I was fortunate to have a beach as my backyard while growing up in Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood. I used to hang out at the beach, swim at the outdoor pool, and ride my bike along the Martin Goodman Trail.
When my children were younger, I took them to the splash pad and playground, indulged in ice cream cones, built sand castles, and swam in the lake. Today, I enjoy strolling along the Boardwalk, watching beach volleyball, and admiring the impressive Toronto skyline.
Visitors can refer to this guide to discover the best activities and attractions to enjoy at Woodbine Beach in Toronto, including recommendations on what to do at Woodbine Beach based on my recommendations as a local.
And, other than perhaps buying a meal or a snack, all of these activities are free!
Best Things to do at Woodbine Beach Park, Toronto
1. Spend a Day at the Beach
Woodbine Beach is the largest and most popular beach in Toronto. That being said, because of its size, visitors have lots of room to spread out and set up their blankets, umbrellas, and beach chairs.
You won’t feel as crowded at Woodbine Beach as you might at other beaches in Ontario, such as Coburg Beach or Wasaga Beach. So bring your sunscreen, bathing suit, beach toys, and a good book, and plan to spend a relaxing day at this stunning beach located in the city of Toronto!
⭐️ Local Tip: There are not a lot of snack bars or restaurants right on the beach. I recommend packing a picnic with lots of drinks and snacks.
2. Walk the Woodbine Beach Boardwalk
One of the best parts of the beach is the Boardwalk. It stretches 3.5 kilometres from Silver Birch Beach (near Neville Park) all the way to Ashbridges Bay. Taking a stroll or a run along any part of the Boardwalk is highly recommended.
Visitors to Woodbine Beach should also bring their cameras! You will not want to miss the opportunity to capture stunning woodbine beach photos along the picturesque Boardwalk, showcasing the beauty of the shoreline, including some spectacular Toronto sunsets.
⭐️ Local Tip: Keep your dog on a leash.
With bikes, runners, kids, and lots of other dogs, remember for everyone’s safety to keep your dog on a leash unless you are in the off-leash park.
3. Ride Your Bike or Take a Run on the Woodbine Beach Bike Trail
The Woodbine Beach Bike Trail is part of the Martin Goodman Trail. While this is a multi-recreational trail, it’s mostly used by bikers and runners.
The entire Martin Goodman Trail stretches along the Toronto waterfront for approximately 56 kilometres, but a great option is to ride your bike from Ashbridges Bay in the west to the Balmy Beach Canoe Club in the East.
⭐️Local Tip: Don’t walk on the bike trail, instead use the Boardwalk.
Some of those cyclists are fast! Don’t forget to look both ways before you cross the path, too.
4. Explore Ashbridges Bay Park
Ashbridges Bay Park is located at the west end of Woodbine Beach, past the beach volleyball courts. Essentially, it’s the very tip of the area. It’s a beautiful area to walk through, and there are hidden paths to the water with beautiful views of the beach and Toronto skyline.
⭐️ Local Tip: Ashbridges Bay is a fantastic spot to take in a sunset with the Toronto skyline in the background.
5. Swim at the Outdoor Woodbine Pool, Donald D. Summerville Olympic Pool
While the pool was expected to open in stages in 2023 due to renovations, the city recently announced that the pool would remain CLOSED for summer 2023.
Donald D. Summerville Outdoor Olympic Pool is located right at the bottom of Woodbine Ave. and in the heart of Woodbine Beach. The facility includes a 50-metre Olympic-size pool, a 25-metre training pool, and a separate diving pool. The elevated pools were built in 1963 and have had to go under some significant repairs in recent years.
⭐️ Local Tip: Because the pools are elevated, sometimes it can get quite windy up on the pool deck. Be sure to bring your towel and a cover-up, especially on cloudy or windy days.
6. Go Swimming at Woodbine Beach
Woodbine Beach is listed as a Blue Flag Beach. Essentially, that means the beach meets strict water quality and safety criteria. In other words, you can swim in this area of Lake Ontario. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months.
⭐️ Local Tip: Remember, you are swimming in a lake, so the water is cold and the bottom is quite rocky. Swim close to the lifeguards, as lakes can be unpredictable!
