Sandbanks Provincial Park

ALWAYS check Alerts and other information on the official website, as conditions and facility availability are subject to change.

New Camping Rules for 2023 (7-night max) – new for 2023 are revised rules about the maximum number of nights you can camp. In this park, if you are camping between July 1 and the Saturday of the Labour Day long weekend, you’ll be restricted to no more than 7-nights at this park. Outside of those dates, it’s still the old 23-night maximum. Ontario Parks promises this will be clear when booking.
Rules for backcountry camping and the roofed accommodation haven’t changed.

Day Use Vehicle Permits: Because of this park’s popularity, permits will need to be purchased in advance to guarantee park access. This process was started in 2021 and will be kept for 2023.
If you’re smart, grab the permit before any visit, even mid-week. We found this out the hard way at our local Provincial Park.
You can buy the vehicle permit up to 5 days in advance, guaranteeing access to the park on that day. If you have an annual or season pass, you should still book your permit online, but there’s no extra charge.

Sandbanks Official website
Sandbanks Official Facebook
Friends of Sandbanks Facebook Group
Friends of sandbanks website

Information

Phone #: (613) 393-3319
Main entrance co-ordinates: 43.91122,  -77.24169
Address:3004 County Rd. 12 RR#1 Picton K0K 2T0
Opening seasons: The park is open all year but the main facilities and services are open April 26, 2022, to October 31, 2024

Telephone & Internet

With the increase in people being digital nomads or wanting to work from home, connecting while enjoying nature is important for many people. The good news is that we were able to get a decent signal for phone calls and basic internet services.

Nearby Parks & Conservation Areas

If the park is very busy, especially one that requires a reserved day pass, you might want to consider a nearby park or conservation area.

Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park

North Beach Provincial Park

Presqu’ile Provincial Park

Activities

Dog Friendly

This is a dog-friendly park with a dog-friendly beach area. You can find more information about having dogs at Ontario Parks in our “Dog-Friendly Ontario Provincial Parks” post, which includes a list of parks with specific dog-use facilities.

Camping & Accommodation

Car Camping

Pitch your tent at Sandbanks, the perfect getaway for any camper! With over 500 campsites in five areas of this park, there is sure to be one that suits you. If it’s just yourself then take advantage of amenities like water taps and comfort stations nearby or even laundry facilities if needed – not bad right? Have fun exploring all these options while being close enough so when night falls can return home without ever feeling too far away from what matters most: family members who love them more than anything else
 
Outlet A with its many waterfront sites is very popular with campers. A few sites offer electrical service. This is a busy campground with sites that are grouped relatively close together. Outlet B offers a bit more privacy with some sites along the Outlet River and a loop with electrical pull-through sites.

Cedars is a family-oriented campground offering more sheltered, private campsites. It has less traffic than the Outlet campgrounds but the beach is still close by.

The Woodland Campground offers shady and sunny sites. The fall campers like it cooler, so they go for the sunnies! All of our campsites provide you with electricity – no matter what type or how much power your device uses…you’ll be able to charge everything up here at home while enjoying some family time in nature’s backyard too!.

Richardson’s Campground also offers a mix of sunny and shady sites. Richardson campground offers 19 campsites that are electrical.

Group Camping

Sandbanks Provincial Park offers two group campsites of varying sizes, suitable for accommodating groups ranging from 30 to 50 people. Conveniently located nearby are water taps, ensuring easy access to water for campers, and vault toilets are available on-site for added convenience.

Additionally, the stunning Outlet Beach is just approximately 1 kilometer away from the group campsites, providing visitors with easy access to the picturesque shoreline and inviting waters of Lake Ontario.

Reservations can be made online or by phone.

Hiking, Biking & Paddling

Hiking

Cedar Sands Nature Trail – 2 km loop
The Cedar Sands Trail, spanning a 2-kilometer loop, guides visitors around the picturesque shores of the Outlet River, offering captivating views from its two lookout points. This interpretive pathway features 12 designated stops, each providing insightful information about the components of our natural environment, enriching our understanding and appreciation of it along the way!

