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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).
Full bathroom/changing/picnic facilities.
Popular, #dog-friendly park with off-leash trails (See Rules Below).
Sandy Lake Park
Sandy Lake Park is an area encompassing a couple of 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 sections of old-growth Acadian forest.
The aptly named lake with its sandy bottom is a unique oasis of untouched wilderness amongst a rapidly expanding suburban part of the Halifax Regional municipality.
Sandy Lake Beach
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 months, making it a great #family-friendly destination. Accompanying facilities like change rooms and washrooms are in the large building adjacent to the beach. Next to the beach is a beach volleyball court, open grass field, picnic tables and benches. In Summer, it’s one of the most popular #beaches in the area.
Off-Leash Dog Walking
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.