Swept Away: Romantic Things To Do On Prince Edward Island

What are the most romantic things to do on Prince Edward Island?

We let you in on our favorites below. Part of the Canadian Maritimes (along with the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick), PEI, as it’s called, is its own little lost-in-time treasure.

Fans of Lucy Maud Montgomery, the celebrated author of Anne of Green Gables and subsequent Anne books will delight in the fact that you can tour both the author’s home and the actual Green Gables home that inspired her work.

But Canada’s smallest province isn’t just AOGG 24/7. It’s got plenty of other attributes to recommend it. Shaped like a butterfly, with the capital city of Charlottetown near its center, most of the land on the Eastern and Western wings of PEI is occupied by farms that spill over into the sea.

Eastern PEI beach at sunset

For those who enjoy road-tripping without a destination, these shorefront farms are incredibly picturesque. On your way, you’ll discover oddballs and classical artists; locals and out-of-towners; “honor-pay” veggie roadside stands, and Goat Soap shops.

With more time, you could check out what to do with 3 days in Prince Edward Island. If you only have a couple of days to explore, however, the Getaway Mavens have chosen a few of our favorite attractions and destinations.

House on the ocean in Prince Edward Island

For the ultimate 2-week Canadian Maritimes Vacation, follow our Nova Scotia Road Trip for Adventurous Romantics that includes mainland NS and Cape Breton Island (and the Cabot Trail).

Where Is Prince Edward Island?

Prince Edward Island is a province of Canada, and it is located on the eastern coast of the country. It is the smallest Canadian province in terms of both land area and population. Prince Edward Island is situated in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and it is connected to the mainland by a bridge called the Confederation Bridge, which spans the Northumberland Strait. The province is known for its stunning beaches, red sandstone cliffs, and rolling green hills.

How To Get To Prince Edward Island

You can get to Prince Edward Island by air. There are direct flights into Charlottetown Airport from several cities in Canada, including Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax. Alternatively, you can fly into a nearby airport on the mainland, such as Moncton or Halifax, and then rent a car or take a shuttle to PEI.

We prefer arriving by car, and if fact, included PEI on a Canadian Maritimes Road Trip that included Cape Breton Island as well as Nova Scotia. If driving in from New Brunswick, you can drive to PEI via the Confederation Bridge.

The bridge is a toll bridge, and the fee is paid upon leaving the island. If you are driving from the United States, you can take a ferry from Portland, Maine, to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and then drive to Prince Edward Island.

There are two ways to get onto Prince Edward Island with your car: by boat or by a bridge. Both are relatively expensive. However, you only pay to get off PEI – with the exception of reserved space on the ferry.

The ferry brings you to the eastern side of the island, the bridge to the western side. It’s about a 45-minute drive to Charlottetown from each access point.

View from NS to PEI Ferry

Take The Caribou NS to Wood Island PEI Ferry

The 75-minute car ferry – the Northumberland Ferries Limited, NFL – from Caribou NS to Wood Islands PEI, runs multiple times a day in season. Although you’re charged the round trip fee for a car and its passengers, you only pay for the return trip.

Here’s the rub: cars are first-come-first-served, so a spot is never assured. If you do need a guaranteed spot for you and your car, you must make a reservation – for which you will be charged. In other words – if you book a reservation, even if you don’t make the return trip by ferry – you still pay $84 Canadian ($65 US) to get on the island.

Drive Into PEI Over The Confederation Bridge

Your other option is to drive in via the Confederation Bridge, which brings you to the west of Charlottetown. Expect to pay about $50 Canadian ($38 US) to leave PEI.

Sydney Boutique Hotel Charlottetown PEI

Romantic Prince Edward Island Hotels

STAY: Sydney Boutique Inn and Suites, Charlottetown

Use the highly luxurious (and romantic) Sydney Boutique Hotel as your base for PEI exploration. Originally a home for elderly nuns, each room is now a study in muted elegance, with crystal chandeliers and the most scrumptious bedding. 

STAY: The Holman Grand Hotel

Conveniently located in downtown Charlottetown, the Holman Grand Hotel is housed in a beautifully restored historic building and offers guests a sophisticated blend of old-world elegance and modern amenities.

STAY: Dalvay By The Sea Hotel

Considered one of Canada’s most romantic hotels, Dalvay By The Sea is a historic property located on the north shore of Prince Edward Island. Originally built as a summer home for a wealthy industrialist in the late 1800s, the hotel has since been converted into a charming inn that offers guests a unique blend of old-world elegance and modern amenities.

