Sometimes a destination is so special you don’t want to share it with anyone. Maybe that’s why it has taken me so long to write about Prince Edward Island, Canada (also known as PEI). The island is one of the Maritimes, Canada’s three provinces along its eastern borders (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are the other two). It’s one of those magical destinations where families can escape from their daily lives and simply enjoy being together. Last summer we spent a week on this Canadian island with our children and it was one of our all time favorite travel memories. We rented a home on the northern part of the island, and enjoyed a private beach with spectacular sunsets each night. During the day, we went out exploring and loved every minute. Of course you can spend the entire time relaxing at a rental home, but here are eleven fun things to do on Prince Edward Island with kids.
Best Things to Do on Prince Edward Island
1. Visit Prince Edward Island’s National Parks
There are two beautiful parks to explore on PEI, Prince Edward Island National Park and Greenwich National Park. PEI National Park has seven beaches and over 30 miles of hiking and biking trails. The landscape is a mix of sand dunes, marshes, and sandstone cliffs. The beauty is breathtaking. The park is also home to Green Gables Heritage Place, with the preserved home and landscape that inspired Lucy Maud Montgomery to write Anne of Green Gables.
Greenwich National Park is all about white sand beaches and stunning wind swept dunes. The park’s three different trails range from 3/4 mile to 2 3/4 miles and kids can learn about the area’s ecosystem through interpretive signs along the way. Don’t miss the The Greenwich Interpretation Centre with exhibits that teach visitors about the natural and cultural history of this area.
2. Get your hands dirty with a PEI clam dig
Several companies offer day trip options for clam digging. Tranquility Cove Adventures offers a Giant Bar Clam Dig, taking visitors to a deserted island off the coast, where everyone gets suited up to do some digging. All of the gear is provided and once everyone is done gathering their catch, they head to the beach to enjoy the bounty. Such a fun experience for all ages!
3. Check out a hoedown at the Stompin’ Tom Centre – Homestead and Schoolhouse
The Stompin’ Tom Centre in Skinners Pond hosts a variety of entertainment options. There are daily concerts, dinner theatre, and weekly hoedowns (a PEI tradition). The centre makes an effort to showcase local talent while sharing the story of one of the legendary Canadian musicians, Stompin’ Tom Connors.
4. Explore the Anne of Green Gables Sites
If you’re a fan of the book (or even if you’re not), know that there are plenty of sites on PEI dedicated to the heroine of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s books. Avonlea Village is a shopping/dining area with replicas of houses and shops from the time of Anne of Green Gables. The Anne of Green Gables Museum in Silver Bush is dedicated to the life and work of L.M. Montgomery and features some of her possessions. In New London, fans can visit the Lucy Maud Montgomery Birthplace and see her home and personal scrapbooks. There are hints of the book all over the island, so even if you’re not looking, it’s quite possible to find something related to Anne of Green Gables.
5. Discover Charlottetown
Charlottetown is the capital of Prince Edward Island, and as such, is one of the busiest spots. This is where you’ll find “Anne of Green Gables: The Musical”, Cows Creamery (Canada’s best ice cream), and tours of all shapes and sizes. We spent the afternoon wandering the Great George and Queen Street area, stopping in the shops and enjoying some ice cream.
6. Play at Off the Wallz Splash Park in Summerside
This was one of the unexpected highlights of our visit, an outdoor, inflatable obstacle course on the water. The kids didn’t have their swimsuits, but that didn’t stop them from joining in the fun. The Splash Park is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, and it’s the one place our kids wanted to return to every day. The place will exhaust them, but it’s a blast!
7. Explore The Bottle Houses
Located in Cape Egmont, The Bottle Houses are exactly what they sound like, buildings made from glass bottles. Édouard T. Arsenault collected over 25,000 to create these unique structures, and they are worth a visit, if only to marvel at the work behind the construction!
8. Take an afternoon break at a dairy bar
Dairy bars can be found all over Prince Edward Island and they make for a delicious treat any time of day. Similar to a Dairy Queen, these road side stands have everything from soft serve, to sundaes, to creative milkshakes. Everyone can find their favorite as the menus are extensive!
9. Go lighthouse hunting
Lighthouses can be found all over the island, but some of our favorites include:
West Point Lighthouse – This is Canada’s first lighthouse to operate as a hotel. Guests can stay in one of the thirteen rooms in the tallest lighthouse on the island. Point Prim Lighthouse – Built in 1845, this is the oldest lighthouse on the island. This is the only round lighthouse on the island, and one of the few made of brick. North Rustico Lighthouse – Sits in a fishing village, next to some old fishing shacks and abandoned boats. The town is worth a quick stroll and there’s a good place up the road to buy fresh seafood for dinner. Covehead Lighthouse – This lighthouse is PEI’s smallest and quite possibly most charming lighthouse. The sand is constantly shifting here so the structure has been moved a few times since it was built in 1967.
10. Make a pit stop at the Canadian Potato Museum
Located in O’Leary, the museum is exactly as the name says, all about potatoes. Their history, the agriculture in Canada, and even potato fudge. Yes, you read that right. It’s the real reason our kids wanted to make this a stop.
11. Catch a movie at PEI’s only drive-in movie theater
Nothing screams nostalgia more than a drive-in movie theater. Brackley Drive-In Theatre is the only one on the island and perfect for those beautiful Canadian summer nights.
Where to Stay in Prince Edward Island
We rented a house through VRBO and based ourselves on the north end of the island. I would highly recommended finding a house and booking a week to experience the perfect unplugged vacation.
Looking for other Canada posts? Don’t miss Fun Things to Do in Jasper, Alberta or 10 National Parks in Canada that Need to Be on Your Radar