Local’s Guide to Best Beaches in PEC
Updated January 2023
Sandy beaches in Prince Edward County
- Sandbanks Provincial Park | 3004 County Rd 12, Picton, ON K0K 2T0
The Sandbanks Provincial Park is the most well-known sandy beach in Prince Edward County, and is quickly becoming one of the most popular sandy beaches in all of Ontario. As the world’s largest baymouth barrier dune formation, this provincial park makes you feel like you're vacationing somewhere tropical.
Sandbanks Provincial Park is a perfect spot to visit in any season. In the summertime you can explore and swim at three distinct beaches:
- Outlet Beach: the perfect place for families, with shallow waters and a gentle drop-off. You will find this beach in the East Lake section of the park;
- Dunes Beach: incredibly photogenic location at sunrise and sunset, but be sure to exercise caution when swimming as there is a steep drop off not far from the shoreline. You can see the magic of sunset at Dunes Beach in this Sandbanks Sunset Elopement post. You will find this beach in the West Lake section of the park;
- Lakeshore Beach: located on Lake Ontario this beach is prone to rough waters and waves. You will find this beach by following signs for the Day Use section of the park.
Sandbanks Dune Beach, Sunset in June
Keep in mind:
The popularity of The Sandbanks Provincial Park has skyrocketed in the past couple of years. As of Summer 2021, there is a registration system for entering the park. You must register for both day use and camping passes in advance of your visit. You can register up to 5 days in advance.
In Spring and Fall it is a bird migration hotspot as the park juts out into Lake Ontario. You can also take in the changing flora and fauna by exploring the trails through the dune and wetland habitats.
- North Beach Provincial Park | 440 North Beach Rd Consecon, K0K 2T0
The North Beach Provincial Park is Sandbanks' lesser-known but equally beautiful sibling. Over one kilometer of sand shelters tiny North Beach from Lake Ontario. North Beach has two swimming options:
Lake Ontario: The beach you see to your left as you drive in. The water drops off slowly however it can be rough and the undertow is significant on windy days. This is the perfect setting for a sunset photography session, you can see inspiration in this sunset family session.
North Bay: Drive through the dunes to the much quieter North Bay. This beach is a favorite of ours as it’s more protected and is shallow for 10-15 feet before dropping off steeply. Perfect for playing alongside our kids, and also teaching them to swim with support.
3. Presqu'ile Provincial Park | 328 Presqu'ile Pkwy, Brighton, ON K0K 1H0
Minutes down the highway from Prince Edward County, in Brighton, you will find Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Presqu'ile may have just become our favorite Provincial Park. As you drive into the park you have several options for spending your day:
- Beaches 1 & 2: A combined 2.5 km of west-facing sandy beaches. They gently slope into the water and are accessible from the parking lot by a boardwalk (making them ideal for families with strollers).
- Day Use Area: A rocky beach facing south into Lake Ontario. Be mindful of zebra mussels and wear your water shoes. This is a beautiful place to picnic as you have the water, but also a lush grassy area with mature trees for shade.
- The Lighthouse Beach: a rocky beach at the southwest tip of the peninsula. A favorite for exploring with older kids and teenagers, we love looking for fossils and exploring the uprooted trees and driftwood along the shoreline.
- The Marsh Boardwalk: A 1 km wooden boardwalk trail providing you access to the largest protected marsh on the north shore of Lake Ontario. A dreamy place for sunset photo sessions, like this June Family Session.
Presqu'ile is a migration hot spot in the Spring and Fall seasons with 338 species recorded and 130 breeding species.
Rocky Beaches in Prince Edward County
- Wellington Rotary Beach | 1 Beach Street, Wellington
If you’re looking for us at sunrise, you’ll most likely find us here. Wellington Rotary Beach is one of our favorite places to host sunrise photography sessions. This sunrise elopement and this sunrise family session both took place at Wellington Rotary Beach. It is a stony beach (very little sand here friends), with a boardwalk, and is typically deserted early in the morning. For a beach day, there are picnic tables and washrooms available, and even the addition of a couple of food trucks (The County Coffee Truck serves up pour-over coffees and baked goods 7 AM - 2 PM). The beach is free to enter on weekdays and costs $10 per person on weekends and holidays.
- Little Bluff Conservation Area | 3625 County Rd 13, Milford, ON K0K 2P0
If you’re up for an adventure, Little Bluff Conservation Area might just be the perfect fit for your alternative Prince Edward County beach day. The shoreline is a barrier beach, which acts as protection for the wetland from Prince Edward Bay. Bring your picnic blanket or folding chairs and set up shop along the rocks, swim in the crystal clear water, and gaze up at the stunning 20-meter high limestone bluff. Be sure to bring all your necessities (no food trucks here) and take all your belongings - including your garbage - with you when you go. Due to careless use in 2020 Little Bluff’s capacity and usage have been reduced for 2021.
- Point Petre Wildlife Conservation Area | Athol, ON K0K 1P0
Point Petre Wildlife Conservation Area is a bit further afield than the more popular Provincial Parks but presents its own unique adventure. Designated as a Provincial Wildlife Area, this stunning rocky beach is the perfect place to relax in nature, just don’t forget your water shoes. The water is clear but can be rough and as always when on Lake Ontario, be mindful of the undertow. You can navigate to Point Petre by inputting the postal code into your nav system, and then pulling off the main road onto one of the narrow lanes that head down to the beach. If you have a 4x4 you may be able to drive part way but you can also park along the main road and walk-in.
Point Petre Wildlife Conservation Area, Sunset
Private Beaches & Beach Clubs in Prince Edward County
The Beach Club at Wander | 15841 Loyalist Pkwy, Bloomfield, ON K0K 1G0
You can book day passes to enjoy Wander The Resort's two acres of white sand beaches and waterfront. There are two options:
- The Lounge Package: $40 pp which includes access to beach features (Teak daybeds, lounge chairs, and Tuuci umbrellas) and an iced coffee, mimosa or snack on the Clubhouse deck.
- The Cabana Package: $295 per day, for up to 5 people. You have your very own cabana with a bottle of bubbly chilled on arrival, an iced coffee, mimosa or snacks on the Clubhouse deck , and personalized service all day.
The Lakeside Motel | 349 Main Street, Wellington ON K0K 3L0
If swimming and lounging is your goal and you'd prefer to stay off the sand, The Lakeside Motel offers:
- Pool access: $30 pp which includes access to a lounger, the pool, and towel service.
- Towel Access: $25 deposit per towel.
Their Restaurant and Bar also have beautiful lake views and are situated right on the water.
The Drake Devonshire | 24 Wharf St. Wellington, ON K0K 3L0
For a meal or drinks with a view, look no further than The Drake Devonshire. You can book stunning rooms like the Owner's Suite to take in the lakeshore in the privacy of your own balcony, or drop in for breakfast and then wander out to the beach to relax to the sounds of the waves. Check out this Elopement at The Drake Devonshire for more inspiration.
Now that you've read through all of our recommendations I'd love to know which beach you choose. Let me know in the comments or pop over to Instagram @twocheeksstudio and tell us there.