35 things to love about Prince Edward Island.
This list could easily have been titled “1001 Things To Love About Prince Edward Island”. That is how much we love this little slice of Canadian heaven.
We had the chance to head back to Prince Edward Island for a week last summer. While the reason for our visit was a sad one, we were grateful for the chance to spend more time on this island that we love.
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to visit Prince Edward Island, chances are you feel like we do. There are just so many things to love about this maritime province, right?
If you’ve never had the chance to visit the “gentle island”, come see what you’ve been missing…
35 Things To Love About Prince Edward Island Canada
Prince Edward Islander’s are some of the loveliest people I have ever met. I have yet to meet an Islander I didn’t like. There is nowhere I have ever vacationed where I have felt more at home – while away from home – than in Prince Edward Island. Islanders have a special way of making you feel like that long-lost beloved cousin they haven’t seen in years.
My suggestion for a slogan for Prince Edward Island says it all… Come visit 147,000 of your closest cousins this summer!
Old Home Week
Every province in Canada needs a week like this! Happening each August since 1888, Old Home Week is an annual tradition for Islanders who travel from far and wide, to come home, and experience one of the most anticipated events of the year.
During Old Home Week, Charlottetown plays host to a variety of agricultural competitions, community activities, horse racing, musical performances, and a fun fair. Old Home Week is a wonderful time to visit Prince Edward Island – with one caveat. Old Home Week is a busy week on the island. But…if you love the fun and excitement of a good ol’ family reunion, this is your week to visit PEI! Islanders will gladly make you an honourary family member during Old Home Week!
The Colour Red
You’ll fall in love with the colour red in PEI. That’s because red is everywhere. Red earth, red beaches, red sand, red sandstone, red dirt roads, red-tinged pavement, and of course, the red in Anne of Green Gables‘ hair!
You’ll come home from PEI wishing your dirt was as pretty as PEI’s!
Ontario prides itself on being the home of “cottage country” in Canada, however, Prince Edward Island is the place to rent a cottage while on vacation.
Whether you love to vacation by the seaside, at the top of a hill overlooking a beautiful vista, or nestled deep in the quiet interior, Prince Edward Island has a large selection of cottage rentals to meet your family’s needs.
Prince Edward Island is made for road trips. Rent a car and see the island! With 5,656 square kilometres (2,184 sq miles) of land area, and only 280 kilometres (175 miles) from tip to tip, you can easily explore the entire island by car, or at least a large portion of it, while on vacation.
Oh how I wish all airports were like the Charlottetown Airport. While this airport has its busy times (such as during Old Home Week), overall, the Charlottetown airport is small, super easy to navigate, security line-ups are bearable, and rental car options are easily accessed. All-in-all, a very stress-free airport experience.
Whether you love the gentle waters and red sands of the southern shore, or the rolling surf and white sands of the northern shore, Prince Edward Island has a beach for you. With 1,100km of shoreline, you’ll find plenty of options for beach time at the island’s national and provincial parks.
Speaking of sand, Basin Head Provincial Park is home to the “singing sands” of Prince Edward Island. Listen to the sand “squeak” as you walk the beach. Basin Head’s singing sands are the result of high amounts of quartz and silica in the sand. It is here at Basin Head Provincial Park that you will find some of the warmest waters north of Florida!
The window of time you have to see the lupins in Prince Edward Island is short (mid-late June), but if you get a chance to visit during lupin season, you will be amazed. While they may be considered a “nuisance weed” to some islanders, we happen to love these beautiful coloured flowers.
There’s something magical in the air – and on the lawns – all over Prince Edward Island. We love the beautiful scent, and gorgeous colour, of Magic Carpet Thyme, a ground cover often found on lawns, and in rock gardens, on the island. We discovered you can pick up some Magic Carpet Thyme at Canada’s beloved seed store, Veyseys, which is located a short 10-minute drive from Charlottetown. We are hoping to smell the sweet scent of Magic Carpet Thyme on our lawn this summer!