Woodlands Trail – 3.5 km, linear,(7km total out and back) easy, no trail guide
Explore a landscape steeped in history, wandering through ancient agricultural fields flanked by towering hedgerows and expansive, leafy woodlands adorned with majestic oaks and maples. This scenic path, connecting the Main Gate to Dunes Beach, offers abundant opportunities for wildlife observation along the way.

Sandbanks Dunes Trail – 2.5 km loop, easy to moderate
The Sandbanks Dunes Trail forms a 2.5 km loop, guiding visitors through a captivating and delicate dune habitat. Along the way, it ventures into areas showcasing rare wetland plants, fostering a habitat for wildlife species uncommon in this region of the country. As visitors traverse the trail on foot or bicycle, they are treated to an immersive experience in our natural environment, soaking in the sights and sounds along its winding path.

In addition to the main trail, there’s a one-kilometer loop at the trail’s outset designed to be barrier-free for accessibility. It’s important to stick to the designated trail to minimize your impact on the environment and to steer clear of Poison Ivy, which is prevalent in the region. A trail guide is provided at the trailhead to assist visitors in navigating the area safely and responsibly.

Lakeview Trail – 2.4km one way, linear, easy, no trail guide
This gentle pathway provides a mesmerizing vista of Lake Ontario from its shoreline. As you journey towards West Point on this 2.4 km loop, the trail is adorned with numerous shaded trees and wildflowers, infusing the crisp morning air with their delightful fragrance.

Richardson’s Trail – 1 km one way, linear, easy, no trail guide
The forest resounds with the lively chorus of cicadas and the gentle rustle of pine trees, greeting you as you embark on this shortcut through ancient woodlands. These reforested regions were strategically planted to mitigate erosive forces within the Dune’s Beach sand dunes, seamlessly connecting two well-loved camping destinations: Richardson’s Campground, conveniently situated just off Highway 12, or “The Ledges,” several miles to the south.

MacDonald Trail – 1.5 km one way, linear, easy, no trail guide
The Woodlands Trail serves as a practical link between the Lakeland Lodge Day Use Area and County Road 12, cutting through the park’s fields and forests. This trail offers a convenient and efficient route for visitors to traverse between the eastern and western sections of the road, ensuring safe and swift passage through the park’s central area.

The trails at Sandbanks Provincial Park have been made possible through the generous financial support of Friends, a charitable organization. To join this group or contribute your own donation, please visit their Discovery Centre and Gift Shop!

Biking


There are no dedicated bike trails at Sandbanks but it remains one of my favorite places to bike. You can explore the park along campground roads, particularly enjoyable out of season when the main gates are closed and there’s no one camping. Prince Edward County, beyond the boundaries of the park, is a favorite destination for bicycle touring. This includes an easy bike ride between different parts of Sandbanks park.

Paddling

There’s an easy paddle between East Lake and Lake Ontario using the Outlet River that connects the two. Out of season with the park gates closed, you can still access this paddle from the boat ramp on East Lake.

Boating

Powerboats are allowed on Lake Ontario, East, and West Lake but not near the swimming areas or on the beach. A boat launch is located in the Outlet River A Campground. It is suitable for boats less than 18 feet. Other boat launch facilities are available outside the park.

Canoeing

Although there are no formal canoe routes at Sandbanks, the Outlet River is ideal for those just learning to canoe and who wish to explore the marsh habitat.

Winter Activities

Weather Conditions – if you are looking for weather information or snow conditions, the following list should help you.
Canadian Snow Research
Dark Sky
Environment Canada – weather forecasts, hourly forecast, and weather radar map.
National Weather Service – US Government, but it does include Ontario.
Open Weather Map
Snow Forecast – more relevant for downhill skiing.
The Weather Network has lots of ads, but you get 7 and 14-day forecasts. Snow reports from downhill ski areas but remember they do make their own snow.
Windy.com
We’d love to hear from you if you have any other suggestions – please message us.