7. Play Woodbine Beach Volleyball
Woodbine Beach is a very popular place to play beach volleyball, and there are over 90 courts available in this area. The volleyball courts are available for public use but are also permitted for other users. For example, the Ontario Volleyball Association permits a large number of the volleyball courts and runs the Ashbridges Bay Beach Volleyball adult beach volleyball league.
⭐️ Local Tip: Bring your own volleyball net and arrive early, particularly on the weekends, if you want to play on one of the public courts as they are first come, first served. Watch for the courts labelled “public” when setting up your net.
8. Have a BBQ at the Beach
Woodbine Beach and Ashbridges Bay are two of the parks in Toronto where you can BBQ in the park. There are permanent public BBQs, or you can bring your own.
You will need to book a permit and pay a fee online if you want to bring your own BBQ or if you want to reserve a specific location for large groups. Otherwise, you can use any of the public BBQs as long as they haven’t been reserved.
9. Dine at the Toronto Beach Club Woodbine Beach Restaurant
The Toronto Beach Club is the only full-service restaurant located on the beach. It opened in 2021 and has a Mediterranean menu. The recently renovated restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating and is a wonderful place to eat right on the beach. I highly recommend the oysters and shrimp cocktail.
⭐️ Local Tip: Due to it’s popularity, a reservation is highly recommended if you want to eat at the Toronto Beach Club.
If you are unable to get a spot at the Beach Club and you are looking for a great place to eat near Woodbine Beach, it is worth walking to Queen Street East and trying out one of the many excellent outdoor patio options in the Beaches.
10. Watch the Fireworks on Canada Day and Victoria Day
Woodbine Beach has some fantastic firework displays on Canada Day and Victoria Day every year. The fireworks are beautiful to see, and they look stunning over Lake Ontario.
If you do plan to watch the fireworks, it’s best to do some prior planning, as the beach gets very busy and parking at Woodbine Beach can be a challenge during these special occasions.
⭐️ Local Tip: I would recommend that if you want to see the fireworks, travel a little further east along the beach and out of the main Woodbine Beach area.
11. Play in the Park at Woodbine Playground
There are a lot of fantastic playgrounds on the beach, including the Woodbine playground located right beside the Donald D. Summerville Outdoor Olympic Pool. It has slides and swings and a climbing structure. A wonderful playground at the beach.
⭐️ Local Tip: There is another, smaller playground with swings, slide, and climbing structure just a little to the west of the pool and closer to the volleyball courts.
12. Enjoy a Music Festival at Woodbine Park
If you’re a fan of music festivals and events, then Woodbine Park is the place to be! This park has a little bit of everything for everyone. Not only does it boast a beautiful pond and fountain that make for the perfect backdrop for all your photos, but it’s also home to a ton of fantastic events throughout the year.
One of the best is the Q107 Canada Day festival – it’s always a blast and the perfect way to celebrate our great country. But that’s not all – you can also enjoy Afrofest and the Beaches Jazz Festival.
Plus, the park is just a stone’s throw away from Woodbine Beach, one of the best beaches in Toronto. What more could you ask for?
13. Visit the Iconic Leuty Lifeguard Station
Just a 10 minute walk from Woodbine beach east you will come to an area of the beach known as Kew Gardens. Here you will see one of the most photographed and iconic landmarks in the Beaches, the Leuty lifeguard station.
The Leuty lifeguard station is over 100 years old and became a protected structure under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1993. This is also one of the best places to catch the sunset in Toronto.
⭐️ Local Tip: Come to the Leuty lifeguard station in the early morning or at sunset to see amateur and professional beach photographers snapping photos of this historic beach structure with the city skyline in the background.
14. Enjoy an Ice Cream at Beaches N’ Cream
For early morning risers, you might also want to stop by for a pastry and a coffee on your morning stroll along the boardwalk.
⭐️ Local Tip: There may be long lines, but they move quickly and the ice cream and gelato is well worth it! There are also accessible public washrooms located here that are open year-round.
15. Take your Dog to the Off-Leash Dog Park
Those interested in visiting the beach with their pets may be wondering “Are dogs allowed on Woodbine Beach?”. The answer is yes! Dogs are allowed on-leash anywhere on the beach.
Right across from Beaches N’ Cream and directly on the beach is a large off-leash dog park. It’s a great spot to let your dog off their leash and run around in this completely fenced area. Just remember to poop and scoop!
