If hopping in your car and experiencing the best PEI scenic drives sounds like a fun time, then this article is for you.
On my recent trip to Prince Edward Island, I put endless miles on my rental car. I did all the best road trips and scenic drives on the island to give you the absolute best information about where to go and how to do it.
From the best red sand beaches to rolling hills, sandstone cliffs, quaint towns, and gorgeous lighthouses, these are the best scenic drives in Prince Edward Island!
Table of Contents
- 5 Best Scenic Drives in Prince Edward Island
- Tips for Taking PEI Road Trips
- Prince Edward Island Scenic Drives FAQ
5 Best Scenic Drives in Prince Edward Island
North Cape Coastal Drive
Where the Mi’kmaq culture meets Acadian, and where houses are made from bottles and museums are of the potato sort, the North Cape Coastal Drive will knock your quirky-loving socks off.
Also known as the Canadian Oyster Coast, the North Cape Coastal Drive is roughly 350km of incredible vistas, villages, and points of interest. Though its name is North Cape, this road trip will take you through Prince Edward Island’s entire western peninsula.
Start off your drive by exploring Summerside, PEI’s second-largest city, and then head west. Drive over to the Bottle Houses – Gardens and Glass Expressions, before going to O’Leary to check out the Potato Museum. Not only is this museum home to the world’s largest potato sculpture (yes, really), but there’s also a stellar potato kitchen inside.
Up next, make your way to Cedar Dunes Provincial Park. This park is mostly non-descript (it’s great for camping if you’re so inclined), but its piece de resistance is the West Point Lighthouse. This black-and-white lighthouse features rooms you can stay in and the best sunset viewing point on the island.
From here, head north on route 14 to North Point Light Station. This is fairly off the path, so I recommend making a stop at one of the many seafood restaurants along the way. Or, if you feel so inclined, book yourself an oyster-digging tour!
From here, hit route 12 down the north side of the island and make a stop at Jacques Cartier Provincial Park for some swimming, hiking, and relaxing.
Central Coastal Drive
If you’re obsessed with beautiful beaches, Anne of Green Gables, and red cliffs, then head on up to the Central Coastal Drive.
I recommend starting your road trip in Charlottetown, and then heading north to the Green Gables Shore Region until you get to Dalvay-by-the-sea. From here, you can see all the Anne of Green Gables stops and take in some of the best beaches on PEI.
In particular, don’t miss Cavendish Beach or Brackley Beach in Prince Edward Island National Park. The Green Gables Heritage Place is also worth a stop regardless of whether or not you’re an Anne fan.
From here, I recommend making a stop at Orby Head and North Rustico (an adorable fishing village), before cutting down across the island to the south coast. On the south coast, your drive will take you to the Confederation Bridge and Chelton Beach Provincial Park.
Points East Coastal Drive
True to its name, the Points East Coastal Drive in PEI will take you all along the island’s eastern shore. Starting this drive in Charlottetown, head east to Orwell Historic Village, where you can learn all about what life was like on the island in the 1800s (I legit did this by myself, and had a blast with the staff there. They taught me how to do blacksmithing. Just saying).
From there, keep going east until you come across the Cape Bear Lighthouse and Marconi Station. If I had to pick just one favorite lighthouse on the island, this would probably be it. The view of the Northumberland Strait is unreal.
Continuing on, stop at King’s Castle Provincial Park (home to some of the most beautiful red sand on the island), Singing Sands Beach at Basin Head Provincial Park, Georgetown, the East Point Lighthouse, and then make your way over to the Greenwich part of Prince Edward Island National Park.
To be honest, this is a big road trip to cover in a day and there are so many incredible sites along the way. To break it up, I do recommend staying overnight. The Rodd Brudenell Resort is especially highly rated.
I also have to mention that I did an epic deep-sea fishing tour while I was in Georgetown through Tranquility Cove Adventures. I learned all about Lobster and Crab fishing, and then even caught SEVEN mackerel all by myself.
The Argyle Shore (Red Sands Coast)
Located in southcentral Prince Edward Island, The Argyle Shore is located east of the Confederation Bridge and is mostly characterized by Argyle Shore Provincial Park. This area is absolutely gorgeous, with red sand beaches, high cliffs, and the most adorable little houses dotting the landscape.
