sunset

How to beat the crowds at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park

Wasaga Beach Provincial Park is the busiest provincial park in the province, receiving over 1.5 million visitors every year! Home to the world’s longest freshwater beach, Wasaga boasts 14 km of pristine sand, which makes it a hot spot for summer activity.

This also means that our park can get extremely busy, and often reaches capacity on hot summer days. We are also currently experiencing high water levels, limiting our beachfront across all 14 km.

Our park is unique within the provincial park system as it is the only provincial park that is fully integrated within a town. This can be confusing for our visitors.

Planning a trip to Wasaga Beach? Check out our top tips for a fun and frustration-free visit (and follow the park on Facebook for updates!):

  1. When is the best/worst time to visit?
  2. How do I get to the park?
  3. Where can I park?
  4. How much does it cost to visit Wasaga Beach Provincial Park?
  5. What are the park hours?
  6. The park is already full, now what?
  7. Can I stay overnight?  Does Wasaga Beach offer camping?
  8. What kind of accessibility does the park offer?
  9. Can I bring my dog to the beach?
  10. Can I bring my boat?
  11. Can I drive my ATV in the park?
  12. Where can I fish?
  13. Is the beach safe for swimming?
  14. Does the park have ticks/poison ivy?
  15. How can I help protect and preserve the park for future users?
  16. Can I BBQ on the beach?  Can I have a fire on the beach?
  17. Can I bring alcohol to the beach?  Can I smoke/vape on the beach?
  18. Where can I eat?

1. When is the best/worst time to visit?

Wasaga Beach often reaches capacity on summer weekends.

beach

Our park is busiest on Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. Once our parking lots reach capacity, our gates close for safety reasons.

This typically happens by mid-morning. If you MUST visit us on a weekend, plan to arrive early.

Another important thing to note is once you are IN the park, stay in the park.

Re-entry is not guaranteed just because you were already parked earlier. If you must leave to go pick up a snack or a coffee, be prepared that you may be returning to a closed gate with no entry allowed.

Weekdays are the best time to visit, however on nice days our parking areas can fill up quickly as well, so please plan accordingly.

Wasaga Beach offers a great experience in the spring and early fall as well, so perhaps consider an off-season visit to our beach!

2. How do I get to the park?

There are multiple entrances into the Town of Wasaga Beach, however there are only two roads that access our beach areas. Here’s how to enter:

  • West Entrance (Collingwood) — Highway 26
  • East Entrance (Barrie/Midland) — County Road 92
  • South Entrances (Angus/Stayner/Barrie) — Highway 26/Sunnidale Road or Highway 26/45th Street South or Klondike Park Road/Veterans Way

Beach Areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are located west of the Nottawasaga River, and are accessed off of Mosley Street.

New Wasaga Beach Area and Allenwood Beach Area are located east of the Nottawasaga River, and are accessed from River Road East.

3. Where can I park?

There are eight provincial park beach areas that provide parking.

sunset

A daily vehicle permit or Ontario Parks seasonal pass is valid in all of our provincial park beach area parking lots. Please note: parking capacity has been reduced to 50% for the 2020 season to aid in physical distancing.

There are also Town of Wasaga Beach municipal parking lots and private parking lots which have their own rates. Provincial park permits are NOT valid in these parking lots. Vice versa, a municipal parking permit or resident’s parking pass is NOT valid in provincial park beach area parking lots.

New Wasaga Beach Area, Allenwood Beach Area, and Beach Area 6 fill up by 9:00 am all week.

All our parking lots fill extremely quickly on nice days. When this occurs, our gates close for safety reasons.

Parking privileges are first come, first serve. If you leave the park during the day after gaining entry, you are NOT guaranteed re-entrance. If you leave the park during the day after entry and the lot fills, you will NOT be permitted entry back into the park until the lots and beaches have enough space again.

In addition, the purchase of an annual or seasonal Ontario Parks pass does not give you priority access to provincial park beach areas. If we hit capacity and close our gates, you will not be able to enter.

4. How much does it cost to visit Wasaga Beach Provincial Park?

A daily vehicle permit (valid for one vehicle) is $21.00 on weekends and holidays, and $18.00 on weekdays.

