We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Quick Family getaway - recommendations?

Which Belleville hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Toronto
Level Contributor
1,171 posts
90 reviews
Save Topic
Quick Family getaway - recommendations?

We are off to Belleville for two nights in July - our thougt is to get to Sandbanks and into the Picton area for a look about - but we really don't know the area...this is our first time exploring and we want to get a sense of Prince Edward area....what are suggestions for must see's in two days in the area please?

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
13,856 posts
48 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Quick Family getaway - recommendations?

Hi Caribheart,

Quinte Isle - Prince Edward County is a real nice place to visit.

Sandbanks Provincial park can be really busy in July... will you be staying at the Park itself or elsewhere?

Things to do in the Area:

Belleville - Reids Dairy - Sandbanks (and sand-dunes) - The Beach - Picnic - Picton - Bloomfield - Wineries (Tours & Tasting) - Brewery (Barley Days) - Pubs - Entertaiment (live music at Waring House Barley Room) - Cooking Classes (Waring House) - Antiquing - Gourmet Food Shops - B&Bs - Country Inns - Spa (Claramount Inn) - Farmers' Market - Farmers Roadside Stands (Meats - Eggs - Fruit - Jams & Jellies - Pickles - Veggies - Desserts) - Fine Dining - Drive "around" the island - Apple Cider - Cheese (Fifth Town / Black River) - Ice Cream (Reids / Slickers) - Lake on the Mountain (gotta be seen) - and of course the Glenora Ferry (its FREE ride it both ways).

*NOTE - Be sure and pack a cooler... you'll be bringing home an assortment of food goodies.

This should get you started... if you have more Questions ask away.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Kingston, Canada
Level Contributor
3,689 posts
101 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Quick Family getaway - recommendations?

What sort of interests do you have?

Depending on when you are in town, there is the Waterfront Ethnic Festival http://www.bellevillewaterfrontfestival.com/ . There are some

wineries that offer tours pec.on.ca/pec_yellowpages/yellowpages.php3… . Of course, Sandbanks has beautiful beaches. You will be less than an hour from Kingston if you'd like to check it out as well - you could take the Glenora ferry from Prince Edward County and drive along the water to Kingston.

ktown

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
13,856 posts
48 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Quick Family getaway - recommendations?

Hi Caribheart,

When it comes to Wineries... if you have an interest at all the foremost source for info would be The Official Guide to the Wineries of Ontario = www.winesofontario.ca it is available online, but when it comes to touring having a hard copy is best as it has a pull-out map etc.

You can order a hard copy by mail, or pick one up at any of PEC's Wineries or a local LCBO.

Also of note... the Picton Chamber of Commerce has a Tourist Informaton Centre on Main Street... they have lots of great info and brochures.

For a ton of other tourist info check out www.pec.on.ca

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Toronto
Level Contributor
1,171 posts
90 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Quick Family getaway - recommendations?

Hi there!

Thank you both for your reply I am getting more excited now! I knew in my heart there was so much to see and do in the area but Icouldn't seem to track down the kind of information you are providing.

I love Antiques and wine but as I am travelling with my 6year old and 9 month old it will be limited...I do think that I can squeeze some in as my family has come to understand my likes and dislikes adn we try to compromise. In this compromise we had decided to stay at the Ramada in Belleville for the pool with water slide,waterfront access and access to PEC.

I was hoping to maybe head out from our home near Toronto early in the morning and get to Kingston to see Fort Henry...ahh the compromises again - this is for my husband and son (shhh I like it too - but I have to have leverage for the Antiques and wine)...could we take the Glenorra ferry from Belleville and somehow gain access to Kingston this route or is this a ridiculous path? That would put us back in Belleville for check in and a bite to eat, walk along waterfront path (does this make sense?) and pool time.

The next day we had hoped to get to Sandbanks with a picnic...I have heard such wonderful things about this park and I would love to share this park adn the beaches and dunes with my family - where do we enter for the beach? Is it one big beach or are there several locations? What would you recommend in terms of enjoying a good part of the day at Sandbanks?

Could we realistically build a picnic lunch from the markets and stands around? Or will we be reliant on a Tim Hortons sandwich - not criticizing the mighty T.H).

