Sandbanks Provincial Park

Sandbanks Provincial Park, named for its long expanse of sand dunes and beaches that are rare on the island portion of Newfoundland, is near Burgeo, about 93 miles from the Trans Canada Highway.

Inland, the park is covered by spruce and fir forest and barrens typical of the southern coast of Newfoundland.

This region was once inhabited by Dorset Native Americans. Sandbanks Island, which was once joined by a sandbar to the park area, has a Dorest archaeological site in a small cove. It is believed that it may have served as a lookout point.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert reported visiting this Sandbanks region in 1583, and by 1628 the Portuguese were fishing the area off the "virgio Island." The name was subsequently changed to Birgio and more recently to Burgeo.

The European-Anglican settlers came from Devon, England, to take advantage of excellent fishing grounds. Remains of one of their churches can still be seen within the park at a cemetery on the grassland inland from Fox Point.

The park offers 25 campsites on a single camping loop. About two-thirds of the sites are sheltered by forest and one-third is in a grassy area.

Firewood and water are available at the checkpoint. Each site has a fireplace, picnic table and garbage can. Four pit toilets, two of which are wheelchair-accessible, are located nearby.

The day use or picnic area, located by the beach on Swimming Pond, is equipped with a changing house, picnic tables garbage cans and pit toilets.

The 4.3-mile sandy beach is ideal for walks and hikes. Visitors can see shorebirds feeding in the shallows. Other trails pass inland, through forest and bog, to lookouts such as that at Cow Hill.

The sand dunes are a fragile environment because they have a thin vegetative cover of dune grass (Ammophilia breviligulata) and beach pea (Lathyrus maritimus) that binds the sand together. This vegetation is easily eroded by trails, resulting in sand blowouts.

Because of this, it is important to stay on designated trails.

The park has another unusual feature, a freshwater outflow of Heron Pond and Grepesy Brook. At high tide, saltwater flows up Grepesy Brook to Heron Pond, while at low tide, freshwater flows down the brook to the ocean.

The animals and plants that live in the water and along the intertidal flats must be able to tolerate both fresh and saltwater conditions. Heron Pond is home to a number of salt-tolerant plants, and at certain times of the year, is inhabited by a variety of waterfowl.

The Burgeo area is an important bird migration route. Because of extensive sand deposits, shallow water and the Heron Pond intertidal area, Sandbanks is an excellent place to watch for shore birds such as sandpipers, plovers, ducks and geese.
  • Route 480
  • Burgeo, Newfoundland
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Open Year-Round
  • No Entry Fee Charged.
  • (800) 496-9077
  • (709) 886-2331 Park (Summer) (800) 563-6353 U.S. and Canada

Touring & Services
  • Picnicking
  • Visitor Center
  • Children's Activities
  • Guided Tours
  • Scenic Drives
  • Off Road Vehicles
  • Lodging Nearby
  • Restaurants Nearby
Winter Sports
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowshoeing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Ice Skating
  • Winter Camping
  • Mountain Biking
  • Bike Touring
  • Saltwater Fishing
  • Freshwater Fishing
  • Big Game
  • Upland
  • Waterfowl
Nature & History
  • Bird-Watching
  • Nature Viewing
  • Historic Sites
Camping & Hiking
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Wheelchair Trails
  • Backpacking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Horse Trails
Paddling & Watersports
  • Beaches
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Rafting
  • Boat Launch