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15 Gorgeous Northern Ontario Beaches You Have to Visit This Summer!

Looking for a great place to take a dip in Northern Ontario? We have got you covered!

The Canadian portion of the Lake Superior Circle Tour is one of the most scenic road trips in Ontario.

This trek across the Trans Canada Highway is also where you will find some of the most gorgeous northern Ontario beaches.

During our northern Ontario travel, we stopped at several beaches to break up our driving time. We couldn’t believe how gorgeous many of them were!

In fact, some beaches could truly pass for something you would find in the Caribbean.

So without further ado, here is our list of the best northern Ontario beaches that you just have to visit this summer!


⛱️ Northern Ontario Beaches

Our list of northern Ontario beaches includes many of the scenic places that you can stop along the Trans Canada Highway.

With the exception of the very last beach on the list (Spruce Beach), most are just minutes from the highway.

Sault-Ste-Marie-to-Thunder-Bay-Lake-Superior-Provincial-Park-Old-Woman-Bay-kids-on-beach

This makes it pretty convenient if you are on a northern Ontario road trip and would like a scenic spot to stop for a refreshing dip.

We have organized our list to go from west to east (Thunder Bay to Sault Ste Marie). However, you could easily flip the list if you happen to be travelling in the opposite direction.


1. Kakabeka Falls Beach

Kakabeka Falls Beach is a great choice if you’re looking for a memorable beach experience in northern Ontario.

Located just 26 minutes west of Thunder Bay, it’s an easy drive if you are looking for a break from the city.

🏖️ Quick Facts:

  • Day-use park
  • Daily vehicle permit required
  • Picnic areas, playground, and washrooms available
  • No lifeguards on duty
  • No dogs allowed on the beach

Located right near Kakabeka Falls, this beach offers a unique combination of natural beauty and recreational opportunities.

Honestly, I think that the falls alone are a reason to visit this provincial park.

The beach, which is upstream from the falls, features finely ground sand and a gentle slope.

Thunder-Bay-Kakabeka-Falls-with-family

Although the Kaministiquia River can have a strong current, especially during high water levels, the beach provides marked swimming areas for the safety of visitors.

Families will find Kakabeka Falls particularly appealing, as there are convenient amenities nearby.

You’ll find picnic tables, washrooms, and a playground for the kids to enjoy.


2. Wild Goose Beach

If you are coming from Thunder Bay, Wild Goose Beach is conveniently located just 15 minutes east of the city in the township of Shuniah.

🏖️ Quick Facts:

  • Day-use park
  • Parking available
  • Picnic tables, a small playground, and washrooms available
  • No lifeguards on duty

Wild Goose Beach is a hidden gem, offering a peaceful escape from the crowds.

The beach isn’t huge. But at about 400 feet long, there is plenty of space to stretch out on.

The soft sands and crystal clear waters of Lake Superior create a gorgeous setting for sunbathing, building sandcastles, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll along the shoreline.

Sault-Ste-Marie-to-Thunder-Bay-Lake-Superior-Provincial-Park-beach

While the beach itself doesn’t have extensive amenities, you’ll find a few essentials nearby.

There are picnic tables, washroom facilities, and ample parking for your convenience.


3. Sleeping Giant Provincial Park – Marie Louise Lake

Marie Louise Lake is located in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. The park is approximately one hour and eight minutes drive east of Thunder Bay.

🏖️ Quick Facts:

  • Day-use park
  • Daily vehicle permit required
  • Picnic areas and pit toilets
  • No lifeguards on duty

Situated amidst lush forests, this pristine lake offers an incredible setting for a memorable beach outing.

We really liked Marie Louise Lake.

The clear, turquoise waters are perfect for a refreshing swim. And the sandy beach is ideal for families to relax and soak up the sun.

Northern-Ontario-Beaches-Kids-playing-in-the-sand-at-Marie-Louise-Lake

In fact, this hidden gem is an ideal destination for a peaceful family-friendly getaway.

