Nothing says summer quite like a trip to the beach. The sad part is I haven’t been to the beach in years! All summer, I’ve been trying to pick the perfect day for squishing sand between my toes (best feeling ever!), but a mix of bad timing and worse weather has left me completely beach-less for about three and a half of my four-month summer vacation . . . until TODAY!
If you’re looking for a one day getaway from the GTA, there’s no place better than Sandbanks. I have trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that it’s a provincial park, but that’s exactly what it is. All 1509 hectares of it is sitting right next to Lake Ontario calling my name. It’s a bit of a drive from Toronto – about two and a half to three hours.
It may not be the best time to visit the beaches when summer camps have come to a close and everyone is trying to squeeze in one last hurrah before the back to school parade begins. Surprisingly, the crowds didn’t really seem to be a problem for me! There’s just so much beach to go around. We had plenty of room to spread out and soak up the sun, with only some fearless seagulls trying to encroach on our personal space.
The water was great too! It was a beautiful sunny day – not a cloud in sight – with just enough of a cool breeze to take the haze off the 30 degree weather. In other words, perfect weather for splashing around in the lake, if you can overlook the bugs and twigs (Hey, it’s all part of the outdoor experience!). The water was actually pretty clear. There was a briefly off-putting moment when I spotted a rotting fish corpse washed up on shore, but a quick dunk in the lake (for me, not the fish corpse) and my worries floated away.
If snoozing on the beach or swimming in the lake isn’t your thing, not to worry! The best is yet to come. My favourite thing about Sandbanks is it has kayaks for rent! For someone who has next to zero paddling finesse or technique, I am a surprisingly big fan of kayaking. My dad’s paddling skills are almost as good as mine, so we spent most of our rental period (about $24 for two hours in our tandem kayak) zig-zagging down the canal leading into the lake. Nonetheless I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, the kayaking/canoeing area (that’s right, did I mention they also rent out canoes?) is separate from the swimming area. When you think about it, it’s a clever idea. Very useful for those of us who can’t guarantee a collision-free paddle around the lake. It’s so peaceful on that canal lined with cottages on either bank. When it opens up into the lake, there’s absolutely nothing but wide open sky and the sparkling sunlight dancing on the lake like diamonds.
In short, it was nothing less than the perfect beach day. If you’re itching for a trip to the beach too, it’s not too late! There is still about a week left before the Labour Day weekend – tons of time to get cracking on your summer agenda of lazing around in the sun. If you’re anywhere within a 250 km radius of Picton, Ont., Sandbanks is definitely the place to be!