Sault Ste. Marie has some of the best sandy beaches in Ontario. Our beaches are incredible! All around our city you’ll find perfectly beautiful, long sandy beaches with crystal clear water that are perfect for a swim, a play in the sand or just to relax and soak up the sun. Great beaches are just one reason Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect place for a summer vacation.
Check out this list of 6 of the best sandy beaches in Ontario, all just a short drive from Sault Ste. Marie. And check out our Summer in the Soo video too!
A leisurely 45 minute drive north on the Trans-Canada Highway along the stunning Lake Superior coast is Pancake Bay Provincial Park Beach – one of the best sandy beaches in Ontario.
This beautiful area is known for its more than 3 km of golden sand beach and crystal clear, Caribbean blue water. The Edmund Fitzgerald Lookout hiking trail gives an incredible panoramic view of the lake if you are looking for some exercise before relaxing on the sand.
The Park is one of the area’s most popular camping destinations with excellent and comprehensive facilities.
Just south of Pancake Bay lies lies Batchawana Bay Provincial Park, another great Ontario beach on Lake Superior. Batchewana Bay’s sun-soaked, 5 km beach is the perfect place to spend a summer’s day with the family. The water here is shallow, warm and perfect for swimming! Facilities include picnic tables and bathrooms.
Passes for this day-use provincial park can be made online or at the visitor center located on Highway 17.
To complete the day visit Agawa Crafts and the Canadian Carver and eat at the Voyageurs Lodge and Cookhouse
At the southern end of Lake Superior Provincial Park lies Agawa Bay Beach, a stunning 3km long sandy beach. The water at Agawa Bay can be a little chillier than the more sheltered beaches further south, even at the height of the summer, but this doesn’t impact the natural beauty of shore where stunning hills and cliffs of the Canadian Shield frame the beach on either end.
There are plenty of options for recreational water activities be it paddling, body surfing or swimming. There is also a fantastic visitor centre, featuring stories from Lake Superior and information on local wildlife. Just to north of the Bay is the Agawa Rock Pictographs, one of the most famous Indigenous pictograph sites in Canada.
Agawa Bay is part of Lake Superior Provincial Park, which is one of the largest provincial parks in Ontario. The park boundaries extend north all the way to Wawa, bisected by the Trans Canada Highway. Agawa Bay also has a fully equipped campsite, in case you want to extend your stay. If a daytrip suits you better, then a beautiful 90 minute trip up the Superior coast is a great way to beat the crowds and explore the beauty of Northern Ontario.
Harmony Beach in Haviland Bay is the first beach you will encounter when travelling north on the Trans Canada Highway along the Superior coast from Sault Ste. Marie. This public beach is a local’s favourite, only a half-hour drive from Sault Ste. Marie and featuring 3.2 km of stunning sand and great swimming.
It’s also close to the Haviland Bay Voyageur Trail with stunning views that look out over the lake. So after your hike, take a swim!
Pointe des Chênes is a family-friendly sandy beach in Sault Ste. Marie city limits. This slice of paradise is only a short drive from downtown. It’s the perfect spot for building sandcastles and swimming. Located on Lake Superior at the mouth of the St. Marys River, this great Ontario beach is also an awesome spot to watch the big Great Lakes ships go by.
Peaceful St. Joseph island lies just to the east of Sault Ste. Marie on Lake Huron’s North Channel, off of the Trans Canada Highway. It’s a must-see for visitors, featuring many great Ontario sand beaches. The communities of Hilton Beach and Richards Landing have marinas for boaters, as well as restaurants and shops making it a perfect day trip. Best of all, the island’s wonderful beaches are uncrowded and pristine.
Hilton Beach is home to Forbes Beach and Community Park. This sandy beach features numerous picnic tables, a buoyed swimming area and a raft that swimmers can jump off. Public washrooms, change rooms and playground equipment make this a pleasant destination for an afternoon getaway. The Hilton Beach boardwalk connects the beach to the picturesque marina.
The community of Richards Landing is located on the west side of St. Joseph Island. Women’s Institute Park has a sandy public beach, safe swimming, playground equipment, picnic pavilions and a tennis court. The area is also home to amazing mountain biking and road cycling. Rentals are available at the Richards Landing Marina for those wishing to explore the numerous groomed trails and natural beauty of the island’s forests.
We are crossing Canada this summer and we had to include Sault Ste. Marie in our itinerary. We were impressed with the city when we visited Northern Ontario last year (see details here). But this time we decided to do something different: we explored the beaches around the city. Sault Ste. Marie is a super green city and full of parks and beautiful beaches around it, so this time we decided to visit some of these places and in this post. I will bring a list of 3 beaches that we visited in the region and that we recommend for everyone.
I think it’s important to highlight that not all the beaches you visit here in Canada are the way we are used to in Brazil: with sand, shallow water and easy access. Some beaches have rocks instead of sand (i.e. it is very difficult to walk), others have very rough water and some have difficult access… Some of those beaches are not suitable for families with children. The 3 beaches we visited in Sault Ste. Marie are family friendly, so it’s worth highlighting this here before writing about them below.
Harmony Beach is located in the Haviland Bay, and is the first beach you will come across when traveling north from Sault Ste. Marie via the Trans Canada Highway along the shore of Lake Superior. This public beach is the favorite of people that live in the region (and was crowded when visited). The place is just a half hour drive from Sault Ste. Marie, so if you’re in town and want to get a taste of Lake Superior beaches this might be an option. The beach has 3.2 km of sand and is considered a great place for swimming.
This provincial park is a day use park only, which means it does not have camping sites and you cannot spend the night there (click here for more details). Even so, it is VERY worth the visit, being only 50 minutes north of Sault Ste Marie. The park has several picnic tables on the beach and also restrooms, so I liked the fact that it had this structure (which helps a lot when visiting with children) but looks very remote. The sandy beach is 5km long and the water in this bay is shallow, which makes it warmer.
This provincial park is just 1 hour north of Sault Ste Marie and 10 minutes from Batchawana Bay Provincial Park (the drive is beautiful so you won’t even notice that 1 hour go by). This park is super popular with its 3km beach, a beautiful 3.5km trail (Edmund Fitzgerald Lookout hiking trail where you can have a panoramic view of the entire region), the super blue Caribbean style water and 476 campsites. By the way, the camping sites are close to the beach so if you camp this would be a very special place to spend the weekend. Click here to learn more about the location.
The beaches are just one stop of many on the beautiful Lake Superior coastal drive.
The Edmund Fitzgerald Lookout Trail in Pancake Bay Provincial Park offers a beautiful view across a luscious maple forest all the way to the big lake. You may also see the final resting place of the Edmund Fitzgerald ship.
A little further north of Pancake Bay is the Lake Superior Provincial Park, which includes the Agawa Bay visitor centre. Read all about this area here!
Beautiful souvenirs and ice-cream treats are available at Agawa Crafts and the Canadian Carver further south and The Voyageur Lodge also has some great souvenirs and food options. Chippewa Falls, the famed halfway point on the trans-Canada highway is a great spot for a break. The falls are right beside parking lot, just off the highway. Check out another Group of Seven art easel while you are there.
I hope you enjoyed this post and if you can, visit this region of Ontario: beautiful and relatively close to Toronto. For more information about Sault Ste Marie visit the Sault Ste. Marie Tourism website.