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Inspiring fall vacation ideas in beautiful Prince Edward Island

Inspiring fall vacation ideas on beautiful Prince Edward Island

Looking for an exhilarating fall getaway? PEI’s natural beauty is spectacular all year round, but there’s something extra special about the fall. The change of seasons offers a reprieve from summer’s heat and the changing leaves create a stunning backdrop for walking, hiking, golfing and cycling. It’s a place where you’ll find panoramic ocean views, endless opportunities for outdoor exploration and, of course, PEI’s legendary seafood.

Check out four action-packed itineraries for long weekend escapes in PEI and live big in Canada’s smallest province.

For the fun-loving foodie

Canada’s Food Island is overflowing with succulent seafood, exciting immersive culinary experiences and tasty memories to last a lifetime
Day 1

Welcome to vibrant, flavourful Charlottetown. You’ve got a delicious day ahead of you, starting with a visit to the PEI Brewing Company where you can participate in a guided tour of the beer-making process. Sample their inventive house brews, perhaps a blueberry ale or a citrusy IPA. The taproom menu is also worth sampling, with creative dishes like kimchi chicken, pulled pork poutine and sourdough grilled cheese with stout onion jam. Afterwards, if you’re craving something sweet, stop in at Founders’ Food Hall & Market, a community hub filled with local artisans and food producers. At Wenever Pastry, partake in authentic French patisserie, including the shop’s famous cream puffs in flavours like Earl Grey tea, vanilla strawberry and matcha cream.

Stroll through charming Victoria Row, a prime shopping destination for art, clothing and handcrafted jewelry. Since this is a vacation with your taste buds in mind, call ahead to reserve a spot at one of the city’s top restaurants. Slaymaker & Nichols Gastro House features mouth-watering spins on local fare such as homemade crab cakes with bourbon bacon jam and potato-crusted haddock with fennel and tomato chorizo sauce. If you’re hankering for PEI’s legendary seafood, check out Water Prince Corner Shop and Lobster Pound. Dig into fresh-from-the-sea options like Malpeque oysters, PEI blue mussels and steamed PEI lobster with melted butter and lemon. Confederation Landing Park is right outside the door, ideal for a post-dinner amble on the boardwalk with a stunning waterfront view.

After eating your way around town, tuck in for the night at the trendy, colourful Arts Hotel or the Sydney Boutique Inn & Suites, a circa-1857 convent turned refined, modern hideaway.

Day 2

The sun is rising over the Atlantic, coaxing you out of bed. Looking to live out your chef fantasies? Drive east 45 minutes to The Old General Catering House, located in a charming, century-old general store in Murray River. Chefs Christine Dickey and Paige Hart offer lively cooking lessons for beginners and more experienced cooks. You and a friend (or three) can learn how to make sourdough pizza, seafood chowder, lobster rolls or a fresh pasta meal from scratch, then dine on your creations.

Or, if tasting tours are more up your alley, make a few stops along the 5/15 Fermentation Trail, featuring craft meaderies, distilleries and wineries all located within 15 minutes of each other just a stone’s throw from Charlottetown. At Island Honey Wine Company, for example, you’ll tour a working farm by tractor-drawn wagon, cruising past sheep, cows, beehives and rolling hills while sampling award-winning mead and honey. At Deep Roots Distillery, you’ll tour through the apple orchard while enjoying a beverage, then get a closer look at how the company makes their fruit-flavoured spirits, liqueurs and ciders.

At the conclusion of your tasty afternoon, embark on a scenic drive to North Rustico, a charming seaside town on the north shore located about 30 minutes from Charlottetown. Rustico is one of PEI’s six Francophone regions and a centre for Acadian history and culture (Acadians are the descendants of the original French settlers in the Maritimes).

Travel back in time with an immersive, traditional Acadian meal at Maison Doucet in South Rustico (available until the end of September). In the cozy, circa-1772 log kitchen, you’ll learn about Acadian history while making time-honoured recipes with cast iron cooking tools in an open stoneware hearth. You’ll make banik (also known as bannock) in an outdoor oven and churn your own butter. Then, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labours, feasting on hearty chicken fricot (soup), meat pie, râpure (potato pie with pork or chicken) and fresh, creamy ice cream you made yourself.

