After a long, cold winter, there’s nothing we Canadians love more than getting out of the city and hitting the beach. Sand, sun and swimming make for a perfect summer day. There’s no need to head south. When you’re having your vacation at Blue Mountain, there are tons of great beaches to choose from.
Memorial Park Beach
This lovely beach is located on the eastern side of Meaford on Grant Avenue. Offshore are “the Sisters”, large rocks jutting out from the waters of Georgian Bay. Legend has it two sisters swam too far from shore and drowned. Afterward, these rocks mysteriously appeared where the unlucky girls perished.
In spite of the gruesome tale of the Sisters, this park is a lovely place to spend the day. There are 400 metres of shoreline, a picnic area, a children’s playground, miniature golf and clean washrooms. Parking is free.
Wasaga Beach (the beach, rather than the town) is the longest freshwater beach in the world, with 14 kilometres of white sandy shoreline and is designated a Blue Flag beach http://www.blueflag.ca . Located on Georgian Bay, east of Collingwood, this is probably the best-known beach in Ontario. Wasaga Beach is actually divided into six beach areas; five are family-friendly (including one that allows dogs) plus the main beach which is part of the entertainment district of the town.
In addition to the beach, there are watersports rentals, beach volley ball, washrooms, and shopping. There’s also the Nancy Island Historic site with a War of 1812 museum, a lighthouse and children’s activities in the summer.
Little River Beach Park
Little River Beach Park is a pebbled beach surrounded by trees near the Town of the Blue Mountains. This beach is up for a Blue Flag designation and has a lifesaving station, washrooms, a children’s playground and parking.
Hibou Conservation Area
Named one of the top 10 beaches in Ontario, Hibou is something of an undiscovered gem. It is located on the eastern shore of Georgian Bay, between Owen Sound and Leith on County Road 15. The sheltered waters of Paynter’s Bay make for nice swimming while the 475 metres of sandy beach make the beach seem deserted even when the parking lot is full.
While the name means owl in French, Hibou is actually named after a ship that sank offshore in the 1800s. If you want to sound like a local, you’ll refer to it as “hi-bow” rather than using the French pronunciation of “eee-boo”.
The site has clean washrooms/changing rooms, picnic shelters, a children’s playground and hiking trails. While there is a small parking fee it is worth the cost.
Sauble Beach boasts 11 km of sand on the shore of Lake Huron. It was voted the best beach in Ontario by Toronto Star Readers in 2002. In addition to the sand and the warm waters of Lake Huron, there is parking, public change rooms/washrooms and lots of other activities: restaurants, arcades, an amusement park, shopping and more. One of the most popular activities at Sauble is beach volleyball. Bring your own ball and play free at the nets provided. They’re open daily in the summer from noon to 5 pm.
Sauble Beach is about a 75 minute drive west of Collingwood, just past Owen Sound.
Lying on the beach is just one of the great summer activities but if you get a bit more ambitious here’s more to do for a great family vacation.