The hotel features 25 guest rooms and suites, each of which is individually decorated with antique furnishings and charming period details. And because it’s situated on a 500-acre property that includes a beautiful white sand beach and a small lake, some rooms have views of the lake, while others offer views of the ocean.

Charlottetown PEI skyline

The Best Things To Do On Prince Edward Island

Explore Charlottetown

Charlottetown, with its colorful homes, redbrick Victorian buildings, in-spire-ing skyline, and all-around friendly vibe, is made for wandering. Head to the waterfront, and walk the esplanade along the harbor. Figure out where you want to eat by checking out menus in a seemingly endless stream of restaurants from vegan take-aways to food halls to beer pubs and oyster bars.

And, for goodness’ sake, don’t miss a local stage performance.

Street theater - Charlottetown PEI

Enjoy Live Theater In Charlottetown

Live theater is so prevalent in Charlottetown, it even pours out onto the streets. So don’t be surprised to encounter a roving band of actors, dressed in period garb, as they prepare for the 1864 Charlottetown Conference to discuss a union of the maritime provinces.

They will engage you in mid-1800s-speak, and, if you’re alone or with your spouse (as I was), it feels as if you’re privy to your own personal live theater.

Confederation Center showtime Charlottetown PEI

Attend A Theater Production

Speaking of live theater – check out what’s on the following few nights and buy tickets. Theatergoers familiar with Broadway prices are floored by the low cost of quality shows in Charlottetown.

From the larger 1,100-seat Confederation Center (alternating Anne of Green Gables Musical with world-premier plays and musicals) to the smaller Guild Theater (140 seats), there’s something sure to draw you in.

Unique spire church PEI Under the Spire Festival

Attend A Concert At The Under the Spire Festival

The summer-long Under The Spire Festival is so very cool. And so very much in the middle of nowhere.

Presented by the Confederation Bridge, the festival features a series of summer concerts in one of the most beautiful of historic sites, a church with exceptional acoustics. The festival is now in its 28th season and attracts thousands of music lovers each year for classical, traditional, folk, jazz, and world music performances.

French River PEI farm and fishing village

Explore The French River – Where the Farm Meets the Tide

From Under the Spire Church, get back onto Route 20 towards Malpeque Bay, and stay on it for about 15-20 minutes until you get to the French River overlook. Pull off and just take it in. It’s a scene seemingly out of Brigadoon: a vista so alluring, it looks fake.

But, this is Price Edward Island, and farms that double as fishing villages are just what it’s about here. French River is especially picturesque – and quite the draw for artists and visitors, precisely for this view.

Green Gables Heritage Place Visitors Center Cavendish PEI

Visit Cavendish: Anne of Green Gables Heritage Place

Anne of Green Gables is so much a part of PEI lore, people forget it was a fictionalized story, written by Lucy Maud Montgomery over 100 years ago. The aura of the spunky redheaded orphan is so ingrained here, in fact, it’s spawned a cottage industry all of its own. Emphasis on the cottage.

Green Gables house through barn doors, Cavendish PEI

Come to the Green Gables Heritage Place, just 20 minutes from French River, where the Canadian flag flutters proudly over the Visitor’s Center and Gift Shop. The modest entrance fee includes access to a museum, a barn, the Green Gables homestead, Lover’s Lane, and the Haunted Woods.

Haunted Woods at Green Gables Heritage Center PEI

The Visitor’s Center showcases the life of the author, L.M. Montgomery through timeline information panels, which, on the day I was there, visitors were actually reading! How did she develop into a blockbuster-novel writer? Why is this particular home her inspiration for Anne’s antics? You’ll have to come here to find out.

On a midweek late summer’s day, the parking lot overflowed with cars – a surefire show of timeless devotion to a beloved literary character.

Dunes Gallery and Cafe PEI

SHOP/EAT: Dunes Studio Gallery and Café

Drive 25 minutes from Green Gables Heritage Place, almost to Brackley Beach, and stop at the first bustling building you see. You’ll want to see what all the commotion is, with cars jockeying for space in the Dunes Studio Gallery and Café parking lot. This art-clothing-furniture-ceramics store has become a tourist darling for several reasons.

From back of Dunes Gallery and Cafe PEI

The reason for the attraction’s popularity is not readily apparent from the front doors. That’s because the Big Show is out back, a breathtaking garden that extends down to the shoreline. It’s studded with statues, fountains, driftwood benches, and carpets of gem-toned flowers.

