I am going to start off this blog by saying that two days is not nearly enough time for this beautiful island, however it is better than nothing at all. With a short amount of time you can see some highlights of the island…and leave lots to enjoy on a future trip!
Prince Edward Island is an island of contrasts…from green rolling hills to rugged red coastline to the deep blue colouring of the Atlantic ocean. As you drive over the Confederation Bridge from New Brunswick you can’t help but notice the change in scenery. Leaving behind the forests of the mainland you are met with fields and farmland.
So what did we do with our two days on this beautiful island…the smallest province in Canada? Here are five things that you might want to check out if you are short on time.
First of all make sure and spend some time at Green Gables Heritage Place. This beautiful location…the setting for so many of the Anne of Green Gables stories…was a home where Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of the series, spent much of her time. The house has been transformed to depict the home where Anne lived in the books and the surrounding forests have trails to follow in the footsteps of Montgomery. When we started planning our trip to Atlantic Canada, and having grown up reading the books as a child, this was a must-see site for me. I wrote about our visit on a separate post that you can read about here.
Next up is the town of Charlottetown. The capital city of Prince Edward Island is also the city where the first meeting was held by the colonies of British North America to discuss the Confederation of Canada. The meeting was held in September 1864 and saw the Maritime provinces meet with what was then the Province of Canada (present day Ontario and Quebec) to discuss a union. No formal record was kept of the meeting, but three years later on July 1, 1867 Canada was created. Ironically, Prince Edward Island, where the meeting was first held, did not join until 1873. You can visit Province House National Historic Site to see a display and watch a video about confederation. There are also plaques and sculptures throughout the city paying tribute to the important part that Charlottetown played in the formation of Canada.
Charlottetown is a charming city located beside the water. You’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes as you wander the streets of this town. Although we didn’t stay in Charlottetown I would recommend that this be your base. It’s small enough to easily drive in and out off to explore other areas, but large enough to offer activities if you don’t want to take a car out for the day.
My third recommendation is Prince Edward National Park and the beaches that lie within this park. Located along part of P.E.I.’s northern shore these beaches are breathtaking with their rugged sand dunes, rolling surf, and reddish sand. We spent part of an afternoon wandering along the shoreline at Brackley Beach and dipping our toes in the ocean. There are plenty of parking areas along the roadway, but you do need to have a park pass to visit here. With the devastation from Hurricane Fiona there is ongoing recovery efforts happening to this region. Make sure you check this website before visiting.
Number four is to go and track down some lighthouses! Prince Edward Island claims to have the highest concentration of lighthouses and beacons in North America with over 60 of them. Many of these lighthouses are easy to find and with so many of them you can’t help but come across them on your travels here. A highlight of our trip to the island was definitely tracking down just a few of these beautiful structures! The following lighthouses are…North Rustico Lighthouse, Covehead Lighthouse and Blockhouse Point Lighthouse
Last, but not least is to take a drive to Summerside. As you drive here from wherever you might be staying on the island, you will pass through the rolling hills and grassy landscapes that make Prince Edward Island so picturesque. Once in Summerside you can walk along the boardwalk and visit the shops that are here, as well as gaze at the picturesque harbour. You can also rent bikes here and ride along some of the pathways that make up the large network of cycling trails that P.E.I. has to offer.
Summerside was one of the original stops for the Prince Edward Island Railway that ran from the western tip of the island to the eastern tip. It opened in 1918 and the line was used for freight, as well as for passengers, until 1989. The old station has recently been renovated and has now reopened as a brewery and pub. I would highly recommend checking it out if you visit this city.
Two days is never going to be enough time for Prince Edward Island, but having had a taste for this stunning place you can always make plans to return!