Best beaches in Canada: Readers’ Choice

Where are the top places to soak up a little sun? In Best Canadian beaches, we shared some of our favourites — like Sauble Beach, Devonshire Beach, Qualicum Beach. Grand Beach, Melmerby Beach and Brackley Beach. Of course, this list only scratches the surface of the many great sites across our vast country. Here are some top picks from across Canada, as chosen by our readers in the comments.

Barnet Marine Park, Burnaby, British Columbia

This sandy spot offers a view of the Burrard Inlet — stretching from the Georgia Strait to Port Moody — and all the marine traffic that traverses it. When you’re not building sand castles or playing in the water, enjoy a meal in one of the picnic areas, play a game of soccer or take your favourite four-legged friend for a stroll along the dog-walking trail at Drummond’s Walk.

Long Beach, Tofino and Ucluelet, British Columbia

With over 10 kilometres of sandy shorelines, it’s not surprising that Long Beach is part of the most-visited section of the Pacific Rim National Park. Located between Ucluelet and Tofino, this popular spot is a haven for windsurfers. While the water is on the cool side, the area boasts the only Surf Camp of its kind in Canada. Surfing lessons are available on a daily basis, and there are adult and youth camps as well as Canada’s only all-women surf school.

Wreck Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia

Looking to experience a little more freedom? Our readers were ahead of the game nominating this “clothing optional” beach. Popular travel review website TripAdvisor just named Wreck Beach as one of the top nudist beaches in the world. Located in Pacific Spirit Regional Park, close to the city and university, it’s also easily accessible via bike, bus or foot.

The beach also draws worldwide attention each year with the Bare Buns Run — an event where participants wear nothing but running shoes…

Penticton, British Columbia

And what if you want to beach hop? With two lakes to choose from — the Okanagan and the Skaha — Penticton has a choice of sandy spots and water activities to suit the whole family. One reader describes the area as “wonderful, sandy, clean and the lake is next to none for being beautiful and clean. The surrounding landscape adds to this holiday environment.”

Sandbanks Provincial Park, Picton, Ontario

This provincial park is made up of three beaches, Outlet Beach, Sandbanks Beach and Dunes Beach, and is a popular destination for camping as well as day trips. When you get tired of swimming and sunbathing, hike the sand dunes on the Cedar Sands Natural Trail, cast your line for some fishing or do a little bird watching. You can also rent canoes, paddle boats and surf bikes.

Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, Wasaga Beach, Ontario

Along the edge of Georgian Bay, this town of 16,000 sees nearly two million visitors a year to its eight beaches and recreation areas. What did our readers love about it, in addition to the white beaches? The choice of night life and shops right along Beach Area 1. For longer stays, check out the many campgrounds to pitch a tent or park your RV.

Ipperwash Beach, Ipperwash, Ontario

The waters are warm and shallow at this Lambton Shores beach on Lake Huron, making it ideal for a day out with the kids or grandkids. Another bonus: it’s not quite as popular or as crowded as nearby tourist hotspot Grand Bend, and one reader reports it has “the most beautiful sand and sunsets in the world”. Pinery Provincial Park also offers educational programs, hiking and canoeing as well.

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention other favourite Ontario beach haunts like Long Point Beach Provincial Park in Norfolk County, Crystal Beach, the Muskokas and the Kawarthas.

Îles de la Madeleine, Quebec

Nestled in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence, Îles de la Madeleine (or the Magdalen Islands) is an archipelago of a dozen islands with over 300 kilometres of beaches to enjoy. The maritime climate makes for mild winters and summers alike, and the sandstone cliffs and sand dunes take their shape from the currents and winds. While you’re there, look for locally-produced foods for some tasty seasonal fare. A word of caution: keeping your eye on the tides and the weather is a must for safe swimming.

Parlee Beach Provincial Park, Pointe-du-Chêne, New Brunswick

If the warm salty waters don’t draw you in to this “Best of Acadian Attraction”, a love of culture and seafood will. According to the town’s tourist website, nearby Shediac is known as the “Lobster Capital of the World” a hosts a festival dedicated to this tasty food every July. To avoid the crowds, try an early morning or sunset stroll along the shores.

Kennington Cove Beach, Kennington Cove, Nova Scotia

Located near Louisburg, this sandy beach is one of the best to be found on Cape Breton Island and a local hidden treasure. It’s also a site of historic significance — New Englanders came ashore in 1745, and the English arrived in 1758. The conflicts and sieges lead to the eventual fall of Louisburg. Today, you can catch a glimpse of the fortress on your way to a relaxing day.

Sandbanks Provincial Park, Burgeo, Newfoundland

No, that’s not a mistake. Readers tell us that Newfoundland is not to be overlooked when it comes to the best beaches in Canada, particularly those in Burgeo. Like the park it shares its name with in Ontario, Sandbanks Provincial Park also gets its name from the sandy stretches and dunes that line its shores. Inland, you’ll find a park of spruce-fir forests and rocky barrens typical of the Newfoundland landscape, as well as places to camp, play and hike.

If a trip to one of these sunny locations isn’t possible this summer, take heart! Many of these locales offer winter activities too, like snowshoeing and outdoor sports. Check out their websites for more information.

Got another beach to add? Keep the list going in the comments!

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