Pancake Bay beach

Where to swim at Ontario Parks

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


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.

Darlington Provincial Park

family with kite on Darlington beach

What a fantastic spot to swim! Explore the sandy stretch of beach right on Lake Ontario!

Best of all? This park is less than an hour away from Toronto!

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 sit and watch the waves for hours. The beach is perfect with almost no rocks and very little slope into the lake. But this is Lake Superior, so at times the water will be chilly!

Enjoy the view of the park’s hills from the lake, keeping your eyes peeled for the occasional CPR train that travels by on the nearby rail line.

Quetico Provincial Park

person looking out at lake at sunset

The park area known as “The Pines” on Pickerel Lake offers a nice sandy beach for a swim on a hot summer’s day.

The beach is accessed from the Dawson Trail Campground via the Pines Hiking Trail (10 km return, 3.5 hours, moderate) or by an 1.5 hour (one way) paddle by canoe or kayak.

Once there, you’re 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


This park boasts several top-quality swimming spots.

Katherine Cove is a great place for a family swim. With its shallow water and fine sand beach, the water is often warmer than other beaches in the park (although warm water can be a relative term on Lake Superior).

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

person sitting at picnic table

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


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.

René Brunelle Provincial Park

This park’s day-use area is a great place to spend a summer day!

With sandy beaches on both sides of the point, picnic spots everywhere, a playground and a beach volleyball court, making it a great spot for families.

Mikisew Provincial Park


Mikisew has three sandy beaches (plus a leash-free dog beach!) on the shores of beautiful Eagle Lake in the Almaguin Highlands, west of Algonquin Provincial Park.

While you’re there, give their revamped disc golf course a spin!

Time to hit the water!