With your senses fully satisfied, stay the night in luxury next door at the elegant Barachois Inn. This five-star operation is a meticulously decorated bastion of art, antiques and Victorian splendor. Or in nearby Cavendish opt for one of the Fairways Cottages, where you’ll get all the comforts of home (including spa tubs and cozy fireplaces) on PEI’s scenic North Shore.

Day 3

After a good night’s sleep, pop into nearby New Glasgow for a country breakfast at Prince Edward Island Preserve Company. (Think fluffy scrambled eggs, smoky bacon and blueberry pancakes.) Don’t forget to grab some preserves to go, in flavours like strawberry with Grand Marnier and lemon ginger marmalade. Then, set the GPS for Souris in the Points East Coastal Drive region, about a 1.5 hour drive away.

Head to the quaint wooden Souris Historic Lighthouse, built in 1880, for panoramic ocean views. Then, stroll along Singing Sands Beach in Basin Head Provincial Park, named because the white sand “sings” (or squeaks) when stepped on, due to high silica content.

With the sea air in your lungs, drive to the Inn at Bay Fortune to take part in one of PEI’s most coveted culinary experiences: the immersive farm-to-table FireWorks Feast. This extraordinary evening of food and fun is the creation of famed Chef Michael Smith and his wife Chastity, owners of the inn and restaurant. The evening includes a farm tour, an “oyster hour” featuring ember-roasted and raw oysters, a sabre toast with sparkling wine, a sumptuous multi-course meal and house-made marshmallows roasted over an open fire.

Accommodations at this five-star inn are equally posh and overnight guests are invited to explore the 75-acre grounds and walking trails at their leisure.

Day 4

It’s been a delightful weekend of extraordinary food, but your palate is craving one more seafood adventure. The cherry on top of your PEI trip is a deep-sea fishing and BBQ experience with Tranquility Cove Adventures.

On this action-packed boat ride operating out of Georgetown, you’ll fish for mackerel, then filet and barbecue your catch right on board. Now that you’re feeling like a member of the family, you’ll help the “saltwater cowboys” of Tranquility Cove haul a lobster trap, rock crab pot and mussel sock while learning about each local industry. You might even get to wave at some harbour seals soaking up the sun on a nearby swim raft.

Stop in at Maroon Pig in Georgetown for some sticky-sweet cinnamon buns or gooey fudge brownies to fortify your 45-minute drive back to Charlottetown. Drop off the rental car and catch your evening flight home.

If you’re travelling between October 1-15, be sure to check the schedule for the 2023 Fall Flavours Food & Drink Festival, an annual Island-wide culinary extravaganza celebrating Canada’s Food Island in its 15th year.

For the golf enthusiast

Prince Edward Island is the perfect place to refine your game while enjoying the province’s plentiful five-star golf options and first-class cuisine
DAY 1

For most of us hitting the green, the appeal of golf is playing the game, not the result on the scorecard. Much of it comes down to the quality and visual appeal of the golf course, the “19th hole” experience and the company we keep.

Prince Edward Island has become one of Canada’s golf capitals. There’s a bevy of reasons for this: the stunning natural beauty of the province, the picturesque coastlines and scenic views, the undulating hills, the white sand beaches and meandering rivers.

While a golf trip to PEI could take many forms – after all, there are more than 25 golf courses across the Island catering to different skill levels and preferences – a great first stop is The Links at Crowbush Cove (18 holes, Par 72, 6,903 yards), located on the Island’s north shore. A spectacular oceanside course that features nine water holes, eight dunes holes and panoramic views over undulating fairways, Crowbush has won numerous accolades, including a five star rating from Golf Digest.

After a satisfying afternoon exploring this challenging course, drive the scenic 30 minutes to Rodd Brudenell River Resort in the Island’s Points East Coastal Drive region to hang your hat for the night. The beauty of staying at this resort is the two 18-hole championship golf courses right outside your door: Dundarave Golf Course and Brudenell River Golf Course.

The resort offers one- and two-bedroom cottages, a hotel, two on-site restaurants, and a bar and full spa, so it’s the perfect spot for a late day round and dinner afterwards. Just don’t stay up too late – there’s some fine golfing to get to tomorrow.

DAY 2

Get up early and play Dundarave (18 holes, Par 72, 7,089 yards), notable for its distinctive red-sand bunkers. The course, which opened in 1999, is perhaps most well-known for hosting the “Legends of Golf” event in 2006 featuring Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. With wide fairways lined with pine trees and memorable bunkering patterns, it’s a natural setting that’s simply stunning, earning 4.5 stars from Golf Digest.

