The Best Prince Edward Island Attractions From East to West

Riddled with red and white sand beaches, fresh seafood and that Maritime charm, it’s easy to see why PEI is one of Canada’s most captivating provinces. There are many worthy Prince Edward Island attractions to suss out, but the island is much bigger than it appears on a map. The good news is that it’s fairly easy to get under the skin of this isle. And it’s easy to day trip to the top tourist attractions from Charlottetown. Better yet, consider spending a few days in each region on a laidback road trip. 

best things to do in PEI
From East to West there’s no shortage of must see attractions in PEI

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Prince Edward Island Attractions

Prince Edward Island is neatly divided up into four distinct regions. Each is worth exploring as you won’t find all the top rated tourist attractions in just one area. You’ve got your Basin Head Provincial Park and Point Prim Lighthouse along the East Coastal Drive. Prince Edward Island National Park is in the Central Coast Region and most exciting, a spot where you can paddle board with goats is in the northwest. 

And for those looking to journey by bike or hike, Confederation Trail spans the province along a decommissioned railway line. But if you’re hankering for a coastal drive filled with stunning scenic viewpoints and engaging activities, follow our roadmap from east to west.

Prince Edward Island Attractions
There’s more to PEI than Anne of Green Gables attractions, though they are pretty sweet!

Driving from Charlottetown

Unless you’re from Atlantic Canada or the Eastern Seaboard, you’re probably going to arrive in Charlottetown in the afternoon. While it’s only about an hour or two drive to each attraction from Charlottetown, you might as well make it easy on yourself and spend the night in the provincial capital. 

We were blown away by our room at Sydney Boutique Inn. This heritage red brick building was a former convent, but now it oozes elegance from every nook and cranny. The bathrooms are marble. The windows are Georgian. The floors are hardwood. There are chandeliers everywhere. You get the picture… 

PEI boutique hotel charlottetown
My only regret was that I didn’t get to spend longer at this luxe hotel in Charlottetown.

Our room had a sitting nook – the perfect spot to enjoy a cup of tea or glass of champers. If your room doesn’t have the extra space, don’t sweat it. There’s plenty of outdoor sitting amid the hydrangeas in the garden overlooking a large green space across the street. 

Where to eat in Charlottetown

From the hotel, it’s a quick walk to the latest, much hyped seafood restaurant: Sea Rocket Oyster House. I’m now convinced that slurping back cold, plump Rustico oysters is the best way to kick off your vacation in PEI. Sea Rocket also serves up a fine chowder, with big chunks of fish, though I was most enamoured by the flaky biscuit accompanying it. The standout dish had to be the pan fried halibut swimming in an emulsified shallot bacon pea purée.

roast halibut with pea puree
I could’ve licked this plate of halibut from Sea Rocket clean.

If you just want a quick bite, consider Founder’s Food Hall & Market. Here you’ll find loads of choices from a variety of different cuisines – though all shops and eateries are 100% local. The food hall has a great wine shop (Notables by PEI Liquor), and the entire facility is licensed so you can shop with a glass in hand, or settle into a table with your food and drink.  I was thrilled to buy edible lavender (so great in shortbread and lemonade) from the PEI Lavender Distillery. 

Probably the most exciting find in Charlottetown, was the buck-a-shuck oysters at the Olde Dublin Pub on Sydney Street. You have to get there before 6pm in order to snag the deal though.

charlottetown restaurants
It’s hard to find oysters this fresh, this affordable.

With a good sleep and a proper meal, you’re all set to explore the best Prince Edward Island attractions.

Things To Do in Cavendish

Most visitors to PEI head northwest to the Central Coastal Drive. That’s because there’s just so many things to do in Cavendish, one of this region’s most popular tourist towns. Cavendish and its surrounding area could be plucked from a postcard.

You’re sure to ooh and ahh over the white sand beaches and grass covered dunes at Prince Edward Island National Park. We did. During the summer months, the popular beaches are patrolled by lifeguards and there’s plenty of interpretive programming every day of the week.

PEI National Park
Cavendish Beach on a sunny summer’s day.

While Anne of Green Gables attractions are situated throughout the province, there’s an abundance of them in and around Cavendish.

Anne of Green Gables Museum

The world of author Lucy Maud Montgomery comes to life at this historic island property.  It’s the Campbell home, a favourite escape of LM Montgomery that she called the “wonder castle of my childhood.”

The tidy white farmhouse trimmed in green, looks a lot like the fictional home of Anne of Green Gables, the red headed heroine of Montgomery’s books. It’s the original home of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s aunt and uncle, and it’s still in the Campbell family.

anne of green gables museum pei
Explore the home where Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote some of her books and was married in.

