Summertime in Prince Edward Island means warmer waters, longer days, and exploring a few of the 90 beaches that make up this small island province. With over 620 miles of shoreline to explore and some of the warmest waters north of Florida, there’s more than enough beachfront for tourists and locals alike. If you’re not sure where to begin working on your tan, here are five underrated local favorites.
Basin Head Provincial Park
Even though Basin Head Provincial Park is well known within Prince Edward Island, its underrated for just how stunning this stretch of sand is compared to other beach destinations around the world. The Singing Sands beach found within this provincial park offers nine miles of soft white sand and gently breaking waves. The beach gets it name from the “squeak” the sand makes as your feet press into it. Since the beach is located in a provincial park, you can expect amenities to include bathrooms, showers, and a concession stand. If you need a break from the sun, stop by the Basin Head Fisheries Museum. Here you can take a look back in time to what the fishing industry was like and the history of the area. There’s also an ice cream shop onsite — perfect for a refreshing afternoon treat!
If you’re looking for a hidden gem, the beach at Thunder Cove might just be for you. It’s a bit off the beaten path in a town called Darnley, about an hour away from Charlottetown. While most of PEI’s beaches are known for their red sand or sweeping sand dunes, Thunder Cove offers other unique geological features. Here you can see the effect that wind and water has had on shaping the sandstone cliffs, caves, and sea stacks that dot the coastline. The most famous of these columns is teacup rock — just a short drive down the road from the main beach area. Plan your visit for the early morning when the water is calm for the best views.
Panmure Island Beach
This small island offers a long strip of white sand shouldered by sweeping sand dunes and ocean views. Located along a causeway, Panmure Island Beach has water access on both sides. Stretch your legs with a walk down to the Panmure Island Lighthouse, a postcard worthy destination on its own and the oldest lighthouse on Prince Edward Island. Tours of the lighthouse are offered in the summer months. If you’re looking to experience Indigenous culture, plan your visit to coincide with the annual Pow Wow held on the island every August. This two-day cultural celebration includes dancing, drum bands, handmade crafts, and local food.
Located just outside of Prince Edward Island National Park on the northern shoreline, you’ll find the dog-friendly Blooming Point beach. Enjoy a stroll along the white sand or pull up a blanket and pack a picnic lunch. Follow the boardwalks across the sand dunes down to the beach front (Walking on the dunes is not permitted as it damages the ecosystem). The sand stretches for 33 miles west and offers the perfect place to watch the sunset. If you’re looking to stay in the area, there are several camping options nearby including the Stanhope Campground in Prince Edward Island National Park.
You can’t go to Prince Edward Island and not experience the red sand beaches this province is famous for. Head to the local favorite Canoe Cove, located on the southern side of the island, to feel the red sand beneath your feet. Once a major landing location for Indigenous people who made their way across the Northumberland Strait, now it’s a quiet place to lay down a beach towel and catch up on some summer reading. Time your visit with low tide, you’ll enjoy a long stroll down to the water’s edge through warm tide pools on the sand. If you’ve got time for a round of golf after, stop by the Glen Afton Golf Course for a round of 9 or 18 holes and catch sunset as you tee off!