Ontario’s Blue Coast Beaches

Visit Cantara Beach and Grand Bend Beach — two renowned summer spots along Ontario, Canada’s Lake Huron shoreline. 

Grand Bend Beach in Grand Bend, Ontario (photo courtesy of Tourism Sarnia-Lambton)

More than 180 miles of wide, sandy shores meet crystal-clear blue water just across the Canadian border in Lambton County, Ontario. Cantara Beach, which is located about 60 miles north of Detroit, and Grand Bend Beach, about 70 miles further northeast along the Lake Huron shoreline, are two of Canada’s 27 Blue Flag beaches — noted for their commitment to conservation, education and accessibility — and make up what is known as Ontario’s Blue Coast. 

The Denmark-based Foundation for Environmental Education awards the Blue Flag designation to beaches, marinas and tourism boats around the world. Beaches that receive the honor must adhere to and maintain strict criteria that ensure cleanliness, safety and a healthy relationship between visitors and the natural ecosystem. 

Cantara Beach in Sarnia has been a Blue Flag beach since 2014. In addition to its inviting sandy beach, Cantara Park also offers rentable picnic pavilions, a concert stage near the water, a BMX and bike track, and many paved and unpaved trails for hikers to enjoy. Rubber mat walkways make the beach more accessible to people who use wheelchairs or parents with strollers, and accessible chairs for beach access are also available. 

Grand Bend Beach, located in the town of Grand Bend, has been a Blue Flag beach since 2008. Its balance of natural scenery and easy access to local shops and eateries along the boardwalk make it a summertime favorite. Add incredible sunsets lauded by National Geographic and the availability of experiences like parasailing and those offered at Xtreme Watersports (choose from options ranging from Jet Skis to water jet pack rentals) and travelers are sure to find options to match their level of adventure. Cantara Beach, 1200 Lake Chipican Dr., Sarnia, Ontario N7V C31; Grand Bend Beach, 90 Main St. W., Grand Bend, Ontario N0M 1T0, ontbluecoast.com