If you’ve never been to Sandbanks Provincial Park in Prince Edward County, you’re about to discover possibly Ontario’s best beach. While Sandbanks is a very popular camping destination, there are many visitors who come just for the day for swimming and sunbathing at the Outlet and Dunes Beach, all located in the park. A day pass to the park costs $20 per vehicle and the park is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. from April 29, 2016 to October 11, 2016. The beaches at Sandbanks are famous for having the largest fresh water sand bar and dunes in the world.
Outlet Beach at Sandbanks
The Outlet Beach is the closest beach to the main entrance of the park, located a few minutes to the left. When you first see this beach, you’ll think you’re on the Gulf Coast in Florida instead of on Lake Ontario. The Outlet Beach Day Use area stretches for several kilometres and is wide enough for long strolls. On windy days, the waves are high enough to body surf while on other days, the lake is as calm and placid as a northern Ontario bay. The sand on the beach is inviting and the lake bottom is sandy. You have to walk out quite a ways to reach waist deep so this beach is perfect for parents with young children. At the southern part of the beach near the mouth of the Outlet River is a designated pet area. If you’re planning on going to the Outlet Beach for the day, get there by 10:30 a.m. to get a good parking spot.
Check out a video of The Outlet Beach at Sandbanks Provincial Park taken on a particularly windy day as you can hear in the background.
Dunes Beach at Sandbanks
As you arrive at the park, the Dunes Beach is about a five minute drive to the right of the park entrance. Because it is further from the entrance, it is less populated than the other beaches. Located on West Lake in Sandbanks Provincial Park, the Dunes Beach has the largest dunes in the park and are worth climbing to get a great view of the lake. Like all the swimming areas in Sandbanks Provincial Park, West Lake has a sandy bottom and you can walk out a fair bit before the water deepens. The Dunes Beach has a take-out restaurant and patio, picnic tables, washrooms, and playground; however, no pets are allowed at this beach.
The Outlet and Dunes Beach are located in Sandbanks Provincial Park (613-393-3319) on the southwestern tip of Prince Edward County, Ontario. If you are making a weekend out of your trip, you may wish to stay at Hillsdale House B&B in Bloomfield, which I highly recommend.
If you’re driving from Toronto, take the 522 exit from Hwy 401 and drive south on the Loyalist Parkway. (Stop at George’s Fish and Chips on the east side of Loyalist Parkway in Carrying Place for a juicy homemade burger and the best fries in Ontario.) Continue along Loyalist Parkway to Hwy 12 and drive south until you reach the entrance to Sandbanks Provincial Park.