⭐️ Local Tip: In the winter months, the entire area between the snow fences and the water is off-leash areas for dogs.
16. Visit Kew Gardens Park
Kew Gardens is a beautiful park that stretches between the Boardwalk and Queen Street. With gardens, playgrounds, a bandshell, and the Beaches Library, a visit to Kew Gardens will only enhance your visit to the Beach.
Bring your blanket and enjoy a picnic in the park, or wander through the gardens down to the beach and boardwalk.
17. Go Fishing at Ashbridges Bay
Ashbridges Bay offers some of the best fishing in Toronto. You can fish in the bay, and there are also two cement boat launches located in the Ashbridges Bay parking lot. Access to parking, washrooms, and travel by TTC make this an ideal spot to go fishing in Toronto.
⭐️ Local Tip: If you are fishing, be sure to have your recreational fishing license with you, which is required to fish in Ontario.
18. Try the Beaches Disc Golf Course
The Beaches Disc Golf Course is a beginner-friendly nine-hole disc golf course located in Ashbridges Bay Park, just past the yacht club. The first tee and basket 9 are just off the parking lot. There is no cost to play the course, and it is open to anyone to try. Just bring a disc (or frisbee) and give it a go!
19. Enjoy Some Birdwatching in the Park
The west end of Woodbine Beach is particularly well known for birdwatching. In fact, an expansion of the disc golf course was put on hold due to the potential impact on sensitive dune habitats.
Since 2017, more than 265 wildlife species have been documented on iNaturalist. So for those bird lovers, bring your binoculars and your camera and enjoy the abundance of wildlife in this area of the city.
20. Try Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP)
Lots of people love coming to the beach to go stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). If you have your own board, it’s easy to walk directly into the water and enjoy a relaxing paddle along the lake.
If you don’t have your own board or want a lesson, check out SUPGirlz.com. SUPGirlz operate from June to September and have all kinds of classes, including those for beginners, sunrise and sunset socials, and SUP yoga. Paddleboard rental is included in the cost.
21. Go Skating at the Outdoor Ice Rink in Kew Gardens
Also located in Kew Gardens is an outdoor ice skating rink perfect for pleasure skating and hockey in the winter. The rink is also used for ball hockey, box lacrosse, and pickleball in the spring and summer. The city of Toronto posts the rink schedule annually on its website.
⭐️ Local Tip: There are washrooms and changing rooms located at the rink, but there is no place to rent skates. Dress warmly, as the wind off the lake can be cold!
Things To Do Near Woodbine Beach
Looking for even more things to do near Woodbine Beach? Why not come and explore the rest of the Beaches neighbourhood? It’s got everything from beautiful parks and ravines, boutique shopping, and fantastic patio restaurants.
Whether you’re looking to indulge in some delicious food, enjoy a picnic in the park, or take in a movie, the Beaches neighbourhood has got you covered. So why not extend your trip to the beach, book a hotel, and check out all the attractions this area of Toronto has to offer? You won’t be disappointed!
Woodbine Beach FAQ
Woodbine Beach is located in the east end of Toronto at 1675 Lake Shore Blvd E. between Coxwell Ave. and Woodbine Ave. Woodbine Park is 15.2-hectares and Woodbine Beach is one of many beaches along the Lake Ontario shoreline.
Woodbine Beach never closes. It is open year-round. It is a fantastic place to visit in the summer, spring, fall, and winter.
There are several ways to get to Woodbine Beach by TTC. The 92 Woodbine bus has a stop right at the beach at 1816 Lakeshore Blvd. E. and loops between the beach and Woodbine Subway.
Another option is to take the 501 Queen Streetcar (or the 501 bus if the Streetcar is not running). You can get off at any stop between Coxwell Ave. and Neville Park and walk south a few blocks to the beach. The Woodbine Ave. stop is one of the most central TTC stops on Queen St.
Yes. There are two parking lots located right on the beach, and there are other parking options throughout the area. The Woodbine Beach parking lot and Ashbridge’s Bay parking lot are both accessible through the same entrance off Lakeshore Blvd. Ave. E., at the bottom of Coxwell Ave.
If you are coming to Woodbine Beach on the weekend in the summer or for an event like the fireworks, these lots can fill quickly.
There are times when you will have to pay for parking at the beach. The parking lots at Woodbine Beach and Ashbridges Bay are free during the winter months. From May 1 – October 31, the parking is pay and display. Rates are fairly reasonable.