If we spent a little over half the day at the park - is that doable? What would be the recommendation from there....something in the early afternoon and for dinner? The next day would be sadly our last....What last few highlights should we hit before heading home and to keep us waiting for our next trip to the PEC and Quinte area?

Thank you so much for your assistance! Please feel free to provide detailed feedback even if I am WAY off base in my thoughts!

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
13,856 posts
48 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Quick Family getaway - recommendations?

Hi Caribheart,

RE - GLENORA FERRY

Incorporating a trip on the Ferry with a visit to Kingston does indeed make a lot of sense... you can do it in either direction (and then drive the 401 the other way).

If you decided to do it on the WAY TO Kingston, I'd not get off the 401 at Belleville (about 2 Hours from Toronto) but rather exit farther east at Hwy 49 (this will put you a the east end of Quinte Isle). Take Hwy 49 into Picton to the 3 way stop (believe there is a light there)… then take Hwy 33 – Loyalist Parkway EAST. Using this route from the 401 to the Ferry is about 36 Kms (aprox 42 Minutes). Just before the Ferry, you'll see a sign for the Lake on the Mountain. Now that you are on the eastern most tip of the peninsula... it makes sense to make a quick exit off The Parkway up the mountain, to see this incredible sight (and the amazing view of the Glenora Ferry and Lake Ontario from the Parking Lot across the street).

The Glenora Ferry is FREE and runs every couple of minutes... so you won't have to wait long for the next one to come along, if you miss one. From the Ferry to Old Fort Henry in Kingson (via Hwy 33 - Loyalist Parkway) is about 57 Kms (around 1 Hour). The route is quite pretty (not as scenic as The 1000 Islands Parkway farther east in Ontario... but still quite nice).

Returning from Kingston to Belleville... you can easy enough take the 401… from Old Fort Henry to the Ramada Hotel a distance of about 85 Kms (aprox 1 Hour).

If you do it in reverse… Toronto via the 401 to Kingston (3 Hours) and then the Glenora Ferry route on the WAY BACK FROM Kingston… it would be Hwys 33 and 62 back to Picton & Belleville and about 100 Kms (aprox 2 Hours).

*NOTE – Driving Times here are just that… time spent driving. They don’t account for Stops, Breaks or Sightseeing, nor for Delays caused by Traffic, Road Construction or Weather Conditions. They are estimates based on GOOGLE MAPS using the shortest route (unless otherwise noted) and driving under ideal conditions at posted speed limits.

Hope this is helpful,

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

PS… I’ll post on your other Questions separately.

Toronto
Level Contributor
1,171 posts
90 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Quick Family getaway - recommendations?

That is a brilliant detailed help = Thanks!!

My older son will love the Ferry as well as the Fort and I will love it too plus the beautiful scenery!! I am really getting excited now and I eagerly await your nexy response - THANK YOU!

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
13,856 posts
48 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Quick Family getaway - recommendations?

Hi Caribheart,

RE – SANDBANKS PROVINCIAL PARK and TOURING

Sandbanks Park is made up of 3 separate beach areas… Outlet Beach – Sandbanks Beach – Dunes Beach (once upon a time they all had designation as individual Provincial Parks)… today though the signage is just used to indicate which part of the large stretch of aprox 10 Km beach is which).

I have been to all 3 Beaches… and they all differ a wee bit from each other. Outlet is by far the most popular with locals and those who have been to the area previously. Sandbanks is the middle stretch and favoured by the campers (as it is closest to that area of the Park) and Dunes… well it is a world unto itself.

The waters off of Outlet and Sandbanks are quite shallow, and gentle. Dunes beach has a quick drop off… but then most folks go there to investigate the Dunes more so than swim.

All the Beaches have day use areas (Picnic facilities) and bathrooms (although not all offer flush toilets). My personal fave would be Outlet Beach.

For more info, I suggest that you check out the Official Ontario Parks Website for Sandbanks = www.ontarioparks.com/english/sand.html and also the info on the Prince Edward County Tourism Website = www.pec.on.ca/other/sandbnks.html

As for timing… I would keep an eye on everyone very closely… one can sunburn very very easily at Sandbanks… it is a lot like being at a Caribbean Beach… all that water and white sand makes for a very “reflective” experience. So be sure and really slap on the sunscreen. Personally, I think with such little kids that I’d only go for a short time. That is probably a sad reality, but better safe than sorry (lol, guessing that hubby will enjoy it so much he’ll be pleading to return again in the future).

