After these long stretches of isolation and collective stress, I think we can all agree we need some extra R&R. With countless kilometres of sandy shores surrounding our dear island, PEI is an ideal place to unwind and reconnect with a more chilled out version of yourself. And due to its central location, Charlottetown makes the perfect home base to launch your seaside escape.
But with over 24 publicly known beaches and countless other private-access beaches, how can you possibly choose just one? Everyone’s got their favourite “go-to” for various reasons (that are often nostalgic in nature), but we’ve rounded up a handful of our favourites from north shore to south, along with stunning photos from both locals and visitors, that offer a little something for every taste and preference. One thing is for sure, the views are impeccable and the sea breeze will soothe your soul.
Considered a local fav by nearly everyone (and their dog), it’s well worth finding this gem (~20 mins from Charlottetown) by venturing along winding clay roads and past farmers’ fields. With towering white dunes protecting this unsupervised beach, you’ll have plenty of choices for sandy spots to spend the day in peace and quiet. Just be sure to stay off the dunes and be respectful of the area’s wildlife.
“One of the first things I do each summer is head straight to Blooming Point. Anyone else you encounter there is always so friendly (+ lots of dogs there!) and it has such a chill vibe.” — Peter
Located just past the charming port town of Souris along the Points East Coastal Drive, Basin Head is a happenin’ spot to spend a day on the beach. Famous for its singing white sand and warm south shore waters, you’ll delight in watching kids — and big kids, too — jump off the wharf and skimboard along the tidal pools. It also has public restrooms, supervised swimming, and an ice cream shop so you might find it hard to leave! Nearby Red Point is a quintessential south shore beach and quieter than popular Basin Head, so it’s the perfect place to recharge and soak up the beauty of the shore.
“Best dirt for PEI dirt shirts and where I spent most of my summers growing up.” — Melanie
We might get into trouble with locals for sharing this one, but Thunder Cove, just north of Kensington along the north shore, is the epitome of a “best-kept secret.” It’s not unlike popular Cavendish, with soft white sand and those red clay cliffs that PEI is so famous for, but much quieter. It’s the best of both worlds and features the famous “tea cup rock” – you just need to be slightly adventurous to find it!
“You can’t beat the beauty of Thunder Cove on a hot summer day.” — Dan
Approximately 25 minutes north of Charlottetown within the Prince Edward Island National Park, Ross Lane & Stanhope Beach are both like the lesser-known (and maybe even cuter?) little sister to well-known Brackley Beach. Same great views, white sand, and supervised swimming—except with half the crowd, twice the space to spread out, and considered favourites among the area’s locals.
“Ross Lane reminds me of family beach days there when I was little.” — Angie
Located within the Prince Edward Island National Park, Greenwich Beach is famous for its towering parabolic dune system, extensive trail system, and pristine white sand beaches. After making your way along the wooden boardwalk, you’ll discover a secluded expanse of soft sand that’s perfect for settling in with your favourite book. The comfortable picnic areas, public restrooms and supervised swimming also make it ideal for the whole family.
“I love it because it’s so quiet — you’re not within earshot of other beachgoers, and it has long, wide stretches of white sand! I travel the 30 minutes to go to it all the time.” — Adie
Typical of the quieter, more understated beaches of the south shore, Canoe Cove and Argyle Shore are ideal spots to wander along the tidal flats at low tide, explore the coves within its bright red cliffs, and float upon the warm waves of the Northumberland Strait. The south shore waters also tend to be warmer, so it’s usually the first place you’re able to comfortably swim in the early summer season.
“I think nostalgia plays a big part in what beaches we all like — for me, that would be Argyle Shore as I grew up there at my grandparents’ cottage. I honed my best clam digging, mud castle building, and (safely) playing with crab skills there!” — Emily
You’ll find this treasure of a beach about 30 minutes from Charlottetown, just east of Greenwich Beach outside of the National Park. Considered a local fav for its vast stretches of unspoiled sandy beach that make it ideal for long walks and dips in the ocean under the afternoon sun.
“Lakeside is never that busy and it’s so beautiful!” — Gwynn
When you’re craving a trip to the beach in the midst of the summer heat, Kinlock Beach or Tea Hill offer the perfect solution. Located just 10+ minutes from downtown Charlottetown (across the Hillsborough Bridge), they both attract city-goers in search of a quick dose of bliss. Whether it’s a romp on the beach with your furry friend or digging for clams at low tide, it’s always worth a visit.
“I go there with my dog at low tide all the time. It’s also the perfect place when you’re in Charlottetown and need to go for a quick dip!” — Ellen
Perhaps one of the better-known beaches just 20 minutes from Charlottetown, a trip to Brackley Beach is what beach bum dreams are made of. Located within the PEI National Park, it’s complete with those stunning white sand dunes PEI is so well known for, as well as public restrooms, a canteen, and supervised swimming areas so you can comfortably spend hours playing in the sand and surf.
“We love Brackley because of its connection to other beaches along that strip and all the locals that go there!” — Stefanie
Located at the most western tip of PEI, it’s well worth the hour-long drive from Charlottetown to catch a sunset at (what feels like) the edge of the world. There’s also a nearby campground and inn within the lighthouse, so after a day of soaking up the sun you can spend the night drifting away to the crashing ocean waves. Is there anything better?
“You need to experience a sunset at West Point at least once in your life.” — Donna
* Dog-friendly beaches