Canada may not be known for its beaches—not yet, at least. Perhaps the country’s best-kept secret, you’ll be surprised to find that its beaches are not included in more travel guides highlighting its outdoor adventure options. There’s nothing quite like being able to enjoy a warm day on the beach while taking in the skyline of a major metropolis. Discover why Canada’s unique and scenic beaches are great for families, couples, and solo travelers.
Prince Edward Island Beaches
Prince Edward Island, located northeast of Maine in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, is the smallest of Canada’s provinces but what it lacks in size makes up for its appeal as a tourist destination. With beaches, hotels, and wonderful attractions for both adults and children, this Canadian beach getaway should be on your vacation shortlist.
With 680 miles of shoreline and 23 major beaches in total, Prince Edward Island is a destination you can enjoy on a lengthy honeymoon or over a whirlwind romantic weekend. PEI’s beaches have their own unique characteristics, making each worth a visit. But no one would fault you for falling in love with one and returning to it time and again. You’ll have little trouble telling them apart because each has a charming and memorable name.
Located in Basin Head Provincial Park, Singing Sands is a symphony of smooth, fine sand and above-average temperature waters. Regarded by some as Canada’s top beach, Singing Sands has earned its name due to the beach’s high mineral content, which emits soft sounds as you walk over it. The beach is informally divided into two sections, often with one side that’s great for kite flying or frisbee tossing and another that’s perfect for a quiet family picnic.
If Singing Sands is Canada’s most highly-rated beach, Cavendish is probably its most popular. While a beautiful site in its own right, Cavendish is also the location of a number of resorts and outdoor activities. Available activities include golf, deep sea fishing, and high-end dining.
Cavendish is part of PEI National Park and offers four distinct beach experiences for visitors: Stanhope Beach, Dalvay Beach, North Rustico, and Macneill’s Brook.
This picturesque beach is a local favorite and has a reputation for being less crowded. It’s hard to figure out why. For one, its rare sand dunes are an impressive attraction. Greenwich’s parabolic dunes are more often found in Western Europe and attract curious observers from all over.
The Greenwich beach section of the Prince Edward Island National Park is also home to an extensive and well-maintained trail system where hikers can explore 900 acres of dunes and other sites.
Local residents are known for their hospitality and will share notable kayaking and swimming spots. Though, we can’t promise they won’t keep their favorites to themselves!
Vancouver Island Beach
When you think of Vancouver, you probably think of imposing mountain ranges, vast forests, and winter sports. But just a short ferry ride from the city is Vancouver Island, a beach-goers dream that’s more unique than many of its tropical cousins to the south!
Vancouver Island and the surrounding area, located northwest of the state of Washington, contain some of the best Canada has to offer, plus a mild climate for much of the year perfect for enjoying its white, sandy beaches! Vancouver Island offers attractions both natural and man-made, relaxing and exciting, marine and terrestrial. Most of all, it offers fun fit for solo travelers, families, and couples alike! Let’s take a deeper look at the Island’s numerous sandy beaches and associated attractions.
If all you caught was a glimpse of this white sandy beach, you could be forgiven for thinking it belongs thousands of miles from the shores of Vancouver Island. A prime example is Tribune Bay. With temperatures similar to tropical climates during the summer that stay higher well into the fall, this location is great for any activities you’d normally enjoy at the beach including water sports, sunbathing, or a picnic!
When your day at Tribune Bay ends, there’s plenty to enjoy in the surrounding area. Farm-to-table dining, distilleries, and provincial park scenery are all readily available to visitors. While there are several lodging options nearby, including bed and breakfasts or motels, the area is actually known for its glamorous camping, or “glamping!”
Jericho Beach is ideal for families and couples. You can easily spend the day building sandcastles or sunbathing alongside loved ones but Jericho Beach is more than a slice of northern paradise. Adjacent areas provide access to tennis, golf, and sailing! The Jericho Sailing Centre provides affordable access to the vessels and equipment needed to enjoy windsurfing, paddleboarding, and sailing.
While all of Vancouver Island’s beaches are unique, Wreck Beach stands out among them. In addition to being the only island beach owned by the University of British Columbia, Wreck is clothing optional! As a result, tourists and local visitors (including students) go to there to relax and sunbathe. If this sort of adventure appeals to you and your romantic partner, keep in mind that local authorities advise reaching this beach via public transportation due to limited parking. The good news is that with its location near campus, university buses frequently stop here.
If you’re visiting the city of Toronto, take a day (or a few) to stop by Toronto Islands (located in Lake Ontario), just a short trip from the city’s center that includes a 10-minute ferry ride. Located near quiet neighborhoods of just a few thousand residents, Toronto Islands is a great place to explore. Shop, eat, or bike around this upscale area and get a taste of life in a Toronto suburb.
Toronto Islands is home to many natural attractions including parks, curated gardens, and 11 beaches frequently visited by tourists and locals. The beaches here are known for their fall swimming with water and air temperatures staying warmer than average into late September or even early October.
Toronto Islands also hosts a number of formally organized activities held at public facilities designed for visitors of all ages! These include visual arts programs like dance and music classes taught by local professionals. Cooking and gardening classes are also available if you want to learn a new skill or pique your children’s interest in these lifelong pursuits.
Some of Toronto Islands’ most popular beaches include Woodbine Beach, Hanlan’s Point Beach, and Centre Island Beach suitable for an active outing or an afternoon of relaxation. All are open from morning until mid-evening and are adjacent to local parks including Toronto Island Park, considered the “…crown jewel of the Toronto Park system.”