This beach is perfect for swimming and water activities.

We found the water calm and the slope into the lake was quite gentle.

While amenities may be limited, you’ll find ample parking, picnic areas, and pit toilets nearby.


4. Whitesand Lake Beach

Located 10 minutes west of the town of Schreiber, Whitesand Lake Beach is a fantastic northern Ontario beach option.

This sandy beach on the shore of Whitesand Lake can be found at the Whitesand Lake Campground of Rainbow Falls Provincial Park in Ontario’s Superior Country.

🏖️ Quick Facts:

  • Day-use park
  • Parking permit required
  • Picnic area
  • Washroom facilities
  • No lifeguards on duty

The warm inland lake actually has two designated swimming areas within the park.

These beaches are perfect for families, as they boast soft, powdery white sands, and provide awesome areas for swimming and picnicking.

And what makes this beach even better? During the summer, there is a swimming raft that is anchored just off the shore for people to swim up to and use.

While at the beach area, you could launch a canoe or kayak, or even go for a walk to see the very pretty Rainbow Falls that are nearby.

Sault-Ste-Marie-to-Thunder-Bay-Rainbow-Falls-falls

As for amenities, you’ll find picnic tables and BBQs nearby, as well as washroom facilities for added convenience.

As we mentioned, Whitesand Lake Beach is extremely family-friendly, with its shallow crystal-clear waters and gentle slope.

It’s ideal for children to splash around and build sandcastles.


5. Terrace Bay Beach

Located just outside the cute town of Terrace Bay, Terrace Bay Beach is right on the shores of Lake Superior.

🏖️ Quick Facts:

  • Day-use park
  • RV and boat-friendly parking lot
  • Picnic areas and beach volleyball court
  • Wheelchair-accessible kayak launch
  • Washroom facilities

This gorgeous sandy beach is a gateway to Slate Island Provincial Park, as well as the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area.

If you are looking to go for a hike while at the beach, you’re in luck.

The beach is near the Casque Isles Trails, only 1km away from Lyda Bay Segment.

Manitoulin-Island-Providence-Bay-Beach-daughter-walking

There is also a pavilion and a 300-metre-long boardwalk that will lead you on a nature trail to a set of Parks Canada Red Chairs.

The pavilion is located at the mouth of the Aguasabon River.

There, you will find a visitor centre operated by the Parks Canada Lake Superior NMCA team.

At night, the beach’s dark skies make it a perfect spot for stargazing.

The beach has picnic areas, washroom facilities, a boat and kayak launch, as well as plenty of parking.


6. Neys Provincial Park

Situated on Ashburton Bay, along the shores of Lake Superior, Neys Provincial Park offers a stunning beach experience that’s hard to beat.

Located about 23 minutes west of the town of Marathon, trust me when I tell you, this beach is a perfect choice when you are in the area.

🏖️ Quick Facts:

  • Day-use park
  • Parking permit required
  • Picnic areas, playground, and washrooms available
  • No lifeguards on duty

The best part about the beach at Neys is that the bay is relatively shallow and sandy.

This means that during those hot summer days, you can take a refreshing dip in the notoriously cold Lake Superior and actually enjoy the experience! 

Neys Provincial Park also boasts awesome hiking trails that take you through lush forests and along scenic coastal cliffs.

Sault-Ste-Marie-to-Thunder-Bay-Neys-Provincial-Park-family-at-lookout

The park was also once home to a World War II prisoner-of-war camp. In fact, remnants of that era can still be seen on one of the hiking trails.

As for amenities, you’ll find picnic areas, washrooms, and even a visitor center where you can learn more about the park’s history.

Neys Provincial Park is family-friendly. It not only offers designated swimming areas and playgrounds but also interpretive programs for kids, making it a great place to visit for the whole family.


7. Horseshoe Beach – Pukaskwa National Park

Located in Pukaskwa National Park, Horseshoe Beach is a secluded gem on the shores of Lake Superior.

