We just back from an amazing trip to Prince Edward Island (PEI), and I am pumped to share all the cool stuff I experienced. If you’re into stunning ocean views, friendly locals, and delicious seafood, PEI should be right at the top of your travel list. This island is all about iconic red shores, rolling green fields, and a super relaxed vibe.
Since we stopped in for a little vacay after our Ironman, our week was pretty chill. I will share some of the most highly recommended activities first, and then dive into our experiences in detail.
A lot of folks opt to drive to Prince Edward Island – not necessarily for the joy of the road trip itself, but because having your own wheels on the island is an absolute game-changer. We went by car since we tacked it on to our Lake Placid trip, and we had Hound with us. It was about 14 hours in the car on the way there, and the cool part is that you get to drive across Confederation Bridge. It wasn’t an easy drive though, since we had been so focused on the Ironman we didn’t really plan ahead and didn’t have the keys: snacks, pillows, podcasts prepped, etc. Now, when it was time to head back home, we decided to be a bit more strategic. Instead of powering through the 20-hour drive all at once, we gave ourselves a breather. We made a pit stop in Ottawa, and spent the night with my parents. That split the trip into a 15-hour drive from PEI to Ottawa, and then a 5-hour hop from Ottawa back to Kitchener. Way more doable, and we got to sneak in a little family time too.
Now, if you’re more of a “wings and clouds” traveler, no worries! You can fly right into Charlottetown Airport (that’s YYG for the airport code folks). Just note that you will need to rent a car. Having a set of wheels at your disposal is the golden ticket since the island is pretty spread out and you’re gonna wanna explore every bit of it!
Pretty much every travel blog will have a list similar to this one of the “must-see and dos”, and it’s a great place to start. Take a browse and pick which ones sound most interesting to you!
- Explore Green Gables: Immerse yourself in the world of Anne of Green Gables at the Green Gables Heritage Place in Cavendish. Walk through the iconic farmhouse, stroll along the Haunted Wood, and embrace the charm of Lovers’ Lane.
- Hit the Beach: With over 500 miles of coastline, PEI boasts numerous pristine beaches. Sink your toes into the red sands at Cavendish Beach, relax at Brackley Beach, or go beach-combing at Basin Head Provincial Park.
- Savour Seafood Delights: Indulge in the island’s fresh seafood, especially their world-renowned lobster. Whether it’s a lobster supper or a casual seafood shack, PEI offers a delectable culinary experience.
- Experience Lighthouses: Discover charming lighthouses that dot the coastline, such as the West Point Lighthouse and the picturesque Point Prim Lighthouse. Climb to the top for stunning panoramic views.
- Bike the Confederation Trail: Hop on a bike and explore the scenic Confederation Trail, a former railway route that stretches across the island. It’s a great way to see the countryside at your own pace.
- Visit Historic Sites: Learn about PEI’s history at places like Province House National Historic Site in Charlottetown, where the famous Charlottetown Conference took place.
- Enjoy Water Activities: Try kayaking, paddle boarding, or even take a leisurely boat tour to witness PEI’s marine life and coastal beauty.
- Attend Festivals: Depending on when you visit, you might catch one of PEI’s lively festivals, like the Cavendish Beach Music Festival or the PEI Shellfish Festival.
- Shop in Artisan Boutiques: Explore the island’s artisan shops and galleries for unique handmade crafts, jewelry, and artwork.
- Golf: Known as the “Golf Mecca of Canada,” PEI offers a variety of stunning golf courses, some with oceanfront views.
- Stroll Through Charlottetown: Discover the capital city’s historic streets, charming architecture, and vibrant arts scene. Don’t miss the Confederation Centre of the Arts.
- Enjoy Farm Visits: Explore local farms and experience agri-tourism by picking your own strawberries, touring dairy farms, or even participating in oyster farming experiences.
These are just a few highlights of the many wonderful experiences you can have on Prince Edward Island. Whether you’re after just some relaxation on the beach, cultural exploration, or adventuring, PEI has got it all.
Here’s a quick run-down of how we broke up our week. It wasn’t reaaally pre-planned, it was more like “what do you wanna do today?”, so if you’re building out a trip, I’d recommend planning ahead and mapping everything out. Depending on where on the island you’re staying, it might make more sense to bundle certain activities together.
- Day 1:
Slow morning for us (we got in from our drive at around 3am!)
Evermoore for lunch
Walking around Summerside, shops at Spinnaker’s Landing
Beautiful sunset at the cottage
Dairy Royal ice cream
- Day 2:
Thunder Cove Beach
- Day 3:
Morning bike ride
Riverdale Orchard Cidery
Charlottetown – Victoria Row, St. Dustan’s Cathedral, Brickhouse for dinner, waterfront, Victoria Park, Cow’s ice cream
- Day 4:
- Day 5:
Summerside & North-West
Summerside is a picturesque little town on the western coast of the island. It’s the cutest little spot with delightful maritime charm and a lovely waterfront. We headed over to stop by Evermoore Brewing Co., and then enjoyed a wander down by the docks and checked out the shops at Spinnaker’s Landing.
