49 Travel Tips from PEI Locals

 

We sifted through locals’ recommendations from the best beaches to the best seaside look-offs to help you lock down the ultimate PEI to-do list. And now we have it, straight from the locals who know it best!

 

If you find yourself with a mile-long list of things you want to do and places you want to see during your vacation in Prince Edward Island, trust us, you’re not alone! Day after day, the Island unfolds before you revealing new experiences that are authentically PEI. Before you know it, time’s up and you’re already planning your next vacation!

With so many options for things to do and places to go, we called on PEI locals via Facebook and Instagram to tell us their absolute favourite can’t-miss stops on the Island. And boy did they deliver. Read on to discover their picks!

Beaches to Visit

If there’s one thing PEI is not short on, it’s gorgeous beaches everywhere you turn! There’s always a debate between locals on which is best: the North Shore or the South Shore? One thing is for sure, everyone has their favourite beach. We’ll let you decide as you travel tip to tip exploring these PEI favourites.

Greenwich:

Greenwich is home to 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 on the beach. Greenwich Beach is located along the Points East Coastal Drive.

Thunder Cove:

Thunder Cove is one of those gems that locals try and keep for themselves. You’ll find it off-the-beaten-path in Darnley, just outside of Kensington.

North Rustico:

North Rustico is one of those off the beaten path beauties. It offers the soft red sand, bright red cliffs and dunes the Island is known for. Visit for a sunset walk and you just might find you have the place to yourself!

Brackley Beach:

Located just 20 minutes from Charlottetown in the PEI National Park, Brackley Beach is one of the largest and most popular beaches of the north shore. 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.

Cavendish Beach:

The star attraction! Cavendish Beach boasts miles of white-gold sand surrounded and protected by gorgeous sand dunes. It’s located right in the heart of Cavendish within the PEI National Park, which makes it convenient for a family trip to the ocean.

West Point:

West Point Beach is located in western PEI in the Cedar Dunes Provincial Park. The beach boasts miles of deep red sandy beach and dunes that overlook the warm waters of the Northumberland Straight. The black and white striped West Point Lighthouse is a perfect spot for photo ops.

Panmure Island

Much-loved by locals and visitors alike, Panmure Island is truly a beach-lover’s paradise. Located along a causeway, there’s 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.

Basin Head:

It seems that unanimously, locals have memories of jumping over the famous bridge and building sand castles for hours at Basin Head. Basin Head has one particular attribute that makes it unique in PEI, if you run your feet through its sand – it will sing! Really, we’re not kidding, you can read about the signing sands here.

Argyle Shore:

This beautiful and scenic beach is located just a 25 minute drive from the Confederation Bridge and a 30 minute drive outside of Charlottetown, making it the perfect pit stop on your travels.

Cousins Shore:

At Cousins Shore you’ll find a big beautiful beach not unlike Cavendish. Perfect for families, it’s located on the Island’s north shore.

Souris Beach Gateway Park:

Souris Beach is the perfect place for children. The beach is very shallow so it’s possible to walk quite far into the shallow water. Renown for its seaglass, you could spend hours searching the shores for these hidden gems. Don’t forget to grab a lobster roll at The Lobster Shack. Find Souris Beach along the Points East Coastal Drive.

Blooming Point:

White sand beaches await at Blooming Point. It’s perfect for families, picnics on the sand, or long walks on the shore. Blooming Point is located near Grand Tracadie along the Points East Coastal Drive.

Things to Sip & Savour

To say that PEI is a foodie’s heaven is an understatement. From something as small as locally roasted coffee and a pastry, to a full multiple course feast, Islanders know how to eat well. Our tip to you? Work your way through this list, and then keep on going!

Richard’s Seafood:

When asking Islanders where to find the best lobster roll on PEI, they answer with a unanimous ‘Richard’s!’ Nestled in the picturesque Covehead Wharf on the Island’s north shore, you’ll find fresh local seafood in abundance and a casual atmosphere where you can eat in or take out.

Gahan House Pub:

The Gahan House is located in the historic heart of Downtown Charlottetown, and is one of the most authentic pubs around and a straight shooter for the best ingredients and local flavours. Try their signature Brown Bag Fish and Chips paired with one of their handcrafted ales.

Cows:

No trip to PEI would be complete without a scoop (or three!) of COWS ice-cream. There are locations in Charlottetown, Cavendish, Borden (and even on board the MV Confederation on Northumberland Ferries) so you can easily get your fix.

Terre Rouge:

When in Charlottetown, head to Terre Rouge for a meal you won’t forget. You’ll find a true farm to table experience using only the freshest Island ingredients.