A visit to Anne of Green Gables Museum allows you to tour the grounds, and the home that inspired her writing, including some of the beloved spots that featured in the books. Filled with magical woods and shimmering lakes, it’s easy to take in the beauty of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s childhood. Be sure to pony up for Matthew’s Carriage ride which might, depending on the time of year, be via tractor. 

anne of green gables tour
Experience a part of PEI most visitors never get to explore.

You’ll journey along a dusty rose hued trail fringed with wild flowers and past the actual Lake of Shining Waters. Fun fact: the lake empties into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. “Matthew” will tell you tales of the family and some tear jerkers of tourists from across the globe who made it here. 

Afterwards, enjoy the quiet beauty of the woods by strolling down Whispering Lane flanked with large leafy maples. You’ll soon realize, as we did, how the trails, fields and shores were able to ignite LM Montgomery’s imagination.  

anne of green gables setting
This is it, the actual Lake of Shining Waters!

Green Gables Heritage Place

Parks Canada runs Green Gables Heritage Place, part of a National Historic Site that inspired the setting for Lucy Maud Montgomery’s famous series on Anne of Green Gables.

You can spend the better part of an afternoon exploring the 19th century gardens, farmyard and its many trails. Yes, the Haunted Woods and Lover’s Lane really do exist! 

Head indoors to explore Green Gables House, formerly owned by her cousins and which also served as inspiration for the Anne of Green Gables novels. There’s a Visitor Centre offering interpretive exhibits on L.M. Montgomery’s life, plus a whole lot of LEGO kids can use to build their own green gabled house.

Additionally, there are tons of experiences you can book into, like a barrier-free tour of the home or an evening visit with Anne herself, complete with a glass of raspberry cordial. 

Anne of Green Gables Quotes
Every visit I’ve had to Green Gables Heritage Place has been heartwarming.

Where to Eat in Cavendish

You can’t go wrong dining on all you can eat mussels, seafood chowder, freshly baked buns, dessert and a 60 ft salad bar. (Yes, you can have seconds, thirds and fourths of all that.) But that’s not all! Your meal comes with either a 1, 1.5 or 2 pound lobster. You can sub out the lobster for scallops, fish, steak or rotisserie chicken. You’ll find this feast at Fisherman’s Wharf Lobster Suppers in North Rustico.

Lobster supper in PEI
What you don’t see is the two plates of sides and apps I polished off prior.

Travel tip: Even though everyone eats early in PEI, it’s worth showing up before 5:30 to snag a table. 

Travel tip #2: If strawberry shortcake is on offer, take it.

Points East Coastal Drive

If you’re into romantic dinners, decadent sips and unique accommodations along the seaside, you’ll want to make a beeline for PEI’s Points East Coastal Drive. From Charlottetown you only need to head across the Hillsborough River towards the town of Stratford to enter the Points East Coast. Here’s some notable stops not to miss.

Orwell Corner Historic Village

Capturing the mood of the island community circa 1895 you can tour through several of the original buildings at Orwell Corner Historic Village. At this historic village, there’s a working blacksmith, general store, and a tea room with soups, sandwiches and those amazing PEI biscuits. 

Probably the highlight for us (read: my daughter) were all the farm animals you can get up close and personal with. There’s chickens, turkeys, goats, horses, pigs and one very sweet cat.

flower garden at historical village
The gardens at Orwell Corner Historic Village were a delightful surprise.

Point Prim Lighthouse

Built in 1845, Point Prim Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse on Prince Edward Island. It’s made of brick and has got your classic white base, with the top of the tower painted cherry red. It’s fun to climb up, up, up – 60 feet above sea level – to the very top for 360 views of the Northumberland Strait and Hillsborough Bay. The lighthouse is a National Heritage Site and there’s plenty of historic displays depicting all the action it’s seen over the years. 

You can also take a guided tour or a virtual tour from the first floor. There’s a gift shop on the grounds and picnic tables to take advantage of. I’m still regretting that we didn’t have a meal at the Chowder House. The menu looked fantastic, but it was busy and we had a schedule to keep. 

PEI oldest lighthouse
Spend a moment in the oldest lighthouse on Prince Edward Island.

Double Hill Cidery

Probably my favourite stop along this East Coastal drive was Double Hill Cidery. After a few dirt roads we happened upon this delightful cidery that makes their ciders in the French tradition. The difference is that they use wild PEI apples (some from celebrated Canadian Chef Michael Smith’s own farm!). 

It’s pretty casual, so you can set yourself up on the outdoor furniture, in the covered lounge or around the terrace bar. On Saturdays, they offer shucks (oysters) and bubbles from their sparkling Oistre Brut cider. Alas, we visited on a weekday, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying a flight of six scrumptious ciders. Nomad cider was quite cool as it’s made with entirely hand picked apples from PEI. Naturally it’ll taste slightly different every year. Rosé might’ve been my favourite, though. 