Ontario Parks seasonal passes are also available: a summer seasonal pass is $125 and an annual season pass is $175.

Town of Wasaga Beach municipal parking lots and private parking lots have their own rates.

5. What are the park hours?

From late spring to early fall, Wasaga Beach is open from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm.  For operating dates please check out our park’s web page.

Our Park Office (located at 11 – 22nd Street N) is open during the summer,  Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, and Saturday/Sunday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

6. The park is already full; now what?

There are other local beaches nearby, but if Wasaga Beach is already full then these other beaches are likely full as well.

Some local beaches are permit-only, such as Tiny Beach and Sunset Point. Other public local beaches include Northwinds Beach and Awenda Provincial Park.

So you can’t go to the beach?

No worries, there is still plenty to do with the family! You can visit our Nordic and Trail Centre at 101 Blueberry Trail, and experience the ancient dunes of Wasaga Beach on our 50+ km of trails.

people hiking

Blue Mountain, Collingwood, and Thornbury also have vibrant town centres with shops, cafes, and boutiques.

Check out South Georgian Bay Tourism for more recommendations for things to do around Wasaga Beach.

7. Can I stay overnight? Does Wasaga Beach offer camping?

No. Wasaga Beach Provincial Park is a day-use park only and closes at 10:00 pm. The closest overnight campgrounds are:

8. Is the park accessible?

When water levels permit, the park installs Mobi-Mats. These rollout pathways provide a smooth surface for wheelchairs, strollers, and bicycles to get to the water’s edge.

mobi mat on beach

Boardwalks are also available at Beach Areas 1 and 2.

**Please note that our all-terrain and water accessible Mobi-Chairs rentals are NOT currently available.**

9. Can I bring my dog to the beach?

Absolutely! Dogs are permitted within our designated Dog Beach at Beach Area 3.

Dogs are NOT allowed on the beach anywhere else outside of this designated area (service dogs exempt).

dog on boardwalk

Dogs are permitted in all grassy picnic areas, on park trails, and on the boardwalks at Beach Areas 1 and 2. Remember, dogs MUST always be on a leash (no greater than 2 m) when in provincial parks.

10. Can I bring my boat?

There is a boat launch located within the provincial park at Beach Area 1. There is also a municipal boat launch located beside the Nancy Island Historic Site provincial parking lot, and a launch at Sturgeon Point Marina off of River Road East.

The municipal Nancy Parking Lot is to the west of the Welcome Centre across from the Beer Store.

There is a canoe/kayak/SUP launch at Wasaga Sports Park located off of Klondike Park Road. Canoes, kayaks, and SUPs are also permitted to launch off of the beach except in the designated swim zone located in Beach Area 1 between Spruce Street and 3rd Street.

Boats must adhere to the designated swim zone in Beach Area 1 and obey all maritime laws and navigational buoys.

Vessels are permitted to come into shore slowly with a safe distance from swimmers or anchor anywhere along Wasaga Beach Provincial Park with the exception of the designated swim zone in Beach Area 1 between Spruce Street and 3rd.

Watch the sandbars if you have a larger vessel as it may get stuck.

11. Can I drive my ATV in the park?

ATVs are NOT permitted within the provincial park, which includes all roadways regulated by the provincial park, on the beach, or on the trails at the Nordic and Trail Centre.

ATVs are permitted on municipal roadways ONLY.

For more information on rules and regulations, please contact the park office at 705-429-2516. For rules regarding ATVs on municipal roadways, please contact the Town of Wasaga Beach.

12. Where can I fish in Wasaga Beach Provincial Park?

Fishing is permitted on the south shore of Beach Area 1 on the Nottawasaga River.

Fishing is also permitted in the river from the Nancy Island parking lot. Fishing is NOT permitted from the beach or from Nancy Island itself.

13. Is the beach safe for swimming?

In 2007, Wasaga Beach Provincial Park became the first provincial or state park to achieve Blue Flag status.

Family walking on the beach

This eco-label is awarded internationally to beaches and marinas that meet 27 criteria focused on water quality, environmental management, environmental education, and safety and services. During the summer, weekly water testing takes place along the entirety of the Wasaga Beach shoreline.

