P.E.I. may be Canada’s smallest province, but it’s big on the things we can’t get enough of in summer: delectable cuisine, water fun and island charm. From the lighthouses that dot its coast to picnicking in the national park, P.E.I. has as many ways to satiate your curiosity as grains of sand that fill its endless beaches. The perfect sea, salt and sand blend makes the Island a slice of paradise, enticing visitors to savour, stay, explore and enjoy.
Whether you prefer to be in the sea, on the sea or eat fresh from the sea, Prince Edward Island is a plentiful place to do it all.
Tour the Lighthouses
©Tourism PEI / John Sylvester
Conjure a P.E.I. landscape and we bet you’ll imagine a sea-swept scene where a sentinel lighthouse sits, perched at land’s edge. But they’re not just the stuff of romantic mariner notions. These lighthouses have safely guided passenger boats and commercial ships for over a hundred years. Now iconic landmarks, they are not only practical, they are beautiful. Which will you prefer: iconic red and white or a handsome black striped tower? There are over 20 lighthouses to visit all around Prince Edward Island. Some historic, some modern. Others, like West Point Lighthouse, have been reborn as museums or restaurants.
Cast a Line
©Tourism PEI / John Sylvester
Fishing is not simply a hobby in P.E.I.; it is a way of life. Many Island residents work in the fishing industry, know a local fisherman or monger, or simply fish recreationally. Streams are flush with brook trout, the principal sport fish. There are also Atlantic salmon, eels and rainbow trout. Anglers take to the ocean to fish for tuna, though the most common catch is mackerel. For a taste of how fishermen spend their salty days, travellers can embark on a deep-sea fishing trip on a charter fishing boat. Tours generally last half a day and cap off with a seafood barbeque. Yum!
Savour some Seafood
©Tourism PEI / Stephen Harris
Lobster, oysters, clam chowder, and fish and chips are some of P.E.I.’s signature dishes. The freshly caught and cooked seafood that is dished up across the province is known to be some of the juiciest and most flavourful in Canada. From local-traditional to modern culinary fusions, this is a seafood-lover’s dream come true. Sit and savour a steaming dish of local delights at Sims Corner Steakhouse and Oyster Bar. For a truly authentic culinary adventure, dig into a lobster boil on the beach.
If there’s anything P.E.I. lacks in size, it makes up for it in flavour—and there’s so much more to it than seafood. (Not that we have any objections to lobster!)
©Tourism PEI / Heather Ogg
Cheese, glorious cheese. P.E.I. cheesemakers produce some of the best artisan cheese in Canada, and their Gouda comes in numerous variations including smoked, peppercorn, truffle and beer. According to Jeff McCourt, owner and cheesemaker at Glasgow Glen Farm, the grass that the cows eat and the salty air that they breathe can be tasted in the cheese. The impeccable feel and appearance of McCourt’s artfully crafted cheese wheels are his pride and joy. Whether it’s served sprinkled on a freshly baked pizza or paired with a locally brewed beer, P.E.I.’s signature cheese is worth travelling for.
Imbibe the Island:
©Tourism PEI / Stephen Harris
P.E.I.’s craft brewery scene is small, new and feisty. Five breweries have recently popped up, all of which aim to capture the distinct flavours found on the island and infuse them in their draughts. Located in Charlottetown, PEI Brewing Company took four gold medals for their supreme brews at the 2016 Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference. From Beach Chair Lager to Blueberry Ale, your taste buds will swoon at their local creations. Drop by the brewery for a tour, some bites and live entertainment.
Is there any better way to drink in P.E.I. than by sipping a distilled spirit, made from organic island-grown fruit? Deep Roots Distillery, an endearing father and son initiative, uses locally grown products to capture the essence of P.E.I. Sample Camerise, Maple Liqueur, or a cane sugar or blueberry spirit. If you’re perusing the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market, look for their organic absinthe, available only at their stall. Alternatively, thirsty travellers can embark on a distillery tour at $8 per person, which (of course) includes a sampling.
Still not swayed by P.E.I.’s natural delights? Don’t lose hope yet—we haven’t even touched the impeccable landscape that makes the Island a haven for hikers, horseback riders and cyclists.
Camp in Prince Edward Island National Park
©Tourism PEI / Dave Brosha
P.E.I.’s sole national park sits on the north shore of the province, spanning some 60 kilometres. With a flood of activities to enjoy, not limited to bicycling, bird watching, fishing, hiking and geocaching, it’s best to stay overnight.
There are two campgrounds in Prince Edward Island National Park: Stanhope and Cavendish. The former is picturesque and quiet, while the latter is family-friendly. Both campsites boast washroom facilities with showers and flush toilets, a laundromat, kitchen shelters and easy access to stunning trails and beaches.
Pack a picnic basket with PEI Brewing Company ale, succulent Glasgow Glen Farm cheese and some cured meat, head to the beach and enjoy the eventide fading across the ocean.
Bike, walk or ride Confederation Trail
©Tourism PEI / Paul Baglole
Part of the Trans Canada Trail, Confederation Trail pushes 435 kilometers across the entire island, stretching from Tignish to Elmira. This multi-use trail was once a railroad. For leisure users, that means it never exceeds a comfortable 2% gradient. Pedal next to the rolling Gulf waves, walk through quaint coastal towns or horseback ride through lush farmland. There are plenty of options for accommodations, food and services along the way, though it is highly recommended you plan your route ahead of time.
Part of those plans might include a bit of treasure hunting. There are over 1,600 geocaching sites along the journey, making it not only a treasure-trove of dreamlike landscapes, but also a gold mine for explorers. Whether you hop on the trail for a quick family walk or trek the entire thing, a stint on the Confederation Trail will treat you to P.E.I.’s most scenic allures.
Meet Anne of Green Gables
©Tourism PEI John Sylvester
The beloved character from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic book has red braids, a nose splashed with freckles, and was inspired by P.E.I. The house at Green Gables Heritage Site in Cavendish has been restored to replicate the late 1800s style, in congruency with the novel. There are period farm buildings to explore, along with lovely surrounding grounds, a gift shop and the Butter Churn Café. Stroll the Haunted Woods and Balsam Hollow, places pulled right from the book. If you’re lucky, you might even spot Anne.