9 Blue Flag Beaches In Canada Where You Can Take A Dip In Crystal Clear, Clean Water

There are so many beautiful spots!

Canatara Beach in Ontario. Right: A woman looks out over Bluffer's Park in Toronto.

Canatara Beach in Ontario. Right: A woman looks out over Bluffer's Park in Toronto.

Time to hit the beach! Canada is home to so many gorgeous beaches, but some, it turns out, are just a cut above the rest.

Several beaches in Canada have been designated as Blue Flag beaches for 2023, meaning their water quality and health and safety standards meet strict criteria.

According to Swim Drink Fish, which works closely with Blue Flag International, Blue Flag beaches meet 33 criteria across four categories: environmental education and information; water quality; environmental management; and safety and services.

But it's not just cleanliness and safety that the status looks for — it also ensures that the beaches "provide the facilities and services that tourists are looking for around the world."

This year, 20 beaches in Canada were given Blue Flag status, with many located in Ontario. Here's a look at some that you may want to check out this summer.

Plage des Cantons

Price: Free to visit

Address: Chemin de la Plage-Des-Cantons, Magog, QC

Why You Need To Go: Plages des Cantons, aka the Townships Beach, can be found in Magog, Quebec, on the shores of Lake Memphremagog.

The beach is accessible by foot, by car, or on a bike, and has lifeguards on duty for the entire swimming season (late June to early September) according to Swim Drink Fish.

The beach makes for a great day trip, located just 1 hour and 30 minutes from Montreal and about 2 hours and 30 minutes from Quebec City.

There are picnic tables, so feel free to bring your lunch. However, there's also a food stand and restaurant on site where you can grab something to eat.

Plages des Cantons website

Hanlan's Point Beach

Price: Free to visit

Address: 9 Queens Quay W., Toronto, ON

Why You Need To Go: Hanlan's Point Beach is a clothing-optional beach that's one of only two official nude beaches in Canada.

Here, you can go as nude as you like, with sunbathers opting to go topless, bottomless, or au naturel.

It's a unique spot that many might not know exists right here in the city. And nudity aside, the beach offers a clean shore, soft sand and beautiful views.

The beach can be easily accessed by ferry or water taxi from Toronto's harbourfront. If going nude isn't your thing, there's also a clothing-mandatory side of the beach.

If you're into spooks, you can visit the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse nearby, which is said to be one of Toronto's most haunted places.

Hanlan's Point Beach website

Grand Bend Beach

Price: Free to visit

Address: 90 Main St. W., Grand Bend, ON

Why You Need To Go: It's not Miami — this beach is, in fact, located in Canada.

In Ontario, you'll find Grand Bend, a beach with turquoise blue water that makes for a great summer destination.

Located just under three hours from Toronto on Lake Huron, the beach boasts about 20 acres of shoreline, and the surrounding area gives off classic beach town vibes, in addition to some lively nightlife.

On the beach, you can find water skiing, tubing, parasailing, and skydiving. Or, if you'd rather stay on land, the area also has multiple hiking and biking trails where you can take in the incredible scenery.

Grand Bend Beach website

Parlee Beach

Price: $17.39 per vehicle

Address: 45 Parlee Beach Rd., Pointe-du-Chêne, NB

Why You Need To Go: Parlee Beach has been called one of North America's finest beaches thanks to its white sand and surprisingly warm water.

In fact, the beach waters are the warmest north of Virginia and warmer than anywhere else in Canada. According to Tourism New Brunswick, they can get as warm as 29 C, which is a tropical temperature.

The beach is part of Parlee Provincial Park, which also has a campground with over 210 campsites. Nearby, you'll find shopping centres and boutiques, marinas, restaurants, and the World’s Largest Lobster sculpture.

Parlee Beach website

Woodbine Beach

Price: Free to visit

Address: 1675 Lake Shore Blvd. E., Toronto, ON

Why You Need To Go: This surprisingly nice beach in Toronto is definitely worth a visit this summer.

Located in the Beaches neighbourhood of the city, the 3-kilometre beach is a popular spot for sunbathing, with locals and tourists alike flocking to the beach's soft shores, but it's also a great place to take a refreshing dip.

The beach is located on the water of Lake Ontario, but don't let that scare you — the water is sampled daily from June 1 to September 15, according to Swim Drink Fish.

The beach features a large boardwalk where you can find washrooms and places to grab a bite. There are also tons of volleyball nets, so bring your friends and your A-game!

Accessibility: Beach wheelchairs available to rent.

Woodbine Beach website

Bluffer's Beach

Price: Free to visit

Address: 1 Brimley Rd. S., Toronto, ON

Why You Need To Go: Named for the Scarborough Bluffs, Bluffer's Beach is a hidden gem that can be found at the base of the iconic escarpment.

The beach is like a little slice of paradise in Toronto, with bright sandy shores and clear water that turns aquamarine on sunny days.

Here, you can relax on the beach or hike to the bluffs for gorgeous views of the lake.

Bluffer's Park in which the beach is located also features picnic areas, volleyball courts, lookouts, a bike trail and a boat launch.

Bluffer's Beach website

Canatara Park Beach

Price: Free to visit

Address: 1200 Lake Chipican Dr., Sarnia ON

Why You Need To Go: Canatara Beach is a sandy beach located in Canatara Park in Sarnia, Ontario.

Set on the shores of Lake Huron, the beach delivers that bright, turquoise-blue water that other beaches on the lake offer.

The beach is perfect for families, with playgrounds, an animal farm and even a BMX bike track located in the park.

For those into watersports, there's a wakeboard park on site. If you're not into water activities, though, there are also tons of trails in the park and many opportunities for birdwatching.

Accessibility: Wheelchair/stroller accessible.

Canatara Park Beach website

Aboiteau Beach

Price: $7 per vehicle, free walk-ins

Address: 150 allée du Parc, Cap-Pelé, NB

Why You Need To Go: Aboiteau Beach is another New Brunswick beach offering very warm seawater.

Located on the province's Acadian Coast, the shallow body of water that the beach sits on heats up quickly in the summer, reaching temperatures of up to 29 C.

The beach is perfect for families or those looking for a quieter environment for relaxing. Besides swimming in the warm, salty water or sunbathing on the soft sand, you can also check out the natural sand dunes that can be found on the beach.

After, if you've worked up an appetite, you can enjoy some classic East Coast fare like fish, seafood and poutine at the nearby À La Dune restaurant.

Accessibility: Wheelchair/stroller accessible. Other accessibility services available.

Aboiteau Beach website

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

Katherine Caspersz
Katherine Caspersz is a Creator for Narcity Media focused on evergreen travel and things to do, and is based in the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario.