Sandbanks Provincial Park

Just the Facts about hiking at Sandbanks Provincial Park:

Sandbanks Provincial Park main hike website
Sandbanks Provincial Park google maps location
Sandbanks Provincial Park hiking trails?? KM
Sandbanks Provincial Park Distance to Toronto208 KM / 2.5 Hrs

See Travel Log #7 Prince Edward County for more info.

Though you could easily make a weekend out of touring the winery and brewery scene, at least a visit (if not a stay) in Sandbanks Provincial Park is a must when in Prince Edward County .  This provincial park truly lives up to its name by showcasing one of the longest and softest sandy beaches in Ontario . We were particularly impressed by the abundance of garbage and recycling bins along the beach, making for an extremely tidy environment.  It's also a great park to take a swim in because the sand dunes make for a great deal of warm shallow water. Of course, beware of the sudden drop-off at the end of the shallow bits! 

Sandbanks Provincial Park - park sign

If you're interested in staying a while, you can grab one of the 549 campsites, strewn across 5 different campsites if you book ahead.  Though there are usually a few sites for last-minute travelers, there's not many!  Aside from sunbathing and swimming, the park also offers activities such as cycling trails, boating, canoeing and fishing.  For $12, we picked out some snazzy personal floatation devices, grabbed some paddles and set out on the Outlet river in a rental canoe for the afternoon.  We got some great views of the sand dunes as we paddled along and were accompanied by a large number of little fish too!  Lilly pads, reeds and water spiders were also part of the natural mix.  It was particularly interesting to see how some of the campsites were set up on the sand dunes and backed onto the river, providing a nice watery backyard for the kiddies to play in!  As it was Rob and I’s maiden paddling voyage, we had a few steering issues to work out but I must say that I think that we did pretty well.

Sandbanks Provincial Park - canoeing on the river
Sandbanks Provincial Park - rob paddling
The actual canoe part of Sandbanks was great, but every short. Even being very new, the whole trip took us about an hour. Our original intention was to go canoeing in Kingston, but we were a little hesitant, as it looked like a rough trip. Sandbanks was a nice gentle introduction. Another local great local place to learn is Rockwood.

After our little canoe tour of the river, we still had lots of energy and took a hike along the Cedar Sands Trail, an interpretive trails with viewing platforms the overlook the Outlet River . It's a quick 2 KM hike through dense woodland and is particularly fun because you can stop and watch the boats cruise by! There's also the longer (5 KM), Woodlands cycle-friendly trail that starts at Outlet Beach and ends up in the day use beach area.

Since Sandbanks is just a quick 2-plus hour drive from Toronto , we definitely plan to take another tour of Prince Edward County in the near future!

Sandbanks Provincial Park - hike beginning
Sandbanks Provincial Park - Beginning of canoe route
Sandbanks Provincial Park - ripples on beach
Sandbanks Provincial Park - view from platform on hike
Sandbanks Provincial Park - second view from platform on hike
While our overall experience at Sandbanks Provincial Park was good, it reminded me a lot of Wasaga Beach. This seems to be the place to go for summer fun, but it doesn't have a lot of variety if you are looking for strictly hiking.(We have subsequently learned we missed one hiking area, so our first impression might have been wrong. We'll have to return to check it out!)