5 family-friendly beaches in Toronto and the GTA

Whether you're looking for a day of fun or a weekend away, these beaches in Toronto and the GTA offer the perfect family oasis.

By Ashley Metzger

Wasaga Beach Photo: Wasaga Beach Photo:

1. Bluffer’s Park Beach This glorious beach is close to Scarborough, on the east side of Toronto. There's lots of sand at Bluffer's Park, so bring shovels and pails for a day of digging! The soft sand extends into the water, so your tiny tot won't hurt her feet on rough rocks. You can feel secure bringing your kids here because there is supervision on the beach from open till close. They also have change rooms and washrooms throughout the beach. When the kids get hungry, there are many restaurants nearby and picnic tables on the beach if you brought a basket lunch. If the kids scream for ice cream, you can head over to the snack bar.

Go play: 1 Brimley Rd. S., Toronto 416-266-4556>

2. Centre Island Who's ready for a ferry ride? Half the fun of Centre Island is taking the ferry to get there. The beach is just a short walk from the docks. There are two beaches on the south side of the island that are supervised during July and August. After building a sand castle, kids can trek into the water for some splishing and splashing. This is a great beach for young kids thanks to the rock breakwater, which prevents kids from swimming out too deep and also prevents waves from getting in, so your little one can blow bubbles in the calm, shallow water.  Just make sure to steer clear of the beach on Hanlan’s Point—it's clothing optional! The island has many restaurants, including a delicious pizza shop. Washrooms are dispersed around the beach and so are water fountains, making it easy to refill water bottles. As an added bonus, they have five wading pools for those little fishies who are still learning to blow bubbles.

Go play: Toronto Islands, Toronto 416-203-0405>

3. Kew-Balmy Beach Right off of Queen Street East, this beach goes great with a day of downtown fun. You can push your toddlers in a stroller while walking along Queen Street, stop for a bite to eat and then head to the beach to play in the sand and swim in the lake. The beach is a bit rocky, so water shoes are a good idea. If you have a canoe or kayak, this is a great place to bring your boat so the kids can practise paddling. Don't forget to bring Spot too! There's a great off-leash park for dogs, so the whole family can have a day of beach fun. A concession stand and snack bar are on site for all those hungry little swimmers.

Go play: 2075 Queen St. E., Toronto 416-691-9962>

4. Sunnyside Beach There's so much to do at Sunnyside Beach. Spend the morning at the beach, where the kids can dig for buried treasure in the sand and practise their back float in the water. Make sure to bring water shoes because the beach is quite rocky. For lunch, pack a picnic and enjoy it on the grass, or visit one of the many restaurants, including an awesome hamburger and hot dog stand. Now it's time for rollerblading. Or biking. Or canoeing. Your kid will have her pick of fun activities to try.

Go play: 1755 Lakeshore Blvd. W., Toronto>

5. Wasaga Beach Spend the weekend at the longest freshwater beach in the world! Wasaga Beach has 14 kilometres of beautiful sandy beach for your little ones to explore. There are actually six separate beaches (named Beach 1, 2, 3, and so on), each with its own parking lot. After swimming, your kids can try biking, canoeing, boating or fishing. Boardwalks line the majority of the sand-covered beaches, with lots of restaurants and stores. With washrooms throughout the expanse of sand and change rooms available, this beach is not only beautiful, it’s also accessible. Don’t worry if you forget to pack a lunch, there are lots of restaurants and snack bars along the boardwalk.

Go play: 11-22nd St. N., Wasaga Beach 705-429-2516>

This article was originally published on Jun 23, 2015