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With the world’s longest freshwater beach, running along the southern shore of Ontario’s Georgian Bay, Wasaga Beach draws visitors looking for sun and sand in the summer. In the winter, downhill and Nordic skiing opportunities bring in cold-weather-sports enthusiasts. Located inside the Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, the town’s famously long stretch of sandy beach area faces west, positioning it for incredible sunset watching and offering panoramic views of the Niagara Escarpment.
The drive from Pearson International Airport (YYZ) in Toronto takes only about 1.5 hours, making it a quick jaunt from the major hub, which is served by most major airlines and including flights from all over the world and Canada. Rental car facilities at the airport make it easy to head straight out, but even when seasonal buses don’t serve Wasaga Beach, they travel to nearby towns, which connect to Wasaga by public transportation. Once you’re in Wasaga, it’s possible to enjoy the beach and town without a car, though it hampers chances to enjoy the further away outdoor activities, including ski resorts.
Visitors looking for good skiing opportunities pay the price in the freezing cold, windy winters of Wasaga Beach. But summers bring comfortable weather, with some clouds and extremely moderate temperatures. The average summer high peaks at around 75 degrees Fahrenheit in July, falling by mid-September. Summer nights stay mild, with the average low staying around 60 degrees in July. The area sees typical winter weather, sinking to the low teens. Combine that with the wind gusts that can come in off the bay, and it adds up to the need to bring many warm layers for a winter vacation to Wasaga Beach.
While downhill enthusiasts head to big peaks a half hour away from Wasaga Beach, Nordic skiers have easy access to more than 18 miles of groomed trails (and snowshoers can trek through 6 miles of trails) in the forests of the provincial park, where wildlife sightings of white-tailed deer and winter birds are common. Wasaga Nordic & Trail Centre center offers rentals, light refreshments, and a warming center.
The main beach section, known as Beach Areas One and Two, attract the biggest crowds, but one of Wasaga’s best features is the near-infinite room to spread out along the nine-mile stretch of soft sand. Areas Three to Six offer picnic tables and playgrounds, making them more family-friendly, too. All sections boast warm, clean, and shallow water that earned Wasaga Beach a Blue Flag certification for its safety and eco-friendliness.
The preserved wreck of the War of 1812-era British schooner HMS Nancy and other artifacts ― including a 24-pound American cannonball ― sit on display near the Wasaga Beach Welcome Centre. The ship’s sunken hull helped encourage the formation of the island on which its museum now sits by impeding the flow of sand and silt from the Nottawasaga River.