On a perfect summer day, the beach is always calling. When the weather man gets the forecast right, our family can’t wait to hit the road and explore a new beach close to home. If you live anywhere in the GTA, you are super close to the greatest beaches in Ontario's Southwest! Many of these beaches, including Rock Point, Long Point, Port Dover, Turkey Point and Port Burwell, are within a quick two and a half hour drive from Toronto.
Three years ago, we were thrilled to discover how spectacular these beaches are. Setting up camp with a view like this is hard to beat and is one of the many reasons my family returns to these beaches year after year:
From the sand dunes and sunsets at the Pinery, to the campsites on the beach and sandbars at Long Point, these two beaches have become our favorites. Check out the photos below — can you tell if these are beaches located in the tropics or one located on the shore of Lake Erie and Lake Huron? Lucky for all of us, they are right here in Ontario.
The top of our priority list when choosing a beach is its proximity to the GTA. We would much rather sit on the beach than in highway traffic for hours heading to a distant destination when we have such natural beauty right in our own backyard! The beaches in Ontario's Southwest aren't crowded, and they stretch along the shoreline for miles — plus they boast the softest and whitest sand — important to kids when it comes to sand castle building!
Here's why we love our two favourites, Long Point and the Pinery so much:
Long Point boasts over 2km of warm sandy beaches, is home to a 40km long sandspit, and 253 campsites, as well as being one of North America's top bird watching destinations with over 300 different species of migrating songbirds. Our favorite campsite in Ontario is the one that overlooks the beach at Long Point and you can bet we've already made our reservation for this summer.
My kids love Long Point for the windy days when they can spend hours on their boogie board in the waves. The shallow sandbars is a favourite for them. They play Frisbee and do cartwheels here and the ice cream shop is just steps away from the main beach and our campsite. Adults will love walking and running along this beach and admiring the beach houses and various sandbars. When we visit Long Point, we always reserve a campsite right on the beach's edge.
Another favourite beach is Lake Huron's Pinery. At the Pinery, you will find miles of sand dunes to explore, 10 km of sandy beach, and an impressive 1000 campsites! Here, you can also take in one of the most gorgeous sunsets you will find anywhere in the world. As a runner, the Pinery remains my favorite campground for getting in a long run as the hiking trails seem endless and offer beautiful forest views.
The kids love the miles of sand dunes on the way to the beach and exploring the many paths along the way. If you have energy left after a full day of swimming in the crystal clear water, you may want to do a few cartwheels to celebrate the end of a perfect summer day!
There is nothing better than a summer day at the beach...except when it's a summer day spent with your family and the beach is close to home.
Explore what Ontario's Southwest beaches have to offer and I am sure you will fall in love with them as we have. See you at the beach!
This summer, instead of getting steamed up in cottage country traffic, chill out on some of the province's best beaches in Ontario's Southwest.
Don’t miss out on the “Best Beach Adventure” contest. One lucky family will enjoy a four-day beach adventure for four on Lake Erie, featuring amazing outdoor adventures—a prize valued at $2,500!
Check out more great stories and information about beaches in Ontario’s Southwest:
There are very few activities our family won’t try at least once. If it looks remotely dirty, crazy, or messy, you can be sure the kids want to sign up.
We recently completed our first Colour Me Rad 5KM and not only did we love it, we are certain you will too!
So what are all these colour runs about and do you actually need to be a runner to have fun at one?
What is a Colour Run?
It's a 5km event that has a warm up dance party at the start line, lots of colour packs fill the air to get you coloured and colour stations along the 5km route get you even more coloured! Then there is usually a wrap up party after the finish with, you guessed it, more colour!
What is the colour made of?
The colour is made from cornstarch and is powdery so it gets everywhere in the air, your clothes, your skin, your hair and brushes off . . . if you want it to. The event we did had new coloured gel – it was cold and wet and coming at us from a giant super soaker water gun. The kids loved that part!
Do I have to be a runner to join in?