Any advisories will be posted on our Alerts page.

shoreline

Our beaches do not have lifeguards. Everyone is responsible for their individual water safety. Children and non-swimmers should always be supervised. Please note that our PFD loaner program is unavailable for the 2020 season.

Visitors to the beach should be aware of weather conditions, including offshore breezes and storms. Offshore breezes can blow inflatables out into dangerous waters and should only be used in shallow water.

Severe storms can arise quickly on Georgian Bay. If a storm approaches, take shelter in a hard-topped vehicle or nearby park facility. Avoid outdoor activities, including swimming, until 30 minutes after the last signs of lightning or thunder.

Swimming at the mouth of the Nottawasaga River is not permitted due to dangerous undertows. Local rivers and streams are NOT tested by the provincial park for bathing quality.

14. Does the park have ticks / poison ivy?

Tick safety: Ticks are common throughout Ontario, including at Wasaga Beach.  To protect yourself from Lyme Disease, follow these safety tips.

Poison Ivy:  Poison Ivy is prevalent in the park, especially along the side of park trails and on the dunes between parking lots and the beach.

Poison Ivy is an important dune stabilizer, helping to protect our dunes and beaches, as well as being a food source for wildlife. Avoid it by using park sanctioned trails and by keeping a close eye on children and pets.

15. How can I help protect and preserve the park for future users?

Please obey park signs and regulations.

DO NOT park on the dunes. They are an integral part of fragile ecosystems that have taken thousands of years to form.

marram grass

Use established pathways when walking between the parking lot and the beach. The dune’s vegetation holds it in place, and helps to keep our sand on the beach. These plants are sensitive to trampling by both tires and feet.

Leave the sand on the beach! Wasaga Beach is a relict beach, meaning the sand is non-replenishing.

The sand that is currently on the beach is all the sand we’ve got! Help us keep it in place by shaking out towels and belongings before leaving the beach. Whack shoes together and wipe feet before you get in your car to leave at the end of the day.

Take your garbage home with you.

garbage

We often have visitors leaving more garbage than our bins can handle on a busy weekend, especially when they leave behind their tents, chairs, and barbecues.

Wind and wildlife will also move garbage around before our maintenance team has an opportunity to empty all of the bins (14 km of beach to cover — that’s a lot of garbage bins!). In 2019, Wasaga Beach Provincial Park took over 147,300 kg of garbage to the local landfill.

Help us reduce this number by bringing re-usable food storage containers, limiting the amount of toys, keeping track of your belongings while at the beach, and taking your garbage home.

16. Can I barbecue on the beach? Can I have a fire on the beach?

Yes, you can barbecue on the beach!

We recommend using a low-lying, off the ground charcoal or propane barbecue.  Coals must be placed in the provided charcoal pits located around the park. For the safety of the park and the visitors, do not bury hot coals in the sand (stepping on hot coals = OUCH!).

Fires are not permitted ANYWHERE in Wasaga Beach Provincial Park.

17. Can I bring alcohol to the beach?  Can I smoke/vape on the beach?

Having open alcohol and/or consuming alcohol is not permitted anywhere on the beach or within the provincial park.

Please remember that the provincial park is a public beach. Patrons caught with open alcohol and/or consuming alcohol will face a fine from park wardens or OPP.

All provincial beaches are designated as smoke-free, which means smoking and vaping are NOT permitted on the beachfront. Smoking/vaping are also not permitted within 20 m of a public building or playground.

Smoking/vaping is permitted in grassy picnic areas, however we ask that all cigarette butts be disposed of in a receptacle or garbage bin. Cigarette butts are the number one garbage item at Wasaga Beach, and pose a health risk to park visitors and the ecosystem.

18. Where can I eat?

Wasaga Beach Provincial Park does not offer a restaurant or store that provides food. Local restaurants are available throughout Wasaga Beach.

Provincial Beach Areas 1 and 2 are the closest beach areas to the shops and restaurants on the main end.

Want more Wasaga Beach updates? Follow the park on Facebook!