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Sandbanks.

Travel In Canada: Sandbanks Provincial Park

To the point Here are our recommendations for where to stay and what to visit in Sandbanks Provincial Park, Ontario for the summer season.

The Sandbanks coastline is to Ontario what Gaspésie is to Quebec.

Popular and idyllic for summer holidays but difficult to find accommodation these days, even for camping. The popularity of this destination among both Quebecers and Ontarians means that you have to be well-prepared to book a few nights of any type of accommodation. When the sandy beaches and vineyards along Lake Ontario start calling, it’s impossible to resist.

This article is primarily intended to help our readers and milesopedia community members find accommodations at this provincial park or at the TowneSuite Place Belleville by Marriott, which is 45 minutes from the beaches. These are great opportunities on which points from our loyalty and credit card programs can be applied. Because at Milesopedia, we like vacations that are free (or almost)!

The article goes on to guide you to small, well-kept secrets that can be discovered by moving away from the crowds. Words from local Phillip Norton, Picton resident, and from some of our members who know the area well.

Sandbanks
Crédit photo: Véronique Proulx

Ontario Parks Accommodation Offerings

Ontario Parks offers accommodations ranging from primitive camping to heated and lighted cabins.

Sandbanks, an Ontario Parks site, has over 500 sites in five areas along the Lake Ontario shoreline. These sites are suitable for both tents and large trailers.

Two cottages are added to the possibilities:

  • Maplerest Cottage, a luxurious four-bedroom Victorian home
  • Chalet Jacques, more modest, for four people
camper à Sandbanks
Crédit photo: Parcs Ontario

Book at Sandbanks

The dream. Three large sandy beaches among the most beautiful in Canada. A special mention for Outlet Beach, one of the most popular because of its shallow waters and the small slope of its shoreline. The children have a great time there. I loved the warm water and waves of Lake Ontario.

Sandbanks
Sandbanks

Here is how the booking system works for sleeping at Sandbanks Park.

Bookings can be made online or by phone up to 5 months in advance. For example, if you want a place on July 18, the earliest you can start the process is February 18. The problem is that all the spaces may already be taken by holidaymakers who have booked for the previous week and want to spend several nights there. The Outlet River, Cedars, or Woodlands lots are particularly popular.

Fortunately there is a maximum number of nights allowed:

  • 23 in a tent, trailer or motorhome (car camping)
  • 16 in the backcountry (wilderness camping)
  • 14 in one of the two chalets (with roof)

There is no possibility to book for the whole season at Sandbanks. Fortunately.

You will have to be patient and call regularly to check if a place is available after a camper has left. After all, isn’t it better to spend less time there than not at all?

chemin Sandbanks
Crédit photo: Parcs Ontario
feu de camp
Crédit photo : Parcs Ontario

TownePlace Suites Belleville

We stayed at this category 3 Marriott hotel which goes for 20,000 points per night in high season. Check the cash cost though, as sometimes it’s better to save our points.

But in both cases, it seems to me that for a family, it end up being quite a cheap vacation, especially when you book 5 nights with your Marriott points. Because the fifth one is offered free of charge.

Located 45 minutes from the beaches of Sandbanks, you can get there by country roads: sheep, vineyards, century-old houses are part of the landscape. In the city of Belleville itself, there is a public market several days a week.

All rooms are studio apartments with full kitchen, table and chairs, armchair and footstool, TV and two double beds or one king. The bathroom is standard.

And then there are the included breakfasts, free parking, laundry facilities. Finally, the indoor pool for rainy days.

In short, we recommend it if the distance to the beaches doesn’t scare you too much or if you don’t want to go swimming at Sandbanks every day. There is so much to do in the area.

TowneSuite Place Belleville

Exploring the Sandbanks region: 4 secrets revealed

In addition to swimming and resting, Ontario Parks informs us that you can watch the spring and fall bird migration, hike the trails, participate in interpretive programs and discover Prince Edward County.

We refer you to the beautiful article written by our globetrotter, Valerie Why, about activities to do in this Ontario region.

We also asked Picton resident Phillip, photographer and photo tour guide, to reveal some of the best kept secrets of Prince Edward County residents. He agreed to reveal four of them to us, one for each direction on a compass.

1- The South Shore of Sandbanks

SOUTH: To get away from the hustle and bustle of the beaches, head for the south shore of Sandbanks.

