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Travel Canada: Best things to do in PEI

With its rolling green fields, gorgeous beaches and world-class seafood, there is never a shortage of things to do in PEI, Canada’s smallest province. A Prince Edward Island vacation is bound to relax and refresh you!

Named for Prince Edward — rather romantically known as the Father of the Canadian Crown — this quaint paradise by the sea has cultivated a unique, laid-back culture. Islanders enjoy their picturesque lighthouses, open beaches, and delicious local cuisine — and so do visitors!

PEI’s festivals, events, beaches, and laid back atmosphere are calling. To help you plan your trip, we’ve put together our top things to do in PEI!

Getting to Prince Edward Island

 Visit PEI over the bridge or on the ferry

Prince Edward Island is a 450 000 km2 island in Canada’s Atlantic and while it’s not completely isolated, when you see PEI on a map, you might find yourself asking how do you get to Prince Edward Island?

By Ground

If you’re on a road trip with the family, detour to New Brunswick to find the Confederation Bridge. Spanning 13 km — the longest bridge over icy waters in the world — Confederation Bridge is the only way you can drive to PEI. While the drive is just a short 10 minutes, nervous drivers can have a bridge employee drive for them with the Apprehensive Driver Service.

By Sea

If you’re not in the mood to drive, between May and late December you can visit PEI by ferry. In the summer, live music and food make the 75-minute passage into a fun primer for the rest of your PEI sightseeing!

By Air

The Charlottetown Airport, north of PEI’s capital, ferries in visitors from further away. Two of Canada’s biggest airlines make frequent stops between Charlottetown and Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, or Toronto.

Feeling like even more beach fun after seeing our favourite beaches near Toronto? Flying from Toronto is only about two and a half hours.

The Best Time to Visit PEI

 Visit PEI during peak seasons for the best things to do in PEI

Prince Edward Island is beautiful any time of the year — but it really shines in the summer and fall.

Visit PEI between June to August for prime tourism time! Warm weather and just the right amount of breeze make for endless summer beach days. With the ferry active and the sun shining, visitors from all over Canada make their way to PEI in the summer.

Don’t like crowds? You can tour Prince Edward Island in just a few hours. Enjoy all the summer sun and fun away from the crowds on PEI’s more secluded beaches (more on that later!).

During the fall there are plenty of things to do in PEI. Locals and tourists move off the beaches and onto the golf courses to hit the links. If you thought Prince Edward Island was like a picturesque painting in the summer, you’ll love it even more in the fall. Beyond lush golf courses, turning leaves make for beautiful hikes.

Fall is also festival season in PEI — foodies should visit the island come autumn.

Things to do in PEI

 Looking for what to see in PEI? We have some ideas!

Beach Days

Prince Edward Island boasts 23 beautiful beaches. With PEI’s size, it’s possible to visit every single one on your trip!

Hitting the sandy shores is one of the most popular things to do in PEI, however, not all of the beaches are supervised; if you’re travelling with young children, be sure to check that your chosen beach has a lifeguard on duty.

Check out the supervised Greenwich Beach in Prince Edward Island National Park to see the largest sand dunes in PEI. An extensive trail system and a floating boardwalk gives you a choice between relaxing on the beach or getting out on a hike.

Local tip: Craving a quieter beach day than the ultra-popular Cavendish Beach? Take a trip to Thunder Cove Beach, one of PEI’s hidden gems. Visit in the morning to see the fragile natural sandstone structures in the best light.

For an unforgettable experience on one of the best beaches in PEI, head to Singing Sands Beach in Basin Head Provincial Park and hear the sands sing as you stroll across them. Or visit North Rustico for a day of deep sea fishing with a local outfit.

You can’t talk about PEI’s shoreline without mentioning its many lighthouses. Thirty-five are still active out of a total of 63 structures. If you are driving around the island, make your road trip a fun and cultural drive by stopping at each one of them! PEI’s lighthouse society offers a map with all the lighthouses location as well as the story behind each structure.

Local tip: The Souris East Lighthouse allows visitors on the balcony during tours.

