Farewell winter, with your chilly winds and heaping mountains of snow, and hello spring!
Spring in Prince Edward Island is a sign of warming temperatures, more times spent outdoors and the scent of flowers blooming on the soft breeze. With nicer weather and buzzing life about the Island, there are endless adventures to be had.
Here are 25 things to do to experience during the spring months on your favourite Island.
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1. Spring Lobster Setting Day
From the beginning of May til the end of June, it’s spring lobster season in PEI – and the boats setting out to sea at dawn on the first day of the season to set their traps is a magical sight to see. Boat after boat they make their way out to deep waters, a sign that fresh feeds of spring lobster from the frigid Atlantic are on the way.
Visit wharfs across the Island (like Covehead Harbour, Malpeque Harbour, North Rustico, Malpeque Harbour) to experience this unique activity and to see boats piled with lobster pots/traps.
2. Charlottetown Art Walk
Explore downtown and the waterfront to find the 20 beautiful art pieces listed in the Charlottetown Art Walk. This self-guided Art Walk features fantastic pieces by Canadian artists. The works highlight the city’s history and nature. You can start the tour at any point in the city.
3. Sugar Bush
Maple syrup is one of Canada’s favorite sweet treats, and visiting maple farm is an ideal ‘welcome spring’ activity to do with the whole family. MacPhee’s Orchard is known for their apples, but they were making maple syrup long before they were growing apples. In 1998, they turned their hobby of making maple syrup into the business called Woodlands Maple Syrup.
4. PEI Festival of Wines
It’s the weekend and a beautiful spring evening and you are delighting your taste buds at the PEI Festival of Wines. Doesn’t that sound fabulous? Located at the EastLink Centre in Charlottetown the wine festival is the perfect place to experience new and limited wines. Enjoy food stations filled with local foods and treats, and over 260 wines from around the world at the two-night grand tasting event.
5. Lupin Season
Does taking a Sunday drive on the red dirt roads in the spring sound nice to you? You are surly in for a treat on your drive when you spot the Island’s iconic lupins in late spring! In late June and early July, lupins in lovely shades of dark and light purple, light pinks and white line the roadsides across the province from tip to tip. While PEI’s provincial flower is actually the Lady Slipper, lupins are everywhere on the Island and even the locals get excited to welcome their arrival each year. Although lupins are considered an invasive species (weeds) and the province regularly attempts to control the spreading of lupins, the stubborn flower continues to sprout every spring season.
6. Deep Sea Fishing
This is your captain calling! Do you love Island seafood? Have you ever wanted to experience catching your own fish for dinner? Well you can when you venture out for the day on a tuna charter tour in PEI. Take a trip off the coast of PEI in June, and with the help from the captain, you might just catch something for supper. From giant bluefin tuna to a nice feed of fresh spring lobster, your next fishing adventure awaits.
FREE FISHING: If you want to fish for free in PEI waters then, fish for free on May long weekend. Each year, the May long weekend marks Free Family Fishing weekend on PEI. Angling licenses are not required but anglers must abide by all regulations and rules.
7. Bonshaw Hills Provincial Park
Be one with nature at Bonshaw Hills Provincial Park. Located in Central Queens, the park is made up of an accessible children’s play structure inspired by nature itself, picnic facilities, washroom facilities, and over 25 kilometres of trail systems. There are a variety of trails for all fitness levels ranging in length and difficulty. The hills are suitable for hiking and biking, and some trails even lead to the scenic Bonshaw River where the whole family can enjoy water sports and water crafting during the warm spring season.
8. Theatre season
PEI not only boasts limitless outdoor activities – there are plenty of things happening indoors too. The start of the Spring is also the start of the theatre season, filled with exceptional artistic talent. After all, the Island is known for our lovable and bubbly Anne of Green Gables The Musical.
