Long Beach, Vancouver Island, B.C.
Long Beach is the longest sandy beach on Vancouver Island. In Pacific Rim National Park Reserve between Tofino and Ucluelet, it’s 16.6 km of pristine sand washed by a cool pounding surf. Look for joggers, kayakers, sea lions and sun worshipers, with backdrop of rainforest and mountains. There’s a summertime Tofino Beach Bus, and if you’re an inexperienced surfer, you can get lessons. Twenty thousand grey whales migrate up this coast each spring and summer – tours operate from Tofino and Ucluelet.
Grand Beach, Manitoba
An hour north of Winnipeg on the shore of Lake Winnipeg (Canada’s sixth largest lake) is Grand Beach, an enticing 3 km of fine white sand with dunes that can tower 12 metres. Part of Grand Beach Provincial Park, there’s volleyball, kite boarding, and a boardwalk where teens like to see and be seen. For bird watchers, the beach is a sanctuary for the rare, endangered Piping Plover. In June 2012 this beach received the internationally-recognized Blue Flag designation for ‘extraordinary and safe beaches’.
Grand Bend, Ontario
Thirty miles of beautiful beaches along this Lake Huron coast are equaled only by the spectacular sunsets. ‘The Bend’, just 45 minutes from London, has been attracting tourists since the 1800’s. Young sun worshippers strut their stuff on the beach at the foot of Main Street, while families looking for a quieter environment often gravitate to the beach south of the river mouth. Busy bars, fast food, miniature golf, live theatre – it’s fun. The very popular Pinery Provincial Park has 1,000 campsites just south of the village.
Singing Sands, Basin Head Provincial Park, P.E.I.
PEI has more than 800 km of the warmest beaches north of the Carolinas. What makes Basin Head Beach (known as Singing Sands) so special is that it seems to sing, or sqeak, when you walk on it – an intriguing phenomena scientists still don’t completely understand. Located at the eastern tip of P.E.I. near Souris, the supervised beach is in a day use (summer) park that has a play area, food, washroom, shower facilities, and the Basin Head Fisheries Museum.
(Photo: Tourism PEI/John Sylvester)
Havre-Aubert Beach, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec
Enjoy 12 km of sand and The World’s Biggest Sand Castle Contest! Hundreds compete, thousands watch, at this annual event (August 10-12, 2012.) Havre-Aubert Island also has a community of sand artisans with studio, gallery, and craft shop. The Magdalen Islands, spread across 85 km of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, offering 300 km of long sandy beaches. There’s swimming, hiking, kayaking, and robust breezes for windsurfing and kitesurfing. You can reach the islands by plane, by cruise ship from Montreal, or by daily ferry from Souris, P.E.I.
Martinique Beach, N.S.
Just an hour from Halifax is longest beach in Nova Scotia. With summer supervised waters, 3.7 km of golden sands, and excellent surf conditions, it’s a magnet for beachcombers, surfers, paddle boarders, swimmers and picnickers. There are change houses, outhouses, BBQ pits, and tables. Martinique Beach Provincial Park, with its dunes and white spruce forest, is also an important refuge for migratory waterfowl, and habitat for the endangered piping plover (less than 50 pairs breed in the province).
Bennett Beach, Yukon
On the well-travelled 180 km route between Skagway Alaska and Whitehorse YK is a beautiful 2 km soft white sand beach with a spectacular panoramic snow-capped mountain backdrop. Bennett Beach is in the historic village of Carcross, home to some of the oldest buildings in the Yukon. Just 2 km away you can visit Carcross Desert, which Guinness World Records has recognized as the ‘World’s Smallest Desert’.
Wasaga Beach, Ontario
Wasaga’s 14 km of soft white sand on the southern coast Georgian Bay is the world’s longest freshwater beach. Read a book, build a sandcastle, shop, enjoy the midway, or get out and jet ski, hike, bike, etc. Wasaga Beach Provincial Park has eight beach areas, two have playground areas and all have washrooms, changing facilities, picnic tables, parkland and parking. Two million people make their way here each year for Beachfest, Kitefest and classic car shows, many of them young and spirited.
Parlee Beach, New Brunswick
New Brunswick has more than 50 beaches – the most popular is at Parlee Beach Provincial Park, Shediac. On hot summer weekend days 16,000 will make their way here to enjoy the white sand, warm water, supervised swimming, volleyball, touch football. Mondays & Wednesdays at 8:00 am there’s yoga on the beach for all ages. The park has 190 campsites. For a beach break visit the World’s Largest Lobster Sculpture in Shediac, a giant bronze sculpture kids love to climb.
(Photo: Stephen Downes/Flickr)
Manitou Beach, Saskatchewan
100 km southeast of Saskatoon is curious Little Manitou Lake, which a century ago rivaled Jasper and Banff for tourists. The salty water is so buoyant you can lie back in it and read a book. There are three beaches with showers and washrooms, and a children’s playground. The Manitou Beach Village has a mineral spa and resort, and there’s camping and golf in the area. For evenings there’s a drive-in movie theatre, and the Danceland dance hall, with a floor built on horsehair that seems to float.