Considering a trip to Prince Edward Island, Canada? Then you’ve come to the right place!
Home to sprawling white sandy beaches, historical buildings, red sandstone cliffs, endless lighthouses, cheery locals, and tons of fun things to do, choosing the best places to visit on Prince Edward Island takes special planning.
At just 280km long, Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest province, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in beauty, diversity, and charm.
As a born-and-raised Canadian, I recently visited Prince Edward Island for the precise mission of finding the best things to do and places to stay, and I’m genuinely excited to share everything I uncovered.
In this article, we’ll cover the 19 best places to visit in PEI as well as some tips on where to stay in PEI and the best tours to take.
Ready? Let’s go!
Table of Contents
- 19 Best Places to Visit in Prince Edward Island
- Prince Edward Island National Park – Cavendish Region
- Prince Edward Island National Park – Brackley Beach Region
- Prince Edward Island National Park – Greenwich
- Anne of Green Gables Heritage Place
- Green Gables Hiking Trails
- North Rustico
- Orwell Corner Historic Village
- Point Prim Lighthouse
- King’s Castle Provincial Park
- Basin Head Provincial Park
- Cape Bear Lighthouse
- West Point Lighthouse
- Canadian Potato Museum
- Thunder Cove Beach
- Acadian Museum
- Confederation Trail
- FAQ About Where to Visit in Prince Edward Island
- What should you not miss on Prince Edward Island?
- What is the prettiest part of PEI?
- How do you get to PEI?
- When should I visit Prince Edward Island?
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19 Best Places to Visit in Prince Edward Island
The capital city and centerpoint of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown is located on the southern coast of the province and is best known for mom-and-pop shops, quaint architecture, cozy restaurants, adorable bed and breakfasts, and its important history in the confederation of Canada.
Characterized by colorful historic buildings and friendly locals, some of the best things to do in Charlottetown include:
- Strolling the pedestrian street of Victoria Row
- Catching a show at the Confederation Centre of the Arts
- Taking a Confederation Players walking tour
- Visiting the Anne of Green Gables Store
- Viewing exhibits at the Art Gallery
- Stretching your legs at Victoria Park
- Exploring St. Dunstan’s Basilica
- Touring the Province House National Historic Site
- Walking the Charlottetown boardwalk
🛎️ Need a Place to Stay? Check out my guide to staying in Charlottetown for the best spots!
Prince Edward Island National Park – Cavendish Region
Located along the beautiful north shore of the island, PEI National Park is (loosely, for the sake of this article) split into three general areas — Cavendish, Brackley Beach, and Greenwich.
Cavendish and the Green Gables Shore, perhaps the most well-known area of the park, is home to towering sand dunes, eroded red rock formations, Green Gables sites, and the gorgeous white-sand Cavendish Beach.
I recommend driving along the Gulf Shore Parkway West coastal route of the park and stopping at some of the major sites including Mackenzie’s Brook, MacNeil’s Brook, and Orby Head. But trust me, you’ll be stopping every five minutes for photos along this route — it’s gorgeous.
👉 Pro Tip: Visiting PEI National Park in the summer requires purchasing a day pass upon entry. This is valid in all the National Park regions, so plan a full exploration day in these parts.
Prince Edward Island National Park – Brackley Beach Region
Just twenty minutes from Charlottetown, Brackley Beach is one of the most popular day trips from the capital. Featuring pristine water, golden sand, facilities, and even a lifeguard on duty, this beach is beloved by both locals and visitors alike and is perfect for swimming, surfing, and kayaking.
For some more fun near the sandy beaches (and just a few minutes from Charlottetown) head to Brackley Beach Drive-In Theater — they’ve been known to show both new releases and classic flicks. Definitely worth adding to your PEI itinerary!
Prince Edward Island National Park – Greenwich
The easternmost area of Prince Edward Island National Park, Greenwich is known for being home to the largest parabolic sand dunes on the island. Constantly in flux, these dunes are formed by strong unidirectional winds from the beach and are said to move and shift roughly 2-4 meters every year.
Additionally, this area of the park features fragile wetlands, a long and storied Mi’kmaq and Acadian history, and some of the most gorgeous boardwalks on the island (in my opinion).
While here, hit up Greenwich’s soft sand beaches (there is daily lifeguard supervision in the summer months), and trek along the 4.5 km (3 miles) out-and-back Greenwich Dunes Trail. The trail is mostly a boardwalk over the marshlands and will give you some unreal views of the sand dunes.
🚗 How to Get There: With limited public transportation, renting a car is the best way to get around PEI. Discover Cars is always my first go-to for comparing rates and getting the best deals.
Anne of Green Gables Heritage Place
Located near Cavendish Beach, Anne of Green Gables Heritage Place should be high on your priority list if you’re a fan of the 1908 classic novel of the same name.
