The Ultimate Western PEI Road Trip
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A 4-day Itinerary for a North Cape Coastal Drive Bucket List
When you think of Prince Edward Island you might first think of red cliffs, the Confederation Bridge, or the sand dunes of the Green Gables Shore. But PEI is full of hidden gems and the North Cape Coastal Drive is one of them.
This area covers the whole western region of PEI and is where Acadian, Celtic, and Mi’kmaq cultures exist alongside one another to create a unique island identity. The land is more wooden, less agricultural, and seafood and tea are a way of life.
To help you plan your trip I’ve put together my dream 4-day western PEI road trip. So, let’s go Up West!
Day 1: Summerside
Summerside is the second largest city in Prince Edward Island with a population of almost 15,000 and the gateway to the North Cape Coast so it’s the perfect spot to start your road trip.
From your hotel, take a 5 minute walk up Water Street and wake up your senses with a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich from Samuel’s Coffee House.
Another 5 minute walk will take you to the spot for the most adorkable fun around: Segway PEI. Segways are super fun to ride once you get the hang of it, but don’t worry, your tour comes with a 30-min orientation and training session. Over the course of the remaining 90-min tour, you’ll see the Summerside Yacht Club, the government wharf, the new boardwalk, Summerside Murals, The Indian Head lighthouse, and Green’s Shore.
We love active transportation around here so when you’re done with your tour, stroll 300m to South Central Kitchen & Provisions for lunch. Try the pulled pork grilled cheese or Jamaican Me Vegan bowl.
A trip to Summerside isn’t complete without a visit to Spinnaker’s Landing. Located next to the Harbourfront Theatre it was designed on a fishing village theme and offers something special for every visitor. Unique shops and artisanal studios feature one of a kind souvenirs, clothing, antiques, jewelry, local art, and Celtic giftware.
If you’re into history, visit Wyatt Historic House Museum. Tour through this family residence built in 1867 for the Wyatt Family. The personal and interactive guided tours (choose between oddity and historic) give a close up view of the intriguing artifacts collected over a century by the prominent Wyatt family, while revealing the stories of the times. Then take a drive to Kool Breeze Ice Cream Barn for one of their refreshing Belgium chocolate dipped cones. They have a dozen different flavours to choose from!
Or if you’d rather be on the water, The Paddle Shack can hook you up with paddleboard or kayak rentals or tours. Choose whether you’d like to explore Holmans Island, only accessible by boat, with a scenic view of the heart of Summerside or paddle through a diverse ecosystem, calm waters, private beach and home to Summerside’s most historic lighthouse. The choice is yours.
After your afternoon adventures, have dinner tonight at Brothers 2, a 50+ year culinary icon, known for their classic tavern fare and fresh seafood.
After dinner check the schedules at the College of Piping and the Harbourfront Theatre for live entertainment. You just might get to see Highland Storm dance their way into your hearts, hear Lennie Gallant’s musical love letter to the island, or catch a lively tribute show to a musical legend.
Stay: The Loyalist Country Inn
Day 2: Summerside to West Point
Leave Summerside this morning and head west towards Cape Egmont. You’re in Acadian country now so don’t be surprised to see French on the signs.
Before you get to the cape make a stop at the Bottle Houses. What started as a clever recycling project has turned into a beautiful attraction. There are now over 30,000 bottles used to make the three main buildings: the 6-gabled house, the tavern, and the chapel. Spend some time admiring the colours inside each as well as stroll the gardens and literally stop to smell the roses.
I love the lighthouses in PEI so when there’s one nearby I always stop. First up today is the Cape Egmont Lighthouse, first opened in 1884. In 2000 the lighthouse was moved back from the bluffs due to shoreline erosion. The lighthouse isn’t open to the public and the turn off can be a bit hidden but it still makes a wonderful photo op.
Are goats the new puppies? Test that theory with some goat yoga with Beach Goats in St-Chrysostome, north of Abrams Village. Or you can try your hand at goat farming or even hop on a paddleboard with an adventure goat who loves the water. The sky’s the limit.
For another unique, interactive animal experience visit Green Gable Alpacas in the Tyne Valley. Meet Griswold the llama and learn about the important role he plays in the alpaca herd. Go on a behind-the-scenes farm tour and learn all kinds of interesting things about these adorkable animals.
