So, you've just landed in Prince Edward Island for a well-deserved vacation.
The sand is red underfoot, the air smells like fresh lobster and sea salt and the flowers bloom a wonderful array of colour in the distance. There's only one thing on your mind: where to first?
Packed with history and culture, there are a hundred beautiful tourist destinations in Prince Edward Island to visit. We've researched for you, narrowing the list down to 5 of some of the best places to visit on your vacation to make sure your trip is an unforgettable one.
Dichotomy of Prince Edward Island
While it might be Canada's smallest province, Prince Edward Island has a lot to offer.
Prince Edward Island is a patchwork of scenery and environment. It boasts lush woodlands and forests, marbled farmland and scenic beaches. Walk in any direction for half an hour, and it'll be like stepping from one landscape to another.
Residents enjoy warm summers (perfect for beach days), colourful springs, mild falls of reds and browns and snowy, crisp winters.
If you're lucky, you might see robins, coyotes or red foxes around the island. You might even spot the rare brown bat or bobolink.
The province makes for the perfect vacation spot all year round. If you're planning a road trip around Canada, this is one spot you won't want to miss off your list. No matter the season, you'll always find exciting outdoor activities to do in Prince Edward Island.
History of Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is part of the Mi'kma'ki traditional lands of the Mi'kmaq - a First Nations people. They named it 'Epekwitk', or 'cradled on the waves'. The legend goes that the Great Spirit placed a crescent island of red clay down on the waves - creating Prince Edward Island.
If you visit one of the Prince Edward Island beaches, you'll find the sand is an extraordinary red colour thanks to the high iron-oxide levels in the earth.
Colonized in 1604 by the French, it later became a battleground between the French and the Kingdom of Great Britain. During a battle on the island, the British managed to advance and push the French forces up the Hillsborough River. Fortunately for the French, the Mi'kmaq and the Acadian militia joined them and ran the British out of the island.
The battles continued, on and off, for over a century. The French ceded much of the Canadian land they'd claimed, including Prince Edward Island, to the British in the 1763 Treaty of Paris.
In 1799, the British named the island after Prince Edward, father of Queen Victoria. At the time, he was commander-in-chief of British North America.
Prince Edward Island also holds a very significant piece of history in its capital city, Charlottetown. Here, in 1864, officials and representatives gathered to discuss uniting the Maritime jurisdictions. This was a decision that led to Canada as we know it today being formed as one country.
Getting Around Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is small enough that you could drive from one point of the island to the other in as little as 3 hours if you took a direct route. In fact, the island is only 5,660 km².
But if you're not looking to drive, don't worry - there is plenty of transportation available for the eager tourist.
P.E.I is located on the East Coast of Canada in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Scrubbing up on your local geography knowledge can't hurt when visiting the island. You can view this map of Prince Edward Island to get a feel for where things are, and where you'll be staying.
Railways were built in Prince Edward Island, but with the improvement of roads and as cars became more common, railway use began to dwindle. They were used frequently for freight delivery during WWII, but by 1989, the railway system was abandoned.
As a result, there are bus routes all over Prince Edward Island. The province helps with the cost of the fare, too - so it'll cost you just $2 for every bus ride, no matter how far you wish to go.
There are also taxis and other public transport available for anyone who may have accessibility issues.
Alternatively, if you're looking to be self-sufficient on your trip, you can rent a car. That would be the easiest way to get around the island.
1. Confederation Bridge
Canada's longest bridge, the Confederation Bridge, connects Prince Edward Island to mainland Canada. It's one of the most visited attractions on the island.
Expertly designed and built, the bridge will last for the next century at least. It's not only record-breaking but designed so flawlessly that it's a must-see when you visit Prince Edward Island.
If you're travelling at the speed limit, it should take you 10 minutes to cross it. You'll be greeted with some breathtaking views of the ocean, the island and the mainland as you go.
Construction began in 1993 and took 4 years (and $1 billion) to complete before it was open to use by the public. While you can't walk or cycle across the bridge, you can drive it or cross it via a shuttle that runs 365 days of the year.
The photo opportunities from both ends of the bridge - New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island - are both remarkable and diverse. If you're lucky, you might even get to witness cruise liners and freight ships dipping underneath the highest point of the bridge.
From Chelton Beach Provincial Park, you can see the entire stretch of the bridge across the strait. This family-friendly, scenic beach is famous for its breathtaking sunsets.
If you're looking for history, Cape Traverse has it all. What was once a busy transportation area is now a rocky, sandy cove. From here, you can see the bridge further in the distance and truly appreciate the architectural elegance.
How Long is the Confederation Bridge?
The Confederation Bridge is an engineering feat that spans a huge 12.9km and is the longest bridge over ice-covered waters in the world. An achievement that puts Prince Edward Island on the map and puts other, perhaps more famous bridges to shame.
2. Cavendish Beach
Cavendish Beach is a beautiful red-duned stretch of beach in the historical Cavendish. It's one of the most beloved tourist destinations in Prince Edward Island. The sand and cliffs are a striking red and make for an other-worldly experience.
Take a break from all that sandcastle fort building and take a dip in the gentle waters. During the summer, they warm up for a relaxing swimming experience and are often monitored by lifeguards.
