PEI’s Must See Lighthouses

The lighthouses of Prince Edward Island are some of the Island’s most beloved landmarks. Along our 1,100km of coastline, dozens of them can be found dotting the bright red cliffs. They symbolize strength in the face of adversity and finding direction in challenging times. Surrounded by wild waters and windswept cliffs, their light has been a comforting beacon on dark nights for generations. While indulging in their beauty by day you’ll feel the wind whip through your hair, smell the salt, and take in some of the most stunning panoramic views PEI has to offer.

Cape Tryon Lighthouse is an unassuming wooden lighthouse perched near the edge of a breathtaking sandstone cliff. The original lighthouse was built here in 1905. Today’s building is 33.4m tall and is tucked away on private property at the end of an old farm road that rambles between two rolling hay fields.

 

The West Point lighthouse is a distinctively designed 20.6m wooden lighthouse that was built in 1875 to aid vessels through the western entrance to the Northumberland Strait. Today, the West Point lighthouse offers the rare opportunity to sleep like a lighthouse keeper!

 

Cape Bear lighthouse, built in 1881, is 12.2m and a typical example of second-generation lighthouse design. It houses one of seven Marconi Wireless Stations established by Marine and Fisheries in 1905-06. Here at the southeastern tip of PEI, Thomas Bartlett heard the first distress signal from the Titanic as it sank off Newfoundland in 1912.

 

Wood Islands lighthouse stands 15.2 m at the entrance to the ferry docks and has been an important navigational aid since 1876. Now, the active lighthouse is open for daily tours and the six-room, two-storey keeper’s dwelling houses a nautical craft shop and the Fishery and Coast Guard Museum.

 

Panmure Island Lighthouse is worthy of a postcard all on its own. But it’s made all the more stunning by the gorgeous white sand beach it overlooks and the distant pastures where horses graze. It’s not only the oldest wooden lighthouse on the Island, it has an important legacy guiding vessels through Georgetown and Montague Harbours since 1853.

 

The need for a North Cape lighthouse was obvious to mariners from as far back as 1534 when Jacque Cartier wrote of the dangerous rocky shoal, the longest shoal in North America. It was built in 1865 and is one of three similar octagonal, wood-framed towers including Seacow Head and Cape Jourimaine lighthouses that are some of the oldest of this style still standing in the Maritimes.

 

North Rustico Harbour Lighthouse is a 12.4m wooden structure that stands proudly alongside quaint fishing shacks and the boats that it protects. It is a beloved fixture in this busy fishing community and a reminder to many of the important part this light has played in guiding vessels through rough seas.

 

Indian Head Lighthouse is 12.9m and is fully octagonal from its concrete base all the way up to its lantern. It was built in 1881 at the end of a long rocky breakwater that was once level enough to be traversed in horse and buggy, but the water has had its way with the rocks and it’s now too uneven to be safely crossed on foot. Very cautious visitors may access it by rowboat.

 

Point Prim Lighthouse has guided vessels through the southeastern entrance to Hillsborough Bay at the outer approach to Charlottetown Harbour since 1845. Standing 18.2m tall, Point Prim is the oldest lighthouse on the Island and one of only a handful in the country that are made of brick. The harsh weather took a toll on the brick and it had to be shingled just two years after construction.

 

East Point Lighthouse stands 19.5m high at the easternmost tip of PEI and its glass lantern allows its light to be seen from 360 degrees. This four-storey, colonial style lighthouse built from 1866-1867 and is made from heavy timber with a quaint shingled exterior. From the top of the tower visitors can see far out over the rugged cliffs to where the Northumberland Straight meets the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

 

Seacow Head Lighthouse is one of the three sister lighthouses built in the same tall, octagonal shape. Along with Cape Jourimain, it aids in navigation for vessels passing through the narrowest point in the Northumberland Strait since 1863. This stunning lighthouse sits atop a long red mud cliff that creeps nearer with each crashing wave as erosion has its way with the earth.

 

Covehead is home to PEI’s smallest and most charming lighthouse. Because of the ever-shifting sandbars, the 8.2m structure has been moved and modified a few times since its original construction in 1967.

 

St. Peter’s Lighthouse is a 10.4m sloped wood structure originally built in 1865 on a breakwater. Though the current lighthouse was built later and appears to have migrated 150m further inland due to the effects of an ever-changing PEI coastline.

 

Souris East Lighthouse was built in 1880 as a wood-constructed, three-storey building overlooking the town and port of Souris. This active lighthouse even allows visitors on its balcony where they can spot the ferry that travels between PEI and the Magdalen Islands.

For more scenes of beauty to discover on Prince Edward Island, check out Choose Your Own Adventure, Scenic Drives to Fall Beauty, and A Novel Take on PEI.

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