Must-See PEI Beaches

Prince Edward Island is a beach destination with more than 800km of beaches along its 1,100km of shoreline. It’s the perfect place to join in the ritual of worshipping where the ocean meets the sandy shore. And it’s definitely sandy here! The Island’s geology is mainly sandstone, easily eroded by wind and water. Where time has had its way with the sandstone, beaches and dunes roll out to sea from the cliffs and out from under the Island’s greenery. The beach dunes are alive, barely held by the dune grass that grows along the shore. Where the grass ends, the dunes are free to change and drift with the wind and water.

The beaches here are surprisingly diverse. Each offers something different than the next – whether supervised or unsupervised, vast and placid or quaint and bustling, fine golden sand or vibrant red earth. There is a beach for every taste. The hardest part of your day might be deciding which beach is right for you!

Basin Head Beach, Prince Edward Island

Basin Head Beach

Basin Head Beach was named the top beach in Canada by Run your feet through the sand on this beach and it will sing! Really, we’re not kidding read about the signing sands here.  This beach is one of Prince Edward Island’s provincial parks and with that comes all the amenities you could need; showers, bathrooms, and a canteen.

 Insider’s Tip: Jumping off bridges is not permitted in PEI for safety reasons, but let’s just say that the cannonball has been seen in action.

Photo by Shane MacCLure

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Photo by Stephen Harris ©Tourism PEI

Brackley Beach

Brackley Beach is just 20 minutes from Charlottetown, located within the PEI National Park. This beach is part of a protected area that stretches from Rustico harbour to Brackley, continuing west to Stanhope and Dalvay. Altogether, six beach areas dot this coastline with Brackley Beach the largest and most popular among them. The Gulfshore Parkway runs 10km along the coast parallel to the bach and it meanders over salt marshes and alongside sand dunes. Just like Cavendish, Brackley is a wheelchair accessible beach and a special beach wheelchair with fat tires can be booked ahead through the visitor centre.

Insider’s Tip: Need a quick rinse of the salt and sand before heading to dinner? The ample showers & change rooms in the beach complex are a great place to make a quick change from your beachwear to your dinner attire.

Photo by Stephen Harris

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Canoe Cove Paddle, Photo By Stephen Harris

Canoe Cove Beach

Canoe Cove Beach located in the South Shore of PEI is a perfect spot to take the kids and beach chairs for the day. This picturesque beach offers everything a family needs for a day at the beach; an on-site canteen, playground, shower facilities, picnic areas plus breathtaking scenery

Insider’s Tip: Check the tides before you go, the beach is more fun at low tide! The sand is a little more wet at the south shore beaches so take along a beach chair.

Photo by Stephen Harris

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Photo by Carrie Gregory ©Tourism PEI

Cavendish Beach

This is PEI’s most well known National Park beach. Cavendish Beach is miles of white sand surrounded by protected sand dunes. The beach is located right in the heart of Cavendish and is a great convenient spot to escape with the family. If you are looking for things to do, this beach has got it covered; explore the walking trails or take part in the captivating interpretive programs on beach ecology and wildlife.

Insider’s Tip: Cavendish Beach is a perfect setting for a romantic walk taking in the beautiful sunsets.

Photo by Carrie Gregory

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Photo by Guylaine Gervais

Chelton Beach

Chelton Beach is near the community of Bedeque along the red shore of southwest PEI. It’s located within Chelton Beach Provincial Park where you’ll find parking, a playground, small canteen, picnic tables, washroom facilities and a lifeguard on duty through the summer. Like other south shore beaches – the sand here is bright red and has more pebbles than the fine sand you would fine on the north shore. Dunes surround the beach and the warm water is full of sea life. Low tide provides the best opportunity for exploring the flats and tidal pools, watch for crabs underfoot!

Insider’s Tip: The waves here are small, making it perfect for skim boarding and standup paddleboard! The grassy field overlooking the beach is awesome for a game of pickup soccer, but be careful near the edge of the cliff. The red mud and sandstone beneath the grass is prone to erosion and can be unpredictable under foot.

Photo by Guylaine Gervais

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Greenwich Beach

Greenwich Beach is part of PEI National Park and is the least visited of all the Park’s beaches. That’s not to say it isn’t well loved. Greenwich Beach is one of those star attractions that Islanders try to keep for themselves. It has the largest sand dunes on the Island with boardwalks and trails that roll across the marshes and grass like something out of a storybook. The pristine sand seems to go on forever making it paradise for anyone who loves a long walk in the gentle waves.

Insider’s Tip: Pick up a map of the nearby walking trails when you visit the PEI National Park visitor centre. A good sunhat is recommended for longer walks as most trails are only partially shaded. Pack a beach lunch! The canteen serves snacks and cold drinks but a proper meal is a drive back to the town of St. Peter’s.

Photo by Carrie Gregory

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Photo by Chestnut Studios ©Tourism PEI

Jacques Cartier Beach

Jacques Cartier Beach in Jacques Cartier Provincial Park. This provincial park is near the top of the northern cape of Prince Edward Island. Here, the campsites and picnic tables have unobstructed panoramic views of the ocean. The grass rolls down onto sandstone rocks that provide a slender barrier to the sandy beach. Because this is a provincial park there is plenty to do! Beach volleyball and horseshoes are beach classics, there’s a playground and day use park for picnicking. Swimming is supervised and dogs are permitted on-leash.