Nope. Turns out you really don’t need to run in a colour run – walking is perfectly acceptable and actually is all you can do at times due to the volume of people all jammed up getting coloured!
Can kids do a colour run?
Yes absolutely. There is very little running required and many events offered kids registration for free under a certain age. We saw a few kids on their scooters on the 5km course and loving every colourful minute of it.
Can pets do a colour run?
No. We love our active puppy and she loves a good 5km run but the colour events are not pet friendly.
Are these events timed?
These events are not timed. You take all the time you like to cover the 5km course and have the best time along the way. The event runs over several hours and you can finish when ever you want.
Will the colours stain my clothes?
The gel colour doesn’t exactly brush off. Doesn’t really wash all off of pure white clothes that well either, but our shirts looked more awesome after the run and a wash with just a hint of colour still left in our tops. If you avoid the gel colour water guns, the rest of the cornstarch colour will wash out.
Do I have to wear white?
You can wear what ever you like to a colour run but the before and after photos will look way more awesome if you start out white and end up a huge colourful mess! We even saw a few wedding dresses at our event, because . . .white!
Do I have to get all coloured?
You don't have to, but you will get into it, I promise! The colour stations are every km or so along the 5KM route and consist of volunteers on both sides of the path throwing handfuls of coloured cornstarch at you or aiming super soakers with coloured gel. Their mission is to get you as coloured as you want to get. If you want to remain white (good luck) you can steer clear of the colour bombers and soakers.
Will the colour stay in my hair?
The powder is made of colored cornstarch and is designed to be 100% washable. Organizers say if you have light-colored hair, or if it's a rainy day during your event you may want to add leave-in conditioner to your hair before the event. I have 3 blonde daughters and they put TONS of colour in their hair (on purpose) and it all washed out just fine.
Why does everyone have sunglasses on?
Sunglass are recommended – so you can see through the shower of colour. Color Me Rad sold some cool mirrored sunglasses at registration and on the day of the event. Made our photos look great and really protected our eyes during the event as there was coloured powder everywhere.
Do you breath in all the colours?
A lot of participants wore a buff or bandana to cover their mouths to avoid inhaling all the colour. I didn't have an issue but the kids did use theirs a few times so a buff is a great idea for the kids.
Do you have to wear a tutu?
No, but look how cute they are! We made our own tutus with ribbon and a spool of tulle from the dollar store by cutting and tying strips of tulle around the ribbon. My husband still regrets not wearing one. OK, maybe he doesn't. #partypooper
What is a wave time?
Lots of people show up at various times during a colour run so the party and the run start times are ongoing for hours. Your assigned wave time is a loose indication of when you will gather near the starting line and event organizers will let batches of 100 or so through at a time. You might be too busy dancing to notice if you were supposed to start yet or not. The pre and post party are the fun parts so make sure you don’t miss those!
Why is there a party?
The pre-party is the BOMB - literally. Colour will be flying. MC's, party organizers, musicians, and dancers will all throw colour bombs or packets into the crowd with the sole purpose of having fun and getting you coloured, before the event even starts. A colour bomb is a small bag of coloured cornstarch that you may purchased ahead of time if you just can’t wait to get coloured. There will be many FREE bags of colour packets on the race course, at the finish and during the pre and post parties. Get there at least 30 minutes before the start of your wave time for lots of music, fun, dancing, and lots of colour.
Should I bring anything to a colour run?
Bring water. The water stations are packed, the air is full of coloured powder , the party goes on for awhile and you WILL get thirsty. Bring a camera - the conrstarch will not hurt it, but you might have to wipe off the lens a few times.
Would we do another colour run?
After our crazy experience at the Color Me Rad 5K, would we do it again or try a different colour run? The kids say ABSOLUTELY and I am positive we will. There is even talk of organizing next year's school run club to do a colour run.
Check out what is in your area and let me know if this becomes your families favorite 5KM.
Color Me Rad - BIGGER, BADDER, RADDER
The Color Run - The Happiest 5K on the Planet
Run or Dye - Worlds Most Colorful 5KM