There are 23 beaches on Prince Edward Island, an impressive number for Canada’s smallest province. But that number becomes even more remarkable when you consider that the entire island only has about 1000 kilometres of shoreline.
For those who love the beach, PEI is like a candy shop. You have your choice of sand and surf, supervised or solo, without ever having to drive more than a couple of hours.
Whether you want to dip a toe in the water or sprawl out on the sand, here are five great PEI beaches that guarantee a good time.
The Singing Sands
Often called the best beach in Canada, the Singing Sands in Basin Head Provincial Park is a 14-kilometre white sand beach with some of the warmest water in the province. In fact, the beach is said to have some of the warmest waters north of Florida, occasionally exceeding 70 degrees. The beach’s strange name is a result of its fine sand, which squeaks under your feet, the result of a high concentration of silica and quartz. In addition to swimming and tanning, join the locals as they jump off a small bridge into a water channel that divides the beach. After a day on the beach, visit the Basin Head Fisheries Museum for a look back in time at the history of local fisheries that once dominated the area.
The 60-kilometre Prince Edward Island National Park is home to several picturesque white and red-sand beaches, but Cavendish Beach is probably the most popular. Rent a chair, park it in the red sand, and soak up the sun of go for a long walk and enjoy beautiful views of the red cliffs. The beach offers easy access to hiking, cycling, golfing, geocaching, and a number of other outdoor activities found in PEI National Park. And if you didn’t get your fill of the beach in one day, you can always pitch your tent, relax by a campfire, and set off for round two in the morning.
Greenwich Beach, also in Prince Edward Island National Park, sits on the edge of the biggest sand dunes in the province — a delicate ecosystem that is extremely uncommon in North America. An extensive trail system and a floating boardwalk allow you to explore some of the 900-acres of dunes at your own pace. Then, head on over to Greenwich’s soft, white sand beaches. You’ll find it a bit less crowded than Cavendish, but with the same beautiful scenery and great swimming.
Only 15 minutes from Charlottetown sits the beautiful Brackley Beach. Named after a provincial clerk who tragically drowned in the bay in the 18th century, the beach is a popular vacation destination and has been for generations. You’ll lay your towel on white sand beaches and head into the water for a swim with dunes at your back. Then, when the sun begins to set, you can take in a movie at the drive-in theatre, play a round of mini golf, or enjoy local art at the Dunes Studio Gallery and Cafe.
Found in a provincial park of the same name, the Cedar Dunes beach is tucked away in the north-west corner of PEI. Hunt for shells on the pristine sand, play volleyball, and watch for seals off the shore. If you like the sound of Cedar Dunes and want to spend a few days at the beach, you can set up camp just feet from the sand. For a truly unique experience, consider staying at the West Point Lighthouse. You’ll rest your head in an inn built into an active lighthouse, standing tall above the shoreline and providing incomparable views of the sunset.