Just north of Nova Scotia and east of New Brunswick lies tiny Prince Edward Island, one of three Maritime provinces with the smallest land area in the country. Surrounded by the Gulf of St. Lawrence, with the Northumberland Straight to its south, the Island is known for the beauty of its sandy beaches, tumbling hills and stands of woods. In 1997, the Confederation Bridge connecting Prince Edward Island to the mainland at New Brunswick, opened, forever making the Island more accessible.
Rural areas are comprised of beach towns and small villages, retaining a charming old-world feeling and a great place to get away from it all! The end of spring through the fall provides comfortable temperatures, and the lush island beauty has earned Prince Edward Island the nickname “Garden of the Gulf”.
Capital and largest city, Charlottetown, has a metro population of just over 60,000, and many visitors select a Prince Edward Island hotel in or near this city. Its natural harbour is utilized by over ten cruise lines. Visitors enjoy touring Province House, site of the historic 1864 Charlottetown Conference, where statesmen debated the proposed Canadian Confederation. Take a carriage ride along the waterfront route, just as the forefathers did! Charlottetown holds an annual Festival in the summer, featuring its long-running production, Anne of Green Gables - The Musical.
To enjoy the entire Island, consider taking one (or all three!) of the coastal drives: North Cape, Central and East Points. The North Cape Drive (350 km) allows you to leisurely explore the Acadian and native Mi’kmaq cultures. Check out the 17 gigantic windmills as well as browse Summerside Harbour. The Central “Green Gables” shore attracts fans of the novel and mini-series; this beautiful northern coastline has long been protected in the PEI National Park. The southern “Red Sands” region completes the 253 km Central drive. The shifting sand dunes at Greenwich can be found along the Points East drive (475 km); these parabolic formations are rare and beautiful. A day use park, Basin Head Provincial Park, has a white sand beach (have you heard of its famous “singing sand”?) and a Fisheries Museum.
Over 30 golf courses on this small island make Prince Edward Island Canada’s finest golf destination, and 25 bicycle rental shops are a testament to the popularity of biking the Island. Follow the Confederation Trail’s 357 km to see the Island’s beauty up close. Snorkeling, kayaking, watching seals, hiking and bird watching are all popular in this natural paradise. You can be super active one day, then veg on a terrific beach the next. It’s up to you!