
If you are spending the day with kids, you will want to head over to Centre Island Beach, as it’s perfect for families. There are change rooms and lockers nearby and a fun pier to walk out on when the kids are done playing in the water. Of course, the bonus of going to this beach is that you are on the main island with adventures around every corner, including Centreville Theme Park.
If you want to park for free, arrive early to Key-Balmy Beach as there is limited parking.
The waves from Lake Ontario are constantly fluctuating here and this results in how much space is between the water and boardwalk. There are some rocks on this beach so consider bringing water shoes. This fun beach neighbourhood is located east of Lee Avenue and there is a boardwalk where you can take a stroll for a change of pace.
Gibraltar Point Beach.
You can find Gibraltar Point Beach between Centre Island and Hanlan’s Point Beach, along Lake Ontario. The cool blue water is perfect on a hot day and you will have a peaceful view of the nearby sand dunes. After a swim, walk along the connecting Toronto Islands paths for a workout.
Hanlan’s Point Beach.
From the main ferry terminal in Toronto take the Hanlan’s Point ferry towards Hanlan’s Point Beach and follow the beach signs. This peaceful beach is surrounded by sand dunes with a nice view of the CN Tower, making it the perfect place for a weekend escape. If you want to pack light, don’t bother with a bathing suit, as this is a clothing optional beach – consider this your warning.
Take a road trip to the eastern shore of the Toronto waterfront for a day at Woodbine Beach located at the end of Woodbine Avenue in the beaches neighbourhood. It’s a sprawling sandy beach perfect for building sandcastles and a walk along the shore. Kids will love the nearby playgrounds and there are also beach volleyball nets for sports lovers.
Ward’s Island Beach.
On the eastern shores of Toronto’s Island you will find Ward’s Island Beach. It’s a calm beach that is perfect for a family outing over the summer. Kids can run among the trees and grassy areas after a dip in the water. Not as many tourists come here as it’s the residential section of the island. Check out the Island Café like the locals and stroll along the shore to watch the sunset.
The famous Toronto landmark known as Cherry Beach is located at the bottom of Cherry Street in the Portlands area. It’s not too far from downtown, but it feels quite secluded due to the surrounding trees. There are picnic tables on site, so pack up some drinks and sandwiches to enjoy by the water. Bring a few dollars for the iconic French Fry truck on site – these tasty potatoes dipped in ketchup are a delicious treat on a summer day.
Blue Flag photo courtesy of, FEE International.