15 Beaches in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area

Let's go over the best beaches around the city to cool off, hang out or get active. 

Sugar Beach

Sugar Beach is a popular spot for sunbathing and taking in views of the Toronto Islands. Less a swimming beach and more a spot to sunbathe and stick your feet in the sand under a grove of pretty pink umbrellas, Sugar Beach looks like a postcard pressed between the Redpath Sugar Plant and the George Brown Waterfront college campus. 

Because it’s part of a relatively recent spree of mixed-used development in the East Bay Front neighbourhood, Sugar Beach is designed to be accessible for those with disabilities, including a broad plaza, shady promenade and a boardwalk into the sand.

Where to eat nearby

Against the Grain sits just off Sugar Beach on Corus Quay, where this charming restaurant serves tavern fare on a spacious patio. They have hip menu items like burrata, calamari and truffle fries, as well as special Picnic Experience Kits if you’d prefer to dine from one of Sugar Beach’s lounge chairs.

Sunnyside Beach

A curvaceous span wrapped around the edge of Humber Bay, Sunnyside Beach is as rich in Toronto history as it is in picturesque views. Archeological finds show the pre-Columbian Red Paint People, Wendat and other First Nations frequented this part of the Lake Ontario shore for at least two thousand years. More recently, Sunnyside Beach even played a role in the War of 1812. 

Today Sunnyside Beach continues to be a favourite spot for Toronto families, with a huge array of amenities that go beyond just soaking up the sun. Sunnyside Beach is connected to the Martin Goodman cycling trail, as well as other Sunnyside Park attractions like a legal dirt biking course, a public pool, boat launches and a former dance hall called the Palais Royale where Duke Ellington once played. 

You can check out some more of Toronto’s history, too, at the nearby Freedom For Hungary Monument and the Sir Casimir Gzowski Playground, named for a Polish engineer who played a huge part in rolling out railways across Canada.

Where to eat nearby

The Grenadier Cafe sits across Gardiner Expressway from Sunnyside in High Park. They offer all-day breakfast, as well as salads, sandwiches, burgers, and a full array of coffee drinks.

Bluffer’s Park Beach

Bluffer’s Park Beach is tucked beneath the dramatic Scarborough Bluffs that run along the edge of Lake Ontario just northeast of downtown Toronto. These bluffs mark the original shoreline of a larger, more ancient version of Toronto’s Great Lake that existed during the last ice age. 

Today, however, they provide a gorgeous backdrop to the large, sandy expanse of Bluffer’s Park Beach, where boating, fishing, picnicking, and swimming are popular. Bluffer’s Park has the distinction of being one of Toronto’s Blue Flag beaches, meaning the water quality is tested and certified as safe for swimmers and the surrounding environment.

Where to eat nearby

Upper Beaches Bourbon House is a short drive from Bluffer’s Park Beach and features a cajun menu of po’boys, jambalaya and bayou poutine, with an array of beverages.

Centre Island Beach

Centre Island Beach is a favourite on the Toronto Islands, situated on the far side from Toronto facing Lake Ontario. The Algonquin people called it Manitou Beach, meaning Spirit Beach, and it’s easy to see why. This Blue Flag beach has high water quality that runs a little warmer and shallower than some other Toronto beaches thanks to a stone breakwater. 

Centre Island is popular with families for a number of reasons, from the lifeguards on duty during the summer months to the beach’s close proximity to the Centreville Amusement Park, swings on the sand, a splash pad and a big complex of changing rooms and lockers that make it easy to stash your stuff. Best of all, it’s just a 15-minute ferry ride from downtown Toronto.

Where to eat nearby

The Island Greek Grill has delicious hand-held fare like gyros and souvlaki wraps that are easy to munch while you stroll the sand.

Hanlan’s Point Beach

Another beach on the Toronto Islands that often meets Blue Flag certification, Hanlan’s Point has a decidedly different vibe than family-friendly Centre Island—it’s famous as one of Toronto’s best clothing-optional beaches. 