The beach is just a half-hour drive from the town of Marathon and can be easily accessed from the boardwalk at Hattie’s Cove Campground.

🏖️ Quick Facts:

  • Day-use park
  • Parking permit required
  • Picnic areas
  • Washroom facilities

Golden sand and gorgeous emerald waters are what you will find at Horseshoe Beach. It’s the perfect place for a picnic or a relaxing afternoon of sunbathing.

If you are looking for more of an active experience, the beach is surrounded by several hiking trails suitable for a variety of skill levels.

Northern-Ontario-Beaches-Boy-running-on-the-beach

What makes Horseshoe Beach truly unique is the incredible backdrop of ancient cliffs and boreal forests that surround the beach.

It’s actually pretty amazing!


8. Old Woman Bay

One of our favourite beaches on this list is Old Woman Bay.

Just a 20-minute drive south of Wawa, this beach is a true hidden treasure in northern Ontario!

🏖️ Quick Facts:

  • Day-use park
  • Parking permit required
  • Washroom facilities
  • No lifeguards on duty

Old Woman Bay is situated along the eastern shores of Lake Superior.

What makes it truly unique is the towering cliffs that frame the bay.

The cliffs resemble the profile of an old woman and make a pretty interesting backdrop for some cool photos.

Sault-Ste-Marie-to-Thunder-Bay-Lake-Superior-Provincial-Park-sunny-morning

The beach itself features a mix of sand and pebbles, ideal for sunbathing or enjoying a leisurely stroll along the shoreline.

Just a heads up, the water is pebbly, so we would definitely recommend wearing water shoes!

Old Woman Bay is family-friendly as well, with shallow waters and a gently sloping beach.

You will find parking and washrooms located near the beach. But just a heads up, the water is pretty chilly, even in mid-summer.


9. Katherine Cove – Lake Superior Provincial Park

Katherine Cove in Lake Superior Provincial Park is another true paradise in northern Ontario!

Situated along the eastern shores of Lake Superior in Algoma, this gorgeous beach is located just 11 minutes northwest of Agawa Bay and 46 minutes south of Wawa.

🏖️ Quick Facts:

  • Day-use park
  • Parking permit required
  • Picnic areas and washrooms are available
  • No lifeguards on duty

Katherine Cove is a fantastic choice if you are looking for a remarkable beach experience.

Surrounded by ancient rock formations and pristine forests, the cove really feels like a secluded oasis.

The beach itself boasts soft sands and crystal-clear waters, making it an ideal spot for swimming and sunbathing.

Sault-Ste-Marie-to-Thunder-Bay-Lake-Superior-Provincial-Park-flipflops-and-canoe

Nearby, you’ll find convenient amenities such as picnic tables, washrooms, and parking facilities, ensuring a comfortable visit.

Katherine Cove is also family-friendly, with its calm waters and gradual slope making it perfect for children to enjoy.


10. Pancake Bay Beach

Pancake Bay Beach, located along the eastern shore of Lake Superior, is one of the best sandy beaches in northern Ontario.

The beach can be found inside the Pancake Bay Provincial Park, 1-hour northwest of Sault Ste. Marie, and about halfway to Wawa.

🏖️ Quick Facts:

  • Day-use park
  • Parking permit required
  • Picnic areas
  • Washroom facilities
  • No pets allowed on the beach
  • No lifeguards on duty

With more than 3 km of beautiful powdery sand beach and crystal-clear Caribbean blue water, what more could you ask?

The beach also offers a gorgeous view of Lake Superior from the Edmund Fitzgerald Lookout hiking trail, as well as the opportunity to stroll among the iconic Pancake Bay sand dunes.

Sault-Ste-Marie-to-Thunder-Bay-Pancake-Bay-beach

Pancake Bay is also well-equipped with amenities like picnic areas with tables, vault toilets, and a visitor center conveniently located nearby.