Island Stone Pub:

A favourite with locals, the Island Stone Pub is located in the historic town of Kensington. After a day of exploring, this delightful pub will be a welcome sight! You’ll be greeted with the best in Island hospitality and delicious pub food.

Wind and Reef:

At the very western most tip of the Island you’ll find awe-inspiring cliffs, an interpretive centre, and the Wind & Reef Restaurant which boasts beautiful ocean views.

Blue Mussel Café:

The Blue Mussel Cafe is one of those places where the view is as good as the food. And boy, is the food good! Head here for fresh, no deep-fried seafood (locals recommend the lobster dip) and a front-row seat for that days’ oceanfront sunset.

Fireworks at the Inn at Bay Fortune:

If you’re a fan of culinary experiences, a trip to Fireworks is a must for you. Chef Michael Smith has combined a dedication to farming, a respect for the mysterious and magical potential of cooking exclusively with fire, and a love of sharing the food experience amongst friends. Reservations fill up early, so be sure to call ahead!

Receiver Coffee:

Receiver Coffee in Charlottetown boasts more than just good coffee. Head here any time of day and you’ll be surrounded by locals enjoying fresh and innovative meals.

Point Prim Chowder House:

Positioned directly beside PEI’s oldest and most historic lighthouse, you’ll find the Point Prim Chowder House serving up dish upon dish of authentic Maritime cuisine. As with many restaurants on this list, it’s best to call ahead and reserve a table in advance!

Views to Take In

The breathtaking views to be found around Prince Edward Island are seriously no joke. You’ll find salty ocean waves crashing against the striking red cliffs, or little inlets of fishing communities with boats coming and going between the multi-coloured docks, or the stillness of a river surrounded by beautiful trees turning vibrant shades with the change of season. We could go on and on, but instead, you should get going to check out these locals’ favourites.

North Cape:

Many locals declare North Cape to be one of the best look-offs on the Island. While enjoying a trip along the North Cape Coastal Drive  you’ll be rewarded with the towering red sandstone capes of the western-most tip of PEI.

Cape Tryon:

Cape Tryon is one of the most popular Instagram locations on PEI. Here you’ll find a staggeringly beautiful view of the bright red cliffs of the north shore.

French River:

Love nothing more than a quaint, seaside fishing village? Look no further than French River, PEI. The view overlooking the tiny fishing village of French River is a beloved place of inspiration for photographers, painters and dreamers alike. Learn more here.

Orby Head:

Tied with Cape Tryon for its popularity on Instagram, Orby Head boasts panoramic views of staggering cliffs. Head to the PEI National Park near North Rustico and revel in the views of red sandstone.

Mooney’s Pond:

Mooney’s Pond boasts a trail system, a waterway for canoeing, and a beautiful PEI look-off all in one. It’s one of those lesser-known spots on PEI that is just as beautiful in the summer as it is in the winter.

Where to Walk & Hike

It should come as no surprise that some of the greatest adventures on PEI cannot be accessed by vehicle. And rightfully so! As you step out into the fresh air and go deeper inwards, there’s something special you’ll find about experiencing life on the Island surrounded by the sounds of rustling leaves on trees, babbling brooks, squirrels and rabbits rummaging for food, and the smell of the great outdoors. There are trails tip to tip (the Confederation Trail for starters!), but there are so many more to discover.

Robinson’s Island:

Easily one of the most recommended trail system by locals, Robinson’s Island is a trail system located in the PEI National Park. Though it’s getting more popular, it still has the feel of a hidden gem. With look-out points all around the Island and a well-maintained trail, it’s the perfect place for biking, hiking, and young families.

Greenwich, PEI National Park:

A trip to Greenwich, will make you feel like you’re really getting away from it all. The spectacular parabolic dune system rises above white-sand beaches and acts as a stunning backdrop to an extensive trail system that includes a floating boardwalk. Walk or rent a bicycle and hit the trails to see the natural diversity of the area first-hand. Follow it up with a refreshing dip in the ocean!

Black Marsh Trail at North Cape: 

After taking in the views at the very tip of the Island, enjoy a walk along the Black Marsh Trail. You’ll learn a lot about the area from the interpretive signs and have plenty of photo ops of the rocky shoreline along the way.

Bubbling Springs & Farmlands Trail:

Located near Stanhope you’ll find two trails connected to one another. Bordering on a lake, the trails offer many look offs and opportunities for bird watching.

Baywalk Boardwalk Trail in Summerside:

The boardwalk in Summerside is a favourite with locals. It features a 6.5km trail and much of it is twinned – with asphalt for cyclists and boardwalk for walkers. The trail begins in the city centre and winds its way along the ocean and amid lush trees.

