9 Things to do when the Beaches are Full 🌊
The secret is out on Sandbanks Provincial Park – hardly a surprise, considering it’s been an attraction since the early 1800s. Reservations are recommended – book ahead using the new day use permit reservation system to guarantee your spot at the beach.
If you didn’t manage to snag a spot, here are some suggestions to help you keep your cool when Sandbanks or North Beach or Wellington Beach are full.
Please note that public health travel advisories and orders are changing frequently during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Please consult our COVID-19 Essential Info page for the latest updates.
Try a private beach
1. Wander the Resort welcomes non-guests to its private beach. Reserve 24 hours in advance for a $40 per adult and $20 per child day-pass that comes with loungers and umbrellas. Lakeside Motel also sells $25 day passes for its Miami-inspired pool, which offers beautiful views of Lake Ontario.
Or head across the bridge to Belleville, where you’ll find a splash pads and outdoor pools.
Grab some board.
2. If you’ve got wheels, the Picton skate park has one of Ontario’s “sweetest mini bowls,” according to one skate park critic. (What does that mean? I guess it shreds, man. It shreds.)
Get an ice cream.
3. Ah, the magical healing powers of ice cream. Skip the fast-food chain soft-serve, and get a scoop (or three) from any of the local artisanal ice-creameries. Some of the hardest decision making happens at the ice cream counters of Slickers and The Old Greenhouse Ice Cream Shop (where their ‘Dessert Technicians’ serve up classic favourites alongside sugar-free options), the classics at Dari Bar and the hefty scoops at Cones and Shakes. There are more than 20 places to find a sweet scoop in The County, so you’re never far from a cone.
4. If you’re near Sandbanks, you’re near the brilliantly-named Caddy Shack miniature golf course. This isn’t exclusively for kids – there are no giant clown faces waiting to swallow up the ball. It’s a course designed to improve the short game, with tricky tilts and rolls, that’ll appeal to all ages. Banking one into a cup certainly beats waiting in a hot car! Looking to use a variety of skill sets? Try out the indoor or outdoor games at Escape Camp Picton – an escape room attraction located just outside of Picton. Their games are inspired by the location – a decommissioned WWII air base – blending heritage, history and an unforgettable experiences. Perfectly for families, small groups, and those who need to make last-minute bookings.
Take in some art.
5. If you’re already on County Road 11, make tracks to Mad Dog Gallery, where you’ll be given a warm welcome by their two pooches. Their gallery (and home!) is a converted barn with a stunning garden and features mostly traditional and contemporary County artists. The Local Store is filled with locally-made arts, trinkets, local food products, and more, while the old barn at MacCool’s Re-use is great for a mid-century modern treasure hunt. If nothing else it’s a moment of zen if the wait’s getting on your nerves.
Park and sip.
6. If the kids are alright but the grown-ups are about to blow a gasket, perhaps a nice, cold pint would help. The County Canteen has more than a dozen beer taps featuring the best of local and regional brews, as well as a wine list featuring lots of Prince Edward County VQA pours and menu items for kids (plus the coveted high-chair!). Or travel a little further north to Parsons Brewing Company, in a converted heritage barn, where a flight of beers will smooth any ruffled feathers. Plus, they’ve got a large natural playground with family-friendly games to keep everyone entertained. If coming from Bloomfield direction, try the waterfront restaurant at the Isaiah Tubbs Resort, or the patio at Bermuda PEC. Or head to Kinsip for a cocktail outside the heritage barn while the kids check out the chickens, peacocks and picturesque swing.
Take a wine tour.
7. If you can steer your way out of the Sandbanks line-up, you can detour toward the South Shore, where there are a handful of wineries waiting to welcome visitors. Spend your wait tasting at Long Dog Winery (with charming, ankle-high mascots and immaculately-maintained vines); Exultet (with 100% estate grown, award-winning wines) and Lighthall Vineyards (which also serves up handmade sheep’s milk cheese).
COVID-19 tasting protocols will be in effect; inquire about reservations before setting off.
Content updated June 2021