PEI was made for summer vacations. Here in Canada’s smallest province, you’re never more than 10-minutes away from saltwater, which means you’re always near a beach, most of them covered in soft, fine, red sand, perfect for sandcastles. You also find yourself steps away from your next seafood restaurant, ice cream parlour, antique shop. Best of all, Prince Edward Island is packed with fun family day trips.
Getting to Prince Edward Island is easy with direct flights from Calgary, Toronto and Halifax. Or, if you’re driving, access the island via the Confederation Bridge. Spanning a distance of nearly 13 kilometres, it is the longest bridge in Canada. Are you ready to kick back and relax in beach paradise? Here are 7 fun family day trips on Prince Edward Island:
Paddle with Beach goats in St. Chrysostome, then Explore the Bottle Houses at Cape Egmont
The shallow, bath-warm waters of the Northumberland Strait on the South West side of Prince Edward Island are the perfect environment for Beach Goats – a herd of Nigerian dwarf goats who love interacting with visitors during playtime, stand-up-paddling boarding, or yoga sessions. This quirky family attraction is a must-do if you love surprises, such as a goat nibbling on your painted toenails because he thinks they’re Skittles or another goat trying to stow away in your SUV as you drive away (yes, both these things actually happened on our visit!). Expect the unexpected, with one guarantee: you will have a goat-load of fun!
On the way back to your cottage, stop in at the Bottle Houses in Cape-Egmont: a village of three life-size structures made completely of concrete and recycled bottles. The creator of this museum modelled his structures after the Glass Castle in Duncan, British Columbia, which no longer exists. The Bottle House gardens are a great place for a picnic. Stop into the museum to learn about the Acadian language and culture.
Explore the Canadian Potato Museum in O’Leary
The same iron-rich soil that makes Prince Edward Island’s red sand beaches and cliffs so beautiful also grows delicious potatoes. Prince Edward Island is the largest potato-producing province in Canada. About 86,000 acres of potatoes are grown on PEI each year, mostly on family farms. Driving around the province, you will see hundreds of neat rows of potatoes planted in fields, and you may even catch a glimpse of one of the large processing plants where potatoes, french fries, hash browns are prepared for export to over 20 countries worldwide. A browse around the Canadian Potato Museum in O’Leary, on the West side of the Island, followed by a potato-themed meal in the Potato Country Kitchen (inside the museum) makes a great day out. For lunch, we recommend an island classic, “Fries with the Works”: comfort food at its best!
Enjoy the Thrills, Spills and Beaches of Cavendish
If you love the thrill of bumper boats, Ferris wheels and other fairground rides, then your next day trip destination should be Cavendish – a resort area dedicated to cottages, eateries, campgrounds, amusement parks and wacky attractions. For younger children, Shining Waters Family Fun Park is a low-key adventure park with a waterslide and fun rides for all ages, whereas, Sandspit is PEI’s classic amusement park with more than 15 rides and activities, including the Cyclone, the longest roller coaster in Atlantic Canada. Anne of Green Gables fans can step back in time at Green Gables Heritage Place, while Cavendish beach, located inside Prince Edward Island National Park, is stunning. Finally, if you like the convenience of a package holiday, Tourism PEI offers some great all-inclusive family vacation packages centred around Cavendish.
Visit the Haunted Mansion in Kensington
The town of Kensington is quiet compared to the hustle and bustle of Cavendish. The nearby regions of Malpeque and Darnley are considered “the Hamptons” of the Island, where seasonal cottage owners enjoy quiet, secluded beaches. But lurking on the outskirts of town there is a terrifying secret: The Haunted Mansion – an enormous immersive, walk-through experience guaranteed to get your heart racing. A few tips: If you dare to explore the first floor (the scariest), the rest of the Mansion is a breeze. If you can’t stomach it, exit via an escape route and ask to be fast-tracked to the second floor. After your terrifying visit, enjoy a fun stroll through the gardens.
Cook Bannock and Clams on Lennox Island
Prince Edward Island, also known as Epekwitk (pronounced e-beg-wit-k), means “cradled by the water,” and is home to two proud and vibrant Mi’kmaq communities: Abegweit First Nation and Lennox Island First Nation. For one of the most unforgettable family day trips on Prince Edward Island, travel northwest along the North Cape Coastal Drive to reach beautiful Lennox Island, where, led by a storyteller guide, you can participate in an experience such as Baking Bannock and Clams on the Sand or building a genuine Mi’kmaq drum. The Mi’kmaq Culture Centre also has a museum where you can learn about the culture and history of Lennox Island. Before you go, visit the gift shop for quillwork, pottery or even a warm pair of soft leather moccasins.
Catch Your own Fish Supper in North Rustico
A family fishing trip on Prince Edward Island is the stuff that dreams are made of, so head out with Joey’s Deep Sea Fishing to catch fish in season, under the guidance of professional fishers. After you catch your supper, Joey’s crew will take you out to their lobster fishing grounds, where they will pull up a trap and teach you everything you need to know about lobsters, such as how to grade a lobster or distinguish a male from a female. The fishers will also gut and prepare your fish so it’s ready for the barbecue. If you’re lucky, you might even get the chance to drive the boat!
Enjoy a Spaghetti Sundae at Holman’s Ice Cream Parlour in Summerside
A cool treat at Holman’s Ice Cream Parlour in Summerside is an experience worth travelling for. In this grand Victorian house, try apple pie ice cream that tastes like Mom’s, or their seasonal favourite, lactose-free strawberries and cream. Then, for a unique experience, order the Spaghetti Sundae – an ice cream sundae made to look exactly like spaghetti, complete with “spaghetti sauce” (strawberry compote), “parmesan cheese” (white chocolate sprinkles), and a great big “meatball” on top (relax – it’s a Ferrero Rocher chocolate!) Holman’s ice cream is house-made in small batches with local cream, milk, sugar, egg yolks and Atlantic sea salt. Even their soda syrups are made by hand with fresh ingredients – just like the good old days.
The author was a guest of Tourism Prince Edward Island, which did not review or approve this article.