From striking red cliffs amidst a backdrop of flowing green plains to a stretching, craggily coastline, a walk around this gentle province will astound you with the natural beauty that is PEI.
©Tourism PEI / Paul Baglole
The North Cape provides a look at the more rugged side of Prince Edward Island. As its name suggests, the North Cape is comprised of the rural coastline along the province's most northwesterly point. Many choose to take the scenic driving routes along the coast through farmland and along the frothy coast, but it is best experienced on foot.
The blustering winds that sweep along this coast make visitors feel practically heroic as they stand on the green turf that erodes into red sandstone and watch the surf batter against the cliffs below. This wind is not only perfect for posturing, but it also fuels the wind turbines that help power Prince Edward Island. Visitors can view the wind turbines at Canada's leading wind test institutes and learn more about them at the North Cape Interpretive Centre. While there, don't miss the nearby nature trails that lead to the iconic and oft-pictured North Cape Lighthouse.
©Tourism PEI / John Sylvester
If you grew up in Canada, chances are you read Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic Anne of Green Gables. While the stories may have been pure fiction, the setting was not. Green Gables was inspired by a real farm that still stands today on Prince Edward Island.
While touring the 1880s period home is a must, the site provides more hidden treasures. The two nature trails that lead around the Green Gables Heritage Place - the Haunted Woods Trail and the Balsam Hollow Trail - highlight the actual inspirational sources in the surrounding landscape. Lace up your walking shoes and take a stroll into the fictional world of Anne. Don't worry if you've forgotten the story a tad – the trails are laden with interpretive signage to engage even non-readers.
Lucy Maud Montgomery's own home in Cavendish, where she penned books, short stories and poems, has been designated a Canadian National Historic Site. Visitors can wander the property where she strolled, dreamt and wrote.
Gairloch Road Trail
©Tourism PEI / Stephen Harris
This 1500-acre parcel of woodlands is about as wild as the wilderness gets on Prince Edward Island. Wander round the 7-km loop for some time well spent in nature. You'll pass through stands of spruce and mossy ground cover. If you're quiet enough you may spot foxes, squirrels, hares or skunks. In the canopy overhead, spy warblers, gray jays, hermit thrush and rose-breasted grosbeaks. Hikers and cyclist share the trail, so practice good trail etiquette. Find the Gairloch Road trailhead here.
Singing Sands Beach,
Basin Head Provincial Park
©Tourism PEI / Heather Ogg
Not all of Prince Edward Island's coastline consists of windswept cliffs. It is also boasts some beautiful beachfront.
Singing Sands Beach in Basin Head Provincial Park is consistently ranked among Canada's best beaches. It's loved for its solitude and its unexpectedly warm ocean waters – the warmest water found north of the Carolinas. However, it's not just tepid tides that attract eager beach-goers, it's the beaches namesake.
©Tourism PEI / John Sylvester
"Singing Sands" refers to the unique sound the sand makes when people walk on it. To some, it does indeed sound like singing, but for others, the sound is described as more of a squeaking noise. Some believe the noise is caused by the sand's high concentration of quartz, but the sound is a phenomenon that scientists can't quite explain. Visitors certainly won't need their hiking boots for this beach, but a stroll down it barefoot is a must.
Prince Edward Island National Park
As the newest addition to Prince Edward Island National Park, Cavendish Grove is often one of the more overlooked natural wonders in the province. Located in the heart of Cavendish, the grove has always been a natural oasis. It has been eyed as the perfect place for larger-scale ecological restoration; however, currently it is known for its lush forests of sugar maple trees. The trees are a rarity on Prince Edward Island and have since become a popular park feature. While visitors flock to PEI in summer, Cavendish Grove remains one of the must-visit sites in the fall when the leaves change colour.
The Confederation Trail
©Tourism PEI / Carrie Gregory
The final reason Prince Edward Island merits packing a pair of hiking boots is not just one natural wonder, but a series. The Confederation Trail offers beautiful hikes that allow visitors to see the span of the island at its best.
The Confederation Trail is part of the Trans-Canada Trail, with Prince Edward Island being the first to finish their portion. Visitors can stroll or cycle any stretch of the 435 km tip-to-tip trail at their leisure. There are no cliffs to climb or mountains to scramble, just a relaxed walk over a flat, well-maintained trail.
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