Navigating the winding roads of The Central Coastal Drive, you stop to enjoy a picnic on a soft, red-sand beach. As you gaze out at the water, it’s easy to imagine Mother Nature herself painted this paradise with bold streaks of crimson rising from blue waters.
While many know the picturesque landscape of Prince Edward Island (PEI) as the setting for the classic, “Anne of Green Gables,” there’s much more here to be discovered. At just 139 miles long and 40 miles wide, the province might be small and only take about four hours to drive tip-to-tip—but it can take a lifetime to explore and discover everything it has to offer. There’s a vast array of activities among the inspiring scenery, in addition to the rich history and laid-back maritime vibe that are at its core.
Here are five reasons to make Prince Edward Island your vacation destination.
Motor Along Scenic Drives
If you’re driving to PEI, just getting there is a scenic adventure, as you’ll cross over the dramatic 8-mile-long Confederation Bridge— the longest bridge over ice-covered water in the world. You’ll begin your drive on a coastal road, which will lead you through the beautiful rolling landscape before bringing you along the water’s edge.
On the North Cape Coastal Drive, you can visit quaint seaside fishing villages (don’t miss the Malpeque oysters along the way), catch the views from West Point Lighthouse, and see the breathtaking red cliff coastline at Kildare Capes. Another option is the Central Coastal Drive, where you’ll be treated to the most stunning vistas of the Northumberland Strait’s red sandstone cliffs. (Hint: Stay for sunset, when they appear to glow.) And be sure to explore PEI’s Heritage Roads—the red-clay rural lanes that have escaped paving and provide a glimpse into the untouched splendor of PEI’s farmlands.
Stretch Out on Pristine Beaches
With more than 500 miles of beaches on Prince Edward Island, there’s always a new sandy stretch to explore. Unwind with a picnic of local delicacies at The Prince Edward Island National Park, where every view from its white sandy beaches is a showstopper. Along the Points East Coastal Drive, you’ll find more than 50 beaches to explore. Start by taking a leisurely stroll through Greenwich, which boasts the province’s largest Parabolic Dunes and a vast trail system; the floating boardwalk will help you walk over water alongside the dunes. The Singing Sands in Basin Head Provincial Park is beloved by tourists and locals alike for its brilliant white quartz sand. It squeaks when you walk on it!
Hit the Links, PEI-Style
With more than 25 golf courses peppered around the island, PEI offers something for every golfer. And thanks to the Island’s size, you can hit the links at more than one of the meticulously manicured courses in one day. At some of the courses close to the coast, you’ll have spectacular waterfront scenery in addition to challenging golf: Try The Links at Crowbush Cove, which overlooks gorgeous shore dunes; and Glasgow Hills, which offers stunning views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the River Clyde.
Explore the Heritage
Live out your “Anne of Green Gables” dreams in the land that captured the imagination of creator Lucy Maud Montgomery. You’ll find Anne-related attractions all over the Island, like Green Gables Heritage Place (located in The Prince Edward Island National Park) and Montgomery’s Cavendish Home. To sample the Island’s indigenous heritage, head to Lennox Island and visit the Mi’kmaq First Nation people, who have been living here for some 10,000 years. Bring home a piece of local heritage, in the form of beautiful wool blankets and sweaters crafted from locally sheered sheep at MacAusland’s Woolen Mills, which has been in business since 1932.
Delve Into the Culinary Scene
Thanks to a wealth of fresh seafood and a passion for potatoes, PEI serves up some fantastic chowder, stocked with lobster, oysters, scallops, mussels, and clams. It’s such an obsession, in fact, that a “Mighty Island Chowder Trail” launched in 2019, with more than 60 restaurants offering their own versions in a friendly competition. But briny soup is just the beginning of PEI’s delightful treats. Fruit and veggie lovers will delight in the super-fresh finds at the many roadside farm stands, or by picking up some raspberry champagne jam from the PEI Preserve Company. You definitely don’t want to miss the handcrafted ice cream from renowned Cows ice cream—enjoy it with their chocolate-covered potato chips.
Discover even more reasons to visit this small-but-plentiful wonderland at TourismPEI.com.