You might think that taking a summer vacation must involve leaving the country, but not always. From coast to coast, you’ll find beach towns with quaint restaurants, charming shops and fun attractions that make great vacation spots.
Canada is home to so many places with a resort vibe 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 here at home thanks to their blue water and laid-back vibe.
Here are eight beach towns in Canada where you can feel like an international beach resort without leaving the country.
Why you need to go: Tofino is a coastal town on Vancouver Island known for its big 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 Tacofinoan iconic taco truck where you can grab a colorful bite before hitting the waves.
Why you need to go: Gimli is a resort town in Manitoba and a favorite day trip for locals. Although the area is well known for its Icelandic heritage, its beach is also very popular.
At Gimli Beach, you can Sea-Doo, kayak, take boat tours, and even rent colorful buoys. Like any good beach town, there are also trinket shops and restaurants where you can get delicious seafood, including fried pickerel, a local specialty.
Location: Nova Scotia
Why you need to go: You’ll find tons of scenic beaches in the seaside village of Lawrencetown, the most popular of them being Lawrencetown Beach.
The beach is a great place to surf and there are plenty of lesson options in the area. You can also get a taste of that laid-back East Coast vibe at the quaint restaurants and cafes you’ll find here.
Why you need to go: Said to be the most famous beach in the province, Cavendish Beach is home to towering sand dunes and beautiful white-gold sand.
Nearby is the Cavendish Boardwalk, where you’ll find tons of unique shops featuring clothing, souvenirs, and more. Be sure to check cow ice creamwhich serves ice cream made from a recipe that dates back to the days of Anne…the House of Green Gables!
Location: New Brunswick
Why you need to go: Pointe-du-Chêne is home to popular Parlee Beach, a beach with the warmest salt water in Canada, which also has a Blue Flag designation.
At the beach, you can participate in tons of sports and even a sand sculpting contest. Nearby are the amenities you’d expect to find in any good beach town, such as charming shops and restaurants as well as the world’s largest lobster sculpture.
Why you need to go: This Ontario beach has real palm trees, and you might forget you haven’t left the country basking in the sun here.
The area has a charming seaside resort vibe, with lovely shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants in Port Dover town centre. While you’re there, you can enjoy a meal at the Beach House Restaurant, which has a total Miami vibe.
Why you need to go: Wasaga Beach is the longest freshwater beach in the world, and the area offers all the pleasures of a resort.
Next to the magnificent beach you will find emblematic ice cream parlours, mini-golf, a market right by the beach with tons of food stalls, a strip of shops with summer clothes and beach side restaurants and more.
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 delicious restaurants to visit it’ll probably take you a few days to really enjoy it all.
Before you go, check out our Guide to Responsible Travel to be informed, be safe, be smart, and most importantly, be respectful on your adventure.