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Summer on the Island

Summer on Prince Edward Island

It’s time you got to know Prince Edward Island a little better.

Made up of six exciting regions, this jewel of Eastern Canada is a summertime playground with endless beaches, soaring cliffs, vibrant culture and the best seafood you’ve ever tasted. For golfers, it’s a paradise. For nature lovers, it’s bliss. For those most comfortable on (or in) the water, it’s their new favourite place on earth.

There’s lots to say about what you can experience in PEI. But what you’re likely to remember most of all about this place are the friendly smiles and kind words from the welcoming people who live there. Take a look at what there is to see, do, eat and discover on Prince Edward Island. It might just be the start of your next summer vacation.


From funky festivals to fine food, the Island’s capital – recognized as the birthplace of Confederation – is ripe for discovery. Located on the south shore of PEI, Charlottetown is a walkable city bursting with historical charm, gorgeous hotels and a lively arts and culture scene. It’s a vibrant place welcoming visitors with open arms and that famous Island hospitality.

The Great George

A cluster of 17 brightly painted, lovingly restored heritage buildings, The Great George boutique hotel strikes the perfect balance of historic charm and modern luxury. Built in 1846 in the heart of downtown Charlottetown, the property is steps away from the province’s best in dining, entertainment and shopping. Guests can choose from guestrooms, executive apartments, condos or sought-after romantic hideaway suites. Deluxe rooms include thoughtful touches such as electric fireplaces, heated bathroom floors and claw-footed tubs.

Other unique places to stay in Charlottetown include the warm, homey Sonata Inn and the Sydney Boutique Inn & Suites, which is housed in a former 19th century convent.


Claddagh Oyster House

Sit at the bar and watch expert shuckers prepare world-famous PEI oysters with names like “Sweet Blues” and “Savage Blondes.” Or, settle in the dining room and tuck into a plate of Island beef, aged 50 days for tenderness and flavour. For nearly 40 years, this celebrated restaurant been serving creative, modern cuisine highlighting locally sourced products from land and sea. Styled after an Irish country bar and nestled in a historic brick building, Claddagh Oyster House features a menu that changes with the seasons.

For more can’t-miss seafood-forward dining options, try Water Prince Corner Shop or Sims Corner Steakhouse & Oyster Bar.


PEI Tasting Tours

Craving a brew? Sip your way through PEI’s excellent craft beverage scene with a knowledgeable guide. You’ll be picked up in Charlottetown, then whisked away to an area brewery, a winery, a distillery and a cidery for tastings and behind-the-scenes tours. It’s a fabulous way to relax and enjoy some of the province’s best scenery, plus take home choice products for later. For something a little different, try an oyster-tasting tour and learn how to shuck.

Back in Charlottetown, wet your whistle at The Churchill Arms Pub, known as “PEI’s only British pub,” or visit trendy Hopyard for some vintage vinyl to go with your brew.


Peake’s Wharf

Spend an afternoon strolling the picture-perfect Charlottetown waterfront and visiting the merchants of Peake’s Wharf. Here, craft shops, eclectic clothing boutiques, jewellery stores and art vendors are interspersed with lively food and drink establishments. You’ll find everything from delicate hand-blown glass to pewter charm bracelets and succulent, buttery Lobster rolls. Stop for a drink on one of the many terraces overlooking the marina.

For more great shopping in the city, hit up pedestrian-friendly Victoria Row and Founders’ Food Hall and Market.


Beaconsfield Historic House

Designed by star PEI architect W.C. Harris and built in 1877 for wealthy shipbuilder James Peake Jr., Beaconsfield House featured all the latest conveniences of the era – gas lighting, a water closet, running water and central heating. A hub for entertaining in its day, the ornate 25-room Victorian home served other functions over the years, such as a lodging for “young ladies” and a nurse’s residence. Now, it’s been restored to its former glory and is open for events and guided tours. The elegant, wraparound veranda offers a stunning view of the harbour.