Winter River Trail: 

Located a short 5km away from Charlottetown, the Winter River Trail is the perfect way to find a little nature outside of town. Enjoy the 4.3km loop with a leisurely walk along the river.

Bonshaw Hills Trail:

The Bonshaw Hills Trail is located in Bonshaw Hills Provincial Park. With trails spanning 25km, there’s no shortage of options for both beginners and those seeking a more challenging hike.

Things to Do

And now for the Holy Grail of PEI fun. With great suggestion after great suggestion, there’s no way we could have cut this list short. Each and every one of these local favourites are worth your time, and they’ll quickly become your favourites too, guaranteed!

Indian River Festival:

The Indian River Festival is a summer long series of concerts in a magnificent heritage church. You’ll discover excellence in folk, jazz, blues, classical, Maritime, world and contemporary music by the finest artists from Prince Edward Island and across Canada.

Green Gables Heritage Place:

In love with all things Anne of Green Gables? Then a trip to the Green Gables Heritage Place should be at the very top of your PEI bucket list. Explore the iconic Green Gables House in Cavendish, where L.M. Montgomery took inspiration for her beloved novel.

Stompin’ Tom Centre:

The music of Stompin’ Tom Connors still vibrates across the country and tugs at the heartstrings. Map this musical man’s journey and pay tribute to his work with a trip to the recently built Stompin’ Tom Centre in Skinner’s Pond.

West Point, St. Peters Harbour, East Point, and Point Prim Lighthouses:

Of all the lighthouses that were recommended by locals (and there were many!), these were the most mentioned of the bunch. You might say PEI specializes in lighthouses, so these are just scratching the surface of the incredible ones on the Island. Check here for information on even more.

Island Hill Farm:

Head to Island Hill Farm, a commercial dairy farm which opened up its doors to the public. You’ll find a miniature donkey, alpacas, potbelly pigs, with a variety of hens, bunnies and kittens to handle and love.

The Haunted Mansion:

How gutsy are you? Test your willpower with a trip to the Haunted Mansion in Kensington. This elaborate Tudor-style mansion is surrounded by gardens, paths and water features, but don’t let the serene setting fool you – the mansion has long been known to be haunted!

Victoria by the Sea:

Take a step off the beaten path into the quaint seaside village of Victoria by the Sea. You’ll find a picturesque fishing village on the southern shore which has been brought to life by the many artisans who call it home. Victoria by the Sea is the perfect place to go when you truly want to get away from it all.

Victoria Row:

Victoria Row is a pedestrian street in Charlottetown lined with patios and shops that are frequented by both visitors and locals alike, it’s perpetually abuzz with chatter and live jazz music.

Brackley Drive-In Theatre:

Head to the Brackley Drive-In theatre to experience a classic drive-in, lovingly restored to its original 1950’s condition. The experience of watching a movie here is truly like stepping back in time, except with all the latest Hollywood films!

Knox’s Dam:

Just off the beaten path in Victoria Cross is Knox’s DamOriginally part of a gristmill, Knox’s Dam became the electrical power generating station that supplied the town of Montague in the early 19th century. Now the dam is a sweet stop along the 1.7km Keith Mill Nature Trail.

North Lake for Tuna Fishing:

It’s been said that Prince Edward Island is one of the few places in the world where you can reliably find 500-plus pound bluefin. Head out on an excursion with Joey’s Deep Sea Fishing for the chance to catch and release a giant bluefish tuna.

Buffaloland Provincial Park:

Buffaloland Park is a unique (and perhaps unexpected!) stop along the Points East Coastal Drive in Montague. This park is ‘where the buffalo roam’ on PEI. Park the car against the wire fence and see if you can spot the buffalo enjoying the sun.

Golf at Green Gables Golf Course:

It’s no surprise that golf featured heavily in locals recommendations for visitors. With over 400 fairways on one Island, there are many courses to choose from. Head to Green Gables Golf Course in Cavendish for a picturesque and challenging 18 holes.

Paddle along Morrell River:

There’s no better way to explore Prince Edward Island’s coastal shores than by getting acquainted with our beautiful waterways. The Morrell River is a local favourite, it makes for a peaceful and scenic place to paddle. Find more recommended Island waterways to paddle here.

Kings Castle Park:

Watch the eyes of your wee ones light up when you arrive to King’s Castle Provincial Park. Apart from an extensive playground, canteen and river beach this park has a winding trail that meanders through a Storybook Woods where kids can enjoy whimsical statues from famous children stories. and the best part? It’s free!

 

For more incredible PEI experiences, check out Ultimate PEI Dining Experiences, Hidden Gems You Can’t Miss, and Best Restaurants with a View.

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