It’s a short drive to this spectacular provincial park that includes the West Lake formation, claimed to be the largest freshwater bay-mouth sand-dune system in the world. In other words: It’s an amazing beach (some say the best in Canada). The water is shallow, the sand clean, and the dunes—many between 12m (39 ft.) and 25m (82 ft.) high—provide a bit of topography that’s good for hiking and also for sheltered picnic areas on blistering days. In fact, this natural water park features plenty of picnic areas and day-use programs like campfires and other activities. 

If you have the time, Sandbanks Provincial Park is a splendid spot to camp for a night. Although the park has more than 500 campsites, they fill up quickly—holiday weekends are near impossible to snag. Reserving a campsite has been made simple by Ontario Parks, however. Visit reservations.ontarioparks.com/sandbanks and search the available sites that fit your needs. Some sites are barrier-free, others allow pets, and some are even have power outlets . . . although some would argue that’s cheating, even for car camping.