Other cultural and historic sites in Charlottetown include 19th century gothic cathedral St. Dunstan’s Basilica and the Confederation Centre of the Arts, where you will find an art gallery, live music and theatre all year round.M

Points East Coastal Drive

Fifty stunning sandy beaches, each within a stone’s throw of the next, invite you to explore, stroll, relax and swim in the warmest waters north of the Carolinas. A road trip along the scenic Points East Coastal Drive will take you through welcoming small towns filled with charming shops and fresh, succulent seafood. Here are five Points East hotspots to check out:

Rodd Crowbush Golf & Beach Resort

Rodd Crowbush Golf & Beach Resort is not just for golfers – although the lush green on-site Links at Crowbush Cove is considered a challenging must-play course for any fan of the sport. Perched along the coast, with spectacular views of sand dunes, marshes and the St. Lawrence River, this family-friendly resort also offers tennis, an indoor pool and spa services. Choose a fully-appointed suite or cozy cottage and be sure to catch the dazzling sunset on the resort’s private beach.

Craving more top-notch golf in Points East? Try Brudenell River Golf Course or Fox Meadow Golf Course.


Greenwich – Prince Edward Island National Park

Greenwich, one of the best kept secrets of the PEI National Park, boasts the largest sand dunes in the province. Three hiking trails, including an extensive floating boardwalk, lead through varied marsh and woodland landscapes that are home to rare bird and plant species. An interpretive centre highlights the rich cultural history of early Mi’kmaq communities and French and Acadian settlers. Greenwich Beach tends to be a quieter spot, making it a tranquil place to walk on pristine white sand as far as the eye can see.

Looking for more beach recommendations? Check out popular Basin Head Beach (famous for “singing sands” that squeak when you walk) or secluded Sally’s Beach.


Tranquility Cove Adventures

Test your sea legs on a deep-sea fishing trip aboard the 45-foot Tranquility. If you catch enough mackerel (and most people do), the crew will fillet and BBQ the catch right on board for a lip-smacking floating feast. Or, head out across the water for a clam-digging adventure and beach cookout on the deserted island of Boughton. Your host, Captain Perry, whose family has deep roots on the Island, will share tales of this special place. Finish your trip with a stop by the local harbour seal colony to see 60 or more of these majestic creatures lazing in the sun.

For more aquatic fun, try East Coast Paddle Adventures or Paddles on Fortune River for kayaking and stand up paddleboarding.


45 Steps

45 Steps is named for the distance between the inn’s front doors and the water’s edge, so it’s no surprise that this boutique, “Hampton-style” hotel is steeped with beach house vibes. There are breathtaking panoramic views on a private beach, a light-filled library to cozy up in and elegant rooms designed with warm wood floors and natural stone showers. At the heart of the inn is the Kitchen Club, an open kitchen where the in-house chef creates meals from sustainably sourced ingredients. Pick up a packed picnic lunch before you explore for the day.

Other choice accommodations in the area include Rodd Brudenell River Resort, which has two 18-hole golf courses on-site, and the Inn at Fortune Bridge, a beautifully appointed, 5-star boutique inn.


The Fiddling Fisherman

You’ve had lobster on land, but have you had it at sea? You’ll sail out of Souris Harbour to the Captain’s favourite fishing spot where you’ll help haul lobster traps into the boat. The catch goes into the pot to be cooked and an at-sea lobster feast follows, accompanied by fiddle music, songs and stories. Prefer to stay on land? The Fiddling Fisherman Lookout tap room and coffee bar serves local brews and food and offers plenty of space to watch the ocean, inside or outdoors.

Other top spots for dining in Points East include the sumptuous Fireworks Feast (presented by renowned Chef Michael Smith) at the Inn at Bay Fortune and Bogside Brewing for local craft brews and live music.


PEI’s second largest city, Summerside, is conveniently located just 20 minutes west of the Confederation Bridge. The name says it all: Summerside is a coastal playground for leisure activities in the warmer months, like cycling, picnicking, patio dining, sightseeing and kitesurfing. Stroll historic tree-lined streets, visit the farmers’ market or take in a live show at the Harbourfront Theatre. Steeped in the culture of its Celtic roots, the city is a great jumping-off point for exploration of the Island.


