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August 10, 2017
Although PEI is beautiful, friendly, and fun all year long, summer is when it really shines. That’s when it’s all about long days, endless blue skies, frolicking in the warm waves of the Northumberland Strait, and fish, fresh off a fishing boat. We make it a mission to get there every summer, and each time we make new discoveries—restaurants, beaches, and long winding roads we’d never been down. Although it’s a relatively small island (and Canada’s smallest province), there are always loads of festivals, events, and activities to keep you busy all summer long!
Here are our top 5 reasons you need to plan your next summer vacation in PEI:
The Island has an abundance of amazing restaurants situated in pretty much every corner. It also has some of the freshest seafood you can possibly imagine, especially given that the coast is never far away! While having a delicious lunch at the Blue Mussel Cafe in North Rustico, we overheard the wait staff telling the table next to us that the oysters had come from the very bay we were sitting alongside just that morning. You can’t get much fresher than that. If seafood isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other options. In Charlottetown, we did a number of beer tastings, including at a PEI institution, the Gahan House, where they serve their own house-made brew. We also spent some time sitting on the amazing patio of the Charlottetown Beer Garden. There is loads of space so you don’t need to worry about getting a table, and with plenty of local craft beers on tap, a vast menu, and the occasional live performance this place is a no brainer. We also made a stop to the Sugar Skull Cantina for guacamole, tacos, and margaritas (they also have a great list of Mexican beers). We wish we could visit the Island for so much longer to discover all of the other culinary gems!
There might be a few ways to reach the island, but the ferry is definitely the most fun and relaxing! Situated about halfway between Halifax and Cape Breton, it really is in the perfect location if you’re reaching PEI from Nova Scotia. With a cafe, a cafeteria, Cow’s Ice Cream, and live music on occasion, it’s the perfect opportunity to take a break from driving and sit back, relax, and enjoy the incredible views on both sides.
We had the amazing opportunity to attend one night of the festival this year. Let us tell you, if you’re a country music fan, you seriously cannot miss this! The festival manages to attract some of the top acts on the country music charts—the lineup this year was unbelievable. On top of that, it’s attended by A LOT of people. That being said, we can attest that it never felt packed or crowded. We think this must be because of how well organized the event was. We actually couldn’t believe how well this event was put together. There were volunteers everywhere to help direct you, there were hardly any lineups to get into everything, and, to top things off, there was an abundance of food choices and vendors. We also noticed there was loads of parking, but if you don’t want to take your car the shuttles are the perfect option. We picked ours up in Charlottetown and at the end of the night very easily found one of the many shuttles back. Once it was full it left promptly so there was next to no waiting around. We would easily recommend this amazing weekend to each and every country music fan out there.
Since PEI is an island, it’s blessed with a plethora of amazing beaches. We actually don’t know how you’re supposed to pick just one. To top it off, because the Island is along the Northumberland Strait, it also means it’s home to some of the warmest ocean water in Canada. Some of the best can be found in Prince Edward Island National Park, which is very convenient given that all of Canada’s National Parks are free in 2017. On our most recent visit we discovered Thunder Bay Beach, which we highly recommend you don’t miss! Not far from the town of Kensington, this is a long stretch of pristine beach, surrounded by PEI’s red cliffs. You also must take the time to find the incredible rock formation that locals refer to as “Tea Cup Rock” (because of its shape).
Charlottetown is a small, friendly, walkable city and you must spend some time here. But also take the time to get out and explore the Island’s small towns and villages. From Charlottetown it seems nothing is much more than an hour’s drive, so day trips are very easy. Don’t miss the small fishing village of North Rustico along the Green Gables Shore. Not too far from there is the very small and very photogenic French Village. Along the East side of the island you can’t miss Montague and Georgetown. Be sure to stop in and take a walk along their boardwalks and waterfronts.
This is merely the very tip of the iceberg of all that Prince Edward Island has to offer. From live musical productions to Anne of Green Gables and Lucy Maud Montgomery to locally made crafts, products, and folk-art! Don’t let another summer go by without visiting one of our very favourite Canadian provinces!