There’s no better way to explore Prince Edward Island’s coastal shores than by getting acquainted with our beautiful waterways. Whether you’re hitting the oceans breaks of the north shore or paddling our rivers or lakes, PEI waterways offer a range of adventures for all levels of paddlers to enjoy.
For this post, I had to go straight to the people. Thanks to the PEI Paddlers Group on Facebook for sharing all their favourite spots.
Islanders recommend this spot for hiking and kayaking in all four seasons, despite its frosty name! Adventure mom Christina MacLean loves this spot for paddles with her two small kids. “It’s a place to go when it’s too windy for open water,” says Christina, “You end up next to the hiking trail, and can easily launch from Corran Ban Bridge.” For more information, go here.
North Rustico & Cavendish
Tour Company Outside Expeditions offers paddling excursions for all ages and levels of paddling experience. Their Harbour Passage Tour leaves North Rustico and paddles west along the beaches and cliffs of the PEI National park in Cavendish. “The red sandstone cliffs around Cape Turner and Orby Head are quite spectacular with lots of bird life,” says Outside Expeditions. For those who prefer river kayaking, they recommend a scenic trip down the Hunter Clyde River from New Glasgow, which empties into Rustico Bay.
Stacy Dugas of Western PEI has a new favourite spot to paddle — North Cape. Located in the western end of the island, North Cape offers some of the most captivating vistas on PEI, including one of the province’s most unique cliff-side wind farms. Stacy’s advice for entry: “If you take the Phea Shore road down to the end you have a nice beach to launch from and turning right you can paddle along the cliffs to North Cape. If the water is clear it’s beautiful paddling along tiny little reefs, schools of fish, and nice sandy sections perfect for swimming.” More information and directions are available here.
Lennox Island Area
Ann Millar loves the Bideford River, Lennox Island Channel and Conway Narrows regions of PEI. This area is punctuated by the vast chunking cliffs and sweeping ocean views that the North Cape Coastal Drive is known for. “I’m a very amateur paddler who spent my summers in this area,” says Ann, “ I have more intuitive knowledge that anything else.” More information and maps of local entry points are available here.
St Peter Lake
Long time paddler Jarrod McQuillan of Cloud 9 Adventures has this advice to share: “This ocean lagoon is a great spot to paddle with a few paddling options, perfect for families and beginner paddlers,” McQuillan says. “There is a quiet creek that leads into a maze of water paths lined with tall grass, and along the way you will see Great Blue Heron, Eagles, ducks, muskrat and mink.” Looking for a little more adventure? McQuillan continues: “There is also an opportunity to head towards the north shore and paddle past Ram Island (small grassy island) all the way up to the ‘lake run’ that leads out to the Gulf of St. Lawrence!”
For the experienced paddler and adventure seeker, the Confederation Trail Bridge at Mount Stewart offers the best rough water paddling destination on PEI. Local Jason Richard favours the small community of Mount Stewart for his paddling excursions. Of the two bridges in this area, Richard says, “The old railway bridge that crosses the Hillsborough River as the tide floods and ebbs creates a small wave that is super fun to surf in our kayaks.” A great place to play! Known to the locals as The Stew, this area is a fun and safe place to paddle during summer months.
With so many waterways on PEI to explore, Morell River is still one of my favourites. Jarrod McQuillan agrees! “With easy access right in the town of Morell at the Leo Rossiter Waterfront Park, the Morell River offers a great paddling destination,” says McQuillan. Paddling up the river you can explore wildlife along the way, and even cast a line for sea-run trout in the Spring! There are many directions to choose: “From the launch in Morell you can also head towards St. Peter’s Bay and paddle under the Confederation Trail Bridge,” McQuillan says, “For the adventurous paddler you can cross the Bay and land on the Greenwich National Park.”
As you can see, PEI waterways are a destination onto themselves. Thanks so much to all the paddlers on PEI who sent me their favourite spots. With beautiful views, scenic cliffs and even a rough water choice for the experienced paddler, Prince Edward Island has everything to offer those looking for adventures on the water. If you are a family that didn’t bring kayaks with you on your PEI stay, be sure to visit Outside Expeditions in North Rustico, and Cloud 9 Adventures in Morell. Your paddling excursion awaits!