Located on the west side of Centre Island, Hanlan’s Point is prime for sunsets and also boasts a baseball diamond, tennis courts and beach volleyball nets. It is popular with kiteboarders thanks to the beach breezes. The Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport sits just north of Hanlan’s Beach, which makes this a popular spot for airshows.

Where to eat nearby

There’s a food court right by Hanlan’s Point where you can get typical beach day concessions like hot dogs, soft drinks and other snacks.

Ward’s Island Beach

Ward’s Island Beach sits just south of the East Channel facing the Main Harbour of Lake Ontario, off the path beaten to the more popular Centre Island Beach. Tucked away in a residential area traditionally home to fishermen and their families, Ward’s Island is Blue Flag certified as safe for swimming and has great views of the ships coming in and out of Toronto’s waterways, as well as the CN Tower. 

Beach volleyball, swingsets, bike rentals, and grassy picnic areas complete the scene, and like the other beaches on Toronto Islands, it’s just a short ferry ride from the city centre.

Where to eat nearby

The Riviera Ward’s Island Kitchen is a spot south of Ward’s Beach that’s popular with locals and visitors alike. The Kitchen has a patio bar specializing in rum drinks and a menu full of fresh treats like veggie grain bowls, edamame, sandwiches, and more. Another great choice is the Island Cafe, which features an international menu and live music a short stroll from stunning views of the Toronto skyline.

Woodbine Beach

Woodbine Beach is a fitness-focused spot connected to the Ashbridges Bay and Martin Goodman trails that features an Olympic-size pool, beach volleyball and outdoor gym equipment. 

There’s a skate park nearby, as well as a disc golf course. You can rent water sports equipment like paddle boards and kayaks, or watch bigger boats go out from the Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club south of Woodbine. 

Where to eat nearby

GG's Burgers is a 1960s-themed joint with fresh burgers, dogs, milkshakes and Nashville-style hot chicken, plus beers and cocktails for the adults.

Kew Balmy Beach

Linked to Woodbine and Sunnyside by the Martin Goodman cycling trail, Kew Balmy Beach has been a go-to for Torontonians since the early 1900s. This is a quieter spot known for its chill atmosphere, off-leash dogs and century-old Leuty Lifeguard Station that’s remained a Kew-Balmy Beach fixture thanks to sustained preservation efforts from Toronto Islands locals. The Leuty is a popular spot for photographers and curious visitors that’s even been featured on the Accidentally Wes Anderson blog for its vintage aesthetic. 

Where to eat nearby

Just north of Kew-Balmy is The Stone Lion, a beachy pub with two patios that has a robust menu of tasty bar food and a wide array of beers, cocktails, hard seltzers, and more.

Cherry Beach

Tucked above the Outer Harbour over the Eastern Channel, Cherry Beach is a secluded spot with great views and a variety of activities you won’t find at some of Toronto’s other shorelines. 

For one, there’s windsurfing on offer at the Toronto Windsurfing Club and rentals from Toronto SUP and Kayak. For another, the Cherry Beach Sports Fields is a big draw for soccer and lacrosse players, and a number of hiking trails can be accessed nearby. 

But anyone can enjoy this stretch of sand fringed with shady trees, linked to several other Toronto beaches by the Martin Goodman Trail. Across the way, you can watch the boats sailing in and out of the Outer Harbour Marina, Freedom Boat Club, and the Toronto Port Authority. And with Blue Flag certification, you know the water quality is safe for swimming. 

Where to eat nearby

The Keating Channel Pub and Grill has a vast patio on three acres of grassy waterfront with an emphasis on British and Irish comfort food and cold drinks.

Rouge Beach

The Rouge River spills out of a marshy delta into Lake Ontario near this sandy spot that is far enough removed from downtown Toronto that you can beat the crowds. It’s the easternmost beach in the city and is prime for canoeing and kayaking since there’s more to explore than just the shore itself. The Pickering Rouge Canoe Club is located here too. 

