A colorful harbor view of Prince Edward Island, Canada — Photo courtesy of Getty Images / Don White
Prince Edward Island, or PEI, has long been a popular vacation spot for families. With almost 700 miles of shoreline, summer is one of the best times of year to visit Canada’s smallest province. Known to many as home to Anne of Green Gables, Prince Edward Island is full of old-fashioned charm, kid-friendly activities and plenty of fantastic seafood restaurants.
Accommodations on the island range from traditional beachfront cottages and campsites to swanky hotels in the province’s capital, Charlottetown.
Here are 10 things to do with kids on PEI this summer.
Play on 500 miles of beautiful beaches
Playing in the sands on Thunder Cove Beach — Photo courtesy of Lola Augustine Brown
There are so many stunningly gorgeous red, white and golden sand beaches on PEI that are uncrowded. Even in the height of summer, you can always find a spacious spot to lay your towel. From the lovely Brackley Beach, located inside Prince Edward Island National Park and backed by swaying grassed dunes, to other-worldly rock formations at Thunder Cove Beach and the most popular (often busiest) Cavendish Beach across from Green Gables Heritage Place, there are so many options for beach-lovers.
Catch a double bill at the Brackley Beach Drive-In
Retro artifacts are on display at the Brackley Beach Drive-In — Photo courtesy of Lola Augustine Brown
Operating since the 1950s, this fun retro drive-in movie theatre offers up the latest movies throughout the summer. Adorned with vintage cars and movie memorabilia and a concession selling hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn and other treats, there’s plenty to enjoy at Brackley Drive-In Theater while you wait for your movie to start. Plus, a carload (five people) costs just $35 Canadian (about $25 US), making this trip to the movies a bargain for families.
Paddle and play with baby goats on the beach
Hang out with friendly goats on the beach — Photo courtesy of Beach Goats
Beach Goats is a petting farm that offers a variety of super cute animal experiences, including paddleboarding in the warm shallow waters of PEI’s south shore with a baby goat sharing your board. You can also opt to play on the sand with the goats, or have them “help” you create an authentic PEI “dirt shirt” (where a white shirt is dyed red using the island’s signature sand).
What is Prince Edward Island best known for? Anne of Green Gables!
Visit the home that inspired “Anne of Green Gables” author Lucy Maud Montgomery — Photo courtesy of Stephen Harris
The famous house that inspired author L. M. Montgomery to write her much-loved “Anne of Green Gables” series is a National Historic Site on Prince Edward Island, with plenty of open space for strolling around the grounds and enjoying the scenic views. Inside the legendary Green Gables, the rooms are filled with fascinating artifacts and insightful information about the author and the beloved fictional character, Anne. It’s a great place for kids to stretch their legs, and there’s plenty of fun photo opps here — everyone especially loves posing outside in front of the pony buggy.
Sail the Atlantic shoreline
Head out on the water with Atlantic Sailing PEI — Photo courtesy of Lola Augustine Brown
Take a chilled-out sail aboard the Elusive, Atlantic Sailing PEI’s sailboat that’s moored in North Rustico. You’ll sail past oyster beds and coastal attractions and spot plenty of seabirds along the way. If you’re lucky, you might encounter dolphins and whales. This small, family-owned company offers fun, informative tours throughout the day, but the sunset sails are truly spectacular.
Dine at the Blue Mussel Cafe in North Rustico
Superb chowder is on the menu at the family-friendly Blue Mussel Cafe in North Rustico — Photo courtesy of Lola Augustine Brown
Located in pretty North Rustico, the Blue Mussel Cafe serves up the freshest island seafood. You’ll see fishing boats bringing in their catch, just off the large deck. Everything on the menu is truly delicious, especially their creamy seafood chowder and the bubbly seafood bake. This family-friendly restaurant also offers an upscale kids menu, so everyone will get to order something tasty. Booking in advance is strongly recommended as this is one of PEI’s most popular restaurants.
Explore the Cap-Egmont Bottle Houses
Playing the organ in one of the Cap-Egmont Bottle Houses — Photo courtesy of Lola Augustine Brown
A labor of love for founder Édouard T. Arsenault, who started building the Cap-Egmont Bottle Houses in 1979, the three structures are made from over 25,000 recycled bottles cemented together. Featuring cool colors, designs and patterns, these houses are a top destination on Prince Edward Island and is a fun outing for visitors of all ages. Situated in pretty gardens, this quirky attraction is delightful to explore and the light-filled structures are perfect backdrops for photos of your family and kids.
Tee off around the island with mini-golf
Potato-themed miniature golf is one attraction kids love — Photo courtesy of Lola Augustine Brown
There are many mini-golf courses on PEI, an activity that’s always fun for the entire family. At River of Adventure you navigate your way through a whimsical potato patch, as this fun theme reflects the island’s history of potato-growing. (You’ll see potatoes used in all kinds of cute ways all across PEI.)
Speaking of potatoes, don’t miss the chocolate-covered potato chips made by Anne of Green Gables Chocolates and sold at stores and attractions everywhere on PEI. They are a must-try!
Make a splash at Shining Waters Family Fun Park
Ride, slide and splash at Shining Waters — Photo courtesy of Lola Augustine Brown
Shining Waters Family Fun Park has 40 rides and attractions, with four waterslides, a splash pad and a pool for kids to enjoy. With a few roller coasters, an old-fashioned carousel and some retro attractions that help the park feel a bit stuck in the ’90s, it’s always lots of fun for all.
Take an amphibious vehicle tour on the Harbour Hippo
Ride the Harbour Hippo on land and sea — Photo courtesy of Emily O’Brien
The Harbour Hippo takes guests on a lively guided tour of Charlottetown with a difference — it begins on land and then drives straight into the harbor with a satisfying splash to continue the tour from the water. Kids love this “land and sea” experience, and it’s a great way for grown-ups to learn about the history of the province’s capital, which is the birthplace of the Canadian Federation, home to many architecturally significant buildings and so much more.