Just 2 1/2 hours from the glass and steel skyscrapers of Toronto is the peaceful retreat of Sandbanks Provincial Park, set along the shores of Lake Ontario. Spend your days on the park’s three sand beaches, some dotted with dune formations towering nearly 200 feet, or explore the surrounding wetlands via 5 miles of hiking trails. The park has opportunities for boating, fishing, canoeing and bird watching during spring and fall. While the park allows beach camping, if you prefer to sleep in an actual bed, many nearby villages and Picton, the largest of the surrounding cities, have hotel options.
Picton’s Last Resort
Picton, just five minutes from the park, is home to resort hotels. Made up of two separate sites just a half-mile apart, Sandbanks Beach Resort has RV and tent camp sites, as well as cottages for rent, each equipped with private picnic tables, fire pits and barbecue grills. Revel in the great outdoors as both locations have small lakes, playgrounds and summertime hayrides. Rent recreational equipment from the resort, including bikes, rowboats, canoes and kayaks. Set along the shores of West Lake, Isaiah Tubbs Resort and Conference Centre is a luxurious hotel with a private beach and a seasonal outdoor swimming pool. The hotel’s upscale restaurant includes cathedral ceilings, fireplaces and sweeping views of the lake. Book a guest room with such special perks as fireplaces, whirlpool tubs and beachside walk-out decks.
Picton also includes an assortment of inns, ranging from high-end to midrange. Housed inside a brick gabled mansion, Merrill Inn is an upscale hotel where some luxurious guest rooms come outfitted with jetted tubs, private decks, four-poster beds and fireplaces. The hotel also has an elegant restaurant on-site and provides gourmet picnics as part of special packages. Picton Harbour Inn has a laid-back vibe and is set along the shores of Picton Bay. Some guest rooms have whirlpool tubs and balconies with water views. A handful of dock slips are available for rent and an on-site restaurant serves breakfast and lunch.
Enjoy boutique accommodations at Angeline’s Inn in Bloomfield, just 15 minutes from Sandbanks Provincial Park. The hotel provides an assortment of accommodations, including two-story lofts with dining areas and fully equipped kitchens, suites set inside an 1869 home and budget rooms in a 1950s motor inn. The hotel’s on-site restaurant, the trendy Hubb, offers small plates, desserts and an extensive wine menu. Nestled along the banks of West Lake, Sunrise Cottage Resort has its own boat launches and rents boats, kayaks, canoes and paddleboats by the hour or day. Enjoy recreational activities on site, such as an outdoor swimming pool, horseshoe pits, a children’s playground and badminton and volleyball courts. The resort also provides free parking passes for nearby Sandbanks Provincial Park.
Unwind in Wellington
Book a stay at Newsroom Suites, a boutique hotel in the village of Wellington, just 20 minutes from the park. The all-suite accommodations include such touches as stone tile bathrooms, deep soaking tubs and well-equipped kitchenettes. Grab a DVD from the lobby’s movie library or select a title from your in-room library lined with Canadian books. Also in Wellington, Village Comfort Inn is tucked along the coast of Lake Ontario. Soak up the views from the comfort of the hotel’s sprawling front lawn, complete with a fire pit, picnic area, gazebo and playground. While all of the rooms have fireplaces, some include lakefront views from private verandas and your own barbecue.