The Ultimate Eastern PEI Road Trip
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A 5-day Itinerary for a Points East Coastal Drive Bucket List
Despite its small size, there’s a lot to see and do in Prince Edward Island, which you’ll quickly realize if you try to fit the whole province into one vacation. I like to go slow and do a deep dive of a region when I can and I think eastern PEI is perfect for spending a few days.
You might first think of Charlottetown or Cavendish when you think of PEI but there’s so much to explore in the east. Between the 50+ beaches and the warmest water north of the Carolinas you can check out wineries, breweries, live theatre, gourmet meals, and artisanal souvenirs.
To help you plan your trip I’ve put together my dream 5 day eastern PEI road trip.
Day 1: Wood Islands – Georgetown
Start off your PEI adventure by arriving in Wood Islands via Northumberland Ferries from Nova Scotia. Get out and stretch your legs at the Wood Islands Lighthouse where you can watch the ferries arriving and departing.
Leaving the lighthouse, take a right onto route 4 and stop by the Rossignol Estate Winery, the island’s largest and oldest winery, where you can see the grapes growing kissed by salty sea breezes and taste their selection of premium quality table wines.
This road trip around PEI is going to be lighthouse heavy and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Cape Bear Lighthouse sits at the south east corner of the island. The Marconi station that had once been on that location was the first in Canada to receive a distress call from the sinking Titanic (since Newfoundland wasn’t a part of Canada in 1912).
Make a lunch stop at the Harbourview Restaurant located next to the Murray Harbour wharf. Their gluten-free seafood chowder has won 1st place in the Eastern PEI Chowder Trail competition for the past 3 years and their fish and chips are a crowd favourite! Or get one of my favourites, the bar clam dinner.
After lunch it’s time to sink your toes in some fine white sand and maybe even take a dip. Make your way up the coast to Panmure Island (of course there’s a lighthouse here too – the oldest wooden lighthouse in PEI) and enjoy the pastoral roadside views along the way. This is one of the most popular beaches along the Points East Coastal Drive and you’ll soon see why. The causeway leading to the beach has water on both sides making a pretty picture while grass-topped sand dunes hide beach goers from road view. Relax on the sand and let your cares float away.
After getting the sand out from between your toes it’s onward to the town of Montague for a double beer tasting at Copper Bottom Brewing and Bogside Brewing, a handy 5 minute walk apart. The latter is also home to both Famous Peppers Pizza and Crafters Smokehouse – the perfect pick for a casual dinner.
Copper Bottom has a solid rotation of regular brews but be sure to try one of their more experimental one-offs while you’re there. They also have a shaded patio that will make you feel like you’re in a treehouse.
The stand out for me at Bogside was their spiced cider, though it was a tough decision. Not a bad one among them. Amazing.
After dinner it’s time to get cozy. Make your way to the adorable town of Georgetown and check into one of the eight island-themed rooms at the Georgetown Historic Inn for two nights.
Stay: Georgetown Historic Inn
Day 2: Georgetown
Day two of your eastern PEI road trip won’t require a whole lot of driving, but it will require an early start.
Go giant bar clam digging with Tranquility Cove Adventures. Head out at 8:00am aboard their 45-foot lobster style boat to the deserted island of Boughton where the very best of the clamming grounds are waiting for you. Once you gather enough, you’ll hit the beach to steam and share your treasure.
To complement your lunch of steamed bar clams, swing by The Maroon Pig for one of their giant cinnamon rolls. Georgetown is a small town and your nose will point you in the right direction.
Pop into Shoreline Design across the street and shop beautiful artisan silver and gold jewelry and gifts. You might even see artist and owner Peter Llewellyn working outside in his signature red suspenders. Say hello if you do.
If you happen to bring your bicycle with you, you can cycle the 7km on the mostly flat Confederation Trail to Brudenell Riding Stables where you can go on a 45 minute afternoon trail ride along the beach.
Or maybe you’d prefer a round of golf at the Brudenell River Golf Course, an 18-hole public course and the most popular course on the island.
Back in Georgetown, enjoy the patio and waterfront view over dinner at the Wheelhouse – a seafood restaurant that sources locally as much as they can. They’re on a first name basis with their blueberry farmer.
This evening, check out the schedule at the Kings Playhouse and catch some live theatre or music. Before the show, take some time to stroll the A.A. MacDonald Memorial Gardens, the largest municipally owned park in PEI. It’s a 3.8 acre park filled with over 15,000 flowers, park benches, a fountain, and Canada’s largest ship’s wheel.
Stay: Georgetown Historic Inn
Day 3: Inn at Bay Fortune
Have a leisurely start to your day today. Enjoy a delicious brunch at the Georgetown Inn before you check out.
On your way to Bay Fortune today, stop at Canada’s Small Library in Cardigan. Books are free to check out and donations are always welcome.
Make a stop for a walk in the woods and explore the Boughton River Walking Trail. This 4.5km wooded out and back trail follows along the north bank of the Boughton River and is dotted with interpretive signs so you can learn about local wildlife and why the river was so important to early settlers.