While on this drive, I recommend visiting the Blockhouse Point Lighthouse, the Provincial Park, rocky point, Victoria-by-the-sea (a fishing village), or one of the many golf courses.
I gotta level with you though, the key attraction on this drive is 100% the scenery. Unlike the Central Coastal Drive, which includes a lot of points of interest, this one is about nature, baby. The views of the Northumberland Straight are sure to impress.
PEI Tip-To-Tip Drive
Driving across all of Prince Edward Island, also known as the “tip-to-tip” drive, is easily done. Whether you start in the east or west, this drive will take roughly three hours without stopping. On this drive, you’ll go all the way from Elmira in the east to Tignish in the West.
But of course, you gotta stop! There is no right or wrong way to do this drive, but some of the main sites to see along the way include the East Point Light House, Greenwich (Prince Edward Island National Park), Charlottetown, Summerside, the Acadian Museum, and The Potato Museum.
Just keep in mind that if you really want to make time on this drive, most of it won’t be on the coast. Doing a full loop on the coast will take much longer, but is definitely worth it if ocean views and red coastlines are what you’re after.
Tips for Taking PEI Road Trips
Rent Your Car in Advance
As of writing this, there is still a major rental car shortage in many Canadian destinations, including Prince Edward Island. I highly recommend renting your car before you get to Prince Edward Island for this reason.
Whether you rent a car in Charlottetown or drive to Prince Edward Island via the Confederation Bridge, I recommend booking your rental through Discover Cars. They stack up all the competition and will get you the best rate.
Don’t Skip Anne
I’m going to level with you, I’ve never read an Anne of Green Gables book or watched the movies or TV shows in my life. But, when visiting Prince Edward Island, I made it a mission to see the Green Gables Shore and get to know what it was all about.
Anne of Green Gables is a key attraction on Prince Edward Island, and if you visit without checking out what it’s all about, you’ll miss what makes the island tick.
Visit in the Summer
Summer (June – September) is high season on Prince Edward Island, and I recommend sticking to this time of year to do your PEI road trip. Though prices will be higher than other times of year, there really is only one tourism season in PEI, and this is it. Plus, winter driving can bring a whole host of hazards, especially if you’re not used to the conditions.
I visited Prince Edward Island at the end of September going into October, and I found that as soon as October struck, a lot of tours and attractions fully shut down. You don’t want to miss out on the best of PEI, so stick to the warm months.
Choose Your Adventure
For your Prince Edward Island road trip, I recommend one of two formats. Either you can base yourself in Charlottetown, or you can book a new hotel in every place you go.
Obviously, staying in a new place every night will give you a glimpse into Prince Edward Island that staying in Charlottetown just wouldn’t. However, if you like art and culture and going out to events at night, then staying in Charlottetown for your trip is a no brainer. You will be driving a lot more if you stay in Charlottetown, but it can be worth the trade off.
Make Sure You Can Drive in Canada
Americans and Canadians with valid driver’s licenses, feel free to disregard this point. But, if you’re visiting PEI from another country, you may need an international driver’s license in order to take a PEI scenic drive.
These licenses can be obtained from your local DMV (or similar), or do a quick google search to see what’s up.
Prince Edward Island Scenic Drives FAQ
Which coastal drive in PEI is the best?
Though they all have their merits, the Central Coastal Drive in Prince Edward Island is a fan favorite. On this coastal drive, you’ll visit Prince Edward Island National park, Anne of Green Gables House, North Rustico, and more. There are also gorgeous white sand beaches, red cliffs, lighthouses, and more.
What is the prettiest part of PEI?
The prettiest part of PEI is the coastline and PEI National Park. In these areas, you’ll see sand dunes, rolling hills, red sandstone cliffs, and more.
How long is the Points East Coastal Drive PEI?
The Points East Coastal Drive is 475 kilometers. This scenic drive along the east coast includes the East Point Lighthouse, Orwell Historic Village, Singing Sands Beach, and more.
That’s it for my picks for the best PEI scenic drives! I hope this helps you on your epic PEI road trip.