Dunes Cafe fountain pool Brackley Beach PEI

Secondly, come for the art and furniture. These can include a painted and filigreed cow skull with horns among more sedate wooden and ceramic bowls and knickknacks. These are some of the most unusual pieces you’ll see anywhere.

Funky cow skull art Dunes Gallery PEI

And third, stop in for the stellar food in the café. Both vegans and meat eaters will find things to yum over. From here, it’s a straight 20-25 minute drive back to C-Town.

SEE/PLAY: Brackley Beach

Don’t miss nearby Brackley Beach. Prince Edward Island’s red sand beaches are one of the most unique and iconic features of the island. The sand gets its distinctive red color from the high iron content in the soil, which oxidizes and turns a deep reddish-brown.

The sand at Brackley Beach is soft and fine, making it perfect for walking barefoot and building sandcastles. It contrasts beautifully with the deep blue waters of the ocean and the surrounding greenery, creating a striking and memorable landscape.

In addition to its unique color, the red sand of Brackley Beach is also known for its warmth. The sand can get quite hot on sunny days, so visitors are advised to bring sandals or shoes to protect their feet.

Spinnakers Landing Summerside PEI

Visit Summerside

An hour’s drive from Charlottetown, PEI’s second-largest city, Summerside offers shops, restaurants, and hotels. This “City By the Sea” on Bedeque Bay is large enough to encompass a multiplex movie theater, a drive-in, and two live theaters.

Need some retail therapy? Require a pick-me-up snack? Walk the planks at the merchant wharf, Spinnaker’s Landing. Peruse art galleries and boutiques, and then grab a baked treat from Get Caked Donuts.

Cape Egmont PEI rock formations

Follow Route 11 To Cape Egmont

It’s roughly a 30-minute drive from Summerside to Cape Egmont in southwestern PEI. Though the lighthouse itself is like most on the island, four-sided wooden pyramidal shaped, the views of cliffs and eroded rock formations, often capped with dozens of cormorants, are worth the drive.

But, that’s not the only wonder out here. That would be….

Bottles houses on Prince Edward Island Road Trip

Marvel At The Bottle Houses

I love the work of eccentrics. Especially when it leads to something as shiny and eye-popping as these three shelters made from whiskey, water, and pop bottles. Over 25,000 of them, to be exact.

First of three Bottle Houses PEI

Called, rather pragmatically, The Bottle Houses, they were listed on Ripley’s Believe it or Not and aThousand Places to See Before You Die. And here they are – a good 30-minute drive from any town or hamlet – out on remote Cape Egmont PEI.

Bottle house Chapel made of whiskey bottles PEI

The structures are from the creative mind of carpenter/fisherman, Edouard Arsenault, who in 1980, at age 66, decided to turn thousands of empty bottles from a restaurant and local dance halls into a tourist attraction. Over the course of four years, he’d cemented over 25,000 bottles of various shapes, sizes, and colors into three funky buildings.

Bottle Houses Bar with Booze Cape Egmont PEI

The result is nothing less than astounding. You can walk into 1. the main “home,” 2. a chapel (where he used all whiskey bottles), and 3. a bar – all glowy inside on a sunshiny day.

Afterward, amble around the gardens and then peruse locally made crafts in the gift shop. Prices are some of the most wallet-friendly on PEI. 

Chill In Borden-Carleton

Drive 45 minutes on the highway to the foot of the mainland-Canada-to-PEI Confederation Bridge, in Borden-Carleton. Since the opening of the bridge in 1997, Borden-Carleton has bloomed into a bustling development of shops and restaurants. One, Lone Oak Brewing, is deserving of your time, if only for a pint or flight of fresh-brewed beer. Oh, and the pub food is really good, too.

Victoria by the Sea for boaters PEI

Stroll Victoria-By-The-Sea

If Charlottetown is the Broadway of PEI, Victoria-by-the-Sea, 20 minutes from Borden-Carleton, is its teeny-tiny Brooklyn. Tourists are flocking to this seaside hamlet for the artist studios, restaurants, kayaking, theater, and artisanal chocolate.

Victoria by the Sea resident Brenda Boudreau PEI

In fact, locals, like Brenda Boudreau (pictured), are a bit gobsmacked by all the attention, and like other residents, are questioning the impact of large crowds. It’s the old tourism dollars vs. Instagram-fueled over-tourism dilemma that also plague other charming small towns around the world.