Yes. Dogs are allowed at the beach, although they must remain on a leash unless they are in the off-leash dog park. There is a large off-leash dog park on the beach near the Beaches ‘n Cream cafe at the bottom of Lee Ave. near Kew Gardens. There is another off-leash park located near the Balmy Beach Canoe Club at the east end of the Boardwalk.
There are very limited places to eat or pick up refreshments on the beach. Right beside the Woodbine Beach volleyball courts you will find the Beaches N’ Cream food truck.
Across from there and beside the Woodbine Beach parking lot, you will find Booster Juice, the Toronto Beach Club Restaurant, and the Boardwalk Cafe. The cafe serves coffee, sandwiches, and pastries.
The Beach Club will likely require a reservation and is an up-scale restaurant. The next closest refreshment stand is the Beaches N’ Cream Cafe at Kew Beach. Queen St. E. is also a great option for restaurants and patios and is a 10 minute walk from the beach.
Yes! Throughout the park you will find public BBQs. You can use any of these public BBQs as long as they haven’t been reserved. You will need to book a permit and pay a fee online if you want to bring your own BBQ or if you want to reserve a specific location for large groups.
There are public washrooms at several locations along the beach. That being said, they are usually open seasonally.
The washroom located at the bottom of Kew Gardens (near Beaches N’ Cream cafe and the off-leash dog park) is open all year round. Located near the outdoor pool is a recently renovated bathing station. Here you can find washrooms and a place to change into your bathing suit. There are also washrooms located in Ashbridges Bay Park, just off the boardwalk and past the volleyball courts.
Yes! Some parts of Woodbine Beach are wheelchair-accessible. Close to the Donald D. Summerville Pool, there is a plastic path to help people cross the sand between the boardwalk and the lake. There are also wheelchair-accessible spots in the parking lots.
There is also a recently renovated bathing station with accessible washrooms located in the same area. Beach wheelchairs are also available to rent for free by calling 311 and they can be picked up at the Donald D. Summerville Outdoor Pool. Beach wheelchairs will need to be pushed, so a support person will have to be there to help.
Yes. Woodbine Beach is safe. Visitors will have to be careful around the water and should pay attention to all posted signs and listen to the lifeguards. No one should swim alone.
There are times, however, particularly during the fireworks displays, where the large crowds can get a little rambunctious. But this is a rare event.
Woodbine Beach is the main beach located off of Lakeshore Blvd. E. between Coxwell Ave. and Woodbine Ave. Ashbridges Bay is a bay located just a little west of Woodbine Beach.
They are different, but right beside each other. Essentially, if you are walking along the boardwalk, you won’t know when you are in Woodbine Beach or Ashbridges Bay.
Absolutely! Woodbine Beach is definitely worth visiting in the winter. I would recommend that you dress warmly, but the beach is equally stunning in the winter.
I highly recommend walking around Ashbridges Bay to see the ice that forms due to the waves and high winds.
Plus winter also brings fun activities such as tobogganing and skating in Toronto!
In Conclusion: What Makes Woodbine Beach Such an Excellent Place to Visit?
What makes the beach such a great destination to visit are the abundance and variety of free things you can do at Woodbine Beach and the surrounding Beaches neighbourhood.
Along with having fun in the sand by the lake, you can also go to Queen Street to enjoy one of the top-notch restaurants or patios, play beach volleyball, skateboard at the Ashbridges Bay Skate Park, or go swimming. Even though I’ve lived in this area my whole life, I continue to enjoy every trip to the beach and feel very lucky to call this neighbourhood my home.
Read More About the Beaches Neighbourhood
Visit one of these related posts to learn even more interesting things to see and do in this fantastic neighbourhood in Toronto.
- 10 Best Hotels near the Beaches Toronto
- Woodbine Beach Parking: All You Need to Know
- 10 Local Tips for Watching the Woodbine Beach Fireworks
- 16 Best Patios in the Beaches 2023
- Top 17 Things to do in the Beaches Neighbourhood
- The Ultimate Local Guide to the Beaches Jazz Festival
- Cherry Beach Toronto: Sandy Shores and City Views
- Glen Stewart Ravine: Beauty in the Heart of the Beaches
- Discover Kew Gardens Park in the Beaches