The park is one of the area’s most popular camping destinations if you are looking to extend your beach vacation and spend the night.

The campground does book up quickly, so if you are looking to camp here, we would recommend booking early.


11. Batchawana Bay Provincial Park

Batchawana Bay Provincial Park is located about 70 kilometres north of Sault Ste. Marie.

🏖️ Quick Facts:

  • Day-use park
  • Parking permit required
  • Picnic areas and vault toilets are available
  • Warm, shallow water perfect for younger children
  • Playground
  • No lifeguards on duty

The beach stretches along a scenic bay, with soft sands and clear blue waters.

The water is shallow and protected. But best of all, it is the warmest beach on the Lake Superior shoreline.

The park is also renowned for its hiking trails.

You can explore the surrounding boreal forest and enjoy awesome views from elevated lookouts.

Sault-Ste-Marie-to-Thunder-Bay-Batchawana-Bay-

While amenities are limited, you will find picnic tables and vault toilets available near the beach.

Batchawana Bay Provincial Park is family-friendly, offering a safe and enjoyable environment for kids.

The shallow waters and sandy shoreline provide tons of space for sandcastle building and splashing around.


12. Harmony Beach

Located just 32 km North of Sault Ste. Marie near the town of Goulais River, Harmony Beach is where the “locals” go.

🏖️ Quick Facts:

  • Day-use park
  • Picnic areas
  • No washroom or changeroom facilities are available
  • No lifeguard on duty

Harmony Beach is a great choice if you are looking for a peaceful and uncrowded beach experience along the shores of Lake Superior.

This 3.2 km (2-mile) beach features a mix of soft sand and smooth pebbles, perfect for sunbathing or enjoying a leisurely walk along the shoreline.

Northern-Ontario-Beaches-Family-on-the-beach

You will even find access to popular hiking trails right across the road.

Harmony Beach is family-friendly, with its calm waters and shallow entry making it perfect for kids to splash and play.


13. Pointe des Chênes

Located just 22 minutes drive west of Sault Ste. Marie, Pointe Des Chênes Day Park is a popular destination along the shores of Lake Superior.

🏖️ Quick Facts:

  • Day-use park
  • Weekend bus service from Sault Ste Marie
  • Picnic areas and picnic shelters
  • Washroom and changeroom facilities
  • Convenience store

The park is home to a long sandy beach, making it a popular spot on hot and sunny days.

Because this incredible Northern Ontario beach is located at the mouth of the St. Mary’s River, it’s also an awesome spot to watch the big Great Lakes ships go by.

Pointe des Chênes offers a day-use area with spacious grass lawns, picnic sites with shelters, and convenient washrooms.

Sault-Ste-Marie-to-Thunder-Bay-Lake-Superior-Provincial-Park-having-fun-in-the-waves

If you are looking for some unique activities while at the beach, the park also features a Disc Golf course.

This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the beautiful views of Lake Superior while playing a round.

Pointe des Chênes is family-friendly, with its shallow waters and gradual slope providing a safe environment for children to enjoy.

As an added bonus to those staying the night in The Soo, Sault Transit offers convenient bus service to Pointe Des Chênes day park on weekends, including statutory holidays.

Two buses per day operate from the downtown terminal, making stops at the Northern Avenue transfer point at Sault College before heading to the park.


14. Fourth Sand Beach

Located just 5 minutes east of Blind River, Fourth Sand Beach is a large and scenic sandy beach along the shore of Lake Huron.

🏖️ Quick Facts:

  • Change rooms available
  • No washrooms available
  • Dogs allowed on the beach
  • No lifeguards on duty

The beach can be found on Huron Beach Road and is easily accessible from Highway 17.

To reach the beach, it’s just a short walk from the parking lot through the pine forest, and across the train tracks.

Northern-Ontario-Beaches-Family-sitting-on-the-beach

The sand at Fourth Sand Beach is soft and powdery, making it a joy to stroll on.

