The beaches in Southwest Ontario are great family destinations – often underrated because they’re not a tropical destination. For people who haven’t enjoyed the local spots, they’re missing out! Many are conveniently located along Lake Huron and Erie’s coastlines, which means they’re close enough for day trips and weekend stays.
With so many great beaches in Southwest Ontario to take small kids right here at home, there’s no excuse! Find one near where you live and go enjoy sand between your toes!
The Best Beaches In Southwest Ontario
Where is it? South of London, Lake Erie
Who will love it? Boutique shoppers, watersport enthusiasts, people with strollers, and those who worry about safety.
Port Stanley’s main beach not only boasts warm water and a kid-and-elder friendly sandy bottom with a gradual drop off, they’re one of only 26 beaches to have the Blue Flag status for water safety and quality. They also have mats to help make the beach more accessible to people with strollers and wheelchairs.
Surfer and sailor parents will find opportunities to enjoy their sports in Port Stanley. Those who love enjoying small-town life will find plenty of boutiques, restaurants and cafes to enjoy!
Where is it? Lake Huron, Next to Sarnia
Who will love it? Nature lovers, bikers of both the dirt and motorcycle variety, picnickers, wake-boarders, and people who don’t love roughing it.
Canatara park is located right next to Sarnia, meaning those who love the comforts of an urban life don’t have to go far. But nature lovers don’t have to worry: there’s 200 acres of trails, bike paths, and green space to explore. The beach itself is named from the Ojibwa word “blue water,” and the stunning dark turquoise colour will leave no doubt in your mind as to why.
Families will find plenty to do in with so many playgrounds, BMX bike tracks, picnic spaces, and even an animal farm to enjoy.
Like Port Stanley, Canatara Park has earned Blue Flag status for safety and water quality, and is also similarly accessible to those with strollers or wheelchairs.
Where is it? Near Dunnville, south of Hamilton
Who will love it? Families with nature lovers, hikers, bird lovers, families with dogs, and kids who like fossils.
Lazing on a sandy beach isn’t for everybody, which is why rock point might be a great middle ground for your family. (especially if you have budding paleontologists!) Kids can explore the limestone shelf along the beach for exposed fossils, and there’s plenty of hiking trails and nature programming during the summer to keep the kids learning.
Rock point has a bird banding station at the park, and 260 species of birds have been located there, for aspiring bird-watchers. There’s also a dog-friendly beach, so you don’t have to leave Fido at home.
Where is it? Lake Huron, west of Kitchener
Who will love it? Boardwalk walkers, shoppers, parasailers and water-skiers, sunset-watchers, and those who love the whole “beach town” experience.
People who love a little bit of everything will find a lot to do at grand bend – the 20 acres of sandy beaches draw both the party-hard crew and families alike. To cater to such diversity, the downtown has had to rise to the occasion, meaning lots of activities, theatres, and restaurants to enjoy!
Grand bend is another one of the few accessible blue flag status beaches, and boasts some hefty watersports for thrill-seekers.
Where is it? Lake Erie, south of Brantford
Who will love it? Motorcyclists, families who love fishing, couples who want romance, and people who love resorts.
Port Dover isn’t just home to the Friday the 13th motorcycle rally and Ride Norfolk route, it’s a waypoint not to be missed on the 6 hour long “Cruise the Coast” for anybody who might want to take a scenic drive with the wind in their hair. Incidentally, this drive includes many other great beaches in
The pier is a great attraction for romantic walks, little fisherfolk, and kids who love watching boats. The sandy beach is friendly to small kids and accessible to those in wheelchairs and strollers, and the downtown core of Port Dover is steps from the beach, providing plenty of convenient opportunities to shop and eat.
Think we’ve missed one of the best beaches in Southwest Ontario? Share your favourite with our readers in the comments!
*photo credit: Ontario’s Southwest