The Boardwalk Inn

With calming décor, breakfasts freshly made from local ingredients and easy access to the Baywalk Boardwalk and Cycling Trail, the Boardwalk Inn is an ideal home base from which to get to know Summerside. Each of the five bedrooms has elegant antique furniture and luxurious bedding, promising a peaceful and relaxing stay. In the morning, you’ll enjoy a hearty breakfast before starting your day.

Bed and breakfasts shine in Summerside: Other options include The Warm House Retreat Bed and Breakfast and Summerside Inn Bed & Breakfast.


Evermoore Brewing Co.

Relish the relaxed summertime ambiance at this warm and friendly brewpub. A favourite hangout for locals and visitors alike, Evermoore is housed in a former railway station and has a great outdoor patio to boot. Sample a flight of craft beer along with hearty dishes such as braised beef, veggie pot pie or haddock mussel cioppino, or share a “pub pizza” with your favourite travel-mates while taking in a live music or trivia night.

More top picks for warm-weather eating in Summerside: lobster rolls and crab cakes on The Sunset Room’s expansive seaside patio or small-batch, homemade ice cream at Holman’s Ice Cream Parlour.


Eptek Art & Culture Centre

Heritage, history, visual art and craft come together at the Eptek Art & Culture Centre. Featuring a diverse array of rotating exhibits, the Centre also has a permanent display detailing Summerside’s fascinating history and architecture. Every weekday in the summer, visitors can take part in craft demonstrations, and the gift shop is always filled with Island-made fine art, crafts and local books.

For more Summerside-based activities, get pampered at Mint Spa or learn how to make the perfect bouquet at Little Dutch Flower Farms.


The College of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts

Home of the Celtic Performing Arts Centre, the College of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts has over 150 full-time students studying bagpipe, pipe band drumming, fiddle, step dance and more. Visitors can enjoy this wealth of experienced and emerging talent during the summer-long Celtic festival and exhilarating evening performances of music and dance.

Looking for more fun-filled excursions? Explore a heritage treasure with a tour through Wyatt Historic House Museum or take in some fast-paced harness racing at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino.


Spinnaker’s Landing

Designed to evoke a quaint fishing village, Summerside’s waterfront marketplace is a one-stop shopping area for homemade donuts, freshly churned ice cream, artisan studios, local art, Celtic giftware and more. Enjoy fresh seafood and live music and, while you’re there, don’t forget to pick up a PEI Dirt Shirt, dyed with the Island’s famous red sand.

For more places to shop, check out expertly crafted mugs and bowls at Red Rocks Pottery Studio and fragrant bath bombs at Soapaholic Soaps.

Green Gables Shore

The home of Anne of Green Gables is a magical place for anyone who grew up with Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved novels. Visitors will be transported to a bygone era of quaint wooden farmhouses, salty sea air and a spirited little girl with brilliant red hair. Green Gables Shore also draws visitors for its natural beauty – red sandstone cliffs, miles of unspoiled beaches and a promise of adventure for kids of all ages.

Green Gables Heritage Place

Whether you’re a fan of the books or know Anne Shirley from a TV series, no trip to PEI is complete without a stop at Green Gables. Venture into Anne’s life and relive her escapades as you walk through the historic green-gabled farmhouse that inspired her story. Stroll the Haunted Wood Trail under the shadow of balsam and spruce. Then stop by the Green Gables Visitor Centre to learn more about Lucy Maud Montgomery and the history of the Cavendish area.

For another taste of Anne’s world, visit Avonlea Village, a collection of shops and eateries meant to evoke her fictional hometown.


Cavendish Beach – Prince Edward Island National Park

One of PEI’s best-known beaches, the Cavendish area has miles of unspoiled white sand, sandstone cliffs and unfettered views of the water. After a day of swimming, building sandcastles and soaking up the sun, be sure to stick around for the spectacular sunset. Nearby amusement and water parks offer other options for family fun, as well as walking trails for landscape and wildlife viewing. Cavendish Grove, for example, features a 12-kilometre trail through a sugar maple grove, ponds and salt marshes.

More sand and sun await you in Green Gables Shore at hidden gems like Barachois Beach and North Rustico – PEI National Park.