Comprising a museum, the Green Gables Heritage House, and gardens, the property has a ton of info on author Lucy Maud Montgomery, regularly hosts Anne-related events, and is the epitome of cottage-core indulgence.
Even if you don’t have extensive knowledge of the Green Gables world, I still recommend visiting this site. Knowing little of Anne, I absolutely loved the knowledgeable and passionate staff at the Green Gables Museum and site. I walked in with an open mind and came out a fan!
Green Gables Hiking Trails
Though part of Heritage Place, the hiking trails on the property are so spectacular and peaceful that they deserve their own point.
The Balsam Hollow Trail is a 0.8km (0.5 mile) moderate return hike that starts at Lover’s Lane and winds through the woods. Following a small brook, the trail often has small critters and wildflowers leading the way and features some stairs and elevation changes.
Meanwhile, the Haunted Wood Trail is a 1.1km (0.7 miles) return trail that’s rated easy. The trail starts on the front lawn of the house and passes through a forest with benches, interpretive signs, stairs, and bridges. L.M. Montgomery wrote about these woods as full of mystery and they certainly have a mystique about them (especially to fans of Anne).
👉 Love Anne of Green Gables? This Green Gables Shore tour from Charlottetown includes stops at the Heritage Place, Prince Edward Island Preserve Company, and more!
Known amongst locals as “The Crick”, North Rustico is a charming fishing town located on central Prince Edward Island’s north shore.
Most active in the summertime, some of the most popular things to do in North Rustico are to take a guided kayaking tour, visit Doyle’s Cove, hike the North Rustico Beach Trail, stroll the artisan shops at Seawalk Park, go deep-sea fishing, take a stroll along the boardwalk, and dine at Blue Mussel Cafe.
Orwell Corner Historic Village
Ever wondered what Prince Edward Island life was like in the 1890s? No? Well, even so, you’ll find out all about it at Orwell Historic Village.
Located in Eastern PEI just off the #1 highway (the main loop around the island), Orwell is a fabulous site for all ages and includes an Agricultural Heritage Museum, a blacksmithing shop, a petting zoo, a schoolhouse, a church, educational programming, and horse-guided wagon rides.
Unsure of what I was going to find at the site, I was pleasantly surprised at the wealth of information and the kind nature of the staff here. They immediately took me under their wing and gave me a blacksmithing lesson, carriage ride, and introduced me to the animals.
Point Prim Lighthouse
After you’re done visiting Orwell, head just a few minutes down the road to Prince Edward Island’s oldest lighthouse — Point Prim Lighthouse.
Built in 1845, the first lighthouse in PEI, Point Prim Lighthouse is characterized by its red and white design. You can climb the structure for awesome views of Northumberland Strait.
While you’re here, stop for a bite at Point Prim Chowderhouse. They offer multiple chowder options, a full seafood menu, and cocktails, and craft beer.
📚 Looking for more PEI inspiration? Check out our list of 17 Best Things to do in Prince Edward Island!
A colorful fishing village on Prince Edward Island’s east side, Georgetown is home to the historic Georgetown Inn, Canada’s largest ship wheel, mom and pop shops, lookouts, and a ton of shipbuilding and marine history.
Though you’ll find awesome walking tours and restaurants in Georgetown, while you’re here I highly recommend booking yourself on a deep-sea fishing tour.
I booked my tour with Tranquility Cove Adventures and not only were the staff amazing, but they also gave my group a crab and lobster fishing lesson before giving us a shot at catching mackerel. Then, we cooked our catch right on the boat.
King’s Castle Provincial Park
Located just off the Points East Coastal Drive down the road from Georgetown, Kings Castle Provincial Park is an awesome destination if you have kids.
The park features storybook character statues, playground equipment, facilities, ice cream stands, camping areas, and even a kitchen.
But I have to say that the big draw with King’s Castle is the red sand beaches. With a high iron concentration, the beaches here are truly a spectacular red color and they’re sure to delight families and photography buffs alike.
Basin Head Provincial Park
Facing the Northumberland Strait on the Points East Coastal Drive, Basin Head Provincial Park is a must-stop for fans of unique geological phenomenon.
Also known as Basin Head Beach, “Singing Sands Beach” is a stretch of white sand that, when stepped on, makes a high-pitched sound due to its uniquely spherical quartz sand. This noisy sand is one of the most unique tourist attractions on the island and is a key feature of PEI.
Unsure of what to expect by the sound when I went, I thought the fine sand squeaks more than sings, but I’m definitely no expert in such matters.
Also at the park you’ll find a boardwalk stretching onto the beach, full facilities, and the Basin Head Fisheries Museum. Regarding the latter, the museum features stories, displays, and exhibits detailing the island’s shipwrecks, fishing history, lighthouses, fog stations, and notable humans.
