Catch breezy summer vibes as you explore Toronto’s top Lake Ontario beaches via bicycle.
One of the best ways to experience the city is on two wheels. You get a true on-the-ground experience while covering way more ground than you would on foot. Hitting up one of Toronto’s many beaches can make for a fun-filled summer outing.
And despite being Canada’s largest city, there are plenty of sandy beaches in Toronto you can bike to. Here are some of the top picks worth pedalling to.
Best SUP spot: Sunnyside Beach
Sunnyside Beach has a chill, people-watching vibe—just grab a table at the Sunnyside Pavilion Cafe and enjoy a cocktail as people stroll by on the boardwalk.
What to do: when the lake is calm, Sunnyside Beach is a fantastic spot for standup paddleboarding (SUP) and you’ll find multiple companies offering lessons and gear rentals here, including Oceah Oceah.
For the ultimate kiteboarding waves: Cherry Beach
You’ll find active, sporty folks at Cherry Beach and Clarke Beach Park, with avid kiteboarders out on the water, swooping back and forth across the lake.
What to do: if you’re an advanced kiteboarder (or SUPer), this is the beach in Toronto for you. Also, if you’re travelling with your pup, they’ll love frolicking in the leash-free dog park, dashing through the tall grasses and taking a dip in the lake.
How to get there: cycle the Martin Goodman Trail onto Cherry Street, then pedal south until you hit the lake.
Most Instagrammable: Sugar Beach
Found right near the historic Redpath Sugar Plant, the Waterfront neighbourhood’s manufactured Sugar Beach is very Instagram-worthy with its pink beach umbrellas. It’s great for a quick photo stop and to enjoy lakefront views against an urban backdrop.
What to do: try to snag one of the Muskoka chairs beneath the pink umbrellas for an urban beach picnic. Or come at dusk to enjoy the sunset. Sweaty from your ride? Take advantage of the splash pad.
How to get there: pedal the Martin Goodman Trail and stop when you spot the pink beach umbrellas where Lower Jarvis Street intersects with Queens Quay East.
For sun & sand downtown: HTO Beach
Similar to Sugar Beach, HTO Beach is a manufactured beach complete with yellow beach umbrellas and a backdrop of grassy hills. It gets busy with locals and tourists alike, many taking time out from a walk or run.
What to do: take in lake and boat-traffic views from the beach’s Muskoka chairs or a spot on the grass. Both offer a great view of the CN Tower, too.
How to get there: from the Martin Goodman Trail, exit where Rees Street intersects with Queens Quay West.
Top picnic pick: Woodbine Beach
What to do: have a picnic, enjoy the sunshine, take a dip in the water or watch the beach volleyball teams battle it out on the sand. If you prefer swimming in a pool rather than the lake, you’ll also find the Donald D. Summerville Olympic Pool just off the sand.
How to get there: cycling the Martin Goodman Trail will bring you to this beach, which you’ll find at the base of Woodbine Avenue.
For watersport fans: Kew-Balmy Beach
Bike east past Woodbine Beach, and you’ll stumble onto Kew-Balmy Beach, where it’s a little quieter and low-key.
What to do: sunbathe, people-watch from one of the Muskoka chairs along the boardwalk or rent a SUP or kayak and hit the lake.
How to get there: bike along the Martin Goodman Trail and hop off when you get to ice cream spot Beaches N’ Cream or the historic Leuty Lifeguard Station, which dates back to the 1920s.
For a family beach escape: Centre Island Beach
What to do: cool off in Lake Ontario, grab a burger at the island’s restaurant options and soak up the sunshine.
How to get there: bring your bike onto the ferry at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal on Queens Quay W. and bike a couple of minutes from the Centre Island Ferry Dock to Centre Island Beach.
For zero tan line sunbathing: Hanlan’s Point Beach
Hanlan’s Point Beach boasts a relaxed vibe and a clothing-optional section on its south side.
What to do: sunbathe and enjoy the summertime vibes with your crew at this beach in Toronto. Feeling peckish? Grab a hot dog or sandwich at the nearby Mermaid Cafe.
How to get there: bike to Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and catch an island ferry. Disembark at Hanlan’s Point, then bike three minutes south to the beach.
Top R&R spot: Ward’s Island Beach
Much quieter than beaches at Centre Island and Hanlan’s Point, Ward’s Island Beach is a peaceful spot if you’re looking to catch up on your reading or just decompress.
What to do: bring a beach read, enjoy a snooze on the sandy beach and take a swim in the calm water (the nearby Leslie Street Spit protects the beach from strong waves).
How to get there: bike to Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, and once you get off the ferry at Ward’s Island Ferry Docks, you’re just a minute’s bike ride past the Island Cafe and soccer field to Ward’s Island Beach.
Best secret beach: Gibraltar Point Beach
The quietest of the Toronto Island beaches, Gibraltar Point Beach is considered a hidden gem given that this serene sandy beach is yet to be discovered by many visitors.
What to do: achieve Zen by stretching out on your beach blanket on the sand and enjoying the sounds of the lake lapping on the shore. (An ambitious multi-year shoreline restoration project is underway to protect its sand dunes from erosion, so follow signage around beach access points.)
How to get there: cycle to Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, catch the ferry and disembark at Centre Island Ferry Docks. You’ll find Gibraltar Point Beach about a five-minute bike ride away, between Centre Island Beach and Hanlan’s Point Beach, just before Artscape Gibraltar Point and the lighthouse.