A woman stands outside a food station at a beach in Ontario. Right: A woman stands on a boardwalk at a beach in PEI.​

A woman stand outside a food station at a beach in Ontario. Right: A woman stands on a boardwalk at a beach in PEI.

You might think that taking a summer vacation has to involve leaving the country, but not always so. From coast to coast, you'll find beach towns with quaint restaurants, charming boutiques and fun attractions that make for great vacation spots.

Canada is home to so many spots with resort-town vibes and beaches with stunning blue water and golden sand.

Many of these places feel like they could be in Florida or South Carolina rather than right here at home thanks to their blue water and laid-back vibes.

Here are eight beach towns in Canada where you can get that international resort-town feel without leaving the country.

Tofino

Location: B.C.

Why You Need To Go: Tofino is a coastal village on Vancouver Island known for its great waves. It has tons of white sand beaches like Cox Bay and Long Beach, activities like whale watching and surfing and restaurants that exude the relaxed coastal vibe of the village.

Don't miss Tacofino, an iconic taco truck where you can grab a colourful bite to eat before hitting the waves.

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Gimli

Location: Manitoba

Why You Need To Go: Gimli is a resort beach community in Manitoba and a day-trip favourite for locals. Though the area is well known for its Icelandic heritage, its beach area is also quite popular.

At Gimli Beach, you can ride a Sea-Doo, kayak, go on boat tours and even rent colourful water floaties. Like any good beach town, there are also trinket stores and restaurants where you can get delicious seafood, including fried pickerel, a local specialty.

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Lawrencetown

Location: Nova Scotia

Why You Need To Go: You'll find tons of picturesque beaches in the seaside village of Lawrencetown, with the most popular of them being Lawrencetown Beach.

The beach is a great spot to surf, and there are many options for lessons in the area. You can also get a taste of that laid-back East Coast vibe at the quaint restaurants and cafes found here.

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Cavendish

Location: P.E.I

Why You Need To Go: Cavendish Beach, which is said to be the province's best-known beach, is home to huge sand dunes and stunning white-gold sand.

Nearby is the Cavendish Boardwalk, where you can find tons of unique shops offering clothing, souvenirs and more. Be sure to check out Cows Ice Cream, which serves up ice cream made from a recipe that dates back to the time of Anne of Green Gables!

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Pointe-du-Chêne

Location: New Brunswick

Why You Need To Go: Pointe-du-Chêne is home to the popular Parlee Beach, a beach with the warmest salt water in Canada, which also has a Blue Flag designation.

At the beach, you can partake in tons of sports and even a sand sculpture competition. Nearby are the amenities you expect to find in any good beach town, like charming boutiques and restaurants as well as the World's Largest Lobster sculpture.

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Port Dover

Location: Ontario

Why You Need To Go: This beach in Ontario has real palm trees, and you might forget that you actually haven't left the country while lounging in the sun here.

The area has charming resort town vibes, with cute stores, boutiques, cafes and restaurants in downtown Port Dover. While you're there, you might enjoy a meal at the Beach House Restaurant, which has total Miami vibes.

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Wasaga Beach

Location: Ontario

Why You Need To Go: Wasaga Beach is the world's longest freshwater beach, and the area has all the delights of a beachy resort town.

Alongside the stunning beach, you'll find iconic ice cream shops, mini-golf, a market right by the beach with tons of food stands, a strip of stores with summer fashions and beachside restaurants and more.

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Sauble Beach

Location: Ontario

Why You Need To Go: Walking through Sauble Beach will make you feel like you're in a beach town in Florida rather than Ontario.

The beach itself is stunning and it's the second-longest freshwater beach in the world, but the town has so many quirky attractions, cute shops and tasty restaurants to visit that you'll likely need a few days to really take in everything.

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Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

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