Crystal Crescent Beach
Trade water temperature (it leans on the cold side) for beauty---Crystal Crescent boasts crystal-clear swimming, white sand, walking trails and the out-of-town feeling without going too far.
Directions: Follow Herring Cove Road to Old Sambro Road then take a right. After 17km(ish) take a right on West Pennant Road, your first left onto East Pennant Road, then a right onto Sambro Creek Road.
When Hubbards' Queensland Beach is too freakin' packed for comfort, hop over to its white sandy (and completely gorge) sister Cleveland, which tends to offer more room for enjoyment when it comes to swimming and picnicking.
Take Highway 103 to exit 6
A real community swimming spot that's uber-accessible for transportation-less swimmers looking for a quick dip, Banook also rules for canoers and kayakers.
Lake Banook has a number of entries, including Birch Cove Park, 46 Oakdale Crescent (off Crichton Avenue). Buses 54, 62.
Given its namesake length, this popular spot offers up lots of private swim/lounge space as well as a whole lot of doggy-walking potential. Wet dogs welcome!
There are many access points between the first two sets of lights on St. Margaret's Bay Road, but the parking lot (just before Prospect Road) has a clearly marked entrance. Buses 22, 23.
A no-brainer for its warm waters, lazing rocks, loads of space for swim racing and easy access off a bus route. It feels oddly private here considering all of the above.
Directions: Follow Purcells Cove Road for about 4km, watching for a clearing or parked cars on the right side. It's less than five minutes through the woods. Bus 15.