Whether you're vacationing as a family, with friends or alone, there's something at Cavendish beach for everyone. Tourists come from all over to walk along the red stretch of coast, settle down with a blanket to watch the sunset or hike across the walking trails.
Cavendish Beach comes complete with safe car parking, supervised swimming areas and washrooms. It's accessible for all with walkways into the water.
That's not all there is on offer in Cavendish, however:
If you love literature, visit the Green Gables Heritage Place. Experience the landscape that inspired L.M. Montgomery's much-loved story, Anne of Green Gables.
Immerse yourself in 19th-century landscapes and gardens and take a walk through the Haunted Wood and Lovers Lane. Visit the Butter Churn Cafe for 19th century sweet treats or head to the gift shop for a souvenir to remember this fun, interactive experience.
Head over to Montgomery Park, also named after the esteemed author. Enjoy a literary tour or take a walk through the woodlands, complete with a children's play area.
Cavendish Beach Music Festival
Cavendish Beach Music Festival is a multi-day outdoor festival held on Cavendish Beach. When it's on, the beach turns into a bustling hub of activity and music.
Every year, people flock from all over the globe to attend the festival. It boasts some of the most loved country artists, both well-known and up-and-coming.
It's the biggest festival in the Maritimes and grows every year, and when tickets go on sale, they're swooped up quickly. If the Cavendish Beach Music Festival is on your bucket list (and we think it should be), make sure you've saved up so that when tickets are available, you're first in the door.
3. Thunder Cove Beach
A little outside of Kensington is a hidden gem revered by locals.
Thunder Cove Beach is a quiet spot that you won't often see bustling with tourists. With large red rock formations - including the lovingly named 'Teacup Rock' - this little slice of heaven looks more like the surface of Mars than a beach. Everyone that visits Thunder Cove Beach seems to be in awe of the natural beauty.
It's also dog-friendly, unlike some of Prince Edward Island's beaches - so your furry friend can enjoy the experience too.
With no car parking nearby, it doesn't draw as many tourists, so it's less cramped and feels that much more private. It's 'off the beaten path', so you're less likely to come across a cafe or washroom within walking distance, but it's widely agreed that those sacrifices are worth it to keep Thunder Cove Beach what it is.
However, this beach doesn't have access ramps for those with limited mobility.
4. Government House
Situated in the middle of Charlottetown is a grand white manor with a huge amount of history sitting within its Georgian walls.
Built as a residence for the lieutenant governor, it is the second-oldest seat of the Canadian government. The area, referred to as Fanning Bank, is a designated National Heritage Site.
Formal receptions and dinners are sometimes held here and it is a private lived-in residence. It's also used to receive members of the British royal family and other distinguished representatives when they visit Prince Edward Island.
Guided tours inside the house between July and August are available to the public. The grounds are available to the public from 8:00am to 8:00pm every day.
You can find Government House fees information on the official Parks Canada site closer to the time of your trip as they are changing the admission fees.
The Government House is a top spot for those who enjoy sweeping, grandiose architecture and lavish interior designs. It is a time capsule, with original, 19th-century furniture and features that hold a certain magic.
Stepping into the Government House is truly like stepping into the past.
5. Prince Edward Island National Park
Sitting along a 60km stretch of the Northern coast is the Prince Edward Island National Park. It's one of the most popular Prince Edward Island locations.
This diverse park has an array of different landscapes to lose yourself in, and so many outdoor activities you'll be excited to spend the whole day at the park.
Visit one of the many beautiful beaches and relax in the sun or rent a kayak and paddle through the tides along the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Surf during the summer months when trained surfguards are on duty to keep you safe.
Take advantage of the long stretches of walking trails that wind through the Acadian forests. You'll never get bored as the landscape changes from lush marshland to shady forests to floating boardwalks. You might just spot some rare fauna and flora on your way, too.
Bicycle hire is also available - with a recently upgraded paved route, your journey will be smooth and unforgettable. You'll roll past six iconic Prince Edward Island beaches and take in sights like the Brackley dunes and the famous Covehead lighthouse.
During the off-season, emergency park response is limited. If you're planning to travel during the off-season, make sure to contact our friendly team to see what that means for your insurance, and how to keep yourself protected so that you can travel with a safety net.
History of Prince Edward Island National Park
The park was established in 1937. This offers the beaches (which suffer coastal erosion), woodland and endangered species that live there protection. It's a designated Canadian Important Bird Area thanks to the Piping Plover birds that nest in the area.
Within the national park are also historically important areas. Dalvay-by-the-Sea, a Victorian manor, and Green Gables, the inspiration for L. M. Montgomery's famous works.
Pack Your Bags and Head to PEI Today!
Despite being so small, Prince Edward Island is densely populated with over 158,000 residents. It's a hugely popular vacation destination for Canadians - so what are you waiting for?
Give yourself peace of mind as you visit the various tourist destinations in Prince Edward Island. Buy your travel insurance through Insurdinary.
We're trusted by over 1186+ people to look after the important parts so you can sit back and enjoy. We're always on hand to answer your questions in an easy-to-understand way.