We love the beach! Scratch that. We love the beach on weekdays and in the mornings. Before the crowds get too busy on hot summer days, it's easy to hit a Toronto beach and forget that you're in the city. The kids love it, and you're close to home.
Center Island Beach
How to get there: The Ferrydocks at 9 Queens Quay W which is located south of Queens Quay between Yonge Street and Bay Street – take the CENTER ISLAND ferry. On the island once you land on Center Island, head straight back (south) past Centreville, Farm etc (if the kids will let you!) to waterfront on the other side of the island.
Concessions/snack bar, bike rental, showers and change rooms.
Note that when you head to Center Island, you’re looking at a longer excursion than a trip to the beach. Lots of other attractions, longer getting there and back, this one’s great if you want to make a day of it.
Ward’s Island Beach
How to get there: The Ferrydocks at 9 Queens Quay W which is located south of Queens Quay between Yonge Street and Bay Street – take the WARD’S ISLAND ferry. Head towards the water on the opposite side to the ferry landing.
Snack bar, on the island with a bit of a walk around you can find the rest of the island's attactions.
This one is great – its pretty quiet and a different feeling entirely to the busyness of Center Island. We like that on days you don't feel like the hustle of the rest of the island you can hop the ferry just to Ward's Island and back.
275 Unwin Avenue, foot of Cherry St, in the Portlands
How to get there: Cherry is located at the bottom of Cherry Street. By public transportation has bus service during beach season, take the southbound bus 72B from Pape station.
Parking, Summer TTC bus service right to beach.
Funny, this is one that we haven’t really thought of a lot in considering trips to the beach, to be honest navigating down around the portlands not really always sure what is where, but its great plus parking and pretty easy TTC bus service to get there.
2075 Queen Street E
How to get there: There is limited street parking on Kew Beach Ave. Entrance to the beach from Kenilworth Ave and Lee Ave. By public transit, take the 501 Queen streetcar to Kenilworth and walk south to the beach.
1675 Lakeshore Boulevard E
How to get there: Access to parking and beach entrance is off Lakeshore Blvd East and Northern Dancer Blvd at Ashbridges Bay Park. By public transit, take the 92 Southbound from Woodbine station.
Parking, beach volleyball, restaurant, concessions
Woodbine and Kew are listed as separate beaches, but they’re really all part of the same stretch, separated by an off-leash dog park. Differences are really just which end is more convenient for you to enter from, and that there are separately guarded swimming areas on both ends. You really can’t go wrong heading down here if you’re looking for some beach fun. Super busy on the weekends, but it’s big so there’s always a place to be found for the kiddies to play.
BEST EXPERIENCE FOR FAMILIES is to go in the morning before it gets crowded, you’ll usually have no trouble with parking before 11am , can have fun beach time and still be home for nap time 🙂
Bluffers Park Beach
1 Brimley Road S
How to get there: Vehicles can enter Bluffer's Park by travelling south on Brimley Road.
Scarborough Bluffs are a great backdrop, marina, and very very busy on the weekends! Even with 3 parking lots, often full on a busy nice weekend afternoon. Go early.
As you can see in the map above and via Toronto Parks, there are a couple of beaches in Toronto's west end that are good for play, but not blue flagged for swimming. It's hard to keep little ones who love the water out of the water, so we like to choose beaches cleared for swimming on days we're not at the splash pad. It's a bit longer coming from the west end towards downtown and east, but its worth it!