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While planning a trip to Canada, heading to the beach may be the last thing you'd think to put on your itinerary. But, with more than 16,000 miles of coastline along the North Pacific, Arctic, and North Atlantic oceans, Canada has something for everyone—from white sand beaches to rock-covered shorelines and surfing breaks. Here are seven beaches to build a sandcastle at next time you visit Canada.
Long Beach, British Columbia
With nearly 10 miles of coastline, Long Beach, located between the towns of Ucluelet and Tofino, is a paradise for active people. The immense stretch of sand makes it the perfect spot for a stroll along the shore, and it’s near-perfect swell means surfers can catch wave after wave. And kayakers who take to the water may even run into a seal or two on their trip. But, if visitors ever get sick of the sand they could always turn around and explore the Pacific Rim National Park, which borders the beach. In Long Beach, book a stay at the Wickaninnish Inn, a five-star resort located directly on the shoreline.
Grand Beach, Manitoba
Along Lake Winnipeg—Canada’s sixth-largest lake—sits Grand Beach. The sand itself is made from soft white silica, while the dunes protecting the shore reach heights of nearly 40 feet. Because of the calm waters on the lake, the beach is the perfect spot to relax for families or try sailing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and more. And, for bird watchers, there’s an added bonus: the beach is home to some endangered piping plovers, so make sure to bring your binoculars to catch a glimpse. As for housing, the best thing to do at Grand Beach is camp, though there are cabins available upon request from the Manitoba Park Services.
Wasaga Beach, Ontario
Those on the hunt for soft, fluffy white sand need not look any further than Wasaga Beach in Ontario. And, those who do visit, can check a rarity off their travel bucket list as Wasaga Beach is also the world’s longest freshwater beach. The area is a perfect one for a family getaway, as there are plenty of amenities for kids to enjoy including playgrounds, picnic areas, and its annual Kitefest.
Though there are plenty of adorable hotels in town, go for something with a bit more character for your accommodation, like this one-bedroom “karma cabin” rental on Airbnb instead. Built from a repurposed barn, this adorable cabin comes with everything a traveler would need, including a vintage soaking tub to relax in after a long day at the beach.
Ingonish Beach, Nova Scotia
On the Ingonish Cape in Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, travelers can explore six stunning beaches with both salt and freshwater bodies of water. There, surfers will be delighted by the large swell that rolls in, and hikers will be more than pleased with the area’s expansive trails, as it’s also home to Cape Breton Highlands National Park. While in town, book a stay at the Castle Rock Country Inn, a four-star boutique hotel overlooking the water.
Parlee Beach, New Brunswick
There’s nowhere better to see and be seen than at Parlee Beach in New Brunswick. The popular destination sees 16,000 visitors a day during the height of the summer season, and it’s easy to see why. It’s gorgeous coastline, and its jam-packed social schedule—which includes fitness classes, volleyball games, sand castle competitions, and more—means there’s truly something for everyone. At Parlee Beach, stay at the Hotel Shediac, which is chock-full of its own events worth checking out.
Thunder Cove Beach, Prince Edward Island
For a more off-the-beaten-path beach excursion, head to Thunder Cove Beach in Prince Edward Island. There, visitors will find plenty of breathtaking scenery with nary a tourist in sight. The beach is lined with sandstone cliffs that have been shaped by the elements over time. This is also the perfect space to bring your four-legged best friend, as dogs are permitted off-leash. But, it may not make the most child-friendly atmosphere as the beach is also unsupervised. Complete this charming trip by spending a night at The Little Shemogue Inn, which was originally built in the mid-19th century and still maintains plenty of its original charms.