The Beaches neighbourhood in the east end of Toronto is the perfect place to go for endless summer vibes and fun for the whole family.
Also known as “The Beach” and named for its four beaches situated on Lake Ontario, this neighbourhood is where families and pet owners head when they want to enjoy the laid-back beach town vibes.
Back in the day, the area was known for its amusement parks and today there are endless ways to entertain oneself from strolls along the boardwalk to enjoy the many restaurants and eclectic shops. The area (bordered by Victoria Park Avenue on the east to Coxwell Avenue on the west and Kingston Road on the north to Lake Ontario in the south) is great for those who like to stay active and enjoy the outdoors, no matter the season.
If you’re looking to embrace the beach vibes while still enjoying the city buzz and thriving culinary scene, here’s a great way to spend a day in The Beaches.
Early morning strolls
Depending on how early you like to wake up, a sunrise stroll along the water in the Beaches neighbourhood is sure to be a memorable one. The ones at Secret Beach are especially stunning and tranquil. If you’re a shutterbug, you definitely want to grab your camera and head out for some beautiful captures. Be sure to grab yourself a warm beverage from family-run Remarkable Bean Coffee Roasters who has been selling and roasting their small-batch fair trade organic coffee in the area since 1994.
Brunch in the Beaches
There’s no shortage of fabulous brunch spots in this Toronto neighbourhood. One of my personal favourites is Mira Mira where one can enjoy craft cocktails and fusion fare on a pretty patio. No matter what you order from their rotating menu (they also have a kids menu), you can’t go wrong. Passionfruit mimosa with a matcha foam anyone?
For a casual vibe, head to the Beacher Café which has been serving all-day breakfast offerings to the neighbourhood since 1986.
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Afternoon beach hangouts
My kids love beach hopping in this area because there are quite a few to choose from. While many (rightfully so) flock towards sandy Woodbine Beach, know that KEW and Balmy Beach also have a blue flag rating and Scarborough Beach is also an option for building sandcastles.
If you’re looking to rent paddleboards and kayaks to get on the water, keep an eye out for rental spots like Paddle Pirates along the water. Volleyball enthusiasts should head towards Ashbridge’s Bay for a fun time on the sandy shores there. Even in the winter, the snow-covered beach area is quite popular for strolls and most of the cafes and restaurants are open all year round.
If you’re here for the views and don’t want to get in the water, grab an ice cream instead from Beaches N’ Cream and stroll along the boardwalk soaking in the relaxing ambiance. Keep an eye out for the famous rock snake on Kew Beach (across Leuty Lifeguard Station) started by a local kid who lives in the area. Bring a painted rock to add to the 11,000+ rock collection if you’re so inclined!
Those exploring the area on bikes, scooters and skateboards, will enjoy the various dedicated pathways and the skateboard park at Ashbridge’s Bay.
Late afternoon park visit
The area is home to a number of parks that are perfect for families. Kew Gardens, a 6.5-hectare public park and flower garden, is a destination in itself. This year, as part of the Summer Stations (you will definitely want to check out the Winter Stations during the colder months), the Arc de Blob is a colourful installation that sparks conversation.
Children will enjoy the wading pool, playground, tennis courts and baseball diamond during the summer months. And in the winter, it’s a perfect spot for skating and snowman building. There’s also a Christmas tree lighting ceremony and carolling here during the festive season.
Evening brews and nibbles
While waiting to catch an incredible sunset at one of the beaches (they are especially spectacular here during the spring and fall), you should stroll along Queen Street. Grab a few pints at Beaches Brewing (Sun’s Out Saison is an apt beverage for this time of day) and play some rounds of cornhole or enjoy some sips at the Stone Lion Pub’s large patio.
Looking for some tasty gifts? The Toronto Popcorn Company has an amazing collection of unique flavours that will surprise and delight friends and family. You can also swing by the Nutty Chocolatier to pick up some gourmet chocolates and candy.
Since you’re in the area, you should also swing by Isabella’s Mochi Donuts for their famous weekly flavours. Tart lovers should check out Zane Patisserie’s French-style baked goods.
When it comes to dinner, after a day of frolicking in the sand, I usually head to the Murphy’s Law Pub. This summer there’s a pop-up Pie Bar pizza garden that’s not only pet-friendly but also doesn’t mind you visiting in sand stained beach gear. Swing by this pizza & beer garden pop-up for some amazing wood-fired Neapolitan style pizza and get the Tartufo or Angry Bee—two of my personal faves!
Getting to The Beaches
Located east of Leslieville and south of The Danforth, this area of Toronto is about a 20-minute drive away from downtown Toronto. While there are quite a few parking spots, you can also access the area via the 501 Queen Street streetcar.
If you’re looking for a relaxing day by the water, look no further than Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood for a fun-filled time.