👉 Decided on a place to stay? Check out my guide on the Best Areas and Places to Stay in Prince Edward Island before you commit to a hotel.
Cape Bear Lighthouse
Located on PEI’s southeast coast, 40-ft Cape Bear Lighthouse was built in 1881 and is a key feature of Murray Harbour.
From the lighthouse, you’ll see untouched beaches, red jagged cliffs, marine life (seals and porpoises have been known to hang out nearby), and, on a clear day, Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island.
West Point Lighthouse
Located in the southwestern corner of the Island, West Point lighthouse is one of the best places to come if you’re seeking seclusion, a great sunset, and a launching point for Cedar Dunes Provincial Park exploration.
Standing 69 feet tall, the lighthouse was built in 1875 and, because of its black and white paint and tapered shape, is one of the most unique sites on the island. The lighthouse doubles as an inn that offers 13 rooms and some unrivaled views of the coast.
Also in the area, you’ll find the West Point Lighthouse Museum, a lifeguard-supervised beach, restaurants, and craft shops.
Canadian Potato Museum
If you’re into quirky sites and learning all about farm life on PEI, then the Canadian Potato Museum in O’Leary is a must-stop. This self-guided museum is chock-full of potato displays detailing the history, culture, and farming relevance of everyone’s favorite starchy carb. There’s even a potato-themed gift shop and restaurant on site.
Not to mention, this is the home of the world’s largest potato sculpture — it’s perfect for channeling your inner Clark W. Griswold and snapping a photo!
Thunder Cove Beach
A hidden gem mostly off the main tourist trail, Thunder Cove Beach is in the running for the most beautiful beach on Prince Edward Island. Located in Darnley on the central north shore, Thunder Cove features sandstone cliffs, gorgeous red rock sea stacks, caves, and towering sand dunes.
Teacup Rock is the piece de resistance of the beach, and hiking 10 minutes down the beach or kayaking to the site is definitely recommended. Just be sure to keep off the sea stacks themselves as they’re super fragile.
👉 Pro tip: The road into Thunder Cove beach is a bit of a doozy. I only recommend visiting in late spring, summer, and early fall, and be prepared to search for parking. Also, as this isn’t a provincial park or recognized tourist site, so there are no public bathrooms near the beach.
For a great brief on the Acadian history of the island, head over to the Acadian Museum in Miscouche. Detailing the journey from 1720 to today, the museum is home to displays and exhibits that seek to educate about the livelihoods, politics, and plights of the Acadian people through that specific lens.
Have some Acadian roots in your family tree? There are also genealogy resources on site that could help you trace back your ancestry.
👉 Wondering where else to visit in Canada? Check out my picks for the 15 best places to travel in Canada!
Less of a destination and more of a journey, Confederation Trail is Prince Edward Island’s most formidable trail.
Running tip-to-tip across the island from Tignish in the West to Elmira in the East, the Confederation Trail is 273 km (170 miles) and can be explored by foot or bicycle. Though the trail runs along a decommissioned rail line and is mostly in the boonies, there are some branch trails to various communities that make quick pit stops or hotel stays a breeze.
Plus, the trail elevation never deviates by more than 2%, making endurance the primary challenge.
The island’s “City by the Sea,” Summerside is a great destination to experience charming PEI urban life on a smaller scale than the capital.
Noted for its delicious food, ocean views, great shopping, musical talent, and theatre, Summerside acts as the gateway to the western side of the island and is one of the prettiest places in PEI.
Some of the very best things to do in Summerside include visiting the Wyatt Historic House Museum, checking out the Summerside Farmers Market, exploring art at the Eptek Art & Culture Center, walking the boardwalk, shopping at the mom & pop shops, and visiting the Slemon Park Historical Aircraft Static Display.
FAQ About Where to Visit in Prince Edward Island
What should you not miss on Prince Edward Island?
While visiting Prince Edward Island, you should not miss exploring the capital city of Charlottetown, visiting some of the lighthouses, learning about the island’s history, checking out the sandy beaches and red sandstone cliffs, getting out onto the water, and indulging in some seafood.
What is the prettiest part of PEI?
Though there is beauty all over the island, the central north shore of Prince Edward Island is often regarded as the prettiest part of Prince Edward Island.
How do you get to PEI?
To get to PEI, you can either drive or take the bus over the Confederation Bridge, take the Northumberland Ferry from Nova Scotia, or fly into the Charlottetown Airport.
When should I visit Prince Edward Island?
Generally speaking, the best time to visit Prince Edward Island is from June to September, when the island experiences its warmest weather. It is possible to explore PEI outside of this window, and you may find cheaper prices if you visit during the off-season, but be aware that many hotels and attractions can close for the winter.
Thanks for reading my picks for the best places to visit in PEI!
Have fun in PEI!