Prince Edward Island is one of Canada’s four provinces in Atlantic Canada. Along with Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, it’s located off the eastern coast of Canada.
Prince Edward Island is a picture-book of white-painted cottages, lighthouses, beautiful beaches and a rugged coastline.
Prince Edward Island may be one of the lesser-known places to visit in Canada but visitors will find plenty to see.
Here are some top reasons to travel to Prince Edward Island.
- Prince Edward Island Beaches
- Prince Edward Island Food
- Prince Edward Island Attractions
- Prince Edward Island Golf Courses
- 5 Things to do in Charlottetown
- Anne of Green Gables
- Prince Edward Island Accommodations
Prince Edward Island Beaches
Prince Edward Island beaches are some of the best in Canada, with long stretches of golden sand that are just perfect for walking.
Best PEI Beaches
1- Basin Head Beach
I quite like Basin Head Beach on the north shore, and also Greenwich Beach, which has a fine observation tower and a lovely boardwalk.
2- Greenwich Beach
When I was there a pair of girls visiting from Germany were so delighted they were doing handstands on the beach.
3- Cavendish beaches
Cavendish, home to Anne of Green Gables, also has some of the best beaches in PEI, as does the nearby town of Rustico.
4- Rustico beaches
Here, you’ll even find a rounded guest house called Around The Sea that spins in a slow circle to give all of its guests prime views for at least a day or part of one.
Prince Edward Island Food
Prince Edward Island food is fresh and delicious.
The island is surrounded by glorious ocean brimming with scallops and lobster and those famous Malpeque oysters, grown in crystal clean water and bursting with flavour.
There’s also tremendous meat and vegetables to be found on the island at places like The Inn at Bay Fortune, where celebrity chef Michael Smith once worked.
Prince Edward Island restaurants
1- The Inn at Bay Fortune
When I was there I had a killer onion jam with champagne vinaigrette and the softest, fluffiest, melt-as-soon-as-they-see-your-mouth scones and biscuits I’ve ever tried.
2- Terre Rouge
Terre Rouge, in the main city of Charlottetown, makes excellent charcuterie, including orange walnut salami and lamb prosciutto.
3- The Table
Formerly known as Annie’s Table in New London, you can take cooking classes in a spectacular former church decorated with exquisite taste.
It’s a wonderful learning experience and the food is fantastic.
Prince Edward Island Fall Flavours Festival
On Prince Edward Island, the Fall Flavours Festival is an extravaganza food event throughout the month of September.
The festival is something that keeps calling me back year after year.
Imagine digging for potatoes followed by having dinner with field hands at the farm, or going on a lobster fishing excursion, and enjoying freshly boiled lobsters.
If you have a sweet tooth, perhaps you’d like to try hand-dipping chocolates with a chocolatier or taking part in a culinary boot camp focused on making desserts.
During this festival, there are hundreds of food-related options loaded with fun, great food, and authentic PEI tourism experiences.
The funny thing is that the islanders themselves took a while to warm up to the idea that people would flock there for a food festival.
True, if you’re slogging around a muddy potato field or freezing your butt on a lobster boat trying to make a living, it’s hard to picture what’s so exotic about potatoes and lobsters.
But it turns out that travellers like us who are looking for the “real thing” are now thronging to the island.
Fall Flavours (created and developed by Tourism Charlottetown) had its debut seven years ago. For six days, off-island visitation spiked by 40 per cent.
Thousands of people—and thousands of dollars—poured into PEI.
It didn’t take long to get the marketing machine rolling.
One thing that helped was to get Chef Michael Smith (celebrity chef at Food Network TV) as the host.
Another ingredient that assured the success of this venture was a series of authentic experiences with broad-based appeal.
Folks could go tonging for oysters, make artisan bread, or feed the giant tuna.
They could get their hands dirty as well as experience food from the source.
And they could get real-time, authentic, grass-roots experiences that were not contrived.
I love this about Fall Flavours, as everything rings “true.”
The bonus is that they are also tons of fun.
One of my first foodie experiences was with Perry Gotell and his Giant Bar Clam Dig. What a blast! (He provides the masks and goggles.)
We dug underwater, about waist height, for these big fellas—easy to do once Perry gave us a few tips.
But the best part was making a fire, cooking them on shore, and then having a fresh feed—lip-smackin’ good!
Recently, I brought my sister with me for Fall Flavours.
We joined a three-hour class with Chef Curtis Ellis in Charlottetown, where we minced, chopped and seared.
We beat and seasoned our way through his kitchen (at Simple Pleasures, PEI Catering) to produce a meal fit for pharaohs.
Imagine a smoked salmon appetizer served with sour cream instead of cream cheese.
The chef says it’s best and we agree!
Think mussel chowder with feta cheese, homemade pesto and grainy mustard.
Also on the menu was lobster and wild mushroom pasta served with a baked lobster tail followed by seared beef tenderloin and seared salmon.
We waddled our way out, promising to return.
Later on, we slipped over to the Red Sands Potato Fest at Fort Amherst National Historic Site.
Along with food demos, there were other events laced with Acadian, British and Mi’kmaq influences.
Story-telling, basket weaving, children’s pumpkin art, musket drill enactments and superb toe-tapping entertainment were just a few things on the program.