This 45-minute drive through a bucolic setting will take you past sheep farms, churches and villages as well as the cemeteries of the region’s founders.

In South Bay, you will find the Mariners Museum, owned by the municipality. From there, you can drive to Prince Edward Point where there is a bird banding station, hiking trails and the Prince Edward Point Lighthouse.

Phillip suggests we make a donation if we visit the National Wildlife Refuge to support the conservation of these refuges for future generations.

Réserve naturelle, Sandbanks
Crédit photo: Cheryl Leblanc

2- Northport

NORTHPORT: The second suggestion takes us on a ride to Northport on a scenic route to Big Island. The tugboats on Lake Ontario will help you discover the maritime vocation of the region.

3- Fifth Town Cheese

EAST: Let’s head east to the Fifth Town Cheese, where we are invited to taste some good regional cheeses such as the Water Buffalo Parmesan. Jellies, jams and spicy beef jerky are also for sale. We bought a nice box of cheeses, cold cuts, dried fruit, biscotti and more for $25… which we ate at the nearby winery.

Fifth town Cheese
Fifth town Cheese

On the same road we will pass the Wauppo petting zoo, a farm where children can enjoy petting the animals in the Waupoos Estates Winery . (Please check, as it can change according to the current health restrictions).

The activity of the estate is combined with that of the vineyard and the orchard. Wine and cider tastings. For an additional fee, wood-fire cooked pizzas are served on the patio overlooking the sailboats on Lake Ontario. It’s definitely tempting!

Fermette
Crédit photo: Waupoos Estates Winery

4- The Millenium Bike Path and the recommendations of a member

WEST: Finally, we are invited to get on our bikes and ride west on the Millennium Bike Path. It will lead us to another nature reserve on Station Road . And to reward our efforts, we will discover a series of vineyards and a distillery not far from there. A well-kept secret, it also offers the best street food there is, namely Big Mike’s BBQ food truck.

Let’s finish with the recommendations of Amélie and some other members of the Milesopedia group. Regulars of the region:

On the way to the Kinsip distillery, the small town of Wellington gives access to:

  • a beautiful wooden park that children love
  • a public pebble beach where you can walk
  • an ice cream shop that has nothing to envy the most famous ones

In Lake on the Mountain, a stop at the Miller House coffee shop is a must. From there, a short free ferry ride to Glenora completes the trip. Then, on the way to Waupoos Winery, a great seasonal activity is picking organic blueberries.

Finally, between Belleville and Picton, on Highway 62, the Huff Estates Winery & Inn not only offers tastings and accommodation in a sophisticated inn, but also gives us access to its gardens. These host works of art that make the walk a delightful moment for slow traveling.

You want more? https://www.facebook.com/groups.

Sandbanks

To learn more about the area, we recommend this book: A four seasons County-Prince Edward, recently released by local authors and photographers.

Or the excellent Ulysses Guide “Explorez Sandbanks, Kingston et les Mille-Îles“:

The Ulysses guide is the ideal tool for planning a trip to this region of the Canadian province of Ontario and getting the most out of your stay. Full of colour and photos, it is as pleasant to consult as it is practical thanks to its pocket format and its easy-to-understand structure.

To save money on your holiday in the region, we recommend several credit cards.

First, the American Express Cobalt™ Card. With this card, you can earn 5 points per dollar for your purchases at grocery stores, restaurants, bars and convenience stores, and food deliveries. And 2 points per dollar for your travel and transportation purchases (Airbnb, hotels, train, flights, car rentals, etc.).

You can then use your points for any travel purchase made with the card: 10,000 points = $100. Nothing could be easier!

Next is the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card. With this card, you can earn 5 points per dollar on all your spending at Marriott Bonvoy locations (there are over 250 in Canada). And 2 points per dollar on all your purchases.

You’ll earn 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points as a welcome bonus, enough to get you several free nights at Marriott Bonvoy hotels. And every year, as a cardholder, you get a free night certificate (worth 35,000 points).

Finally, the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card. With this card , you can earn 2 points per dollar for all your purchases in grocery stores, restaurants, public transportation or entertainment (cinemas, museums, etc). It’s convenient when your American Express card is not accepted!

And if you’re traveling abroad, this card is an ideal companion because it doesn’t charge any conversion fees for foreign currency purchases.

You can then use your points for any travel purchase made with the card: 10,000 points = $100. Nothing could be easier!

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!

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