Take in an epic production at the Confederation Centre of the Arts or The Mack in Charlottetown, or enjoy a small-town theatrical experience in one of the many intimate venues across the province like the Victoria Playhouse, St. Peter’s Courthouse Theatre, Harmony House Theatre in Hunter River, and the Watermark Theatre in North Rustico. Whether you’re looking for a night out on the town at a concert or comedy show, or a fun-filled family day at a musical or play, get ready to be charmed by PEI’s diverse selection of performing arts.
9. Tour lighthouses across the province
What’s more nostalgic than visiting one of PEI’s iconic lighthouses? There are 63 Island lighthouses standing tall, and 35 of them are still actively used today. Some of the lighthouses across the province are national historic sites. These massive, mostly white and red structures make for exquisite photo backdrops and also offer breathtaking mile-long views from the top. The Island’s oldest lighthouse is located in Panmure Island, and it is perhaps the most picturesque of them all.
10. Dirt Road Driving
Childhood memories, teenage adventures and Sunday drives with your loved one – there is no better place to cruise the day away than on a red dirt road in PEI. Each with their own history and charm, these tapering clay roads are lined with trees and foliage canopies as you get lost on the rolling hills and countryside back roads.
11. PEI National Park
PEI National Park is known for its sandy beaches and stretching boardwalks. Offering a variety of terrains in a range of difficulties, the park is a wonderful place to venture out for some outdoor fun. From camping, swimming at the beach, canoeing and kayaking, birdwatching, golfing, and taking in some historical sites like Green Gables Heritage Place, there is no shortage of activities to experience. The Greenwich section of the National Parks is an Island favourite and popular among tourists because of its large sand dunes and thick green foliage and the floating boardwalk leading to Greenwich Beach.
12. Ceilidh at the Irish Hall
The Ceilidh at the Irish Hall is a 30-year-running tradition in PEI. The energetic festivity is a celebration of conventional Celtic song and dance. The lively celebration takes starts mid-May each year and runs until October featuring the Island’s best musicians. Enjoy the Island’s traditional heritage through Celtic music as the hall springs to life at the Ceilidh.
13. Tour of Island Breweries
All it takes is to pop into a local restaurant and you will notice the menu filled with local craft beers. The craft beer market in PEI has seen a boom in recent years, which means there’s no shortage of Island breweries to explore. The Island’s first brewery was created by the Murphy Group and was located in the basement of a 19th century home in Downtown Charlottetown. In 2013, the small brewery grew into something more and is now known as the PEI Brewing Company. Since then, a number of other breweries have popped up across the province including Upstreet Craft Brewery, Copper Bottom Brewery, Barnone Brewery and Moth Lane Brewery. Take a tasting tour of any Island brewery to enjoy robust flavours in a variety of styles of brew.
14. Kayak and Canoe
PEI is known as a paddler’s paradise. Whether you are looking to canoe on calm waters or to kayak through some rugged surf and coastlines, the possibilities are endless on the Island. Drop your kayak or canoe in literally any body of water on the north side of the Island to enjoy some beautiful scenery, an adventure in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the south side, or head down east for a slow trip down Fortune River which is suitable for all.
15. Bird Watching
Prince Edward Island is a great place for avid bird watchers and more beginner watchers alike and spring is the perfect time to do just that. Join a guided tour with PEI National Park to learn more about very important and sensitive species in the area, or set off on your own birding adventure. Be on the lookout for some common birds that live on the Island such as the yellow warbler, Canadian geese, and great blue heron.
16. Mountain Biking
PEI may not actually have any ‘mountains’, but the sport is thriving nonetheless! Mountain biking on Island trails is a great way to take in a unique side of the province. From casual trails to more advanced and challenging trails, there is a track for all fitness levels. Join tour with Sacred Rides PEI at Bonshaw Hills Provincial Park, or create your own adventure at Beck Trail or the Brookvale Nordic Centre.