See and Shop

Visiting Anne of Green Gables land is one of the best things to do in PEI

Anne of Green Gables, Prince Edward Island’s most famous fictional character, has a permanent home at PEI’s Green Gables Heritage Place. As an open-air Anne of Green Gables Museum, Green Gables Heritage Place features a replica of Anne’s home, a Sunday picnic, and more.

If you can’t get enough Anne, there is also Avonlea Village, one of our favourite places to see in PEI. Built to resemble the fictional village from Anne’s adventures, Avonlea village features shops, restaurants, and historical sights. You can see the historic schoolhouse and church, as well as replicas of homes and shops from Victorian-era PEI.

Local tip: Avonlea features a Cows Creamery, a local PEI creamery that makes award-winning milk and cheese. Stop in for a bite of some of Prince Edward Island’s most popular frozen treat!

Near Avonlea in Cavendish, take the kids to Shining Waters Family Fun Park,PEI’s favourite water park. Waterslides, splash pools, tasty treats, and a surf coaster will entertain visitors all day. Head here as a family or if you’re looking for PEI date ideas.

The capital of PEI, Charlottetown City, also has two picturesque shopping spots you should put on your itinerary: Peakes Wharf and Victoria Row. On the Peakes Wharf boardwalk, browse local shops and stop in at cafes on the water. At Victoria Row, a preserved Victorian-era street mall, you can browse the wares of local artisans.

Autumn Outdoors

There is no lack of things to do in PEI during autumn!

Fall — particularly early fall — is peak golf season for PEI’s beautiful golf courses. Golfing enthusiasts will want to play Links at Crowbush Cove, designed by famous Canadian architect Tom McBroom. Golf right by the water surrounded by beautiful green and blue views.

Local tip: Confident golfers looking for a challenge should play Dundarave at the Rodd Brudenell River Resort.

While you’re outdoors, take a hike to see the beautiful changing leaves. Every fall, PEI’s lush greens change to rich reds and golds as the weather cools off. Locals recommend Robinsons Island, with its easy-going hiking trail making a ring around some of the best tree viewing spots on the island.

You can also hop on a bike and spend a day on the Confederation Trail. Built after the Prince Edward Island’s railway was abandoned in 1989, the trail stretches across the island and runs through a number of quaint island villages.

Food and Festivals

After you’ve explored all the things to do in PEI, you’ll be hungry. Luckily, the island is known for delicious coastal tastes — especially lobster!

During the fall in PEI, festivals celebrate local fishing roots. Between the end of August to early October, Islanders host the annual Fall Flavours Festival. Local chefs and celebrity guests serve up gourmet dishes and local favourites for festival goers.

Local tip: Chef Michael Smith — a famous Food Network chef — lives in PEI and has been known to make an appearance! You can also visit FireWorks, his wood fire-only restaurant at the Inn at Bay Fortune.

At the end of September, the Prince Edward Island Beer Festival takes place as part of Fall Flavours. Visit PEI’s beer celebration to see demonstrations on the craft of brewing beer, listen to live entertainment and taste samples of local beer.

Local tip: Love the art of brewing, but going to miss the Beer Festival? There are a number of charming wineries and distilleries on the island. Many of the family-run producers offer tours and tastings — call ahead and you might be able to get a private tour.

Mid to end of September is Shellfish Festival time in PEI. Live music entertains seafood lovers as local catches of lobster and oysters are served up fresh. In addition to delicious dishes, there are competitions throughout the festival! Visitors and festival goers compete to shuck the most oyster and more.

Where to Stay in Prince Edward Island

 Find a vacation rental after you explore all the things to do in PEI
Long River, PEI – Property #p640214

With so many things to do in PEI all over the island, you might be wondering where is the best area to stay? Luckily, the small size of the island means renting a cottage on one end of PEI still gives you access to everywhere else!

Charming Charlottetown has a number of cottages and condos for staying in PEI’s busiest metropolis. We recommend finding your favourite vacation rental downtown Charlottetown if you’re travelling to PEI with friends.  

The Cavendish region, while still popular, is a little more laid back than Charlottetown. A vacation rental along the coast in New Glasgow or North Rustico puts the cherry on top of a memorable family vacation to Prince Edward Island.