One year, my husband and I decided to sign up for the Tong and Shuck experience, where we tried our hand at tonging (harvesting oysters).
I was hopeless.
Fortunately, the harvester took pity on me and offered me an oyster-shucking lesson as well as several oysters to taste.
After the excursion, we were invited to enjoy more oysters, local wine and one of the company’s products called Oysters Rocky Fellas.
“Seaweed Secrets” is another fascinating experience.
It’s hosted by Gilbert and Goldie Gillis at their home in Point Prim.
The session has three parts.
The first is a short demonstration where participants get a chance to see over a dozen varieties of seaweed and learn the health benefits associated with seaweed vegetables.
After an introduction to seaweed, we wandered through shallow pools of water.
I was fascinated to taste the small nodules we picked off the ends of bladderwrack.
I remember as a kid trying to pop the pods with our fingers, but I never realised the tips were so tender and sweet. Great in salads!
Then we returned to the farmhouse, gathered in Goldie’s kitchen and learned to make seaweed pie.
It’s a marvel to watch how the mixture for the filling thickens right before your eyes.
After learning to cook, we tucked into a large bowl of vegetable soup served with biscuits (yes, with seaweed in them) followed by a huge slice of seaweed pie laced with blueberry sauce.
Sandra Phinney lives in Nova Scotia and is a regular visitor to Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island Attractions
Prince Edward Island Lighthouses
There are a couple dozen lighthouses sprinkled up and down the long, red-rock coast of Prince Edward Island.
Almost all are utterly charming, usually painted red and white or sometimes black and white.
One of my favourites is the East Point Lighthouse, on the far eastern tip of the island about 20 minutes outside the village of Souris.
You can climb the 67 steps in a jiffy and be rewarded with lovely views out towards Cape Breton.
There’s a cute welcome centre and various artifacts you can check out to learn more about the life of a lighthouse keeper back in the day.
Lots of green space for the kids to play, but keep away from the cliffs.
Prince Edward Island Distilleries
Prince Edward Distillery is an award-winning spot that made a name selling vodka made from PEI’s famous potatoes.
It’s a good vodka but probably best suited to a spicy drink, such as a Canadian Caesar with tomato juice, pepper, tabasco, clam juice, Worcestershire and other goodies.
The blueberry vodka, made from wheat, has just a touch of blueberry to it and goes down easy, while the gin has a wonderful juniper snap.
Prince Edward Island Wineries
The wines of PEI are starting to come into their own, particularly the whites.
I had a Rossignol winery white a year ago that was much like a German Riesling; just a bit off-dry but flavourful and fruity.
Prince Edward Island Golf Courses
Prince Edward Island golf courses are fantastic and the island known as one of the best golf vacation spots in Canada, with lovely seaside courses and great designs.
There are a couple dozen Prince Edward Island golf courses in all, with a range of prices and degrees of difficulty.
1- The Links at Crowbush Cove golf course
The Links at Crowbush Cove has hosted some of the world’s top golfers at The Skins Game.
It’s a lovely layout not far from Charlottetown, with some fine ocean views.
2- Brudenell River golf course
Brudenell River is more of a parklands layout but gorgeous and challenging, too, with lots of water coming into play.
3- Anne of Green Gables golf course
The Anne of Green Gables course was given a great face lift a few years ago by Thomas McBroom, one of North America’s best golf course architects/designers.
It’s a beauty.
5 Things to do in Charlottetown
Charlottetown ain’t Montreal. If you haven’t been there here are some fun things to do in Montreal.
It’s not Halifax, either.
But this town of about 35,000 souls is the seat of Prince Edward Island’s government and there’s more than you might expect.
1- Go shopping in Charlottetown
At Overman Jewelry and Art, owner Matt Bowness fashions unusual necklaces out of such things as dead beetles flown in from Thailand.
Some of his work was included in goodie/swag bags for folks at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles a couple years back.
2- Check out the cafes
Coffee lovers will love the java and killer lattes at Young Folk and The Kettle Black, a funky coffee shop in town.
3- Go to an art exhibition
The Confederation Centre hosts marvellous art works and temporary exhibits.
4- Look for Anne of Green Gables
You’ll also find places to buy Anne of Green Gables Raspberry Cordial soft drinks, PEI being the home of Anne and her famous pigtails.
Don’t forget to dig into a super-sized cone at Cows Ice Cream, some of the best in Canada.
5- Take a tour of the PEI Brewery
PEI Brewery in Charlottetown makes a fine Beach Chair Lager and a very good Island Red, named after PEI’s red rocks.
They also have space for weddings, and isn’t that perhaps every guy’s dream spot for a ceremony?
Anne of Green Gables
PEI’s most famous attraction is Green Gables Heritage Place. This was where Lucy Maud Montgomery found the inspiration to write Anne of Green Gables.
At the visitor’s centre, you can view a film, exhibits, guided tours or take a stroll to Mongomery’s gravesite.
Nearby are The Haunted Wood Trail and Lovers Lane, Balsam Hollow Trail and the babbling brook. These are all places in her books.
The landmarks here show what L.M. Montgomery’s world was like—both her imaginary world and her real world—when she wrote the now-famous Anne of Green Gables books.
Prince Edward Island Accommodations
You can bed down at the Delta but for a more personal touch try the old-style, gracious Great George Hotel.