After your round, head into picturesque Cardigan for lunch. Dine at Clam Digger’s for the best in PEI seafood – maybe a succulent lobster roll or a scallop and bacon po’boy. Or, try the Wheelhouse in nearby Georgetown for more lip-smacking seafood favourites like fried clams with dill chimichurri or a decadent lobster melt.

Next up, a round at Brudenell. Recognized as one of the most popular courses on the Island and highly ranked by Golf Digest, Brudenell (18 holes, Par 72, 6542 yards) boasts six par threes, six par fours and six par fives, including several picturesque holes that run along the river. The terrain is a joy to play on, with broad fairways and beautifully manicured greens.

In preparation for more top-notch golf to come tomorrow, drive to the Green Gables region for the night. Stay at Kindred Spirits Inn and Cottages, known for its country elegance, warm hospitality, fireplaces and hot tubs, or Fairways Cottages, which offers cozy, charming cottages just minutes from Cavendish area attractions and beaches.

Day 3

By now, you should understand just why PEI in the fall is such a draw for golfers. Autumn temperatures typically range between eight and 22 degrees Celsius; the mornings are a little cooler, but the afternoons are warm. There’s a wondrous tapestry of orange, red and yellow changing leaves as you stroll the fairways.

Also, at just 280 kilometres long, the entire province is easy drive, tip to tip, in a mere three hours. So, for anyone looking to sample several courses in a short amount of time, PEI offers a wide variety within a close proximity – or a wedge shot – of the Charlottetown Airport. In fact, it’s possible to play more than one course in a day!

For your third day in PEI, choose a course close by. There’s Glasgow Hills Resort Golf Club (18 holes, Par 72, 6,915 yards), a links-style course that runs over a diverse terrain, or Green Gables Golf Club (18 holes, Par 72, 6,874 yards), a long-time Canadian favourite. With dramatic views of the River Clyde and Gulf of St. Lawrence from elevated tee boxes, Glasgow delivers incredible golf with breathtaking vistas. Meanwhile, Green Gables has been delivering the goods for over 80 years, having been designed by famed Canadian golf course architect Stanley Thompson in 1939. Set against a backdrop of sand dunes in the Prince Edward Island National Park, it’s a masterpiece with six water holes, deep bunkers and plenty of intriguing challenges.

Head into Charlottetown after your round and stay at the Holman Grand Hotel, a sophisticated four-star boutique hotel, or 1 West Inn Waterfront, a home built in 1939 with magnificent views of Victoria Park and 200 feet of waterfront along the harbour. Sea Rocket Oyster House is a great place to dine a little later, for fish tacos, PEI mussels and, naturally, oysters. Or there’s Hopyard, which boasts the most comprehensive collection of craft beer and vinyl on the Island.

Day 4

Rise and shine for one last round of golf before your evening flight home. An excellent choice would be Countryview Golf Club (nine holes, Par 72, 6,224 yards), just 15 minutes from Charlottetown. It’s a great place to take in the changing colours of the leaves, with its lush fairways, rolling hills and tremendous views of the West River and countryside.

Grab a late lunch and sample craft beer at Lone Oak Brewing Co. at 15 Milky Way and some souvenirs to take home from this golfer’s paradise.

For outdoor adventurers

You’ll cycle, paddle, hike and ride your way along luscious green spaces, clear blue waters and ruby red shores in and around the Island
day 1

It’s time for your Island adventure, filled with as many outdoor excursions as you can possibly pack into a long weekend. No time to waste! Begin by driving to lively Summerside, the province’s second largest city, and take in the gorgeous waterfront views – they don’t call it the City by the Sea for nothing. Make your way down Water St. to The Knot Beach Bar and Rentals and choose your mode of transportation: kayak, paddle board or bike.

If you choose water over land, paddle along Green’s Shore Beach or on Bedeque Bay for a short, relaxing excursion along the pristine shoreline. (For paddling enthusiasts hoping to go further afield, Summerside-based outfit Island Adventures PEI will deliver kayaks and paddleboards for rent Island wide.)

To take in the views on land, the Baywalk Boardwalk is an excellent option for a seaside jaunt. Complete as much or as little as you like of the scenic 6.5-kilometre trail, which weaves in and out along the city’s waterfront and the Confederation Trail (you’ll hear more about that later!).