Maps & Resources

Ontario Crown Land Use Policy Atlas: Most provincial Parks have excellent signage, maps, and marked trails. If you take up back-country adventures, then it’s not always clear. The Ontario Crown Land Use maps are an excellent resource. You might also want to join one or more of these groups on Facebook.
Crown Land Camping Group
Crown Land Camping Ontario
Ontario Parks and Crown Land
Ontario Crown Land Campers
Sharing Ontario Crown Land Camping Spots

Ontario parks have a park overview and trail map for sandbanks provincial park click here for more information

Local Facilities

Barrier Free

All restroom facilities throughout the park are designed for barrier-free access. Additionally, the initial one-kilometer loop of the Sandbanks Dunes Trail has been made barrier-free for visitors’ convenience.

Boat Launch(es)

A seasonal boat launch is situated within the Outlet River A Campground, catering to boats under 18 feet in length. For larger boats, alternative launch facilities can be found outside the park premises.

Comfort Station(s)

All campgrounds at Sandbanks, except for Richardson campground, are equipped with comfort stations featuring showers, flush toilets, and laundry facilities.

Day Use

Outlet Beach, Lakeshore, and Dunes Beaches are well-frequented day use spots. Each boasts sandy shores equipped with emergency phones, although lifeguards are not present. Picnic tables are conveniently scattered throughout all three areas. Dunes Beach offers an additional amenity with three mini picnic shelters adjacent to the beach, which can be reserved online or via phone.

To ensure your day at the park, secure your daily vehicle permit up to five days ahead of time. This guarantees your spot for day use activities amidst the natural splendor of these beaches.

Visit the Ontario Parks day use page to learn more.

EV Charging Station

At the West Lake comfort station within Sandbanks Provincial Park, there is a single commercial electric charging station equipped with one port, allowing for one vehicle to charge at a time. This charging station, branded as EVR-Green 4000 by Leviton EV Charging, is operational only during the period from April 1st to November 1st.

Flush Toilets

Flush toilets are provided in all comfort stations at the campgrounds. For the Outlet, Sandbanks, and Dunes Day Use areas, outhouses or vault privies are available.

Laundromat

Each of the campground comfort stations is equipped with laundry facilities.

Park Store

The Friends of Sandbanks Nature Shoppe is situated at both the Visitor Center and the main park office, boasting a diverse selection of Sandbanks souvenirs, clothing, artwork, nature books, guides, and more. Operating throughout the season, the shop provides visitors with an array of options to commemorate their experience at Sandbanks.

At the Outlet Beach day use area, Currah’s Park Store and Grill caters to visitors’ needs with a comprehensive range of camping supplies, ice, beach toys, groceries, and souvenirs. The adjoining restaurant serves up fresh salads, vegetarian options, and classic grill favorites, ensuring guests can refuel and relax during their beach day.

For those seeking a treat with a view, Currah’s Dunes Grill and Patio awaits at the Dunes Beach, overlooking the sandy expanse. Here, visitors can indulge in ice cream and a selection of grill favorites while soaking in the scenic beauty of the sand dunes.

Picnic Shelters

The park boasts two spacious picnic shelters: one situated at the Dunes day use area and the other positioned near the amphitheater at the Outlet Beach area. Reservations can be made online or by phone.

Rentals

Canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards can be rented at the wood yard. Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) are offered for loan with a refundable deposit of $30. Additionally, visitors have the option to borrow fishing rods and tackle free of charge through the Tackleshare program.

Sandbanks offers two types of wheelchairs for borrowing: an all-terrain wheelchair suitable for beach and shoreline use, and a floating wheelchair designed to be more submersible. These are available on a first-come, first-served basis starting July 1st, when the rental location is fully operational. A refundable deposit of $100 is required for both wheelchairs.

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