Ample parking is available, and dogs are permitted on the beach.

While amenities such as garbage bins and changing rooms are provided, it’s important to note that there are no lifeguards or bathroom facilities on site.


15. Spruce Beach

If you are looking for a very family-friendly beach in Northern Ontario, look no further than Spruce Beach.

Located minutes from downtown Elliot Lake, Spruce Beach is a hidden gem known for its incredible beauty.

🏖️ Quick Facts:

  • Day-use park
  • Playground
  • Picnic areas
  • Washroom and changeroom facilities
  • Lifeguards on duty from June until the end of August

Not only is this beach one of the cleanest around, but its expansive white-sandy area provides a perfect spot for beach play and relaxation.

Families will definitely enjoy spending their day here. The beach offers a supervised swimming area, complete with lifeguards on duty from late June to the end of August.

And for the older kids, there is a perfectly positioned large rock to swim up to and jump off just a short distance from the shoreline.

Northern-Ontario-Beaches-Couple-at-beach

Younger kids (and their parents) will love the well-maintained playground, as well as the clean and convenient changing facilities.

Nearby, you will also find a really great walking trail that connects Spruce Beach to Spine Beach and the Westview boat launch.

Parents will also be happy to know that Spruce Beach is a Blue Flag Beach for the 2024 season.


⛱️ Northern Ontario Beaches – Our Favourite Beach Gear

When travelling to a northern Ontario beach with your family, it’s important to pack some essential gear to ensure a fun and comfortable experience.

Here is a list of gear that always accompanies us on our trips to the beach:

👒 Hats and Sunscreen

Protecting your family’s skin from the sun’s harmful rays is really important. Pack sunscreen with a high SPF and apply it generously to all exposed skin.

Wearing a hat also helps keep the sun off your face and neck. Sunglasses can be important as well, especially if you are like me and are prone to getting headaches.

Sharks-in-the-Great-Lakes-Kids-sitting-on-the-beach-along-Lake-Ontaro

☀️ Beach Towels and Blankets

Bring enough towels for each family member to comfortably lounge on and dry off. A large beach blanket or mat can also come in handy for picnics or relaxing on the sand.

We like using a large beach mat that doesn’t absorb the water and where the sand is easily shaken off. The mat then rolls or folds up and is light enough to carry anywhere.

⛱️ Umbrella or Shade Tent

While northern Ontario beaches are beautiful, shade can be limited. Consider bringing an umbrella or a portable shade tent to provide protection from the sun, especially for young children.

Our favourite sun shelter is a combination umbrella and tent. It is easy to open, and we have it anchored in the sand in minutes

Northern-Ontario-Beaches-Beach-Umbrella

👜 Cooler or Insulated Bag

Always be sure to pack plenty of water and snacks to keep everyone hydrated and fed throughout the day. It’s important to drink plenty of water, especially during hot summer days.

We also bring our insulated reusable water bottles when we head to the beach. Frees up room in the cooler, and the water stays plenty cool.

🔫 Beach Toys

Keep your kids entertained with sandcastle-building tools, beach balls, frisbees, or any other beach toys they enjoy. These will provide hours of fun and keep them engaged.

Now that the kids are in their teens, their “toys” have evolved as well. We now carry flutter boards, mermaid tails, Supersoakers, and sometimes, sand shovels for old-times sake!

Newfoundland-Lumsden-Beach

👙 Swimsuits and Extra Clothing

Although it may seem obvious, some people may get so caught up in remembering all their gear, that they forget about the most important item: swimsuits!

Packing swimsuits and an extra change of clothes for everyone is essential. Since no one wants to sit in wet clothes on the long drive home, it’s helpful to have dry clothes to change into after swimming or if someone gets wet.

Pop-Up Change Tent

This was a game-changer for us! And ironically enough, the first time we saw one was, during one of our visits to Old Woman Bay.

