PEI is an excellent place for a summer vacation without having to travel outside of Canada. It is a magical place with both large cities and small communities that have unique flare. There is something for everyone on the island, from the setting of a global best-seller to crossing one of the world’s longest bridges. Even with the island being the smallest province in Canada, there are a lot of free things to do this summer in and around Charlottetown.
1. Peake’s Wharf Historic Waterfront Concert Series
Enjoy a free show, weather permitting, every day on the Historic Charlottetown waterfront. The shows change daily and start at 2pm and 6pm. The Peake’s Wharf Historic Waterfront Concert Series offers a stage for talented artists to showcase their talent. July 1 to August 31, 2019
2. Cavendish Beach
Cavendish Beach is one of the seven beaches in Prince Edward National Park, and is a large red sand beach located in the northern part of the park. It is a popular beach with walkers, sunbathers and swimmers. You can spend a day relaxing on the beach, taking a dip in the beach, or looking for seashells and beach glass. During the summer months, the beach is supervised and the tide times will be posted. It is also a pet friendly beach, as long as leashes are used. Free admission on Canada Day.
3. Bonshaw Hills Provincial Park
Located right off of the Trans-Canada Highway, Bonshaw Hills Provincial Park is a wonderful spot to stretch your legs. There are over 18 km of hiking and cycling trails that will take you along the Bonshaw River, along with a natural adventure playground for kids featuring swings, balancing ropes and a slide. You can also take some time to enjoy a picnic lunch at the picnic facilities.
4. Kings Castle Provincial Park
Kings Castle Provincial Park is a magical place with its statues of famous storyboard characters. It is an extremely popular family location that has open areas for games, along with play equipment and an actual fort with a lookout tower to play on. You can also take a dip in the Murray River or relax on the riverfront beach with a picnic.
5. Seacow Head Lighthouse
The Seacow Head Lighthouse is named after the walruses that called the area home and were referenced to as ‘seacows’. It is one of the most picturesque lighthouses in Canada and has amazing views of the red sandstone cliffs below. The lighthouse has become iconic thanks to being featured in the Sullivan productions of ‘Anne of Green Gables’ and many ‘Road to Avonlea’ episodes.
6. Cabot Beach Provincial Park
Cabot Beach Provincial Park is the largest park in western PEI, which makes it one of the most popular parks on the island. During the summer, the Malpeque Bay beach is supervised and it is a lovely red sand beach to relax on. There is also a playground for the kids to play on, along with an activity centre that offers children’s programs.
7. Red Point Provincial Park
The Red Point Provincial Park is known for its beautiful red sand beach. Along with the beach, there are special events that are fun for the whole family and even organized activities for children at the park during the summer. The park is also a popular camping spot, mainly because it is the closest campground to the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival grounds.
8. The Charlottetown Festival
The Charlottetown Festival has been held for over 50 years at the Confederation Centre of Arts. While there are many events that cost, there are free outdoor performances for people of all ages to enjoy. The festival happens all summer long, so you should check the online schedule to see what is going on each day. June 29 – September 28, 2019
9. Visit’s Canada’s Smallest Library in Cardigan
This tiny library is only 3.5 by 3.5 metres, which makes it the smallest library in Canada. Even though it is extremely tiny, the library is home to over 1,800 books. It may actually be the smallest library in the world, but there is no category in the Guinness World Record book at the moment.
10. Prince Edward Island National Park
Explore PEI’s beautiful north shore on one of the seven beaches or by hiking or cycling parts of the 45km of trails in the Prince Edward Island National Park. The Park offers groomed walking trails and fascinating interpretive programs on beach ecology, geology, archaeology, evolution, and wildlife. You can spend a day just exploring and reconnecting with nature at this stunning park. Free admission on Canada Day.
11. Charlottetown Farmers’ Market
The Charlottetown Farmers’ Market was established in 1984 and has grown to be a ‘must’ visit place in the city. On Wednesday’s or Saturday’s from 9am – 2pm, you can spend some time meeting local farmers, artisans, and food vendors. You are never quite sure who or what you are going to find at the market.