On the way back to the cottage, we stopped by the Bottle Houses. This is one of those funky stops that is a totally unique experience. The houses are made entirely out of recycled glass bottles, and they’re a sight to behold! Located in Cap-Egmont, these whimsical structures are a testament to human creativity and eco-friendliness. The Bottle Houses showcase the ingenious artistry of local artist Édouard Arsenault, who turned recycling into a masterpiece. The gardens around the Bottle Houses are a work of art themselves too! Lush blooms, vibrant colours, and a serene atmosphere – I would recommend packing an afternoon snack and having a mini picnic here 🙂
Another stop we made was the iconic Potato Museum in O’Leary. Yes, they have a whole museum dedicated to potatoes! We wandered through exhibits about the spud’s history, from its wild beginnings to modern farming. Pretty fascinating stuff, honestly! And they have a café on site with all potato dishes. I went for the chilli baked potato, which really hit the spot. Everyone else was very happy with their dishes too, but what do you expect? Potatoes are delicious in every shape and form!
The capital of PEI and its largest city, Charlottetown offers a dynamic blend of old-world charm and modern vibrancy. With a lively arts and culture scene, historic streets, and a picturesque waterfront it’s a lovely place to visit. Neat places to wander include Victoria Row, a bustling pedestrian street dotted with charming shops and eateries, the waterfront, and Victoria Park. We enjoyed reading up on the history at the plaques throughout the city and checking out the gorgeous St. Dunstan’s Cathedral – an architectural masterpiece. My fav part of our visit was the food (who is surprised…) at BrickHouse and Cow’s. More on that down below!
Honestly, everywhere we stopped to eat for the entire week was EXCEPTIONAL. Let’s dive in!
Evermoore Brewing Co.: Located in Summerside, Evermoore is the spot for good vibes, great brews, and seriously tasty eats. A few in the group got beer flights, and they noted that the Malibu beer tasted like sunscreen… FYI! The food was delishhhh all across the board – I got the cherry pecan baked brie, and mushroom & leek cavatapi. Others enjoyed the hot summer hummus, mussels, fish cake, burger, and carrot & veg hodgepodge.
Dairy Royal Ice Cream: This place is in O’Leary, right by our friend’s cottage. It isn’t just an ice cream joint – it’s a childhood fav of our buddy’s, and I can 100% see why. We went more than once, and the double thick chocolate milkshake is just divine.
Avonlea Village: located in Cavendish, Avonlea village is like a charming step back in time with its quaint historic buildings and picturesque ambiance. Avonlea was the fictitious name that Anne of Green Gables author, L.M. Montgomery, gave to Cavendish, and the town is made to replicate the houses and shops from Anne’s time. With 10 restaurants and 6 stores, it’s got a great variety of classic east coast eats and trinkets. We beelined for the lobster rolls at Dave’s, since you just can’t go out east without getting one of these babies. One of the best parts was that we could bring along Mr. Hound, who absolutely loved the outdoor seating and open spaces!
Riverdale Orchard and Cidery: Riverdale is an award winning cidery, tucked away in the PEI countryside. The owner’s warm welcome and engaging stories added a genuine charm to the experience. We sampled their delicious ciders and enjoyed a delightful lunch. Their shortbread was just amazing – probably because the owners are actually Scottish! My favourite cider was the “Scots go Tropical”, with added pineapple. Mmmmm!
Brickhouse: Brickhouse Charlottetown was hands down the culinary star of our PEI journey. My favourite meal of the trip, without a doubt. We got the kale caesar and caramelized onion cheese dip to start, followed by the best seafood chowder I’ve ever eaten. I had a bite of Tyler’s roast chicken dish and that was amazing as well. Five stars!
Cow’s Creamery: Cow’s Ice Cream is more than just an ice cream parlour – it’s a beloved institution that has become an integral part of the PEI experience. Established in 1983 in Cavendish, this family-owned business has garnered a cult-like following for its exceptional ice cream creations. They have wild flavour names like “Wowie Cowie” and “Gooey Mooey”, which are honestly some of the best ones! No trip to PEI is complete without Cow’s. I just wish we went more than once so I could try more flavours!
Given that PEI is an island, it’s got no shortage of beaches! From the iconic Cavendish Beach with its red cliffs, to the endless dunes of Brackley Beach, there’s a stretch of sand for everyone. There’s even the famous Basin Head “singing beach”, where the sand squeaks as you walk on it! During our trip, we managed to hit up Thunder Cove Beach, which had stunning cliffs and a sense of rugged beauty. Plus it was dog friendly! This was Hound’s first time at the beach and he had a total blast. We also made it to Campbellton Beach, which was a bit rockier but just as stunning. Even though we only scratched the surface, those two beaches gave us a taste of PEI’s coastal magic. Beach hopping on the island? Definitely a must-do for anyone who visits!
For those considering a visit to Prince Edward Island, know that you’re in for a remarkable experience. Our journey through this captivating island revealed a tapestry of rich history, stunning landscapes, and genuine hospitality. We are extremely grateful to our friends for hosting us at their cottage, giving us a tour of the island, and sharing all of their favourite spots. 🙂