Everyone knows that Prince Edward Island is a major potato producer. Think “Bud the Spud”. If you are lucky enough to visit the island during potato season, you’ll witness plenty of rolling fields full of potatoes, and you may also find yourself following behind some pretty impressive potato harvesters and equipment.
Love french fries like me? Don’t miss your chance to drive by the Cavendish potato processing plant on one of your road trips. Be sure to open the windows and let that delicious smell waft into your car.
Take A Hike
Prince Edward Island has (what seems like) endless hiking trails, including the 435km Confederation Trail (part of the Trans Canada Trail) that stretches from coast-to-coast and all points in between. During our most recent trip to PEI, we spent a morning hiking at Bonshaw Hills Provincial Park, and loved checking out another unique island landscape.
Fun on Prince Edward Island doesn’t stop at the end of summer. For outdoor winter enthusiasts, Prince Edward Island offers some great winter activities, such as alpine and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and fat biking, at Brookvale Provincial Ski Park. Bet you didn’t know you could go downhill skiing on Prince Edward Island, eh?!
Although flying to Prince Edward Island for your vacation is fast and convenient, a fun way to arrive on the island is via the Confederation Bridge. You’ll be able to say you crossed the longest bridge in the world that crosses ice-covered water! You’ll arrive on the island at Borden-Carleton, home to Gateway Village, featuring a visitor’s centre, shops, restaurants, a gas station, and a liquor store.
It does not matter where you wander on Prince Edward Island because every route is a scenic route on this island. PEI has some of the most beautiful coastal drives in the world.
Yes, Key West sunsets are spectacular, however, Prince Edward Island is home to some stunningly beautiful sunsets of their own.
If you love seafood, I guarantee you, you’ll love the seafood diet in Prince Edward Island. Our favourite seafood restaurants include Lobster on the Wharf, and Peakes Quay in Charlottetown, and Beachcombers on the Wharf in Victoria-By-The-Sea.
You cannot visit Prince Edward Island without taking part in one of their famous “lobster suppers“. Most notably, the New Glasgow lobster supper. Grab a lobster bib, your shell crackers, and enjoy a seafood feast like no other. You won’t go home hungry!
Deep Sea Fishing
When in Prince Edward Island one must go deep-sea fishing.
Strap yourself into your seat and fish for tuna like my cousin once did. Try not to end up swimming with the fish while trying to land your catch. My cousin hooked a massive tuna, with the help of my uncle, but not before almost falling overboard!
If that much excitement isn’t your thing, stick to deep sea fishing adventures with Joey’s, like we did, where you can enjoy fishing for smaller fish like cod and mackerel.
Critters and Creatures
The gentle waters of Prince Edwards Island’s south shore make for great beachcombing, and provide shelter for a bountiful number of interesting sea critters and creatures – like the Rock Crabs we caught on the shores of Tea Hill Beach.
If you are lucky, you will also find starfish, mussels, flounder, hermit crabs, jellyfish, and other sea life.
Lighthouses have a long and storied history on Prince Edward Island. Red and white lighthouses, of various shapes and sizes, dot the coastline of PEI. Some lighthouses are still working as beacons of light, keeping mariners safe. Others, like the East Point Lighthouse, serve as maritime museums and provide visitors with a chance to climb to the top for spectacular panoramic views.
Where The Waters Meet
A visit to Prince Edward Island’s North Cape is a must-do coastal road trip. It is here that the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Northumberland Strait meet, forming a fascinating sight of two bodies of water colliding with one another. At North Cape you will find an interpretive centre, restaurant, gift shop, wind turbines at the Atlantic Wind Test Site, and a chance to build your own inukshuk along the red shoreline.
Whether you are religious or not, you will marvel at the beauty of all the white churches, representing several denominations, that you will see along the highways and byways of Prince Edward Island.
Maritimers are known for their kitchen parties/ceilidhs. If you get the chance, don’t miss the opportunity to sit in on a local ceilidh. Your toes will be tapping along in no time!
