North Bay side of North Beach.

How to plan a day trip to North Beach

North Beach Provincial Park is a beautiful day use park offering long sandy beaches along Lake Ontario and their enclosed bay — 2,000 metres of sand beach to be specific!

Located in Prince Edward County, a short drive from its more famous neighbour, Sandbanks, it’s a popular spot for beach-goers and often hits capacity throughout the summer.

This year, you need to book your day use permit in advance to guarantee entry.

Ready to plan your trip? Here’s everything you need to know to have a fun and organized visit:

  1. Do I need a day-use reservation?
  2. How do I know when North Beach is at capacity?
  3. When is the best time to visit?
  4. Where can I go when North Beach and/or Sandbanks are full?
  5. What else can I do in North Beach area?
  6. What else can I do at the park besides relax and enjoy the beach?
  7. Where can I get lunch?
  8. What are the park hours?
  9. How much does it cost to get in?
  10. Is it safe to swim at North Beach?
  11. What kind of accessibility does that park have?
  12. Can I bring a BBQ?
  13. Can I bring my dog?
  14. What should/shouldn’t I pack?
  15. Why is access restricted in some areas?

1. Can I buy a day-pass before I arrive?

Yes. Please book your permit in advance to guarantee entry.

Our park is getting more and more popular, but we only have room for a limited number of visitors each day.

Daily vehicle permits will become available at 7:00 a.m., five days in advance of your arrival date. Reservations can be made online (here’s a walkthrough of how to book, including how to use your seasonal permit).

Parking outside the park is not permitted to ensure easy access to the park in case of an emergency. Please obey all signage. Visitors who park along North Beach Road outside of the park could receive a fine and have their vehicles towed. 

2. How do I know when North Beach is at capacity?

North Beach is on Twitter! On busy days, weekends, and when Online Daily Vehicle Permits are fully reserved, park staff will provide capacity updates on Twitter.

You can also visit our reservation website to check whether space is available on the date of your visit.

3. When is the best time to visit?

North Beach is only open for the summer season (June 11 – October 1, 2023). The park often hits capacity on nice summer weekends, while weekdays (Monday – Thursday) can be less busy.

Got your permit booked? Your access is guaranteed no matter what time you arrive, but if you’d like to select your perfect spot on the beach, we recommend arriving a bit early. The park is busiest between 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on hot summer days.

Please visit our Alerts page for updates to park and beach conditions.

North Beach Staff.

4. Where can I go when North Beach and/or Sandbanks are full?

If North Beach or Sandbanks are already fully booked, we recommend checking out Presqu’ile Provincial Park and Darlington Provincial Park if you’re coming from the GTA.

Please note that these parks get busy on weekends. They also require you to reserve your daily vehicle permit in advance to guarantee access.

Presqu’ile is a 35-minute drive west of North Beach, and Darlington is located east of Oshawa off the 401.

Please visit their social media accounts and our website for capacity updates and advance reservations. 

5. What else can I do in North Beach area?

If you’ve soaked up enough sun at the beach and want to make the most of your day trip, take the opportunity to explore Prince Edward County and downtown Belleville.

NOTE: please confirm each attraction is available before you go.

You could:

6. What else can I do at the park besides relax and enjoy the beach?

Birding: Bring your binoculars and look up! Visitors to North Beach may see hawks, Saw-whet Owls, and Turkey Vultures.

Fishing: Anglers visiting North Beach could catch Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, perch and sunfish. Personal flotation devices are available for loan at the park (refundable deposit is required).

North Beach Canteen.
North Beach Canteen

7. Where can I get lunch?

North Beach is a wonderful place to have a picnic on a summer day! Picnic tables are conveniently located along the beach.

The park has a small canteen located on the park’s main road where traditional fast food and beverages can be purchased along with park souvenirs.

Canteen’s a bit busy? Head into town for lunch and enjoy the rich tastes of the county or enjoy a local patio.

Looking to cool down and enjoy a meal after a long day at the beach? Discover the delicious variety of cafes, restaurants, and patios downtown Belleville has to offer.

8. What are the park hours?

North Beach is open from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm Monday to Friday, and 8:00 am – 9:00 pm Saturday and Sunday from June 10 – October 1, 2023. 

9. How much does it cost to get in?

Day use costs $18 (remember to make your reservation in advance to guarantee access!). 

10. Is it safe to swim at North Beach?

Yes, unless otherwise posted. The beach’s water quality is tested every week. Any advisories will be posted on the Ontario Parks Alerts page.

People swimming at North Beach.

North Beach has three beach areas – Lake Ontario, North Bay, and a dog beach on the North Bay side of the park.

Please be aware of undertow conditions on Lake Ontario during windy days, and the drop off at North Bay.

Visitors are reminded there are no lifeguards and water safety your responsibility. Please monitor the weather and exercise caution.

Personal flotation devices are available for loan at the park.

11. What kind of accessibility does the park provide?

During peak summer, the park has Mobi Mats that create an accessible path through the sand, starting at the park store and go onto the beach. These mats help make the beach more accessible to anyone using assistive devices like wheelchairs, walkers, and canes.

12. Can I bring a barbecue?

Yes! Barbecues are permitted, but please note that they must be self contained and the park does not have facilities to dispose of charcoal. Propane BBQs are recommended, otherwise please be prepared to take the used charcoal home with you

Note: if the park is under a fire ban, charcoal barbecues are not permitted, however propane barbecues are. Learn more about what equipment is allowed during a fire ban.

13. Can I bring my dog?

Absolutely! Just make sure you keep them on a leash (no longer than 2 m in length). The park offers a dog beach on the North Bay side that your pup will love.

14. What should / shouldn’t I pack?

What you should definitely pack:

  • sunscreen
  • hat
  • water
  • snacks
  • swimwear
  • lifejackets for kids and non-swimmers (or borrow one)
  • change of clothes
  • towels
  • bug spray (DEET)
  • reusable picnic items

What you shouldn’t pack:

  • alcohol (prohibited in the park)
  • firewood (campfires are not permitted in the park)
  • drones

We don’t recommend packing:

  • large beach structures like volleyball nets
  • oversized umbrellas or sun shelters (these can be hard to place on busy days)
  • radios
  • single-use plastics (such as water bottles, cups, plates, and cutlery)
  • inflatable water floaties. Learn why bringing a floatie to the beach is not recommended.

Garbage cans with camp chairs stuffed in

*You can find garbage cans located throughout the park, and we encourage visitors to practice the “pack it in, pack it out” method. Please be prepared to bring larger items of garbage (such as broken chairs or beach umbrellas) home with you.

15. Why is access restricted in some areas?

On your trip to the beach you may encounter post and rope fencing and restricted areas, but why?

Not unlike many of our visitors, our environment may also require rest and relaxation, getting some time away from the pressures of the everyday to recharge.

Some of our most popular beach areas and picnic spots may succumb to overuse and need time to regenerate to avoid any long-term damage. Additionally, our hardworking dune grasses need room to do the work of stabilizing our dunes, holding the formations in place.

Please respect the boundaries and signage erected by park staff and allow elements of North Beach’s hardworking ecosystems to recover and do their job. Use designated entry and exit points on and off the beach to avoid inflicting any unnecessary harm.