Nearby, the Glen Rouge Campground provides an opportunity to make your Rouge Beach visit an overnight experience, whether you like car camping or ‘yakpacking by boat. Hikers will find a lot at Rouge Beach, too, with the Doris McCarthy Trail and the First Nations segment of the Pickering Waterfront Trail passing through the greater Rouge Urban Park.

Where to eat nearby 

Pizza Pizza is a beloved Toronto chain that’s been feeding the city since the 1960s with wood-fired pies that run the gamut from traditional toppings combos like the supreme to home-grown favourites like the CANADIAN EH! with pepperoni, mushrooms, bacon, and Canadian moz.

Gibraltar Point Beach

Gibraltar Point Beach is made up of delicate sand dunes made up of grains that were once part of the Scarborough Bluffs several miles north on the mainland. Hidden between Hanlan Point and Centre Beach on the Toronto Islands, Gibraltar Point is a short walk from the Centre Island ferry but remains a relatively quiet place to stroll the shoreline and escape the bustle of Toronto. 

One of the beach’s best features is the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, built in 1808. In contrast to the beach’s mellow vibe, it’s said to be haunted by the first lighthouse keeper—a man named John Paul Radelmüller who, according to local lore, bootlegged beer during the War of 1812 and was murdered by soldiers in a drunken brawl.

Where to eat nearby

On the far side of Centre Island from Gibraltar Point facing the Toronto skyline is the Toronto Island BBQ & Beer Company, a lively patio restaurant where you can tell ghost stories over local brews, pulled pork, and seasonal sides.

Marie Curtis Beach

Marie Curtis Beach sits where Etobicoke Creek meets Lake Ontario, a once-residential area razed by Hurricane Hazel in 1954. The beach was constructed as part of efforts to prevent future flooding and was named in honour of one of the first female local magistrates in Toronto. Today it’s home to a playground, dog park, splash pad, walking trails and other family-friendly amenities, as well as plenty of room for sunbathing and swimming. 

Where to eat nearby

The Sunset Beach Cafe is a popular walk-up spot with counter service offering wraps, soups, stews, and other healthy, fresh-made favourites best enjoyed with the abundant beach views.

HTO Park

HTO Park is just a 10-minute walk from the CN Tower, surrounded on three sides by water and facing Centre Island across the bay. Close to the Toronto Fire and Marine Station 334, HTO Park is also home to the Last Alarm sculpture by Yolanda vanderGaast which honours Toronto firefighters who gave their lives protecting the public since the mid-1800s. 

The beach itself is dotted with lounge chairs and umbrellas on a stretch of sand just forward from broad paved plazas that are accessible for those with mobility limitations and decorated with elegant water features.

Where to eat nearby

Since 1986, Amsterdam Brew House has been bringing European-style beer culture to Toronto with a full array of house-made brews, and a thoughtful menu of wood-fired pizzas, chicken, burgers, salads, and more from Executive Chef Jonny Crichlow.

Tommy Thompson Park

Less a traditional sandy spot for swimsuits and more a waterfront nature preserve on a long, narrow peninsula protruding from the Toronto Beaches suburb, Tommy Thompson Park is still a must-visit for beach fans. It’s laced with walking and hiking trails and offers ample opportunities for wildlife watching, cycling, and photography. 

The Tommy Thompson Floating Bridge is fun for visitors of all ages. If it looks familiar, it’s because it appeared as a background location in the 2006 film The Sentinel starring Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland. Birding is especially fruitful here—Tommy Thompson is home to 10 species of owls alone, as well as hundreds of species of migratory songbirds. 

Where to eat nearby

There’s a good selection of Vietnamese food nearby, including the Lan restaurant and MiMi cafe.

East Point Park

East Point Park isn’t the best place for swimming—it is right by the water treatment plant, after all. But it’s a great place for forest bathing and nature walks with stunning views of Lake Ontario, not to mention plenty of bird species and wildlife along the wooded trails and marshes. Cliff swallows and monarch butterflies abound, and the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail connects East Point Park to other fun beaches and natural areas in Toronto. 

Where to eat nearby

Kingston Road has a long stretch of eateries near East Point Park, from Afghani cuisine to Jamaican and Filipino cafes.