Beaches In Toronto

Toronto winters are cold but they make summers that much better. Our beaches are so beautiful, with soft sand and clean water. However, they are only viable for two months of the year, with the lake freezing over around Christmas (or Hanuka for my Jewish friends:) Unless you are interested in the famous polar bear swim, I am betting that you are coming for “peak summer”. that is between June 21st and September 2nd (or so).

best beaches in toronto, polar bear swim
I mean, it looks cold but it doesn’t look frozen. What am I say? I would never do this, never in a million years. I like the idea of a hot outdoor whirlpool, the kind where your body is warm and your hair is frozen over.
This is not to say that you cannot have fun at the beach in the winter, only that you need to dress a little bit different! Imagine chilling in these awesome Muskoka Chairs, sipping on a hot chocolate or apple cider. Delish!

To provide a little bit of context, there is a difference between the beach and “The Beaches”.

Doesn’t the water look perfectly clear? Those towers could be anywhere, perhaps Miami or LA. While the winter is frigid and restrictive, the summers are open and tropical!
best beaches in toronto, the beaches, sand
“The Beaches” is a hip community on the lake, radiating out from Queen and Woodbine. There are a whole bunch of cool things to do here, regardless of the time of year. You will find some interesting buildings in the area, a world removed from the urban core. The person here are super kind and friendly and I recommend coming here for the day!
This shot is taken under the Scarborough Bluffs, which is just east of the city. The view is amazing both from the top and from the bottom.

The Beaches Toronto

If you take one piece of advise from this entire post, please do not bring your car down here! There is paid parking available but it goes quite fast. In fact, I have witnessed several car accidents here. The space is very cramped and it gives me stress. There is an overabundance of public transit available. Please click here to get to the TTC website, which will help you plan your trip. Yes, you can bring your bike on many different busses, street cars and subway lines.

best beaches in torontom the beaches, hipster house, townhouse
Notice how colourful these houses are? This is part of the charm of hanging out at the Beaches. I would love to live here but it is too difficult for me to get around. I am now a suburban family guy, through and through. I will come here during the summer, perhaps on a day when I am neither teaching nor officiating weddings. Maybe a stroll with my fam job, enjoying some lunch and ice cream.
martin goodman trail, best beaches in toronto
This is called the Martin Goodman Trail. It goes all the way across the city and beyond. The trail is divided into two sections, one for bike riders (and rollerbladers) and another for pedestrians. The air is crisp and lake is magical. If you end up going too far-without enough energy to peddle back-you can always hail an Uber or a cab. I have done this many times but this shouldn’t say much. I am not the athlete! lol

Restaurants Around The Beaches

After all that walking you are bound to get tired. If you are in the mood for some Italian roast, you can grab that. Maybe a sit down dinner for four? It is all up for grabs. I love grabbing some fish and chips on the patio, whether it be a pub or a pop-up vendor of sorts.

the stone lion, best beaches in toronto
The Stone Lion
1958 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L 1H7
Local watering hole with large patios on 2 sides, offering a pub-grub menu & daily burger deal.
the gull and firkin
The Gull and Firkin
1943 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L 1H7
Comfy British-style pub offering burgers, shepherd’s pie & wings, plus outdoor seats & live music.
sauvignon bistro and bakery

Sauvignon Bistro & Bakery
1862 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L 1H1
Small bistro & wine bar serving a globally inspired menu & a dining room with eclectic decor.
This shot is taken directly across from Harbourfront. Are you in the mood to rent a canoe? What about dipping your feet in the cold pond? This is a great place to walk around, grab some coffee (Tim Horton’s is the best), and watch a busker perform.

Centre Island Beach

Centre Island is most known for the amusement park. This page is on beaches and I will do a separate article on that topic in future. Yes, this is a great place to grab some rays with your fam job.

centre island beach, best beaches in toronto
Doesn’t this look picture-perfect? Sometimes I forget that I am in Canada, not some exotic island in the south Atlantic. The water takes on a unique greenish-blue, encapulating the energy absorbed by the sun.
This is the famous pier on Centre Island. It faces the New York side of Lake Ontario. You can take some awesome shots here, perhaps even a selfish or two. Canadians are friendly and will gladly take a picture for you (and not run off with your camera lol).
best beaches in toronto
The water is so clean that you can see the bottom. You will see small minnows swimming around. By the time that Canada Day rolls around, the water is so warm that it is like a bathtub. That means that you can dry off without a towel. While some nights do get cool, summer nights here are muggy and humid.
During the hot summer months, your towel is elective. Reason being, the heat causes all of the water to evaporate off your body (in moments). While the exterior (of the island) contains their famous beaches, the interior hosts restaurants, mazes, and parks.

Island Restaurant Toronto

Once you have taken the ferry across you will not want to come back to eat. While there are different food options available on the islands (yes there are several), they tend to be priced at a premium. While some are okay with the relative price inflation (hey, they got to earn a living too, right?) others opt to bring a picnic lunch. Alternatively, there are hot dog vendors at the foot of the terminal. Welcome to the island! (not-creepy voice, I promise!)

best beaches in toronto, toronto island bbq
Toronto Island BBQ & Beer Co.
120 Centre Island Dock, Toronto, ON M5J 2E9
Centre Island’s seasonal, waterfront eatery offers BBQ, burgers & brews, plus a patio & city views.
This is a shot of a local family chowing down in front of the urban skyline. You can tell that they are Canadian because the dad is wearing a Toronto Maple Leaf’s shirt. I have personally been to this restaurant before and am looking forward to bringing my family once the weather warms up.
I don’t eat pork (so I can’t comment) but everything else looks as delicious as it tastes. I like to order a variety of things, allowing everyone at the table to share.
best beaches in toronto, toronto islands

The Riviera ~ Ward’s Island Kitchen
102 Lakeshore Ave, Toronto, ON M5J 1X9
Island eatery with a small, eclectic menu, in a treed setting with a spacious garden patio.
carousel cafe, best beaches in toronto
Carousel Café
Toronto, ON M5J 2E9
Nude Beach Toronto

While I am not going to show any adult material on this website, I will let you know about Toronto’s only clothing-optional beach. It is not exactly a nude beach, since it does not mandate anyone to remove their clothing. However, for those who so prefer, they can roam around naked. I mean, do you really want those tan marks? I personally do not care either way, just asking rhetorically to sound sophisticated (I am not).

Remember, you do not have to go nude to go to the beach.
nude beach, hanlans point, best beaches in toronto
The name of the nude beach is called Hanlan’s Point. If you are coming from North York, click here for a set of directions. It is located quite close to Billy Bishop Airport, which runs flights to New York, Montreal and so forth.
toronto island map, best beaches in toronto
This is a general map of Toronto Island. Despite arriving at different spots on the island, all ferries leave from one common dock (city-side). It doesn’t take long at all but is a really cool experience. This is a premiere photo-op for Insta!
best beaches in toronto, toronto islands, ferry

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