Insider’s Tip: Alberton has a number of restaurants and casual spots for food but none quite like Alberton Bakery & Deli. Don’t feel bad if you have to go back to the beach to work off two desserts, it happens all the time.

Photo by Chestnut Studios

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Family friendly beach in scenic Prince Edward Island.

Lakeside Beach

Lakeside Beach, located just 30 minutes east of Charlottetown, is the choice beach for many Prince Edward Island locals, known as “Islanders”. This gorgeous mile long white sand beach sits nestled next to the fairways of the award winning Links at Crowbush Cove Golf Course.  It is a perfect spot to bring pets and enjoy a simple beach experience (you know the basic type, without the facilities/amenities and parking lots).

Insider’s Tip: It’s free! The locals park on the road leading to the beach. After a relaxing day at the beach, head to the nearby Riverside Diner and try some pizza by the slice.

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Photo by Carrie Gregory ©Tourism PEI

Panmure Island Beach

Panmure Island Beach is a long white sandy beach shouldered by sweeping sand dunes and vast ocean views. Much-loved by locals and visitors alike, Panmure Island is truly a beach-lover’s paradise. Located along a causeway, there is water access on both sides of the highway. You’ll find the sheltered St. Mary’s Bay on one side and the ocean on the other. This beach is one of Prince Edward Island’s provincial parks and with that comes all the amenities you need – showers, bathrooms, and a convenience store.

Insider’s Tip: The First Nations People hold an annual Pow Wow at Panmure Island in August. This two day cultural celebration includes drum bands, native crafts and a healing sweat tent.

Photo by Carrie Gregory

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Photo by Sean Landsman ©Tourism PEI

Stanhope Beach

Stanhope Beach is located in PEI National Park just 23km from Charlottetown. Energetic beach walkers could walk as far as 3km in one direction, past Ross Land Beach to Stanhope Cape or 2km in the other direction to Dalvay By the Sea. Stanhope has dunes for miles and much less traffic than Brackley or Cavendish Beaches. It’s more popular with local residents and cottage dwellers while still offering facilities and impeccable dunes like other North Shore beaches. Stanhope Beach is a protected area. This is a nesting habitat for the endangered Piping Plover so no pets are permitted. The dunes are also part of the protected landscape as PEI’s north shore loses more than 1ft of land per year to coastal erosion.

Insider’s Tip:  All PEI National Park sites have day use fees that help pay for the facilities, interpretive programs and protection of these awesome spots.

Photo by Sean Landsman

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Photo by Carrie Gregory ©Tourism PEI

Thunder Cove Beach

Thunder Cove Beach is one of those hidden gems that locals try to keep for themselves. It’s off-the-beaten-path in Darnley, just outside of Kensington. While most of PEI’s north shore is known for epic rolling dunes and wide beaches of fine sand, Thunder Cove is so much different. The shore and beach is geologically diverse and a real-time example of how water and wind shape and change the Island landscape. The sandstone cliffs, columns (sea stacks) and cave formations are never the same way twice, completely at the mercy of a restless stone carver – nature!

Insider’s Tip: Be careful climbing the cliffs. Sandstone is fragile rock, which makes for gorgeous sand but tricky climbing. And look out below! Local kids love doing flips off the dunes into the soft sand below. A short drive or kayak paddle away is a mesmerizing sea stack known as Teacup Rock. It is best viewed in early morning when the water is calm and the sun is still low in the sky.

Photo by Carrie Gregory

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West Point Dune Magic Hour by St.Clair MacAulay

West Point Beach

West Point Beach is located in the Cedar Dunes Provincial Park offering miles of beautiful red sandy beach. This beach is great to explore the shoreline and look for sea glass. Plus the black and white striped West Point Lighthouse makes for a great photo op! This south shore beach has warm waters so don’t miss out on going for a dip.

Insider’s Tip: Take a stroll over to the West Point Lighthouse and climb to the top for some stunning 360 degree views!

Photo by Stclair Macaulay

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Prince Edward Island Beach

Wood Islands Beach

Wood Islands Beach in Wood Islands Provincial Park is a favourite for two kinds of Prince Edward Island travelers. Either you have been dreaming of your visit to an Island beach for so long that you absolutely cannot wait a moment past your ferry ride from Nova Scotia to feel the sea breeze through your hair and the red sand between your toes. Or, on your journey home from a perfect PEI vacation you are already feeling nostalgic for yesterday’s dip in the warm Island water. No matter who you are, Wood Islands Beach is a sweet spot just around the corner from the ferry to and from Nova Scotia.

Insider’s Tip: If you miss your ferry to Nova Scotia, grab a snack at the terminal cafeteria and head to the beach! Or explore the park’s museum and model fishing shanty village. Keep your eye on the horizon for your incoming ferry and scoot back to the terminal line before the boat enters the harbour.

Photo by Nick Jay

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