Let’s be honest, a huge reason you’ve decided to travel to Canada’s Atlantic coast is to check out the best beaches in Prince Edward Island.
And who could blame you! Prince Edward Island is home to some of the best beaches in Canada, with stretches of white and red sand, craggy cliffs, and ancient rock formations alike. In fact, several of these beaches are among the top things to do in PEI.
On my recent trip to Prince Edward Island, I went to a ton of the province’s beaches, with the precise mission of finding the very best ones. So, what were my findings?
In this article, we’ll cover the 11 Best Prince Edward Island beaches.
Let’s dive in! (pun intended)
Table of Contents
- 11 Best Prince Edward Island Beaches
- FAQs about Beaches in Prince Edward Island
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11 Best Prince Edward Island Beaches
Cavendish, Prince Edward Island
Perhaps the most famous of all the PEI beaches, Cavendish Beach is an absolute stunner with miles of white sand and red sandstone cliffs. You might know the Cavendish Beach area from its Anne of Green Gables connection, but even besides the mythos, this beach holds its own.
Cavendish Beach is perfect for families as not only is it supervised in the summer, but there are also washrooms, changing areas, mobility mats, and plenty of other amenities. Just keep in mind that due to the popularity of this beach, you’ll rarely have it all to yourself. The beach is located within Prince Edward Island National Park, about 25 minutes north of Charlottetown.
👉 Pro Tip: Renting a car is the best (and sometimes only) way to see PEI’s beaches. I love using Discover Cars to compare the rates and options.
Brackley Beach, PEI
Just 25 minutes from Cavendish and located within Prince Edward Island National Park is the ever-favorite Brackley Beach. A stone’s throw from the town of the same name, Brackley Beach runs all the way from Rustico Harbour to Brackley and is known for its towering sand dunes and perfect soft white sand.
Though great for families (there are bathrooms and changing facilities), Brackley Beach is a popular spot for more adventurous types as well. Kayaking, SUP’ing, hiking, and plenty of tours are on offer.
Oh, and you have to visit the Dunes Gallery in the town of Brackley – it’s home to cool art collections and a renowned cafe – and it made my list of top places to visit in Prince Edward Island.
👉 Don’t Forget to Pack: Sunscreen is an outdoor lover’s essential and will keep you from getting crispy on PEI’s beaches. I like this Thinksport reef-safe sunscreen for whenever I’m swimming in nature.
Greenwich, Prince Edward Island
Another PEI National Park gem, Greenwich Beach is home to a parabolic sand dune system – the largest dunes on the island. This makes Greenwich Beach the perfect place for hikes, as the scenery is spectacular and the trails feature a floating boardwalk, interpretive signs, and even a wheelchair-accessible loop.
The beach itself is made up of soft white sand and has a supervised swimming zone, picnic areas, bathrooms, change rooms, and an interpretive center.
👉 Pro Tip: PEI is a destination where there are distinct right seasons and wrong seasons to travel in. Check out my article on when to travel to Prince Edward Island for all the hot goss.
Cedar Dunes Beach
O’Leary, Prince Edward Island
Found on the North Cape Coastal Drive, Cedar Dunes Beach is known for both the striking black and white lighthouse on its shore and the Eastern White Cedars that dot the sand dunes. Because it’s on the west coast of PEI, it’s the perfect place to watch the sunset. The area includes a campground, boardwalk, and supervised swimming areas in the summertime.
Because Cedar Dunes is a fair drive from Charlottetown (almost 2 hours), it’s not as frequented as other beaches on the island. You’ll find that it has a laid-back atmosphere and is much more relaxing than its central counterparts.
👉 Pro Tip: If you’re looking for great PEI accommodations, then check out my where to stay in Prince Edward Island article. I include all the best regions and hotels so you don’t have to worry about booking a dud location.
Basin Head Beach
Souris, Prince Edward Island
A fun beach for the whole family (and for those who are geologically inclined), Basin Head beach is also known as Singing Sands Beach, where the sand really does sing when stepped on due to the high silica content. If you ask me, the “sing” is more of a “squeak”, but that tiny detail makes this phenomenon no less unique.
