Welcome to the “Garden on the Gulf,” a land where lush, rolling farmlands meet red sandstone cliffs and rocky shores. Prince Edward Island may be Canada’s smallest province, but it’s filled with big adventures. There are few locations as intertwined with a text as Prince Edward Island is with the Anne of Green Gables book series. Author L.M. Montgomery was born on the island and lived there much of her life, encapsulating some of the experience in tales of her beloved character, Anne. While the books may make you feel as if you’ve already tasted the salt-kissed air, there’s nothing like truly experiencing PEI life in person.
A road trip from Charlottetown, through Summerside, to the northernmost tip of the island showcases the province’s landscapes (and seascapes). Of course, a stop at the iconic Green Gables is a must, as well as other sites related to the novels. If you don’t come to the island as a fan of Anne, you might become one by your departure.
Canadian Midas locations
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With Victorian-era homes, waterfront development, and plenty of parks, the capital of PEI has plenty to explore. Stay in downtown Charlottetown at the Fairholm National Historic Inn, a boutique hotel with a cozy vibe. Take a stroll through Victoria Park to feel the sea breeze, and be sure to check out the local dining scene. This shorefront town has divine seafood offerings, with fresh oysters, lobsters, and crab widely available. For a fancier feast, head to Claddagh Oyster House—the chefs take PEI’s “Food Island” nickname seriously and serve up innovative dishes in an upscale enclave. For a more relaxed atmosphere, try Water Prince Corner Shop, which has been family-owned for more than three decades.
Prince Edward Island National Park
Prince Edward Island National Park is all about the area’s seascape. The park is divided into three sections, each offering a slightly different experience. Walk or cycle along sandy beaches guarded by red cliffs, venture out amid the sand dunes, or find fascinating flora and fauna in the park’s saltwater marshes. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities for swimming, paddling, and other watersports in this coastal playground. After hours exploring in the sun, find shade with a hike through the Acadian woodlands—you might even be lucky enough to spot a fox. Be sure to stay the night to enjoy this national park by starlight.
To see L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables books come to life, visit Avonlea Village. Avonlea is the fictitious name given to Montgomery’s real-life childhood home, Cavendish. Several buildings from Montgomery’s days in Cavendish have been restored and moved to Avonlea Village, which also has replicas of other locations from the books. Plus, this attraction is free. Stroll the village streets, just as Anne did; visit with costumed interpreters who share tales of bygone eras; and grab a snack at one of the many on-site restaurants.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
All your fun on PEI doesn’t have to revolve around the great outdoors or literature. No matter how old you are, or how many bizarre things you’ve seen in life, a stop at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! on Cavendish Beach is sure to inspire fascination. What oddities can be found amid the 250 exhibits and 14 themed galleries? Sculptures made of dog hair, taxidermied vampire bats, and authentic shrunken heads are just a few of the offerings you’ll just have to see to believe.
Green Gables National Historic Site
A visit to PEI would not be complete without a visit to the Green Gables estate, which showcases the picturesque farmhouse with the namesake green gables and gleaming white facade. Built in the 1830s, the home in the books did not spring from Montgomery’s imagination; however, L.M. Montgomery actually lived nearby and visited this inspirational setting. Today, the restored farmhouse masterfully blends fiction and reality, showcasing Montgomery’s true life story, as well as the imagined life of her character, Anne. Walk the Haunted Woods and Balsam Hollow Trail to feel like you’ve truly entered the pages of this classic tale. You can also visit Montgomery’s actual home, nearby.
Anne of Green Gables Museum
Built in 1872, the Campbell home where L.M. Montgomery visited is now a museum for Anne of Green Gables fans. View furnishings and items that Montgomery enjoyed during her life, as well as the enchanted bookcase that is a major theme throughout the book series. Even without the literary connection, the grounds outside the Campbell home are worth exploring. Take a carriage ride through the flower gardens, past the Lake of Shining Waters, and down to a private beach to take in the beautiful scenery.
With a name as delightful as Summerside, it’s no surprise to find that PEI’s second-largest city is a real charm. The magic starts at the waterfront, of course, with a wooden boardwalk perfect for strolling. Make a stop at Spinnakers’ Landing, a waterfront market with brightly coloured shops and restaurants, and enjoy fresh seafood at one of the many restaurants. The town has museums and theaters sharing the history and culture of this seaside retreat. You can even set up camp at nearby Linkletter Provincial Park.
Green Park Shipbuilding Museum and Yeo House
Shipbuilding was the backbone for PEI during the 1800s, shaping the land, the people, and Canadian history. To fully appreciate the hard work put into the industry, tour the Green Park Shipbuilding Museum and Yeo House. Here you can step back into the 19th century to learn about the craft, or walk the restored Victorian rooms in the Yeo House, where prominent shipbuilder James Yeo, Jr. once resided. Take the ghost tour to hear about the property’s haunting lore.
Cedar Dunes Provincial Park
Ocean air, salty waves, and sandy beaches—is there a better way to spend an afternoon? The Cedar Dunes Provincial Park can be accessed from scenic North Cape Coastal Drive. This is the perfect spot to build a sandcastle, go swimming, or enjoy sandy dunes with its perch overlooking Northumberland Strait.
West Point Lighthouse Museum
Located within Cedar Dunes Provincial Park, the West Point Lighthouse Museum offers many ways to experience this iconic site. The lighthouse is notable for being the tallest on PEI (standing at 69 feet). Tour the museum to learn about maritime life, artifacts, and coastal living. You can also stay overnight for a more immersive experience. Each room overlooks the Northumberland Strait from the shore of West Point, offering a divinely unique coastal retreat.
North Cape Lighthouse
Though not as tall or striking as the West Point Lighthouse, the North Cape Lighthouse is one of the most important on PEI. Built in 1867 to help ships navigate between the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Northumberland Strait, this beacon of light is still active today. When stopping for a visit, you can learn about its life-saving history while enjoying the ocean, sea lions, rocky beaches, and reefs.
With this road trip across PEI, you can see why this tiny province has such a big reputation. L.M. Montgomery might have helped share PEI’s charms with the world, but there’s more to this destination than its iconic green-gabled farmhouse. If your journey allows more time for roadtripping, make your way to the island’s eastern end to jaunt through beaches, fishing villages, and provincial parks to explore the quieter side of this grand island.