Dalvay by the Sea

This elegant Victorian summer home and National Historic Site is an ideal choice for a one-of-a-kind romantic getaway. Constructed in 1895, the hotel has been lovingly restored using local materials and furnished with period antiques. Enjoy a game of croquet on the lawn, stroll the beach at sunset or canoe across Dalvay Lake. Located within PEI National Park, Dalvay by the Sea provides easy access to nature trails from your room or cottage.

Other top-notch area accommodations include the FarmHouse Inn for “elegant country comfort” and the Graham Inn, which has expansive grounds and an indoor saltwater pool.


The Table Culinary Studio

The Table welcomes just 27 diners per night for a single-seating, seven-course meal. The menu – not revealed until diners arrive – changes weekly, if not daily, inspired by ingredients available fresh from local producers. This hyper-local dining experience is high-end, but not stuffy: the cozy dining room is a renovated small church, and the chef circulates throughout the evening to describe dishes and mingle.

If you prefer waterfront dining, check out Sou’West in New London or On the Dock Eatery in North Rustico Harbour.


Outside Expeditions

With a goal of showing off PEI’s natural beauty while keeping sustainability front of mind, Outside Expeditions offers guided cycle and kayaking tours for all skill levels. One cycling tour, The Land of Anne, takes you through PEI National Park and Green Gables where your guide will show you the landscape through the eyes of Lucy Maud Montgomery. Rather move at your own speed? Bike, kayak, canoe and stand-up paddleboards are also available to rent.

For more adventure, Atlantic Sailing offers romantic cruises out of North Rustico Harbour, while DogBoat Adventures hosts fun boat tours around New London Bay.

Red Sands Shore

Once you’ve crossed the Confederation Bridge, explore the heritage red dirt roads that lead to endless beaches of the Red Sands Shore. In addition to this picturesque area’s famous coastal beauty, you’ll encounter artist and artisan studios, small-batch cideries, craft breweries, community theatres and winding nature trails. Just make sure to take the time to stop and chat with the friendly locals – they’re sure to have an art gallery, restaurant or craft beer to recommend.

Meridian 63 Luxury Camping

Choose from four off-grid microcabins for this upscale getting-back-to-nature experience. Each hilltop cabin has floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing for magnificent views of Strathgartney Park and West River. As Meridian 63 puts it, this is roughing it… luxuriously. Cabins feature sleeping lofts with comfy queen beds, furnished living spaces, a solar battery for lighting and charging devices and a firepit with grill. Newly-renovated washrooms featuring rainfall showers are just around the corner, with hiking trails and kayaking close by.

For more traditional accommodations, Red Sands Shore offers a wealth of cottages and chalets all along the waterfront.


Barnone Brewery and Hop Farm

Stop by Barnone, where brewers use hops grown onsite to craft a regularly rotating series of beers. This popular gathering place was once a three-generation cattle farm, transformed into an award-winning microbrewery in 2011. Visitors can sit and sip at one of the rustic picnic tables in the corral or join a brewery tour. Mosey into the library for a quiet place to read or play crokinole. Or take in a musical performance on the second floor.

You’ll also find craft beverages at Lone Oak Brewing Co. where they brew pale ales and IPAs, or Deep Roots Distillery for craft spirits like maple liqueur and absinthe.


Chelton Beach Provincial Park

If you’re searching for a gentle beach with small waves and warm water, put Chelton Beach on your must list. Conditions are almost always quiet along the park’s miles of red sandy coastline, perfect for stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and lazy beach days. Beachcomb for shells and beach glass at low tide or admire the stately Confederation Bridge from a distance.

If you’re looking for more great beach destinations in Red Sands Shore, check out Argyle Shore Provincial Park and Strathgartney Provincial Park.



Once a bustling seaport, this postcard-perfect village has settled into a new life as a quiet, quaint haven for artisans of all kinds. Visit their studios for nature-inspired pottery, colourful hooked rugs, delicate glassware and more. Dine in one of the local restaurants, specializing in fresh local seafood. Then enjoy a night of entertainment at the Victoria Playhouse, the Island’s longest-running little theatre.

