Prince Edward Island may be the smallest province but it's packed with plenty of ways to make unforgettable memories. None of which we might add, include amusement park crowds or queues that wrap around the block. If your vision of holiday bliss is dialing it back to island time, 'the gentle island' is just the place to do it. (You won't even have to compromise on golden beaches!) The traveller who really wants to fall into the local rhythm should take inspiration from residents. The best way to visit Prince Edward Island - in our humble opinion - is to do it like an islander. 

 

Eat Like an Islander

Prince Edward Island’s moniker ‘Canada’s Food Island’ isn’t just slick marketing; the province has earned its reputation. Locals are dedicated to using fresh ingredients straight from the farm and the sea. It’s with island-sourced ingredients that they delight in creating home-grown specialties like cheese, preserves, honey and chocolate. And it doesn’t stop there. Gourmet restaurants, farmers’ markets and culinary boot camps make PEI a multi-faceted foodie destination. Those keen to eat like a true islander, should look no further than the shore. It’s here where they’ll find undeniably authentic local dining.

clam digging©Tourism PEI / Yvonne Duivenvoorden

One of the most memorable culinary traditions visitors can experience is digging for dinner. In our books, any day spent at the beach is a good one. When it ends with a succulent clam bake, it’s a great one. Soft-shelled, razor, bar, and quahog clams, our mouths are watering at the thought of it. You can dig independently – inquire with a local for the best digging beaches – or better yet, let an islander show you: 

By the Sea Kayaking - leads paddlers to a beach to dig and then prepares a fresh clam chowder. Location: Red Sand Shores.

Tranquility Cove Adventures –whisks guests aboard and then drops anchor 8-km offshore to explore a deserted island. Dig for giant clams, haul lobster, rock crab and mussel lines. Location: Points East Coastal Drive.

Experience PEI - go clam digging with Captain John and first mate Jackie on a half day trip before feasting on clams with butter, bread and then dessert. Location: Points East Coastal Drive.

clam bake©Tourism PEI / Stephen Harris

Paradise on the Sea Adventures - pair clam hunting and deep sea fishing. Learn how to perfectly prepare both fish and shellfish and then cook your catch on board. Plus, you might just spot a whale. Location: Points East Coastal Drive.

PEI Coastal Experiences - let John show you his favourite hidden spots to dig for clams. First, hit the beach with shovel and bucket in hand. Take your clams to go or let John cook them up on the spot. Location: Northern Cape Coastal Drive.

Taking your seafood to go? Pick up some PEI potatoes and other in-season vegetables at the hugely popular farmers' markets in Charlottetown and Summerside

 

Day trip like a Family of Islanders

beach family pei prince edward island©Tourism PEI / Yvonne Duivenvoorden

For people with island roots, summer is happily spent at the beach. This couldn't be more true for families with water babies, tots and teens. Make like the islanders and enjoy large swathes of gently sloping shoreline. Golden sand is cool underfoot and there's plenty of space to stretch out your beach blanket.

Check out our guide to  Prince Edward Island's best beaches

 

starfish pei prince edward island©Tourism PEI / Sean Landsman

Parents looking to sneak in some summer learning can mix play with education. Explore the marine ecosystem hands-on: peer into tide pools, handle seaweed, crabs and shellfish, and explain how the moon is responsible for tides. If parents themselves aren't brushed up on their marine knowledge Tranquility Cove Adventures is happy to take the lead. Set out on a two-hour beach excursion to examine a weird and wonderful creature: star fish. Combing the sand along the Brudenell River on the Georgetown Peninsula will assure you encounter a variety of unique colours and varieties. 

 

lighthouse pei©Tourism PEI / Dave Brosha

Sand and sea life aren't the only thing the shores of Prince Edward Island have in abundance. Due to its position in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the island is home to a number of lighthouses. They come in all shapes and sizes, with the tallest one standing 20.6 metres high. While dozens line the coast only eight are open to the public. Bring Prince Edward Island's sea-faring history to life while touring each of them. Families with kids who can sit still in the back seat will be pleased to hear six of those lighthouses are easily accessed on the Points East Coastal Drive

 

Play Outdoors like an Islander

kite surfing pei prince edward island©Tourism PEI / Yvonne Duivenvoorden

When islanders aren't passing time at the beach they practically live on the water. With a long maritime history, locals love boating and 'boarding' for sport, fishing, and pleasure cruising. There are many ways for visitors to play offshore: deep sea fishingkayaking, paddleboarding, kitesurfing or windsurfing

 

golf prince edward island©Tourism PEI / Carrie Gregory

Outdoorsy landlubbers aren't left out of the fun either. There are over two dozen golf courses, 435 kilometres of Confederation Trail to walk, jog or hike, and single track mountain biking at Brookvale Nordic Mountain Bike Park. 

 

Rock out like an Islander


What most visitors don’t realize is that from April through October, Prince Edward Island is a flurry of parties and celebrations. In fact, it boasts more festivals per capita than anywhere else in Canada. Here are just three highlights of a packed summer schedule: 

Cavendish Beach Music Festival©Tourism PEI / Stephen DesRoches

Head down to the Cavendish Beach Music Festival for an electrifying weekend of talented headliners. Join 70,000 music fans July 8-10 for the largest music festival on Canada’s Atlantic coast. Caressed by warm sun and ocean breezes, festival-goers will enjoy performances by some of the biggest names in country music. The 2016 bill includes The Band Perry, Blake Shelton and Kenny Chesney. 

 

Festival of Small Halls©Tourism PEI / Louise Vessey

The Festival of Small Halls is a critically-acclaimed traditional music and dance festival that ties communities through Prince Edward Island together. Throughout 14 days in June, those who find themselves in PEI can enjoy more than 50 different performances in 40 different rural community halls. The festival not only highlights the often beautiful small halls in these communities, but it showcases the traditional dance and music from Prince Edward Island's abundant Irish, Scottish and Acadian cultures. 

Visitors passionate about the performing arts should take note of the Charlottetown Festival. From June through July performances and live theatre productions capture the spirit of Prince Edward Island. Entertainment ranges from familiar and beloved local characters to freshly printed scripts. Visitors shouldn't miss perennial favourite: Anne of Green Gables - the Musical. 

Find a complete event calendar here

 

 
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