Pottery studio Victoria by the Sea PEI

Victoria is not big at all. You can stop into every shop on two short streets, plus ogle the Victoria Lighthouse (that also serves as the Victoria Seaport Museum), inside an hour.

Add another hour or two to rent a kayak and paddle in the harbor, watch kids jump off the pier, and see fisherman offloading their daily catch.

Add another hour or two to dine at the fine Casa Mia restaurant at the end of the pier, at the Lobster Barn Pub, or at the Landmark Oyster House.

Victoria by the Sea Lighthouse with family photo shoot

For now, even with swarms of people, it still feels like an idyllic place. But that’s because of people like Brenda, who are happy to talk about growing up in Victoria and how it used to be. So, my advice is to stop, sit, and talk to an authentic local: while you’re still able to do so. (FYI – it’s about a 35 minute drive back to Charlottetown).

Fishermen Victoria by the Sea PEI

Taste The World-Famous Prince Edward Island Oysters

Prince Edward Island oysters are widely regarded as some of the best oysters in the world. They are known for their distinctive taste, which is briny and slightly sweet with a crisp finish. The oysters are grown in the cold, nutrient-rich waters around Prince Edward Island, which gives them their unique flavor profile.

The two most common varieties of oysters grown on Prince Edward Island are Malpeque and Raspberry Point oysters. Malpeque oysters are known for their deep cup and firm texture, while Raspberry Point oysters are slightly smaller with a delicate, buttery taste. Both varieties are highly prized by oyster connoisseurs for their flavor and texture.

Shucked oysters are typically served raw on the half shell, and they are often accompanied by a variety of toppings, such as mignonette sauce, lemon, or cocktail sauce. They are also a popular ingredient in seafood dishes, such as oyster po’ boys or oyster stew.

Oysters are available year-round, with the best catch on the North Cape in May and June; while your best bet is on the South, August to September.

Visitors to the island can take oyster farm tours and sample fresh oysters straight from the source, making it a popular destination for seafood lovers.

The Points East Coastal Drive

The Points East Coastal Drive is a scenic driving route that runs along the eastern coast of Prince Edward Island, starting in Charlottetown and stretching all the way to the easternmost tip of the island. At 215 miles, it’s an ambitious day trip by any standard. But it does pass through some of the island’s most picturesque coastal communities and natural wonders.

Starting in Charlottetown, visitors can head east along the Trans-Canada Highway before branching off onto Route 2 towards the town of Souris. Along the way, they will pass through a number of charming coastal towns and villages, such as Georgetown, Montague, and Murray Harbour. Each of these communities offers a unique glimpse into the island’s maritime history and culture, with plenty of opportunities to explore local museums, galleries, and restaurants.

As visitors continue along the route, they will encounter some of Prince Edward Island’s most stunning natural landscapes, including the expansive Panmure Island Beach, the towering cliffs of East Point, and the tranquil waters of Basin Head Provincial Park. The route also takes visitors past several lighthouses, such as the Wood Islands Lighthouse and the Point Prim Lighthouse, which offer breathtaking views of the surrounding coastline.

Two-Week Canadian Maritimes Road Trip

  1. 7-Day Nova Scotia Road Trip for Adventurous Romantics
  2. 3-Days on Prince Edward Island
  3. 4-Day Cape Breton Island Road Trip Loop

To create your own 2-week Canadian Maritimes Road Trip, start with our 7-Day Nova Scotia Road Trip for Adventurous Romantics. And then add this 3-day Prince Edward Island Road Trip.

Map Of Prince Edward Island

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  • Malerie Yolen-Cohen

    Malerie Yolen-Cohen is the Author of the cross-country travel guide, Stay On Route 6; Your Guide to All 3562 Miles of Transcontinental Route 6. She contributes frequently to Newsday, with credits in National Geographic Traveler, Ladies Home Journal, Yankee Magazine, Shape.com, Sierra Magazine, Porthole, Paddler, New England Boating, Huffington Post, and dozens of other publications. Malerie’s focus and specialty is Northeastern US, and she is constantly amazed by the caliber of restaurants and lodging in the unlikeliest places.

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2 thoughts on “Swept Away: Romantic Things To Do On Prince Edward Island”

  1. Enjoyed your PE Island travel review Malorie. Glad we met at the Birch Tree Gallery in Victoria. Thanks for hunting me down through Geraldine.

  2. Hi Brenda – so glad I found you! You added quite a bit of flavor to my post! Thanks for letting me interview you. – Malerie

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