A Comprehensive Review of Niagara Beaches

A Comprehensive Review of Niagara Beaches

Written by two people who have been to a beach only a handful of times in their lives.

To spare you the pain of driving hours to visit Niagara’s sub-par beaches, we took it upon ourselves to visit them for you and come up with a list of our favourites. As two people who are wholly unqualified to review beaches, we decided on the following five criteria to help us distinguish which one was the best: cleanliness, crowdedness, sketch-factor, the “Is there actually sand?” factor, and “Would we get in the water?” factor.

Our cleanliness ratings are based off of the general cleanliness of the beach and whether or not there’s a lot of litter; a score of 10/10 being the most clean. Our crowdedness ratings are based off of how busy the beach is with a score of 10/10 being extremely and unbearably crowded. Our sketch-factor ratings relate to the overall sketchiness of the beach, with a 10/10 score meaning that this beach gives us some very questionable vibes. The last two criteria are pretty self-explanatory and take the form of two questions that can be simply answered with a yes or no.

Sunset Beach- Overall Rating of 4/10

For God knows whatever reason, whenever someone suggests going to the beach for a day, Sunset Beach is always brought up. Why, you might ask? That was a genuine question because we truly don’t understand why someone would choose to go to this beach out of all the other beaches in the Niagara region. This is the St. Catharines version of the Jersey Shore, but it doesn’t even do that well. It is littered with high school students and their draw string bags, that are most-likely holding their one Mike’s Hard Lemonade. If we’re at the beach, we have no desire to see sixteen year olds talking about “how much they feel it” after one cooler.

Niagara-On-The-Lake Beach- Overall Rating of 5/10

This location is undoubtedly picturesque. With a little bit of image-doctoring, VSCO presets, and Lightroom, you can convince your friends that you’re actually further up in Northern Ontario. The only downside is that you probably will have a tourist sitting on the rocks behind you in your photos. With a tiny strip of sand, this is not the best place to go to if you’re looking to sunbathe, however, the water is much cleaner than anywhere else in this region.

Port Dalhousie Beach- Overall Rating of 2/10

The Port Dalhousie beach gives us strong Florida vibes, but not in the white sandy beaches and turquoise-water type of way. What’s similar about these two places is the lack of understanding that we are in a pandemic, and that social distancing is a requirement to protect the safety of ourselves and others. Packed with an inappropriate amount of sunbathers, children, and volleyball players, this beach is truly a circus– even equipped with a functional Merry-Go-Round.

Centennial Beach- Overall Rating of 7/10

We have very low hopes for any beach in Niagara, but this beach truly surpassed our expectations. Pleasantly surprised that the water was clean, we actually were bold enough to go in. This beach made us forget that we were actually in Lake Ontario– because we were in Lake Erie. With a perfect ratio of sand and water, this is really Port Colborne’s hidden gem and we’ll definitely be back.

10 Things You Should Know Before Going on a Ghost Walk

10 Things You Should Know Before Going on a Ghost Walk

Spoiler Alert: It is absolutely nothing like the movie Ghostbusters.

Ever since moving to Niagara-On-The-Lake seven years ago, Mira’s mom has consistently asked her to go on a ghost walk– to which she has made up countless excuses to avoid. However, after I secretly bought tickets to The Ghost Walks walking tour, Mira had no option but to drive downtown and participate in this ninety-minute tour that she has tactfully managed to evade for so long.

As a disclaimer, we’re not skeptics of ghosts at all. We just aren’t sold on the idea of a for-profit walking tour. So we decided to check out Canada’s self-proclaimed spookiest city and have a paranormal experience for ourselves.

1. You will not have any paranormal experiences whatsoever.

To our disappointment, we didn’t feel a gust of wind rush by us or the tapping of a small hand on our shoulders. The scariest thing about this tour was that this was the most exercise we’ve gotten since quarantine started.

2. Strangers have no shame and will pretend to be ghosts as you walk through the streets.

Three different groups of locals took the time out of their day to make fun of our decision to spend $16 CAD on a ninety-minute ghost walking tour. Each group would shout, “Boooooo” as loud as possible, and wave around their arms pretending to be ghosts. It was funny the first time, but after hearing it three separate times, the joke got old.

3. Don’t watch videos of the tour on YouTube. It’s the same script as they use now and is much less entertaining hearing it the second time around.

If you’re going on a ghost walk, it’s most likely going to be kind of gimmicky. The jokes on the tour are pretty corny but become less tolerable over time, so spare yourself the pain of hearing them over and over again.

4. People will bring their pets.

Honestly, if your dog is calm enough, this is a great idea. However, just know that you will hear dogs lapping water in the background as you try to engage in the tour guide’s spooky story.

5. A ghost walk is not a cute date idea. And you will have to watch people’s mothers try and crash their date.

It’s already kind of embarrassing that this is what you chose for your date idea, but it makes it even worse if your mom shows up halfway through pretending to be a ghost.

6. People on the street will stare at you the whole time because your tour guide most likely will be dressed in a top hat and cape.

This one is quite understandable because it was 30° C out, and our guide was dressed as if he was trying to survive a harsh and unforgiving 1812 winter.

7. Your guide will tell you stories as if they were nominated for an Oscar.

With unmatched enthusiasm and vast vocal range, our guide made every story as eccentric as possible. He also wasn’t afraid to make use of his surroundings, often banging on the floors for dramatic effect. 10/10 performance.

8. It’s a great place to go and watch the sunset.

On an unrelated note, Lake Ontario at 9:30 pm is genuinely a sight to be seen and adds to the overall experience.

9. Spooky things will not appear in your photographs.

As much your fellow walking-tour buddies would like to believe that there’s paranormal activity changing their camera settings, forcing them to take weird photos, or draining their camera battery– this is just a result of a lack of photography skills and planning. Also, there are no faces in your photos, it’s just how the light works.

10. You’ll want to fact check everything because you’re skeptical of your guide’s “local historian” friends and personal theories.

The whole tour you’ll be questioning who on earth these local historians that your guide keeps referring to are. Also, how do they have the time to come up with all of these unconfirmed theories?

Despite a lot of Niagara-On-The-Lake being a tourist trap, this tour was very reasonably priced and was truly worth every penny. If you’re bored of doing the same quarantine activities repeatedly, this tour is a nice change of pace, and you might learn something along the way about Niagara and its complicated and violent history.

That being said, we’ve decided that we want to try and make our own ghost tour entitled The Spooky Sisters. You can add it to the list of business endeavours that we talk about but will never follow-up on.