PEI cider
Try a flight to decide on your favourite.

Nellie’s Landing

The next best thing to sleeping on a yacht has got to be sleeping in a floating wine barrel. Nellie’s Landing has several large cedar barrels in their marina for the ultimate glamping experience. 

The barrel is just wide enough for a double bed and it’s got a big domed window overlooking Murray Harbour. Inside there’s an air conditioning unit, a little heater and a lamp. The outdoor deck is even better with your own tiki bar, mini fridge, seating area and tables. To say it’s cute and oh-so Instagram-able would be an understatement. 

Wine barrel hotel PEI
Snug as a bug inside my very own wine barrel.

Towels are provided with showers and washrooms steps away at the marina. (Remember you’re glamping, but thank goodness there’s wifi!) Also remember you shouldn’t drink too much. As you’re situated in the marina, you’ll be privy to the gentle rocking of the waves as boats pass by. 

Up on land, Nellie’s Landing offers a fire pit, lots of outdoor seating, an outdoor kitchen with toasters, grills, fridges and homemade ginger cookies. It’s hard to tear yourself away from this sweet spot, so be sure and book more than one night. There’s also complimentary kayaks for guests and bicycles to rent. Next time, I’m definitely cycling to Double Hill Cidery from here. 

wine barrel glamping PEI
Glamping has never been so intoxicating!

The Wheelhouse in Georgetown 

Probably one of the best meals we ate on Prince Edward Island was found at The Wheelhouse in Georgetown. I’d venture to say it’s even worth a hit and run from Charlottetown. My seafood pasta was chock-full with big scallops, mussels and crab legs. My dining companion had an excellent PEI sirloin steak, fed on those famous PEI potatoes, no doubt. My only regret is that I didn’t do a number on their oyster bar.

seafood pasta with crab scallops mussels
No lie, this was probably the best seafood pasta I’ve had in my life.

North Cape Coastal Drive

There’s a wide variety of Indigenous and toe tapping cultural adventures to dig into along the North Cape Coastal Drive. With rolling dunes and red sandstone cliffs, much of the landscape along the North Cape Coastal Drive is shaped by the wind and waves.  The attractions that we’d go back to include…. 

The Canadian Potato Museum

Potatoes are synonymous with PEI and the Canadian Potato Museum is where you can dive into the history of the humble spud. The fun begins before you even enter the museum. Canada’s largest potato sculpture sits proudly at the entrance, and you know you’ll want to capture the moment for posterity. 

world's largest potato
Best roadside attraction ever! And there’s free potato fudge with your entry ticket.

In the museum, you can learn all about the process from planting and cultivating to the proper way of peeling. There’s lots of old timey artifacts, farming equipment and exhibits. 

Time your visit so you can sample some of those famous provincial potatoes at the PEI Potato Country Kitchen when it opens at 11:30. Whether you’re going all out with a loaded baked potato or fries, meals served with a side of fresh cut chips. 

PEI potato meal
Carb haters need not visit.

Beach Goats

You’ve heard about goat yoga, get ready for goat paddleboarding. Beach Goats in Saint Chrysostome allows you to hop on a SUP and paddle with a few curious friends. The goats provide an extra stability challenge and when they’re done, they’ll just hop off. 

If that’s not for you, you can sign up for beach yoga or simply have a play experience with them. As a bonus, it’s open all year round. FYI: I’ll be writing more in-depth about this awesome experience in the Calgary Herald. (Will post a link here once it’s live, so check back.)

Beach Goats
You’ll get an extra stability challenge with a goat on your board.

Lennox Island

Linked by a causeway to the rest of Prince Edward Island,  Lennox Island is a First Nations community offering cultural experiences. Interactive experiences include creating a traditional drum, quill work, plus making bannock bread and cooking clams over a fire. During each activity you’ll discover more about the Mi’kmaq people of Lennox Island.

Lennox Island tipi PEI
There’s plenty of immersive experiences to be had on Lennox Island.

Tyne Valley Teas Cafe

On your way to Lennox Island from the south, you’ll want to pop into Tyne Valley Teas Cafe. If you’re the sort who can stick to a schedule, you won’t regret reserving afternoon tea the obligatory 48-hours in advance. I’m not that sort, but made out just fine with an excellent cuppa and freshly baked scone – still warm from the oven. For something more substantial, there are Buddha bowls, sandwiches, salads and breakfasts.

afternoon tea PEI
The quality of tea at Tyne Valley Teas Cafe was excellent, and I’m critical of my tea!

Nearby Windy Acres Lavender Farm is also worth sussing out. It’s a small, but pretty plot of lavender and a butterfly flower garden. The onsite shop sells soaps, lotions and  bundles of dried lavender. Try not to hit their mailbox on your way out.

