Insider’s guide to summer holidays in Prince Edward County
Updated May 12, 2022
The summer of 2020 had its moments, and in 2021 we changed things up a bit to make for a better experience for everyone, through 2022 and well beyond. Here are some insider tips to make your summer experience in PEC a great one.
Not visiting in Summer? That’s okay – in fact, it’s great! Many of these tips still apply and the knowledge will still be helpful as you plan your trip.
Wellington Rotary Beach
Visitors using Wellington Rotary Beach will be charged $10 per person on weekends and holidays starting Saturday May 21, and seven days a week in July in August. to enter up until September 19th. Access is free as of September 20th. You are welcome to bring your own food, but cooking devices must be left at home. There will also be two food vendors on site. There is no reservation system, so it’s first come / first served.
Want to avoid all that? If your swimming skills are decent, consider hiring a charter and use it to get on the water. You can find charter companies and more ways to get on the water here: https://www.visitthecounty.com/do/boating-fishing/
Wellington Rotary Beach Boat Launch
The ramp at Wellington Rotary Beach will have limited access on weekends and holidays. The ramp will be unavailable for launch from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Boats returning to shore during those hours will still be able to leave the water using the ramp. These limits on ramp hours are to help manage parking, visitor volumes and safety at the beach.
Parking fees at Boat Launches
Like last year, there is a $20 parking fee for vehicles with trailers, and a $10 fee for vehicles alone, at all municipal boat launches. That means kayakers, canoeists and SUPpers will need to pay $10 to park at a municipal launch. Single-day parking permits can be purchased through the Mackay Pay app. The list of pay zone numbers for the boat launches can be found online, or posted at the launch. Single-day permits are also available for in-person purchase at the Edward Building or any library branch.
Hot tip: Download the app from MacKay Pay. It’s the paid parking system used across The County. Pay by app in rural or remote areas; pay by machine in Picton. Find it at Google Play or the Apple Store.
If you’re intending to make frequent use of municipal launches, you may consider purchasing a season’s pass, good for the entire 2022 calendar year, for $100+HST. Permits can be purchased online on The County’s website, or in-person at the municipal customer service desk at The Edward Building (280 Picton Main Street, Suite 103), or at any Prince Edward County Library Branch. Permits will be mailed to the buyer, or can held for pick up at the Edward Building or any PEC Library Branch by request. Permits can also be purchased in person at the Edward Building or any library branch. Please have your name, number, address and email at the ready, as well as the licence plate for the vehicle you’ll connect to the pass.
New No Parking Zones
Fines of $400 are now being applied to several areas where parked vehicles presented challenges to the flow of traffic and/or access for emergency vehicles. See the maps, below, for more detail. Please adhere to posted instructions on signs. These No Parking zones are active seasonally, from May 1 – October 31.
Disobeyed parking signs and got a ticket? Pay via https://www.thecounty.ca/residents/make-a-payment/parking-tickets/.
Unless you’re booked into a campground, skip setting up a sneaky tent or stealing down a sideroad with the RV. Fines have increased to $500, and additional bylaw officers will be out enforcing these rules. Book ahead, or look north to our friends in Bay of Quinte. They’re a nature enthusiast’s paradise, and they’ve got lots of ideas for where to camp here.
Little Bluff Conservation Area has re-opened, with an improved parking area, signage, dedicated staff, washrooms and an entrance gate. Fees to enter Little Bluff are $15 per vehicle during the summer months and return to normal rates after Labour Day. However, the conservation area will close once at capacity and the parking lot holds just 30 vehicles.
Daily Vehicle Permits are back at Sandbanks and North Beach Provincial Parks for 2022. If you visited last year you will be familiar with this process, but if you’re visiting for the first time or need a refresher, read on.
Daily Vehicle Permits must be booked in advance for day-use access to The County’s Provincial Parks and can be booked up to 5-days in advance of your visit. Guests will be turned away at the gate if sold out, so we highly encourage you to take advantage of this service to avoid disappointment.
Fun Fact: Sandbanks was sold out approximately 60 days between mid-June and August last year. North Beach was sold out 30 days.
If you are a season’s pass holder you still need to book a Daily Vehicle Permit in advance, but this will be free of charge. For non-season’s pass holders regular rates apply daily. They are available for booking at North Beach 5 days in advance of its opening on June 11. Daily Vehicle Permits are already available for booking at Sandbanks. So…
✅ Book up to 5 days in advance online at reservations.ontarioparks.com
✅ Secure a permit for each vehicle that will be visiting the park.
✅ Reserve whether you plan on visiting the beach or walking the trails.
✅ Book a Daily Vehicle Permit even if you are a season’s pass holder.
✅ Explore beyond the beach. Browse things to do in PEC here.
❌ Visit the park without booking a Daily Vehicle Permit in advance, especially on weekends from mid-June through August.
❌ Choose to come to Sandbanks or North Beach for a spontaneous day trip.
❌ Get turned away. Book in advance.
To reserve your Daily Vehicle permit head to reservations.ontarioparks.com and click the Day Use tab.
Like last summer, Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park will have dedicated staff on site to enforce parking. To park for up to two hours, the fee is $3. To park up from two to four hours, the fee is $6.50.
Maps for Public Washrooms, Picnic Areas, Information Spots
Wanna feast al fresco? We’ve got a map for that too. Find more info here: visitpec.ca/2020/06/24/where-to-picnic-in-prince-edward-county/
Ready for a ride but not ready for the road? We’ve got a trail for that. The Millennium Trail goes clear across The County, a total of 46 km. It’s a former rail bed, so it’s mostly flat, and has been rehabilitated by a remarkable team of volunteers to fairly smooth too. Find a map of its highlights here, and a blog with everything you need to know here.
Try The County way of life
Last summer was hard on everybody. A few visitors got fed up and frustrated and did things we wished they hadn’t. As a host community fearful of the COVID virus, sometimes we weren’t as welcoming as we’d normally be. The pandemic got to all of us. This summer, our goal is to “Be More County,” and we hope you’ll try it too.
What’s that mean?
Be more County by:
• Slowing down. On roads, through a meal or through the day
• Spreading friendly vibes by doing the neighbourly thing: wave in traffic, give tractors and cyclists space on the roads, share the sidewalks
• Leaving park paths, shorelines, forest floors and waterways better than you found them
• Remembering that farms, parks and beaches are carefully managed eco-systems, not just awesome Instagram backdrops
• Remembering that sound travels beyond tables and fences, across tasting rooms, landscapes and bodies of water… and even in the dark
• Being patient, flexible and kind
And hey, if you can wait to visit, you WILL be rewarded. Fall is when The County truly shines. Consider a mid-September or October visit, when the humidity drops, the bugs go away and the crowds thin. Trust us: it’s magic.