PEI Festival Of Small Halls
Music is in the blood of many islanders, so it’s no surprise to learn that Prince Edward Island was the birthplace of The Festival of Small Halls. It was in PEI where I had my first taste of this festival, listening to the impressive Matt Andersen from inside the walls of a majestic white PEI church.
Local Beers, Wines And Spirits
We love sampling local beers, wines and spirits when vacationing.
Prince Edward Island is home to one of my favourite fruit wines – Rossignol Wild Blueberry Wine. Oh, how I would have loved to have been able to bring a case of this delightful wine home.
The Prince Edward Island Brewing Company produces some of our favourite Gahan craft beers.
On my “must-visit” list for next time in PEI? Taste-testing Mead (honey wine) at the Island Honey Wine Company.
Cows Ice Cream
With several locations across the island, Prince Edward Island’s Cows Ice Cream is a PEI favourite. We can’t visit the island without a stop at this iconic ice cream shop. Delicious flavours go hand-in-hand with a fun gift shop featuring colourful and whimsical Cows apparel designs. Cows Ice Cream is moo-valeous!
Charlottetown Province House
Charlottetown, the capital of Prince Edward Island, and the Birthplace of Confederation, is a small city nestled on the south shore of the island. Stop by Province House for a photo opp and then head over to Confederation Centre of the Arts to learn more about Charlottetown’s role in Canada’s Confederation.
Oyster Bed Speedway
Love cars and watching stock car races? Don’t miss the chance to visit the Oyster Bed Speedway, located in Oyster Bed Bridge, just a short drive from Brackley Beach, PEI.
Take a seat amongst the locals, and get your motor running with an evening of fun, and fast-paced excitement for the whole family.
An evening at Oyster Bed Speedway was a highlight for X-Man, during our first trip to PEI. His beloved late grandfather, who was born and raised on the island, had a knack for knowing exactly what X-Man would love to do – watch stock car races!
The Toy Factory
Fun for kids of all ages, The Toy Factory is worth the drive to New Glasgow. Housed in an old general store that was built in 1847, kids will love this toy store, stocked with traditional handmade wooden toys, and so much more.
St. Peters Bay Craft & Giftware
A beautiful gift shop located on St. Peter’s Bay, St. Peters Bay Craft & Giftware features high-quality pewter gifts. At select times you can watch demonstrations, take a tour, and meet the “Master Caster”.
Gaudreau Fine Woodworking
We love Gaudreau Fine Woodworking…not for the woodworking…for the handcrafted pottery. Featuring potter’s from Prince Edward Island and other Maritime provinces, this shop has a huge selection of beautiful pottery pieces to choose from.
PEI’s Quirky Side
Got kids? A visit to Cavendish is a must. This “quirkier” side of Prince Edward Island is home to plenty of fun attractions for the whole family. In Cavendish, you’ll find several motels, shops, restaurants, and of course, the home of Anne of Green Gables. Don’t forget to dip your toes in the water, and dig your feet into the sand at Cavendish Beach!
A Canadian icon, Stompin’ Tom Connors was born and raised in Skinner’s Pond, Prince Edward Island. While on your drive up to the North Cape to see the wind turbines, be sure to stop in for a visit to the Stompin’ Tom Centre, featuring exhibits, a gift shop, food service, entertainment and more!
The Bottle Houses
Modeled after a similar attraction on Vancouver Island, Prince Edward Island’s Bottle Houses feature over 25,000 recycled glass bottles constructed into miniature houses. Built by Édouard T. Arsenault, the first Bottle House opened to the public in 1981 and has since become a popular PEI tourist attraction.
There’s no better place to find sea glass than on the shores of Prince Edward Island. PEI’s southern shore provides visitors with ample opportunities to collect sea glass while beachcombing. We managed to find enough sea glass during our week in PEI for us to fill a large vase with white, amber, green, blue, and purple sea glass. A great activity the whole family can enjoy together!
What do you love about PEI? Share some of your own things to love about Prince Edward Island in the comment section below!