The pop-up is small, literally pops open, and creates the perfect private place to change on the beach. No more trying to change by holding a towel or in the back seat of the car.

It takes a couple of tries to learn how to close it, but it’s definitely worth it! Ours is lightweight and comes in a flat carrying case, so it is easy to throw in the trunk for a road trip.

🩴 Water Shoes

Depending on the beach, water shoes can be useful to protect your feet from rocks, shells, or any potential hazards in the water.

Although our list of beaches is made up mostly of sandy beaches, some still have pebble-covered areas. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of poking over pebbles when trying to ease myself into the water!

Northern-Ontario-Beaches-Wearing-water-shoes-on-a-rocky-beach

🛞 Collapsable Wagon

Our absolute favourite piece of beach gear that we never leave home without, is a wagon. A wagon is incredibly helpful for transporting all your beach essentials, especially if you have young children or a lot of gear to carry.

Look for a collapsible wagon that is easy to transport and store, and has large wheels to effortlessly navigate through the sand. Since we don’t know how to travel lite 🙄, this was also a game-changer for us.

Northern-Ontario-Beaches-Beach-wagon-for-carrying-gear

What is a Blue Flag Beach?

A Blue Flag beach is awarded to those that meet rigorous standards for water quality and safety.

These certified beaches are known for being clean, accessible, eco-friendly, and maintaining excellent water quality.

In Canada, Swim Drink Fish serves as the National Operator for Blue Flag, overseeing the program’s implementation and ensuring that these high standards are upheld.


⛱️ Northern Ontario Beaches – FAQs

Canada-Souvenirs-Inuksuk-Beach-Girl
Are Northern Ontario beaches safe for swimming?

Northern Ontario beaches generally have clear and clean waters, but it’s essential to check local advisories and potential hazards before swimming.

Do I need to pay an entrance fee to access Northern Ontario beaches?

Some beaches may have entrance fees, especially those located within provincial or national parks. Some also require advanced online bookings. Check-in advance for any associated costs.

Are Northern Ontario beaches pet-friendly?

It varies from beach to beach. Some may have designated pet-friendly areas, while others may not allow pets at all. Always check the specific beach’s rules.

Can I have a campfire on Northern Ontario beaches?

Campfires may be permitted in designated fire pits or grilling areas. However, it’s important to adhere to fire safety regulations and any current fire bans.

Are there restroom facilities available on Northern Ontario beaches?

Many beaches offer restroom facilities, such as washrooms or portable toilets, for visitors’ convenience.

Can I bring my own food and drinks to the beach?

Yes, bringing your own food and drinks is typically allowed. Remember to clean up after yourself and use designated trash receptacles.

Are there lifeguards on duty at Northern Ontario beaches?

Some popular beaches may have lifeguards during peak seasons, but not all beaches do. Always prioritize water safety and supervise children closely.

Can I camp overnight on Northern Ontario beaches?

Overnight camping is usually not permitted on beaches, but nearby campgrounds may offer beach access.

Are Northern Ontario beaches accessible for people with disabilities?

Many beaches strive to provide accessibility, offering features such as accessible paths, ramps, and beach mats.

What wildlife should I be aware of at Northern Ontario beaches?

Northern Ontario’s wilderness is home to various wildlife, including insects, snakes, and mammals. It’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and follow safety guidelines to avoid any potential encounters.

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⛱️ Northern Ontario Beaches – Final Thoughts

So there you have it, a journey through the best beaches of northern Ontario! From the rugged beauty of Kakabeka Falls to the tranquil shores of Old Woman Bay, these beaches have captivated our hearts with their unique charm and natural splendour.

Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, or a family-friendly getaway, northern Ontario has a beach to suit every taste. So grab your sunscreen, flip-flops, and a sense of adventure, and embark on your own exploration of these pristine shores.

We can pretty much guarantee, that the sound of crashing waves, the feel of soft sand between your toes, and the breathtaking vistas of Ontario’s northern beaches will rejuvenate your soul.


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