The shores surrounding PEI are not only for swimming and fishing. With over 1,000 kilometres of coastline to explore, sailing is a great way to see the Island’s classic red cliffs and rolling sand dunes. Set off on your own boat or join a charter with one of many local tours like Atlantic Sailing PEI out of North Rustico, Saga Sailing out of the Charlottetown Harbour, or learn from the best and put your skills to the test with Wave Skills Sailing School.
18. Confederation Centre of the Arts Gallery
The Confederation Centre of the Arts Gallery is filled with historical artifacts and contemporary art exhibits. Free of entry to all, the gallery is open year-round in the larger exhibit upstairs and a smaller exhibit on the entry level of the Confederation Centre. Over 20 exhibits are displayed each year showcasing Canadian artists. The whole family can enjoy traditional art forms and some newer digital media from sculpture, paintings and photography, to installations featuring varied technologies.
From the Confederation Trail system to the trails at Bonshaw Provincial Park, PEI is home to a vast selection of terrain to hike and bike for all fitness levels. Whether you are a beginner or experienced adventurer, PEI trails have something for everyone. Enjoy a quiet ride along the countryside taking in the spectacular views or set off on a day-trip for a longer endurance ride. No matter your preference, PEI is the place to be for both thrill seekers and relaxed explorers.
20. Touring Island Wineries + Distilleries
PEI is home to many exquisite wineries and distilleries. Spend an afternoon wine tasting and indulging on the Island’s best and unique spirits. Enjoy national and international award-winning wine at Matos Winery & Distillery, take a tour of Deep Roots Distillery sampling organic spirits like maple liquor, or take in a panoramic view of the Northumberland Strait while sipping on some fruity wines at Rossignol Estate Winery.
21. Greenwich National Park
Greenwich National Park is a popular destination for all things adventurous including hiking trails and floating boardwalk, a serene beach, a number of rare plants and species to explore, along with the Greenwich Interpretation Centre that showcases 20 exhibits. Learn about the natural and cultural richness of the major humanities that lived on the land in PEI over 10,000 years ago including Mi’kmaq, Acadian settlers, and English immigrants.
22. Festival of Small Halls
The Festival of Small Halls is mostly on folk and orchestral/gospel music and is performed almost exclusively in churches and other small venues throughout PEI to create a family-friendly, relaxed atmosphere. If you enjoy intimate settings with acoustic music, then the Festival of Small Halls is for you.
23. Tasting local seafood on Canada’s Food Island
You can travel the world indulging in delicious seafood but when you ask the chef where it came from, he will likely tell you: Prince Edward Island. The land and sea in PEI are rich and bountiful. The Island is known worldwide for its famous and fresh mussels, oysters and lobster. There are a variety of culinary experiences to take in during the Spring in PEI, from trying a lobster roll at Richards Fresh Seafood in Cove Head, to a full-on dining experience at New Glasgow Lobster Suppers.
24. Beach Walks
Beach days are not just for the summer beach bums. As soon as the snow begins to melt and the temperatures begin to rise, the Island beaches are ready for visitors. You don’t have to go too far to find a beautiful, quiet beach to wander around searching for seashells and beach glass, or to simply breathe in some fresh, salty air. Pack a picnic, grab a frisbee and take the whole family (even the dog) to relax and play on one of the Island’s many sandy shorelines.
25. Visit a local market for fresh product and local goods
You can pass through any town in PEI and you will find a local farmer’s market filled with local produce and goods. The Charlottetown Farmer’s Market is the hottest spot to be on the weekend. It opened in 1984 and has grown to host dozens of wholesalers offering a wide variety of vegetables, fruit, baked goods, local meats, fresh fish, crafts, chocolates and more! Stop by for a full breakfast or lunch, or shop a vast selection of items directly from the producer themselves.
Etsy Artisans of PEI Spring Market: With over 50 local Etsy makers including all kinds of talented potters, jewellers, soap makers and chocolatiers, there is something for everyone at the spring market. Portions of the entry fee is donated to a different cause each year, and there is even local food, door prizes and live music to enjoy while browsing from booth to booth.