After a day of fun and frolic, drop off your paddles or pedals and hit The Sunset Room for oysters, seafood pasta and chilled cocktails. Or, trip down to Evermoore Brewing Co. – Summerside's first craft brewery – for some unique selections of beer (Batten Brown Ale, with undertones of caramel, coffee and blackcurrant, is a favourite) and a fresh, casual menu that changes with the seasons.

With a full belly and weary muscles, retire to your comfortable room at Baker Shore B&B or cozy up at the Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham Summerside. Whatever your choice, there will be a hearty, homemade breakfast awaiting you in the morning.

day 2

Today, it’s time to cycle the Confederation Trail, a renowned tip-to-tip route across the province. Originally a rail trail developed after the province’s railway system was abandoned in the late 1980s, this 470-kilometre cycle path winds through acres of breathtaking scenery and friendly communities.

You’ll not be able to cycle it all in one four-day vacation, but we recommend doing the western portion for an exhilarating day in nature. Avid cyclists may choose to take a shuttle to Tignish and cycle five hours back to Summerside. Hit the Tignish Museum before you depart to get a taste of the Indigenous, Acadian and Irish history of the area. Or, take on a shorter 45-kilometre trip from Tignish to O’Leary and spend the night at the luxurious Mill River, with its indoor pool, golf course and full service spa.

day 3

Wake up refreshed and grab a breakfast sandwich on freshly baked bread Maple House Bakery and Café before driving to the Green Gables Shore area to go hiking in the Cavendish Beach area of PEI National Park. The area boasts a number of scenic walking trails include Lover’s Lane and the Green Gables Haunted Trail (made famous in the Anne of Green Gables books), both of which are particularly eye catching when leaves are changing in the fall. The longer Homestead Trail, a 9.6 km loop, will reward you with rolling farmlands, sand dunes, soaring red cliffs and stunning ocean views.

You can also experience the Island’s famous red sands with a stroll along Chelton Beach Provincial Park, which offers kilometres of trails and beachfront. Its smaller waves also make it ideal for paddle boarding or kayaking. (Fun fact: PEI’s red sand is due to a higher level of iron oxide, or rust, present in the sand.)

If you’d rather experience the Island with a four-legged partner, head to Venture Stables for horseback riding in a picturesque setting. Don’t forget to visit the resident baby goats while you’re there, and spare a cuddle for Gloria, said to be PEI’s largest pet pig. For an authentic ranch experience, book an overnight stay here. You’ll have a comfortable stay at Venture Stables Mare Hotel, but you’ll also help care for the horses and get riding lessons to boot.

If you’re travelling in a larger group, you might choose to indulge in an upscale experience at the Crown of Victoria vacation house, a majestic, six-bedroom home nestled on a 25-acre bluff. Wherever you decide to hang your hat, Lone Oak Brewery Taproom, located in Borden-Carleton, is a great place to dine on local, seasonal fare and sample craft beer. Stop by the Handpie Company in Albany for comfort food to go. Their chef-made portable pies filled with local goodness (like BBQ pulled pork and chicken pot pie) will fuel your adventures.

Day 4

It’s your last day in PEI, so be sure to make the most of it. Get in an early morning hike at Bonshaw Hills Provincial Park, which boasts more than 18 kilometres of scenic trails for hikers and cyclists. Or, take it a bit easier and head to Argyle Shore Provincial Park for a oceanside walk along the beach to search for souvenir shells. Leaving the Island without indulging in an award-winning lobster roll would be a tragedy, so do lunch at the Lobster Barn in Victoria-by-the-Sea. (Their hearty seafood chowder and traditional fish and chips are delicious as well).

It’s time for your flight home, but don’t be surprised if you start planning your next big adventure to Canada’s smallest province before you’ve even touched down.

For the fall flavour fanatic

Want to escape to an island destination for a gastronomical celebration without the need of a passport? Come to PEI for Fall Flavours, a festival happening October 1-15 featuring all the best food and drinks Canada’s smallest province has to offer

With a spectacular backdrop of red sands and ocean views, Prince Edward Island’s Fall Flavours festival takes place in locations all over the province, giving visitors and locals alike a chance to tuck into Island culture through its culinary offerings, music and entertainment.

Here’s a sample itinerary for the final weekend of Fall Flavours, October 13-15. You might be coming for the lobster, but you’ll stay for everything else. (Travelling a different weekend? Check the website or click to the end for some of our top highlights.)

