When I was a teenager growing up in Peterborough, there was nothing better than getting together with a few friends, piling into a car and heading to the beach. We certainly had a lot of great options, but our swimming hole of choice was Sandy Beach. Set on a pleasant and sheltered bay on Sandy Lake, near Buckhorn, Sandy Beach had—and still has—vibrant turquoise water, a result of the lake’s sandy bottom. The floor drops away gradually, meaning there’s plenty of shallow water for a little in-the-water Frisbee, and the beach is nice and wide for sun tanning and just hanging out.

Sandy Beach is still a popular spot, and there are a number of other great beaches around the many lakes in the Kawarthas. Lakefield Beach, right in the charming village of Lakefield, has a great swimming area in the placid, slow-moving waters of the Otonabee River and, even better, Hamblin’s, a wonderful spot for some great ice cream, is within close walking distance. And right in Peterborough, Rogers Cove and Beavermead offer some great swimming on Little Lake—both are minutes from downtown, meaning that you don’t even need to leave the city to take a dip and chill on the beach.

Tim Johnson