ESCAPES Featured

3 Perfect Beach Vacations in Southwest Ontario

The definition of the perfect summer getaway weekend normally involves a beach. Ask anyone. Really.

Really.

Beach vacations are valuable to Canadians. Our summers are short, and we want to make the most of the two months so we’re willing to drive long distances for some sand and water not realizing that we have some of the world’s best in our backyard in Southwest Ontario.

Yes,  you read that right- Southwest Ontario has some of the world’s best beaches. These Blue Flag Beaches are all over our beautiful province and are all within a short drive.

Blue flag beach in southwest ontario. Canatara Beach, and park

What are Blue Flag Beaches?

Run by the Foundation for Environmental Education, the Blue Flag Progam is an international label awarded to beaches that meet the strict criteria. Re-evaluated every 2 years, these beaches not only promote sustainable development in freshwater and marine areas but also have excellent water quality for swimmers.

So, if time is short, and you’re craving the perfect beach, great food, and amazing atmosphere all within a short drive, check out these amazing beach getaway destinations all in our own backyard.

 

CANATARA BEACH

Located in Sarnia- Lambton‘s Canatara Park, this a gem that Americans are already quite familiar with. The beach and the surrounding 200-acre park is perfect for pretty much everyone in the family- whether you like hiking, exploring nature or just hanging out on the beach.

As it is a Blue Flag Beach, you can expect the water to be perfect- and it was. We couldn’t get enough.

 

Blue flag beach in southwest ontario. Canatara Beach, and park

READ MORE: TRAVEL GUIDE  FOR CANATARA BEACH

 

GRAND BEND

Chances are that if you were a high school or university student in Southwest Ontario, you’re familiar with Grand Bend. Back then, we didn’t appreciate the fact that it was on the best beaches in the country, but only wanted a place that has clear water and great sand. Fast forward 10 years and you realize how important sustaining marine life is, and wonderful it is that the go-to beach of our youth meets such high stands set by an international body.

Grand bend sunset

READ MORE: TRAVEL GUIDE FOR GRAND BEND

 

PORT STANLEY

Port Stanley Blue Flag Beach Southwest Ontario

Image via @thecuriouscreature

There’s something so magical about Port Stanley- a town (or is it considered a village) of 2000 or so, it has quickly become the place where millennials are setting up shops. It’s the kind of place that you want to want to raise your kids- quiet, charming, and with two great beaches, and an awesome ice-cream shop.

 

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Monica is The Wanderlusteur
    August 4, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    Great list so far! So true, we Canadian do love our beach vacays! Another one I’d add to the list is Long Point Beach. It’s close to Toronto and features clean, sandy beaches that you can camp on – or as I do, glamp!

  • Reply
    Ana
    August 4, 2016 at 11:39 am

    wow, I didnt know Canada has some of the world’s best beaches, but indeed these look amazing and so blue!

  • Reply
    Angela
    August 4, 2016 at 2:26 am

    Nice beach 🙂

  • Reply
    Christina
    August 4, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Great guide! I didn’t know about the Blue Flag label. Happy to read that we have several here in Ontario within driving distance of the GTA. We are planning to go to Grand Bend in a couple of weeks so I am excited to see that it is on the list.

  • Reply
    Laura @ Grassroots Nomad
    August 3, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    Fort Stanley looks so pretty! I would love to check it out when I get to Canada in a few days time!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Erika Bisbocci
    August 3, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    I never think of beaches when I think of Ontario, but this post is definitely making me reevaluate! These beaches look as beautiful as any I’ve ever seen! And the water is so blue!

  • Reply
    Flo @ yogawinetravel.com
    August 3, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Aghhhh these photos are seriously making me want to get back to the beach! Will have to visit Southwest Ontario one day!

  • Reply
    Travel Pockets
    August 3, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    I’ve been to Canada during the winter and never thought of the beaches. The beaches look gorgeous. I will have to stop by one on my next visit 🙂

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