If you’re still feeling hungry, try Richard’s Fresh Seafood, one of the Island’s longest-running fish shacks in Covehead or The Handpie Company in Albany for locally made comfort food to go.


Art classes with Julia Purcell

Tap into your creative well with a watercolour class with acclaimed artist Julia Purcell. In sessions called Painting Montgomery’s Island, you’ll experiment with seascapes and landscapes painted using the three colours – ruby, emerald and sapphire – that Lucy Maud Montgomery used to describe her home Island. You’ll develop your watercolour skills and techniques while creating an original keepsake to take home with you.

Hungry for more cultural immersion? See celebrity cars, such as Elvis’s pink Cadillac, at the quirky Car Life Museum.

North Cape Coastal Drive

Of course you need a selfie with a 14-foot potato! You’ll find that delightful landmark outside the Canadian Potato Museum located in O’Leary. But you’ll also want to take a road trip through PEI’s North Cape region – also known as Canada’s oyster coast – for the sunsets, the thriving Acadian and Mi’kmaq cultures, the colliding tides and maybe even the chance to paddleboard with goats.

West Point Lighthouse Inn

Don’t miss an opportunity to spend a night in the still-operational West Point Lighthouse, famous for its jaunty black and white stripes. Imagine falling asleep to the sound of rolling waves and waking up to an awe-inspiring view from the Tower Room. You can also stay in the lighthouse keepers’ quarters or a seaside room, where you’ll watch the sun set from your private walk-out deck. In the morning, beachcomb your way along the soft red sand to Cedar Dunes Provincial Park.

Other North Cape hotel picks: Enjoy famous Island hospitality at the stately Northpoint Pier Inn or opt homier comforts at the lovely La Petite France B&B.


Mill River Resort and Golf Course

The four-star Mill River Resort delivers modern luxury – think spa treatments, indoor basketball and squash courts, even an Aquaplex with whirlpool and waterslide – and plenty of outdoor sport and adventure. Tennis, beach volleyball and pickleball courts are summertime favourites, while the golf course is rated one of PEI’s best. A full 18-hole course is available, as well as a 3-hole short course and driving range.

For more ways to play in North Cape, spend some time doing beach yoga and paddleboarding with some new, four-legged friends at Beach Goats, located on the South Shore in St. Chrysostome.


The Bottle Houses

Over 25,000 recycled glass bottles were carefully cemented together to create three magical buildings: a six-gabled house, a tavern and a chapel. A passion project completed by area resident Édouard T. Arsenault in 1984, today the Bottle Houses are open for the public. Step inside and enter a dreamworld of shifting coloured light. While in the area, take the short drive to the Cape Egmont Lighthouse, perched atop striking red cliffs.

Looking for other fun excursions in the area? Learn about the enormous windmills that dot the landscape at the North Cape Wind Energy Interpretive Centre or visit the Bideford Parsonage Museum, historical residence of L.M. Montgomery.

do & eat

Bannock and Clams in the Sand (Lennox Island)

Learn to prepare traditional bannock (bread) and cook it in the sand while listening to spellbinding stories of life on Lennox Island. Enjoy the fresh bread, along with locally foraged clams, and learn a few words of Mi’kmaq to hold close to your heart. Lennox Island is home to 450 Lennox Island First Nation band members, with a wealth of cultural experiences open to all.

Other activities on Lennox Island include a drum workshop where you can weave together your very own moose hide drum. There’s also a quill work activity where you can use a porcupine quill to create art on a circle of birch bark.


La Galette Blanche Bakery at Village Musical Acadien

Don’t be surprised if you hear the locals speaking French in PEI – there is a long history of Acadian culture in this neck of the woods. At La Galette Blanche Bakery, you can sample traditional Acadian cuisine such as râpure, a hearty casserole made with potatoes, meat and onions, molasses cookies and the bakery’s namesake galette blanche, or white biscuit. (Don’t miss their decadent cinnamon buns too!) The bakery is located in Village Musical Acadien, an Acadian cultural centre that also includes an art gallery, restaurant and lively musical performances.

For more memorable meals in North Cape, try Moth Lane Brewing for low and slow-smoked BBQ and Our Family Traditions for home-cooked fare in a comfortable setting.

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

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