Beachy Keen – Best bets for sun, surf and sand.

“Don’t grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach.” – Michelle Held

A beach vacation is a must for any summer getaway, but don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll only get the ideal beach experience if you pay for a plane ticket. There are many fabulous destinations where you can sink your toes into the sand within a three-hour drive of here. Map out these ten destinations and plan out your summer beach trip.

Sandbanks Beach, Lake Ontario
Distance: 233kms
A trinity of golden sand in Prince Edward County awaits here: Outlet Beach, Sandbanks Beach and Dunes Beach. Said to be some of the most beautiful in Ontario, complete with huge sand dunes and shallow water perfect for kids.

Sauble Beach, Lake Huron
Distance: 195kms
Sauble Beach is the second longest fresh water beach in the world. It’s a resort community where you’ll find 11 km of golden sand, stunning sunsets, a playground and amusement park for kids, go-karts for bigger kids, restaurants and fry huts and bars.

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Grand Bend, Lake Huron
Distance: 246kms
Luxuriate on this 30 km stretch of sand – plenty of room for soaking up the sun. This is a popular spot, though North Beach tends to be quieter if you’re looking for something more tranquil for the family. There are lots of bars and restaurants, hotels, motels and inns and the water is warm. A beautiful sunset signals the end of the day.

Pinery Provincial Park, Lake Huron
Distance: 255kms
Just south of Grand Bend, Pinery Provincial Park is home to the world’s third largest active sand dune ecosystem. Campers make the most of this spot, which offers nearly five miles of blissful beach and lovely sunsets.

Wasaga Beach, Georgian Bay
Distance: 95kms
Relax, recline, read and play on 14 km of soft, white sand. If you don’t mind more crowded congregations, Beaches 1 & 2 are busier. A more tranquil option lies east and west of these two areas. There are lots of restaurants, diners and bars where you can fuel up at midday or before heading home.

Port Stanley Beach, Lake Erie
Distance: 248kms
A short drive to Lake Erie’s north shore and you will find an urban sand beach with beach volleyball, a boardwalk and supplied BBQs at Pavilion (near the beach washrooms). This beach is staffed with lifeguards from late June to early September. Stay at a nearby historic B&B, harbourside inn or cottage for a long weekend.

Cobourg Beach, Lake Ontario
Distance: 132kms
Pull up a beach chair on the white sand; enjoy a snack from the beach canteen and nearby Victoria Park has a place to play, shady trees and picnic shelter. Just a few steps away, the historic downtown offers lots of shops and restaurants. Coburg is often described as one of the prettiest towns in Ontario.

Station Beach, Kincardine
Distance: 198kms
Sitting along 1.1km of the Huron shore, Station Beach offers lovely sand, shallow water and a gentle slope. There’s a boardwalk, snack stand and free parking. And if you like to surf, you’ll find some of the best the Ontario!

Centennial Beach, Barrie
Distance: 60kms
A short drive to Barrie finds this sandy stretch along the shore of Kempenfelt Bay. Enjoy children’s playground, beach volleyball courts, boat launch and more all just a short walk to restaurants and cafes.

Balm Beach, Midland
Distance: 100kms
Rich blue waters with Blue Mountain in the distance. A great beach for the whole family, the water is clear and remains shallow for many feet. Enjoy boat and water rentals, nearby golf and go-karting, and several choices for a bite.

by Becky Dumais                  

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