After your hike, it’s time to relax. Built in 1918 and once a summer home for a Broadway playwright, Inn at Bay Fortune is now a seaside sanctuary owned by Chef Michael Smith. Prince Edward Island is a chef’s paradise with a regular bounty available from both land and sea and all is put to its best use here. Chef Michael and his team regularly forage through the woods, fields, streams and seashores near the inn to bring the wild flavours of PEI to your table.
The Inn at Bay Fortune has its own cookbook, observation deck, fire garden, experimental chefs garden, immersive forest trails, mushroom patch, apple orchard among other features so there’s lots to enjoy. They even have their own flock of free-range hens so you can enjoy farm-fresh eggs for breakfast!
The main event here is the FireWorks Feast. It kicks off with a culinary farm tour where you’ll be introduced to the herb gardens, vegetable beds, and greenhouses on the property.
Then enjoy fresh local oysters with a signature cocktail in the Fire Garden.
Finally, dive into an immersive multi-course experience and an authentic taste of PEI’s terroir. Save room for farm-forward desserts and a toasted marshmallow at the nightly campfire. It’s an experience and then some!
Stay: Inn at Bay Fortune
Play: Canada’s Smallest Library, Boughton River Walking Trail, FireWorks Feast
Day 4: Souris
On your fourth day of your road trip you’ll explore the town of Souris along with the north east corner of PEI.
On the road between Bay Fortune and Souris you’ll come across the Myriad View Artisan Distillery which is home to Canada’s first legal moonshine.
One of the memorable features of Souris is its boardwalk and red beach perfect for strolling and seaglass searching.
I wouldn’t have you road trip around PEI without trying some lobster so now’s your chance. Pick up some lobster rolls for lunch from The Lobster Shack on the Souris Beach boardwalk and thank me later. Not only is it delicious, but it’s one of the more affordable options you’ll find on the island.
Stroll around the heart of town and check out Artisans on Main, a nonprofit organization run by a membership of thirty local artists. If you’re looking for gifts or souvenirs of your trip, this is the place to be.
Spend a few hours this afternoon at Basin Head Beach, home of the singing sand. Due to the high silica content in the sand, when you scuff your feet sand, it squeaks. Delightful.
After the beach, go for a drive to admire the scenery and check out the East Point Lighthouse which marks the north east corner of the island. But hold onto your hats, it’s also maybe the windiest lighthouse on your trip. Say hi to the horses that live nearby and pick up an ice cream at Cherry on Top Creamery inside the lighthouse.
For dinner, pick up a couple bar clam dinners at Shirley’s Place Take Out back in Souris. Enjoy them on the deck or take them to the nearby Souris Historic Lighthouse for dinner with a view.
Tonight you’ll be catching your Zs at Shanty Stay, an adorable collection of colourful mini cabins right off the main road in Souris.
Stay: Shanty Stay
Day 5: Greenwich
Day five already? Time flies when you’re having island fun.
Check out of your shanty and bid adieu to Souris. Take the 306 north and see how many potato plants you can count.
If you haven’t had your fill yet of lighthouses perched on red cliffs, drop by Shipwreck Point Lighthouse on the north side of the island.
After visiting the lighthouse, make your way to Greenwich Beach inside Prince Edward Island National Park. It’s a jewel that islanders try to keep to themselves but is too magnificent to be kept a secret. In fact, if you’re seen much tourism advertising for PEI, you’ve probably already seen Greenwich Beach. It’s home to the largest sand dunes on the island with boardwalks and trails that roll across the marshes and grass like something out of a storybook. One of my favourite bits is the floating boardwalk that crosses Bowley Pond – picturesque and fun to walk on. The 4.3km walk is generally considered easy and should take about an hour.
After the dunes, you’ll shoot south again, but not before a stop in Saint Peters Bay for lunch. Rick’s Fish ‘n Chips have been serving up fresh-cut fries and hand-battered fish since 1992, so safe to say they know what they’re doing.
If you’re up for a non-coastal walk after lunch, the Gairloch Road Trail offers some beautiful wooded hiking trails. It’s more moderate terrain with hills but it’s likely as close to real wilderness as you’ll get in PEI.
If you’ve had enough of the outdoors, head to Point Prim and check out Hannah’s Bottle Village instead. Instead of charging admission to view the colourful bottle creation, she asks for a donation to the IWK Children’s Hospital. Visit on a sunny day and you’ll see the real magic when you enter any of the small structures. There’s a church, a stable, a sports centre, and of course, a lighthouse.
Have an early dinner today with a hearty bowl of chowder (lobster, clam, or Acadian) and some baked oysters from the appropriately named Chowder House near the Point Prim Lighthouse (last lighthouse of the trip). Reservations are required for eat-in service but order on site take out is available.
Finally, head back to Wood Islands for the final 5:30pm crossing back to Nova Scotia after a wonderful, unforgettable five days in Eastern PEI.