If you’d like a light lunch, head to the Tyne Valley Teas Cafe for a curried chicken salad sandwich or a grilled cheese with a cup of tea. If you want heartier fare, just around the corner is Backwoods Burger Craft Beer Cookhouse. Try the bar clam poutine or the Return of the Mac burger topped with mac ‘n cheese.
After lunch take a drive to the seaside community of Ellerslie and discover Moth Lane Brewing, a chill, relaxed craft brewery for the everyperson. Started in 2016 by a former lobster fisherman it’s an off the beaten gem. Try the stout and see if you can taste the slight brininess that comes from being brewed with oysters. Yes, oysters.
Have dinner tonight at Sally’s Galley Pub & Grill in West Point. Opt for the PEI mussels or the seafood chowder packed with lobster, clams, scallops, and shrimp.
Check into your lighthouse room and catch a summer sunset at West Point Lighthouse – the only lighthouse you can sleep in on PEI. The iconic black and white striped lighthouse was built in 1875 and is not only a great photo op but perfectly located at the southwest corner of the island for amazing sunsets.
Stay: West Point Lighthouse
Day 3: North Point
On day three you’ll head to the northern tip of the island. Make your first stop north of Cape Wolfe to see Howards Cove Lighthouse, which might be the cutest little lighthouse you ever did see. It stands at only 19 feet tall and is surrounded by grasses and wildflowers.
After your lighthouse stop, keep going up the shore to Skinners Pond, the childhood adoptive hometown of the legendary Stompin’ Tom Connors. Visit the Stompin’ Tom Centre and learn all about his life and music and even visit the homestead and schoolhouse on site.
If you visit around lunch you can grab a meal from the Black Hat and catch some live music. There’s something special about hearing Bud the Spud while you’re on the island.
After leaving Skinners Pond with a song in your heart, keep going north until you get to the North Cape Wind Energy Interpretive Centre. Have a look at PEI’s northernmost lighthouse and step inside to learn all about the importance of renewable, wind energy to the province. You’ve probably seen a few wind turbines on your way here and now you can learn all about them. You can also visit the North Cape Lighthouse and walk the cliffside Black Marsh nature trail on site.
I hope you’re ready for an afternoon coffee and sweets. Visit MJ’s Bakery & Caboose in Tignish and indulge in their delicious cinnamon rolls. Or try their funnel fries for a unique treat. You’ll also find a CN caboose and a playground on site that you can check out.
You can’t leave Prince Edward Island without learning about their staple crop: the mighty potato. Visit the Canadian Potato Museum in O’Leary. Get your photo taken next to the giant potato outside. Here you’ll find the world’s largest exhibit of potato-related farm machinery, agricultural and community artifacts. You can even book a tour of a working nearby farm on Tuesdays or Thursdays.
Check into the Mill River Resort for a relaxing night in western PEI. Choose from 10 different types of stylish, modern accommodations including suites, chalets, and king rooms with bunk beds for the kids.
Pop into the Aquaplex on site and enjoy the pool, whirlpool, sauna, or 90 foot water slide. Or you can pop into the Aveda spa for an ayurvedic scalp massage or a mani-pedi.
Enjoy dinner tonight at Callaghan’s Restaurant & Bar. Be sure to order some Cascumpec oysters. They’re known to be large with full meats and a clean, briny taste. Fully sustainable, these oysters have a reputation for high quality. They should definitely be on your PEI food bucket list right next to lobster.
Stay: Mill River Resort
Day 4: Lennox Island
Start your last day Up West early and make your way to Lennox Island for a unique Mi’kmaq beachside experience you won’t get anywhere else. Spend some time today among these strong, resilient people and learn about their history and culture.
Prepare your own Bannock (traditionally made bread) that will be cooked in the sand. While your bread is cooking to perfection, gather clams from the beautiful red clay beaches and cook them over an open fire. While everything is cooking, you will be treated to stories of traditional life on Lennox Island and maybe learn a little Mi’kmaq.
They don’t call this region Canada’s Oyster Coast for nothing. Visit Valley Pearl Oysters and tour their plant where you’ll learn about grading oysters. Go on the water and try your hand at tonging and shucking oysters. Enjoy lunch at their restaurant and leave with your own oyster knife so you can continue to practice your skills at home.
End your day at Evermoore Brewing Co. back in Summerside with a pint and maybe some trivia. A great way to wind down your trip.
Check in to your Summerside hotel for one last night to reminisce about your amazing, memorable 4-day road trip around the North Cape Coastal Drive in PEI.