Not everyone wants their vacation to PEI to revolve around L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables books and characters. It’s easy to avoid the red-haired frenzy and slow down on this peaceful island, which is perfect for relaxing or rejuvenating, inhaling the sea air and remembering what vacationing is really about.
01 of 09
P.E.I. is full of provincial parks where you can walk, run, bike and sometimes even camp along miles of red sand shores kissed by ocean waters. One of the most magical is Greenwich Park where centuries of wind currents have swept the sand grains into meringue-like peaks. The gulf of the St. Lawrence is a shell's throw away and a floating boardwalk meanders through the sensitive wetlands. Find the park on Route 313, west of St. Peters.
02 of 09
Church Lobster Suppers
If you only visit PEI once, don’t miss a traditional church basement lobster supper. Some restaurants do imitations, but it’s better to go authentic and head to Saint Ann’s Church on Route 224 any day but Sunday. For a set price, you get mussels, chowder, lobster, potato salad, homemade pie, ice cream, and tea – with a side of local color and congeniality.
03 of 09
Confederation Bridge that links PEI to mainland New Brunswick is an engineering marvel worth stopping to marvel at. Beginning at a former ferry site (prior to 1997 that was the only way onto the island) it is the longest of its kind over ice-covered waters in the world. The two-lane bridge takes about 12 minutes to drive across.
04 of 09
The province of PEI has no shortage of cottages. The scenic shores are perfect for vacation properties. Some are rentals (usually weekly) all season; others are privately owned and rented occasionally. Whichever, due to an odd bylaw, cottages must have satellite TV. For an extensive listing, see Tourism PEI and order or download the Island Guide.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Like many of the historic properties in Charlottetown, the Hillhurst Inn was built by a wealthy shipbuilder and merchant in 1897. However, this building stayed a private residence for decades, eventually becoming the home of the university president. The oak trimmed property has been beautifully maintained and that's what inspired current owners to purchase Hillhurst in 1995 and open it as an inn five days later.
06 of 09
There’s something about sea air that inspires artisans and PEI has no shortage of quality potters. The Dunes Studio Gallery along Route 15 is one place to start. Stanley Bridge Studios on R.R. 6 is another stop on the hunt if you’d like a piece of the tree embellished pottery you’ve seen in places all over the province including on the Hillhurst Inn breakfast table.
07 of 09
Thanks to the Confederation Trail, people can now walk, run or bike from one end of the island to another (and deviate to a few coastal towns as well). When the PEI Railway was abandoned in 1989, the island jumped on an opportunity to turn the rails into trails. The tip to tip route totals 270 kilometres, so eat your Wheaties and don a helmet (it’s mandatory) before giving it a try on your bicycle.
08 of 09
This is the-not-to-be missed tourist stroll in downtown Charlottetown. If you love meandering along the waterfront wharf, popping in and out of gift stores, buying a t-shirt for the neighbour who collected the mail, indulging in PEI's own Cows ice cream cone (the Ben and Jerry's of the island) or eating a lobster dinner within view of the ocean, this is the spot for you.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
OK, so this dining room is named for the author of Anne of Green Gables, so it's not completely unrelated to the book, but it also offers the best view of the Charlottetown Harbour. Plus, it’s run by the students and staff of The Culinary Institute of Canada so you’ll be one of the first to experience the creations of up-and-coming East Coast chefs. Or try the downstairs cafeteria at lunch where the food is just as good at half the price.