12. Walk Down Victoria Row
The Victoria Row is a part of Charlottetown’s historic district and is lined with shops, cafes and restaurants. During the summer months, the road is only used by pedestrians. It is a great place to spend some time window shopping or spending time with friends and family.
13. Cool Off At Victoria Park Pool & Splash Pad
You can spend some time cooling off with the family at the Victoria Park Pool and Splash Pad this summer. There is a limit of 65 people in the pool at one time, so the splash pad runs from 11 am until 7:45 pm each day.
14. The Chuckwagon Farm Market
Spend an afternoon having some old-fashioned fun at the Chuckwagon Farm Market. The Play Pen is fun for all ages and has new swings and a climbing gym for kids to play on. You should take some time to check out the store and see what is in season.
15. Charlottetown Duck Day
Ducks Unlimited Canada and their conservation partners have put together a free family day. The Charlottetown Duck Day will take place behind the Farm Centre. There will be a free BBQ, fly-fishing demos, face-painting, falcon demonstrations and much more for the whole family to enjoy. 2019 Date TBA (June 23, 2018)
16. DiverseCity Multicultural Street Festival
Charlottetown’s DiverseCity Multicultural Street Festival is Atlantic Canada’s largest cultural festival. It is a not-to-be-missed celebration of the many cultures and ethnicities that make up the Island community. It’s FREE to enter and is eight hours filled with festivities. Highlights of this annual event include kid’s games and activities, cultural performances, cultural displays, and live entertainment on the main stage. June 23, 2019
17. Summerside Lobster Carnival
Celebrate PEI’s passion for lobster, harness racing and good entertainment at the Summerside Lobster Carnival. The carnival has something for everyone, including demonstrations, BBQ’s, a lobster eating competition, a parade, the Indigo Circus and much more. So, bring the family and enjoy a weekend all about having fun. July 11 – 13, 2019
18. Confederation Trail
The Confederation Trail was originally the Prince Edward Island railway, which was abandoned in 1989. It is a well maintained 435km long trail that links all the main towns on the island. There are plenty of picnic benches and rest stops along the way. If you enjoy geocaching, there are over 1600 geocache sites along the route.
19. PEI Regiment Museum
The PEI Regiment Museum was established in 1989 and is located in the Queen Charlotte Armoury. It is home to over 4000 artifacts from as far back as 1807, along with the interpretative displays. This museum is a hidden gem because it showcases the importance of the Canadian military and is visited by over 3000 people every year.
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20. The Story of Confederation
The Story of Confederation takes place at the replica of Province House’s Confederation Chamber in the Centre’s Upper Foyer. Visitors can explore the history of PEI and Canada with the aid of the guided interpretation, which includes a few original artifacts from the Confederation Chamber, and a video by Parks Canada called ‘A Building of Destiny’.
21. Basin Head Provincial Park
Relax on the white sandy beach at Basin Head Provincial Park, which is considered to be one of the best beaches in Canada. The beach has been dubbed the “singing sands,” because the fine sand squeaks as your walk on it. Along with the beach, there is a play area to keep the kids busy. This park is a popular location for a beach day.
22. Victoria Park
Victoria Park is the largest park in Charlottetown, and there is a lot to do at this waterfront park. There are ballparks, tennis courts, a swimming pool, a boardwalk along the water, wooded trails, and nice playground equipment. This park has it all! It is the perfect place to relax, have a picnic, and spend some time reconnecting with nature.
23. Window Shop on Peake’s Wharf
Peake’s Wharf is where the Fathers of Confederation arrived in 1864, and today, it is lined with over 20 unique shops. There is something for everyone on the wharf, and is great place to do some window shopping. You can walk along the water and enjoy the spectacular view.
24. Tour COWS Creamery
COWS Creamery is a local favorite and a highlight of any trip to Charlottetown. The self-guided tour is free and will take you around the COWS CREAMERY. The tour will let you take a closer look at how your favorite ice cream flavours are made, explore the Milky Whey Theatre and Cheese Cave and learn the history of COWS Creamery.