Sandbanks Provincial Park, located near the town of Burgeo, Newfoundland and Labrador, is a waterfront park in the southwestern portion of the province along the North Atlantic Ocean. The park is named for the long stretches of sandy beaches and the rolling dunes that beautifully frame the facility. RVers who crave an isolated camping experience that is both forested and beachfront won’t forget their scenic stay at Sandbanks Provincial Park.
The area where the park is located is in a section of Newfoundland and Labrador that was once populated by clergy and anglers. The sandy dunes created a barrier for boats and fishing operations, while the sandy scenery overlooking the ocean was ideal for the construction of a church. After a time, after the destruction and rebuilding of numerous churches, the people living along the sandy dunes moved inland to Burgeo where there was more shelter from the wind for buildings and fishing boats.
Today, the sandy shorelines still frame the land, and camping and recreation dominate the area. During the peak camping season, the temperatures remain cool during the day and at night. The temperatures during the day during the summer months average 60 °F (15 °C) with nighttime lows averaging about 48 °F (9 °C). The chilly nights make it easy for RVers and tent campers to sleep the windows down and not get too warm.
Sandbanks Provincial Park is located 559 miles (901 km) southwest of St. John’s International Airport in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. People driving from the airport must drive north before heading south because there isn’t a direct route between the airport and the park.
All vehicles entering Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial parks for overnight camping must pay for a nightly vehicle pass. This pass is separate from the overnight camping fees and different than the day use pass. Overnight guests should arrive at their campsite before 10:00 pm.
The Sandbanks Campground is a single looped, seasonally operating facility that sits between Sandbanks Pond and Heron Pond. The sites are primitive with no hookups, and each space has a fire pit, a picnic table, and a garbage can. The gravel back-in driveways are large, with many spaces accommodating RVs and trailers over 35 feet in length, and a handful of the spaces have thickly forested surroundings. The campground offers guests drinking water, comfort stations with flush toilets and showers, and a laundry facility. There is also a dump station near the entrance to the park and a place to purchase firewood. Campers staying in Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Parks should refrain from any unnecessary noise that might disrupt the sounds of nature. Quiet hours are between 11:00 pm and 8:00 am. Generators should remain off during posted quiet hours.
This little park invites its guests to come and play during the day and then stay overnight. There are two areas in the park intended for day use. The first area is located along the shores of First Beach. There is a playground, picnic tables, and restrooms within walking distance. The second area is along Sandbanks Pond. This location has a swimming beach, picnic tables, restrooms, and changing area all within walking distance of the parking lot and day use area.
The hiking trails that weave in and around Sandbanks Provincial Park are both beachfront as well as forested trails. Hikers have contrasting landscapes to choose from when planning a day exploring the area on foot. The inland trails are wooded with lookout points, while the beach trails move from rocky outcroppings to four miles (7 km) of soft, sandy beaches that run along the North Atlantic Ocean. The beach trails are expensive, so it’s possible to walk for miles without seeing anyone else on your hike.
Sandbanks Provincial Park is known for its location to the water. Most park guests who like to swim generally take advantage of the swimming area, located in the Sandbanks Pond instead of the ocean, because the water is much more forgiving in the pond. Sandbanks pond has a designated swimming location, which is roped off for the swimmer’s safety. The swimming area has a changing facility, picnic tables, and restrooms close by, so swimmers can spend the entire day near the water without having to go far for the things they might need.
Sandbanks Provincial Park is isolated, so park visitors experience wildlife watching in an area that may seem to the eye like it’s the end of the earth. The ocean-front landscape that collides with the bogs and the forested portions of the park creates a unique habitat for animals that thrive in both salt and freshwater. Although some small wildlife species inhabit the area, the park is known for its birds. Sandbanks Provincial Park is located along a bird migration route. The most popular bird sightings are of plover, sandpiper, and waterfowl like ducks and geese.
If you are a geocacher, bring your handheld GPS devices and try to find the cache located within the park’s boundaries. Treasure hunters must be prepared to walk up some steep hills to locate the cache. Although Sandbanks Provincial Park doesn’t sponsor geocaching, the park permits organizers to hide the items within its boundaries. Don’t forget to download the cache’s coordinates before heading out on your trip so you can be sure you’ve got what you need to head out on your GPS-led hunt!
Since the park is small and isolated, many people who visit the area don’t leave the park because isolation and nature are what they crave. If you like to visit parks and explore local towns, plan on spending time in Burgeo, the closest town to Sandbanks Provincial. Burgeo has a handful of small businesses and historical buildings to explore as well as a museum and the former home of Farley Mowat, author of Never Cry Wolf. Burgeo has a small grocery store in case campers need to stock up on supplies before heading to their camping location.