Things to do in Summerside

Summerside is the gateway to the North Cape Coastal Drive region, linking the western part of the island with both the Green Gables Shore and the Red Sands Shore. From Charlottetown this will likely be your entry point in the North Cape Coastal Drive. Touted as the City by the Sea, there’s plenty of things to do in Summerside. I mean, you can’t travel here and not do some sort of ocean-y activity, now can you? 

Head straight to sea, scoring paddle board and kayak rentals from The Knot Beach Bar & Rentals. You can also nab bikes here or soak up the sun at PEI’s only licensed beach bar, throwing back freshly shucked oysters and cocktails. 

For a totally free activity, stroll along the Baywalk Boardwalk, a 6.5 km trail anchoring the ocean that goes through both downtown and beside an Acadian forest.

Summerside PEI
Never let a swing set go to waste.

Eptek Art and Cultural Centre

For culture vultures it’s quick and easy to pop into the Eptek Art and Cultural Centre to view their seasonal exhibits. We got introduced to the craft of quilt making. The Centre has a lovely area for kids set up with crafts and there’s a gift shop with wooden toys made by local artisans and books for children.

Eptek Art and Cultural Centre summerside PEI
Head into Summerside’s cultural centre for a quick dose of island heritage.

Also in Summerside is the College of Piping (as in bagpipes). At its performing arts centre you can catch live music, dance and other events. 

Where to Eat in Summerside

You’ll want to get your dinner order in before 4:30pm at JMK Fish Mart to ensure the kitchen is still open. This is where we found one of the island’s best lobster rolls and shucked oysters. Freshly steamed clams and mussels hit the spot, too. If the kitchen is closed, they may be willing to crack a freshly cooked lobster for you, and that is always worth the ask.

PEI lobster and lobster roll
The lobster was so fresh and sweet you didn’t even need to dunk it in butter (though of course I did).

Evermore Brewing is an atmospheric building, with an open beam ceiling and nautical flag bunting.  Their cod fish cakes were generous and so tasty with their herby tartar sauce that we polished off the entire order. 

Evermore Brewing
I was never a fan of fish cakes until I polished this one (OK two) off at Evermore Brewing.

For ice cream, you’ll want to hit up Holman’s Ice cream for their hand crafted, small batch ice cream using locally sourced PEI milk, cream and eggs. I dare you to go for the PEI bucket – a portion of every ice cream available for $24 (at the time of writing).

West Point Lighthouse PEI  

One of the most sought after PEI attractions is the West Point Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in PEI. It’s about an hour’s drive from Summerside. Of course the lighthouse is worth a visit, but let me tell you, it’s way better if you do so after hours. 

Guests at West Point Lighthouse Inn enjoy complimentary visits to the lighthouse. What’s more, hotel guests can explore the lighthouse at their leisure, say after hours. It’s one thing to learn about shipwrecks in the region and what life as a lighthouse keeper with other tourists during daylight. It’s quite another to roam the hallways and creep up to the very top of the lighthouse tower under the cover of night. 

westpoint lighthouse pei
Tick an item off your bucket list by staying at a lighthouse inn.

Rooms at the Inn are cozy and clean with either a patio or balcony to sit and watch the waves from. The two guest rooms right in the actual part of the lighthouse don’t have this outdoor seating area though. No matter where you bed down, you’re sure to sleep well, listening to the waves crash against the shore steps away from your bed.

lighthouse hotel PEI
Rooms at the inn are attached to West Point Lighthouse and are right on the beach .

Bottle Houses PEI

There are collectors and then there are those who do something beautiful with their collections. Edouard Arsenaultwas the latter. Back in the 80s, he took 25,000 glass bottles and cemented them together, creating the Bottle Houses in Cap-Egmont.

PEI glass house
You’ll love the way the light reflects off the glass bottles. I know I did.

There’s several fantasy-like buildings to explore, from a chapel to a tavern and a gabled house. The garden here is also particularly lovely with striking flowers and water features. Make sure your phone or camera is juiced up before visiting. With so many pretty backdrops and fantastic lighting opportunities, you’re going to want to take a lot of pictures. 

House made of recylced glass bottles
Walking through this wee village is fun for kids and adults.

It’s a lot to pack in all of these PEI attractions in one weeklong trip. It’s totally do-able (we did it), but it’s also nice to leave a few days open for impromptu exploration. The province and its people are pretty charming so I’d recommend focusing on one or two areas. You’ll want to return, trust. 

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Have you ever visited PEI? I’d love to hear your recommendations. Please drop them in the comment section below.


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2 thoughts on “The Best Prince Edward Island Attractions From East to West”

  1. Elizabeth KITZMAN

    Amazing article. We arrive in PEI on Friday. We weren’t sure what to do. Your article basically has now planned our trip.
    Thank you!

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