Difficulty: Easy – Moderate (distance/navigation).
Setting: Lake, beach, wooded trails.
Facilities: Parking Lot, Beach, Change rooms/Bathrooms, picnic area and beach volleyball court.
Supervised beach (in summer).
Lots of trails off the beaten path.
Full bathroom/changing/picnic facilities.
Popular off-leash dog walking area (See Rules).
Sandy Lake Park is an area encompassing a couple hundred acres of land owned by Halifax Regional Municipality and has large areas contested and threatened by development.
Part of the Sackville River Watershed, Sandy Lake is an important ecosystem full of wildlife and even old-growth Acadian forest.
The main attraction of the park is the well designed and maintained beach area. The warm sandy beach is supervised by a lifeguard during the summer and even has accompanying facilities in the large building adjacent to the beach. Next to the beach is a large sand play area, a grassy area, picnic tables, benches, garbage cans.
The next most popular use of the park is off-leash dog walking. The trails are all off-leash, but the area in and around the beach is no dogs allowed from Spring-Fall. The park is equipped with garbage cans and dog bag dispensers. Parking during the off-season is at the gate of the park. The main parking lot is not accessible and requires 500m of extra walking.
The park is also an excellent place to explore off the beaten path. You can see some impressive old-growth trees in different parts of the park. There are lots of paths leading in various directions (as far as Marsh Lake and Jack Lake). If you choose to go off the beaten path, make sure you’re prepared and have some navigation aid.
The park was originally created with the help of the Bedford Lions Club donating $150, 000 and championed by ongoing stewardship of the Sandy Lake Conservation Association. The association has a great history of the area on their website and I highly recommend reading it to get a more in-depth rundown of the challenges faced by another one of our lesser-appreciated natural gems.
Recommended Reading: “ Day Trips From Halifax”.