Pancake Bay beach

Where to swim at Ontario Parks

This summer has been fantastic for swimmers. And nothing beats a cool dip on a hot summer day so we asked park staff where they think the best swimming is in Ontario:

Southern Ontario

Wasaga Beach Provincial Park

beach

Located on Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay, Wasaga may be Ontario’s best-known beach with 14 km of sand and great swimming. It is one of several Ontario beach parks that are Blue Flag-recommended.

Awenda Provincial Park

The shoreline of Awenda Provincial Park

A very special feature is the park’s 5.5 km natural shoreline in the heart of cottage country. Awenda has sand area as well as a rugged element.

What’s striking about its beach vistas is that you can appreciate what this part of Georgian Bay looked like 500 years ago. There are no real visible cottages, so with a little imagination, what you see is what early explorers like Etienne Brulé and Samuel de Champlain would have seen when they landed their canoes here long ago.

Close to Toronto

Darlington Provincial Park

family with kite on Darlington beach

What a fantastic spot to swim! Park staff rakes the sand on the beach daily after the bird migration is complete and the water is sampled weekly.

Bronte Creek Provincial Park

Bronte Creek pool

This family favorite in Oakville has a 1.8 acre circular pool that kids love. The pool is a large pond shape that is designed for wading with a starting depth of mere centimeters, gradually deepening to 2 m (6 ft) in the center. Pool season runs July 1 to Labour Day (temporary closures may occur due to weather).

Note: there is an additional fee to use the Bronte Creek pool area.

Sibbald Point Provincial Park

two children running on beach with kite

Sibbald has a sandy beach, shallow so kids can walk out. Kids fish for perch, bass, and sunfish off the boat launch. Tackleshare lends fishing tackle, while our ParkSmart program lends PFDs to visitors. Sibbald Point receives some of the highest day use visitation of all the provincial parks. A good time to visit is mid-week when the park is less busy.

Northwestern Ontario

Blue Lake Provincial Park

Blue Lake beach

Crystal clear water, soothing sand, hot sun with nearby shade, 150-year-old Red Pines…need we say more?

Neys Provincial Park

sandy beach at Neys

When Lake Superior’s waves are big, you can float or surf for hours. The beach is perfect with almost no rocks and very little slope into the lake.

Picture yourself floating in the bay. You look to one side and see nothing but water framed on the side by naked surf rocks and large hills. You look to the other side and see the historic CPR rail line and even bigger hills that seem to go on forever.

Quetico Provincial Park

girl with paddleboard at Quetico beach

The Pines on Pickerel Lake has a great hike into a small but very nice beach. You are surrounded by large pines, and can look west down Pickerel Lake for miles. The clean, warm water is a good depth for swimming, and the fishing is world-class.

Lake Superior Provincial Park

children playing in water with beach ball

This park boasts several top-quality swimming spots. The fantastic beach on Lake Superior offers fine white sand.

Another neat little spot, known as Bathtub Island, is just off the mouth of the Sand River. Rainwater and wavewash trapped in a bedrock pool on the little rock island warm up on sunny days, making the walk through the “cool” waters of Superior worthwhile.

Burnt Rock Pool on the Agawa River can be a good place for a cool dip while hiking the Towab Trail in Lake Superior Provincial Park. This pool is surrounded by tall pines and the towering cliffs of the Agawa Valley.

Northeastern Ontario

Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park

In terms of swimming holes, Samuel de Champlain has a great hidden oasis just east of the Campion Rapids on the Mattawa. It’s canoe-/boat-in only. It isn’t so much a swimming spot (the water is icy, icy cold), but the surrounding river feels almost hot after being in the spring water. The location is called “Simpson Falls” or alternately the “Hot Springs” and “Devil’s Hot Tub” by the locals.

Halfway Lake Provincial Park

beach with families playing

This park boasts a great family beach: shallow for a long way out, fine brown sand like sugar. Both beaches face south, but there’s lots of shade on shore as well (a southwest wind will blow all the warmer water into shore at the beach).

Windy Lake Provincial Park

windsurfer at Windy Lake beach

Windy Lake is one of the most popular beaches in the Sudbury area. Why? It’s scenic views, crystal clear water, and the opportunity to windsurf, or paddle with your pooch at the dog beach.

Pancake Bay Provincial Park

Pancake Bay beach

Pancake Bay has the largest sand beach on Lake Superior and campers love the brilliant blue water. The beach at nearby Batchawana Bay Provincial Park is more sheltered and often a bit warmer during windy days.

Time to hit the water!