Must-stops along the way
After exploring the island’s extreme east coast, motor back into the middle. Cover this 250-kilometre drive divided into Green Gables Shore (in the north) with its undulating golf courses, pastoral landscapes, and the inspiration for the endearing novel, Anne of Green Gables. Red Sands Shore (in the south) traverses sleepy farming communities, pretty fishing villages, and rusty red beaches.
- Brackley Drive-In Theatre: In Brackley Beach, 1950s nostalgia meets first-run Hollywood blockbuster movies at PEI’s only drive-in theatre, one that features a five-storey screen. Pig out on food from the grill or snack bar, like hot-buttered popcorn, cotton candy, and a Canadian staple: poutine.
- Green Gables Heritage Place: This celebrated destination in Cavendish is where author Lucy Maud Montgomery sought inspiration for the setting of her classic children’s novel that was published in 1908. Tour the Green Gables House and visit the museums to learn about this enduring piece of Canadian heritage.
- Cavendish Beach: Both peaceful and lively, this PEI destination is renowned for its natural beauty, especially its white-sand beaches and red sandstone cliffs, which are part of Prince Edward Island National Park. Beyond the beach is the boardwalk, a place humming with life and laughter.
- Skmaqn–Port-la-Joye–Fort Amherst National Historic Site: Stroll the trails among the grassy ruins and you’ll be walking in the footsteps of people who formed Prince Edward Island’s first permanent European settlement. Then called Île Saint-Jean, PEI was established on this site in 1720 by the French who formed a Grand Alliance with the Mi'kmaq Peoples. The colony was also the island’s first military fortification under British control.
- Victoria-by-the-Sea: Paddle the calm and protected waters of Northumberland Strait on a guided tour with By-The-Sea-Kayaking. Kick off the morning with a with a sunrise paddle or head out at twilight to watch the sun dip down below the horizon, silhouetting the spectacular Confederation Bridge. If you’re more of a land lover, rent a bike and pedal parts of the Confederation Trail and the community’s tree-lined heritage roads.
There’s no shortage of quality places to dine on the Central Coast. Eating gets artistic on this route, be it a cafe huddled next to a gallery, artisanal doughnuts, or premium old-fashioned ice cream.
- Avonlea Village: Exhausted from shopping at The Anne of Green Gables Store? Refuel with delicious fare at one of the five restaurants in Avonlea Village. Get a yummy sandwich at Moo Moo Grilled Cheesery, an Instagram-worthy confection at Doughnuts by Design, or unwind at Piatto Pizzeria + Enoteca over a Neapolitan wood-fired pizza and a glass of wine.
- The Dunes Studio Gallery & Cafe: A visit to Brackley Beach wouldn’t be complete without stopping for lunch or dinner at this cafe, art gallery, and pottery studio. Chef Norman Day creates standout dishes such as the PEI lamb burger that’s topped with a red pepper and lentil spread or the signature brie and pear pizza. Then watch potters at work in the studio and shop for locally-made art and jewelry in the gallery.
- Cows: When you’re marvelling at the 12.9-kilometre Confederation Bridge at Gateway Village in Borden-Carleton, sweeten the experience with old-fashioned ice cream. Cows has been a PEI institution since 1983 with to-die-for flavors such as PEI strawberry, Lemoon Delight, and Cowconut Cream Pie.
End your day
Now that you’re fully immersed in Island life you’ll want to get cosy at your cottage or historic hotel and start planning your next Canadian adventure.
- Anne’s Windy Poplars Hot Tub Cottage Resort: For a rustic and romantic hideaway, overnight in the cottages located mere minutes from Cavendish and its namesake beach. At this family friendly resort surrounded by mature trees, it’s all about maximizing downtime. Soak in the hot tub, swim in the saltwater pool, and play a game of horseshoes.
- The Gables of PEI: This resort community is set amid Stanley Bridge’s rolling hills and near the popular Andersons Creek Golf Course. A mix of accommodations are available, ranging from expansive cottages (some sleep up to 10) to executive suites with yards and patios.
- The Orient Hotel: When you see the sunshine yellow building with sky-blue doors you’ll have arrived at this hotel in the picturesque fishing village Victoria-by-the-Sea. The historic accommodation established in 1900 offers cosy suites with views of the gardens, countryside, and Westmoreland River.
With so many hidden coves, historic sites ,and heritage roads to discover, you’ll want to take your time and spend a couple of extra days driving Prince Edward Island’s diverse coastlines and communities.