Lord tunderin’ jesus, tou made it PEI! The home of confederation. The womb of of this great nation if you will. Home to Ann of Green Gables, red sandy beaches, truckloads of potatoes (shoutout to the Keiths at Seafood Express), and some of the freshest seafood you’ll find. While PEI’s tourism season is heavily weighted in the summer months, there are a ton of great things to do in Charlottetown and the surrounding area. Just means you’ll have to squeeze in as much as you can in a short period. Let’s check some of them out.
PEI Brewing Company
When you’re on the island you won’t go far without seeing Gahan beer on the menu of nearly every restaurant. They do a terrific local craft beer. During my brief stay I had a Sir John A MacDonald, which was impeccable. And given his reputation as a lush, I think he would have approved. They give tours – which come with free samples. Can’t beat that! The original brewery downtown is called the Gahan House, which has some of the best food on the island. Enjoy!
Upstreet Craft Brewing
Pop in to the local boys at Upstreet Craft Brewing for trendy swag, and of course some superb craft beer. They do a mean Czech Pilsner, and their APA is also aces. They’re open 12pm – 12am daily, so you can pick up the goods at all the peak drinking times.
Barnone Brewery is a small independently operated brewery based out of a small farm in Rose Valley. A father and son team who grow a small hopyard with 4-6 varieties which give them the ability to make a tasty local craft brew. Check their website calendar for their hours for growler fillups. Or find them at the farmers market (Sat & Weds 9am-2pm).
Charlottetown Farmers market
You can always get a good sense of the vibe of a city by their farmers market. Charlottetown despite it’s small size produces a ton. They’ve got food vendors, fresh fruit and veg, potatoes, seafood, local craft beer. It’s a great way to kill a couple of hours. Check them out Saturday’s and Wednesday’s from 9:00am to 2:00pm.
Check out Receiver or Kettleback for a high quality roast. I’m not a local so I can’t say what’s better, but it seems everyone has an opinion, I’ll let you ask around and let them sway your decision. They also serve smaller bites if you’re not ready for a big meal.
Visit Confederation Centre
For the history buffs, or anyone curious how Canada came to be, check out the walking tours at the Confederation Centre. The Confederation Chamber was designed to look like the old Province House where the ol’ boys signed the confederation. Great way to spend an hour, and the grounds are nice to explore.
PEI has a great local music scene. There’s always someone playing somewhere. Check out Baba’s, they usually have the biggest draw. Some other spots for good tunes are FishBones (shuck those oysters), John Brown’s (also have craft beer), Hunters (Make sure you order a Thundermug if you’re thirsty. They also do Caesar’s in Thundermugs if you want a monster size drink.), The Old Triangle, Marc’s Lounge (usually acoustic).
Go to the beach!
South Shore For Warmer Waters
There’s a huge ~10km sandy beach that stretches from Confederation Bridge to the west. It’s a great place to snap photos and enjoy the sun on a warm day.
Chelton Beach Provincial Park
A lesser knownbeach, but has an amazing beach with sand bars that go out for a few hundred meters during low tide. The shallow waters means you’re not screaming when you go in. Tidal Pools are all around for cooling off on the real hot days. There are also cottages nearby for rent, which can be a great option if you’re wanting to have a fire along the beach at night. Just be sure to tidy up after yourself.
Walk from Chelton to Borden
If you plan to be there for low tide, you can actually walk from Chelton Beach to Borden. It’ll take you about 2 hours, but if you can line it up with another driver to pick you up you’ll have a superb day. You’ll want to bring some sandals as some places get a bit rocky.
Visit Basinhead Beach
While not exactly Charlottetown, it’s nearby so we’re throwing it in as it’s a good day trip. Basinhead is a beautiful white sandy beach. If you’ve ever visiting a squeeky beach, this is one of them. Every step makes a squeeky noise. The water is relatively warm around here during the summer. Superb for swimming, and there’s also a nearby bridge with a river between it that you can jump off and ride the current. Be sure to check with the locals first as people injure themselves all the time doing silly things like jumping off bridges. However if you plan it out right you can ride the current all the way out to the sand bar then walk back or just swim back in.
Poison Ivy is common in wide open areas like the sand dunes around beaches. So watch your step. Also, Lions Mane Jellyfish have been known to swarm later around mid-late August. Their sting can leave a painful rash so just be on the lookout.
It’s worth a quick visit, but some people consider it a bit of a tourist trap. Visit Ripley’s Believe it or Not for some weird, check out the Antique Photo Studio which is pretty neat but slightly pricey. Visit the Sandspit Amusement Park for a little fair-time fun. There’s also a small petting zoo there if you’re into animal. If you plan your right, you might catch the Cavendish Beach Festival, one of the greatest country festivals in Eastern Canada.
Golf in PEI
Golfing in PEI is wildly popular. There’s a new golf course to be explored for every weekend. Check out Glasgow Hills, Brudennel River & Dundaravae Golf Course, Countryview, Crowbush Cove, or Red Sands. Heads up PEI has a lot of red foxes, and they’re known for stealing balls. Don’t feed them, but they’re pretty tame.
The haunted mansion in Kensington
This very old mansion was converted into a quirky haunted house. It’s a bit dated, but I think that’s part of it’s charm. It’s a great place to take your kids or go with a few friends. Great way to spend an hour!
You like butter? Stupid question, everyone does. Take a tour of the local creamery in Charlottetown. It’s a fun little tour and great for families.
Lobster tour on the harbour
Check out Top notch tours for your very own Lobster tour. PEI and Lobster go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to pull one up, but at the very least you’ll get a great tour of the island and take in the sights and sounds.
Lobster at the Water Prince
You can’t leave PEI without crushing some lobsters. The Water Prince lobster shop is one of the more popular joints to get a fully cooked lobster with all the fixings. Don’t be intimidated, lobster eating is always a messy affair but it’s well worth it! They’re located on Water Street and specialize in all things lobster. If cracking a lobster doesn’t sound fun go for the Lobster Roll. You won’t be disappointed.