As an aside… there are several other beaches around PE County but none so dramatic or beautiful. On the same side of the peninsula (west facing) you’ll also find North Beach another Provincial Park… but it isn’t the best for families as it has a strong under current… best to stick with the main 3 Beaches at Sandbanks.

As for a picnic… there is a Farmers’ Market in Belleville (Tuesdays – Thursdays – Saturdays) that sets up behind City Hall (not far from the Ramada). I haven’t been to it, so I can’t really comment… the Farmers’ Markets of Ontario website says they have 25 Vendors… so probably a good selection, and most of it will indeed come from PE County. The County is a great source for terrific and unique food items… although the largest percentage will be found at roadside stands (right at the Farmer’s Gate) if you drive around the peninsula.

I would say get up early (Market opens at 7 AM) and see what you can find… and supplement it if you have to, with a quick stop at a Grocery Store.

As what to do with the rest of the day… well you could just take a drive around the isle (the whole peninsula is interesting)… doesn’t really matter what road you set off on. Just keep your eyes open for roadside signs for foodie treats.

Make sure you have a map... there are lots of small (even dirt) roads that connect spots (shortcuts) I personally wouldn't recommend them... but you'll find that the various roads criss-cross the isle in such a way that you'll discover you are never too far from a spot you know (ie Picton).

I enjoy the southshore... Milford is home to Black River Cheese, Vicki’s Veggies, and Pat’s Jams… be sure and try Black River’s Maple Cheddar, and Pat besides Jams & Jellies also has a nice assortment of pickles. The town of Waupoos, even farther east is home to Waupoos Winery, and The County Cider Co. both of which have amazing views of Lake Ontario. If you like Ice Wine, check out what Waupoos has on offer… sometimes they infuse Ice Wine with other flavours… Maple Ice is truly delicious.

Otherwise, if you are pressed for time… you could make the short trip into Picton… if anyone is hungry there is the famous Buddha Dog. And be sure and stop at the new Waring House Store & Gourmet Shop (bound to be something there to catch your fancy). On the way westward back towards Belleville on the Loyalist Parkway, make a stop at the Barley Days Brewery or a stop in Bloomfield for Slickers Ice Cream, and a chance for Mom to browse some more interesting shops.

Just off Hwy 62 you’ll find Huff Estate Winery (2274 County Road # 1) one of the better wineries in PE County… some of their wines are still young… but for the most part quite drinkable and enjoyable. They’ve recently introduced a Sparkling Wine, and it is really excellent.

As for leaving The County next day… lol, I’d suggest a stop at Reid’s Dairy (kind of behind Quinte Mall in Belleville). It is a local institution. They are well known for their ice cream and in particular their milkshakes.

Hopefully, you’ll have seen enough of The County to get a real idea of what is available here… and something to “wet your appetite” for a return visit.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Kingston, Canada
Level Contributor
3,689 posts
101 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Quick Family getaway - recommendations?

Wine-4-2 has given you some amazing suggestions. The only thing that I can think to add is that I think the Belleville farmers market is very good. Being that it's an Ontario market it is restricted to local goods, so you're not purchasing tomatoes grown anywhere but in Ontario.

ktown

Toronto, Canada
Destination Expert
for Toronto, Isla de Vieques
Level Contributor
4,166 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Quick Family getaway - recommendations?

Hi, Caribheart;

We travelled to Belleville a few times for business a little less than a year ago & we have but 1 thing to add to the fantastic advice you've already been given:

While you'll find the hotel really well situated & the amenities great for a family, the Ramada' s restaurant, unfortunately, leaves a lot to be desired. We really liked Paulo's Italian Trattoria on Bridge Street downtown. It had great pizza, a wonderful ambiance, and a decent wine list for Mom & Dad! And it's a very manageable & pleasant stroll away from the hotel. We wrote a review of the place- just click on our name & check under our contributions.

Have a great vacation- it's one of our favourite areas of Ontario.

Belleville
Level Contributor
2 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Quick Family getaway - recommendations?

Please visit www.bayofquintecountry.com

Definately go see the National Airforce Museum in Quinte West! A great restaurant is the Boathouse Restaurant on the water in Belleville (with a large patio!). While in the County, check out the Art Trail!

All can be found on the site!