The beach has gorgeous white sand with beautiful red cliffs at one end, and there are a ton of activities nearby. Located in Basin Head Provincial Park, you’ll find a bathroom, showers, concessions, a museum (all about fishing), hiking trails, and more. The main beach zone is supervised in the summertime, but not during the other three seasons.
📚 Related Reading: 17 Best Things to Do in Prince Edward Island
King’s Castle Beach
Murray Harbour, PEI
An underrated gem of PEI beaches, King’s Castle Beach is where photographers’ dreams come true and where kids get to hang out with their favorite storybook characters. A provincial day-use park with campgrounds nearby, King’s Castle is known for the fairytale statues scattered around and the brilliantly red sand at the beach.
Though the beach isn’t quite as sprawling as others listed in this article, and it doesn’t have a lifeguard on duty, King’s Castle Beach does have bathrooms, changing facilities, picnic tables, and concessions.
📚 Related Reading: 5 Day Prince Edward Island Itinerary (The Perfect Planner)
Thunder Cove Beach
Lower Darnley, PEI
Off the radar unless you’re specifically looking for it, Thunder Cove Beach is perhaps the most picturesque on this list. Located in Lower Darnley on Prince Edward Island’s north coast, Thunder Cove Beach is home to sandstone cliffs, weathered sea stacks, and a pristine soft sand beach.
While here, I highly recommend kayaking to Teacup Rock (when the tide is in), the most prominent sea stack at the beach. Just remember that the sandstone is super fragile, and shouldn’t be climbed on.
There are no facilities or restaurants here as the beach isn’t a certified park, so keep that in mind if you have to use a bathroom or have kids in tow.
👉 Pro Tip: Though Canada is a super safe country, it’s smart to secure your trip with insurance. I personally use World Nomads for all international travel, but check out our Canada Travel Insurance article for more information.
Laying claim to a wide red sand beach and incredible views of the Northumberland Strait, Argyle Shore Provincial Park beach is where to be whether you’re a solo traveler, avid photographer, or on a family vacation. This beach is especially popular for clam digging and for spotting hermit crabs, but there is also a playground, bathrooms, showers, and a picnic area.
The beach doesn’t have a lifeguard on duty but is almost never crowded.
📚 Related Reading: 3 Day Charlottetown Itinerary (How to Plan the Perfect Trip)
Panmure Island Beach
Found along Prince Edward Island’s Points East Coastal Drive, Panmure Island Beach is a white sandy beach that’s super close to the oldest wooden lighthouse on the island. Though the beach has great wide-open ocean views, it’s known for its sheltered swimming area – a bay that makes taking a dip nice and relaxing.
This beach has a summer lifeguard on duty and offers campsites (serviced and unserviced), change rooms, and bathrooms.
A supervised beach in the summer, Chelton Beach is located within the provincial park of the same name on PEI’s Red Sands Shore. With soft sand stretching as far as the eye can see, Chelton’s waters are notoriously warm in the summer and are perfect for swimming, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding. There are also facilities at the park and a playground for kids.
But the best thing about this beach? It’ll give you views of the Confederation Bridge!
👉 Don’t Forget to Pack: A quick-dry beach towel is an essential item for PEI beaches.
Another beach within the Prince Edward Island National park ecosystem, Stanhope Beach is a 3km stretch of white sand that goes from Ross Lane Beach to Dalvay-By-The-Sea. Besides the gorgeous beach, the main attraction here is the Covehead Harbour Lighthouse – a photogenic favorite built in 1975.
At this beach, you’ll find warm shallow waters, bathrooms, and wheelchair mobility mats.
FAQs about Beaches in Prince Edward Island
Can you swim in the ocean in PEI?
You can swim in the ocean in PEI. Some of the best beaches for swimming in the ocean include Panmure Beach, Cavendish Beach, and Argyle Shore Provincial Park.
Are beaches free in PEI?
There are some free PEI beaches, but some beaches are part of the National Parks system and cost money to enter.
What is the nicest beach in PEI?
The most popular beach in PEI is Cavendish, although front-runners include Brackley Beach, Thunder Cove Beach, and Basin Head Beach.
Thanks for reading all about the best PEI beaches! Prince Edward Island’s beaches are some of the best in Canada, and you’ll have a blast beach bumming your way around the island.
For more inspiration on your PEI trip, check out my article on the 16 Best Things to Do in Charlottetown!