DAY 1 : October 13

Hop a morning flight to Charlottetown (just a two-hour journey from Toronto), rent a car and begin your adventure with a stroll around this charming seaside city. Check out the eclectic merchants along Peake’s Wharf, wander the Confederation Centre Art Gallery or unwind at a café while you prepare for the delicious events to come.

Drive 30 minutes northeast to Abegweit First Nation for A Taste of Epekwitk, where the bounty of the sea will be plentiful. Think fresh, succulent lobster, shellfish, salmon, trout and eel. This culinary cultural experience, beginning at 6 p.m., is hosted by A Mi’kmaw Elder and will include a three-course meal prepared by an Indigenous chef with an evening of knowledge-sharing and drumming from local performers.

Or, head over to Stratford, about a 10-minute drive from downtown Charlottetown, to the Bites, Brews and Tunes event hosted by local craft brewers Lone Oak Brewing Co. Starting at 6:30 p.m., you’ll slurp oysters and pints, enjoy a three-course dinner and end the night with an epic East Coast dance party.

Your bed will be calling after a satisfying night of food and fun. Stay at the Holman Grand in Charlottetown, a four-star boutique hotel in a historic building that is the official accommodation partner of the Fall Flavours festival. If you prefer something a bit more pastoral, rent an apartment-style accommodation with stunning ocean views around every corner at Ned’s Landing at Spry Point.

Day 2: October 14

After a restful slumber, a drive around the Points East Coastal Drive area will be just the thing to rejuvenate the mind and body. Collect shells along the beaches, hike the trails, or simply experience the gorgeous farmland and ocean views from the comfort of your vehicle.

Then it’s time to eat, and oysters are on the menu. Head over to the Bogside Brewery’s Oystoberfest at 7 p.m. in Montague, hosted by famed local “oyster personality” Jeff Noye. In addition to freshly shucked oysters with all the fixings, there will be next-level lobster rolls, smoked beef brisket and live music.

If you prefer something a bit more swank, head to the PEI Mix Masters event instead at 7 p.m. at Peake's Quay Restaurant and Bar, a favourite Charlottetown watering hole for locals. You’ll sample innovative cocktails whipped up by mixologists and bartenders from all over the Island – and maybe learn a few tricks – while dining on seafood and kicking up your heels to the electrifying sounds of Swift Kick (not your average Taylor Swift cover band).

Retire to your bed with a full belly and happy heart.

Day 3: October 15

Take your time exploring the Island before making your way to a unique music and food event that kicks off at Charlottetown’s Confederation Centre of the Arts. A Symphony of Senses starts at 2:30 p.m. with a private concert by the acclaimed PEI Symphony Orchestra. With your senses enlivened, you’ll be invited to stroll over to The Gallery Coffee House & Bistro to partake in a sumptuous, three-course meal featuring a locally sourced menu and more classical music from Island talent.

It's time to catch your evening flight home. While you’re in the air, scroll through the photos of the incredible food you sampled and start making a list of all the places you want to dine on your next PEI visit.

Looking for more Fall Flavours highlights on other weekends? Here are a few choice events:

-Calling all cyclists! The Gateway Village Food Bike (October 1) is a fabulous way to take in the natural splendor of PEI’s Central Coastal Drive while sampling curated snacks, live entertainment and craft beer along the way. This 38-kilometre round trip starts at 8 a.m. with breakfast, coffee and live entertainment in Borden-Carleton at Lone Oak Brewing Co.

-Immerse yourself in lobster heaven at the PEI Lobster Party (October 5), hosted at the New London Carriage House in PEI’s Green Gables region. You’ll mingle with local fishers and slurp down oysters, then enjoy an unforgettable feast of traditional and inventive lobster dishes prepared by local chef Jesse MacDonald. Plus, craft beer and live music to boot.

-Experience the culture of the Island’s northwest coast on Lennox Island – home of the Mi’kmaq people and Lennox Island First Nation – with Megapaji: To Eat in Abundance (October 8). This special afternoon event will begin with a greeting by the Island’s artisans who will inspire guests with their creations, such as porcupine quill artwork and drums made from smoked ash and moose hide. Then, guests will join a traditional smudging ceremony followed by a traditional three-course menu, cooked over an open fire.


Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio with Tourism PEI. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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