How to Spend a Perfect, Off-the-Beaten-Path Weekend on Canada’s Gorgeous Prince Edward Island

by  Tiffany Thornton | Feb 20, 2024

Canada’s Prince Edward Island (PEI) has long been a favorite vacation destination, as visitors from all over flock to the Maritime Island’s red sandy Atlantic shores for rest, relaxation, and world-famous lobster. The island — Canada’s smallest province at just 140 miles long and 40 miles at its widest — is renowned for its fresh local seafood, array of picturesque beaches, and the precocious girl in pigtails: Anne of Green Gables, the eponymous novels of which were inspired by PEI. 

Yet behind the magical island's obvious charm and popular attractions (like the Prince Edward Island National Park, one of Canada's most visited national parks), there are a plethora of spots to enjoy "an off-the-beaten-path" long weekend. 

Sleep in a Luxury Geodesic Dome

Courtesy of the author

Start your stay tucked away in a luxury dome surrounded by nature at Maytree Eco Retreat (around $339 per night).  This year-round couples retreat, located on the southeastern shore, is the perfect base for day trips around Canada's smallest province. 

Maytree offers guests a variety of things to do: Hop on one of the complimentary bikes and hit the nearby trails, meander along the private beach in search of seashells, then head back to your cozy dome for a dip in your private hot tub as the sun sets behind the forest. 

Alternatively, check out Dalvay by the Sea, a Victorian inn that's also a National Historic Site located inside Prince Edward Island National Park (fun fact: Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, stayed here). Families and large groups will love the three-bedroom cottages (from $233 per night), which feature fireplaces and covered porches. 

See Small Towns on a Road Trip

Driving along its coastal scenic routes is the best way to really experience Prince Edward Island. It may take a little longer, but that's all part of the adventure. Stopping at charming little seaside towns like Murray River, just down the road from Maytree, is worth the time, as is a visit to nearby Cape Bear Lighthouse, established in 1881. Guests can climb up to the lantern room to take in panoramic views of the sea and nearby craggy cliffs. 

Courtesy of the author

Victoria-By-The-Sea is a must-see on a weekend getaway on the island. This bucolic seaside town is a lovely place to spend an afternoon strolling quaint streets filled with colorful buildings and local shops. No visit is complete without a bite at the Landmark Oyster House for a taste of Atlantic fare, though it's no easy feat deciding on what to order from the extensive menu. Our recs include the seafood chowder, which is filled to the brim with a medley of salmon, haddock, mussels, and PEI potatoes, and, of course, the namesake oysters. Try them baked — we promise you won't be disappointed.  

If you have a sweet tooth be sure to pop across the street to local favorite, Island Chocolates. It’s an award-winning spot located inside a lovely heritage property where a team of chocolatiers create the most delicious Belgian chocolate treats. Savor one of the hand-dipped truffles infused with zesty lemon lime, or the creamy peanut butter supreme.

And if you're looking to take a piece of PEI home with you, stop by Michael Stanley Pottery, a lovely family-owned studio that incorporates elements of the island's red clay, vibrant colors, and natural landscape into its designs.

See the Capital’s Whimsical Side


Make your way to Prince Edward Island's capital, Charlottetown. This walkable city has a whimsical element that not everyone notices when visiting. You may glance at a few mice along the way — not real mice but nine little bronze sculptures hiding on some of the city streets. Grab a strawberry ice cream cone made with island berries from Cows, a staple on the island, and wander down to the waterfront boardwalk, which boasts great views of the harbor. Be sure not to miss the old cannons and the remains of historic Fort Edward. 

From late spring until the end of summer, downtown Charlottetown is filled with live music and festivals. Every year, the Confederation Centre of the Arts puts on "Anne of Green Gables – The Musical," a lively stage adaptation of author L.M. Montgomery's classic novels, and a must-watch while in town. Also don't miss the art gallery attached to the Centre of the Arts. Reflecting true Canadian art from all around the country, the gallery houses an impressive collection of over 17,000 works. 

Dig for Clams

Courtesy of the author

Did you know that digging for clams has been an island tradition for centuries? Clams are abundant on Prince Edward Island, and locals love a good ole clambake in the summer. You can try your hand at digging for these large-shelled molluscs with ByThe Sea Kayaking’s “I Dig Therefore I Clam” tour. Guests will kayak out to one of the shoals during low tide when the sandbanks are revealed with a shovel and a bucket as clams like to bury themselves quite deep. When you’re done, get ready to enjoy some homemade chowder right on the beach. No doubt you will feel as happy as a clam. 

Eat Lots of Lobster

Courtesy of the author

No visit to Prince Edward Island is complete without feasting on fresh lobster — the island’s lobster is world famous for its hard shell and tender meat. One of the best spots to sample this delicacy is in North Rustico on the wharf, at the always-bustling Blue Mussel Cafe. Try the classic lobster roll, the delicious lobster dip, or the lobster thermidor — a French dish that consists of diced lobster meat stuffed into a lobster shell and is topped with a buttery sauce.

Put Your Feet in the Sand

Courtesy of ©Tourism PEI / Sander Meurs

Before heading back to Maytree Eco retreat for some stargazing, put your feet in the sand and breathe in the salty sea air at North Rustico beach — or any one of PEI's over 90 gorgeous beaches — the perfect end to a whirlwind long weekend on beautiful Prince Edward Island.

How to Get to Prince Edward Island

There are several ways to get to Prince Edward Island. You can fly into Charlottetown Airport, which sees frequent flights from Montreal and Toronto (among other Canadian cities), drive across the eight-mile-long Confederation Bridge from New Brunswick, or take a 75-minute ferry from Nova Scotia (which has two international airports and one domestic one) from May to mid-December. You can also take a train from Montreal to Moncton, New Brunswick, or Halifax, Nova Scotia, before switching over to a bus, boat, or rental car. 

The Best Time to Visit Prince Edward Island

The best time to visit PEI is from late May until September when most of the Island's seaside restaurants, attractions, and tours open up for the season (a lot of seasonal hotels, restaurants, and tour providers close by early October). The most popular months are July and August.

To cut down on costs, consider visiting in late May and early June or late September and early October, when it's still warm but less crowded. The spring marks the start of lobster and theater season, while September and October see events like the PEI International Shellfish Festival and the Fall Flavours Festival.

Who Will Love Prince Edward Island

Anyone looking for some peace and quiet among gorgeous natural landscapes as well as scrumptious seafood and small-town charm,  as well as outdoorsy couples and families who like to hike and bike.

Find The Best Cruises
Find a cruise

Find the best deals!

Click on multiple sites to get the lowest prices

Click on multiple sites to get the lowest prices