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Prince Edward Island, also known as PEI, may be the smallest province on the East Coast of Canada, but it packs a punch. The Northumberland Straight separates Prince Edward Island from its mainland neighbours of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Island, and the Gulf of St Lawrence – from the far eastern Newfoundland and Labrador.

PEI is known for its beautiful scenery and boasts red sand beaches, quaint villages, and rolling green hills.  

Prince Edward Island offers plenty of attractions, but in our opinion, the beaches on PEI steal the show. The beaches on Prince Edward Island are some of the best in Canada offering stunning views, soft sands, and clear waters. Many PEI’s beaches are also very family-friendly. There’s plenty of space to spread out on the sand, and there’s always something going on in the nearby towns to keep the whole family entertained during a PEI beach vacation. 

Having road-tripped around PEI on our recent East Coast Canada road trip, we visited a few PEI’s beaches en route. So if you want to know more about beaches on PEI, read on to soak up all the information we’ve collected along the way. 

on the road in PEI
On the road in PEI

How to Get Around Beaches in PEI

We travelled around PEI in our campervan and enjoyed the ultimate freedom to explore at our own pace. When it comes to getting around PEI and visiting beaches, there are several ways to get around. 

Car Rentals

Several car rental companies on Prince Edward Island are available at Charlottetown Airport, such as AVIS, Budget, Enterprise and Hertz. Car rentals are a great way to get around the island because they give you the freedom to explore at your own pace. But if you’d rather opt for a more sustainable transportation option, consider ride-sharing or using public transport.

Campervan on the road
Our campervan, Benji, on the road in PEI

Ride Sharing

If you don’t want to rent a car, another option is to use a local ride-sharing service called, Kari. Kari works just like Uber or Lyft, offering ride-sharing services all over PEI. But the app is built locally and is designed to serve PEI with reliable affordable rides. 

Public Transportation

T3 PEI Public Transit spans island-wide and operates Monday – Friday. T3 City Transit services move within Cornwall, Charlottetown, Stratford & Summerside. While T3 Rural Transit offers island-wide transit on provincial highways connecting Georgetown, Montague, Souris, St. Peter’s, Summerside, Borden, O’Leary, Alberton, Tignish & Charlottetown.

Bicycle

Another great way to get around the PEI beaches is by bicycle. There are many places to rent bikes, and you can even take a guided tour. Those are excellent options if you want to explore at your own pace without a vehicle. The famous bike-friendly Confederation Trail runs across PEI and offers a unique way to travel across PEI and visit some of PEI’s best beaches!

On the road in PEI
On the road in PEI

Walking

If you are staying in nearby small towns, you can always choose to walk to the beaches in PEI. This way, you can feel the local vibes and get to know the area a bit better.

What to Consider When Choosing a PEI Beach 

PEI beaches offer everything from relaxing and sunbathing to water activities. When it comes to choosing the best PEI beaches for you, there are a few things to consider. 

Facilities: PEI beaches generally offer basic facilities, like washrooms and picnic spots, but some also offer free showers, changing facilities, and even beachside restaurants and sun chair rentals.

Shade: Some of the most beautiful PEI beaches span for miles, but offer little to no shade for a reprieve on a hot day. Consider whether the natural shade is essential to you or if you prefer to pack your umbrella/sun tent instead. 

On-site activities: Some PEI beaches offer additional activities and equipment rentals to make an extra fun day at the beach. Some beaches offer options to rent kayaks, SUPs, and other toys, while others are located next to a trailhead or day-use park with additional playground facilities for kids.

Lifeguards: Not all beaches in PEI have a lifeguard on duty, and some lifeguards are limited to peak hours of the day. 

lifeguard seat, beaches on PEI

Best Beaches in PEI

There are many beaches on Prince Edward Island, all of which have a unique charm. Here are 15 of the best beaches in PEI, based on our own very biased criteria!

1. Cavendish Beach, Prince Edward Island National Park

Location: Prince Edward Island National Park, Cavendish, Prince Edward Island
Facilities: washrooms, showers, restaurant
Supervised Beach: Yes
Ideal for: Families, first-time visitors

Cavendish beach is PEI’s premier destination and one of the busiest beaches in Canada. The eight-kilometre-long beach is a Blue Flag beach, which means it meets strict environmental and safety standards. 

As one of the most popular beaches, Cavendish Beach is known for its white-gold sand surrounded by striking red sandstone cliffs and dunes. It’s a popular spot for swimming, and sunbathing. The rugged cliffs make Cavendish beach particularly picturesque. 

There are several restaurants and cafes along the shore, as well as Prince Edward Island National Park with trails and a campground, and a few shops. 

Cavendish Beach, beaches on PEI
Cavendish Beach, PEI
Cavendish Beach, PEI
Cavendish Beach
Cavendish Beach, PEI
Cavendish Beach, PEI

2. Stanhope Beach, Prince Edward Island National Park

Location: Prince Edward Island National Park – Stanhope, Prince Edward Island
Facilities: washrooms, showers, picnic shelter, changing area
Ideal for: Families with small children

Stanhope Beach is another famous beach on PEI and one of Canada’s most beautiful must-see beaches. The beach is quiet and peaceful with reddish sand and turquoise waters, hidden from the curious visitor. The waves are not too strong, making it an ideal spot for families with small children.

A playground and a few picnic tables are at the cliff’s top, and there is a wooden path leading down to the beach from the top of the cliff.

Stanhope Beach, beaches on pei
Stanhope Beach, PEI. Photo credit: Tourism PEI/Sean Landsman

3. Basin Head Beach

Location: Basin Head Provincial Park, Points East Coastal Drive, PEI
Facilities: Washroom, showers, changing rooms, on-site concessions, playground, fishery museum
Supervised beach: Yes
Ideal for: Families, first-time visitors

Basin Head Beach is probably the most famous beach on PEI. Located inside the Basin Head Provincial Park, the beach is known as the “singing sands beach” thanks to its soft, white sand that produces a strange squeaking noise when walking on it. The sand is fine, powder-like, with a high percentage of silica, which creates friction against your feet.

The shore is long and wide, and the water is shallow and crystal clear. The beach is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing for the day.

When you get hungry, you can go to Souris, the small nearby town, where you can find several restaurants and cafes. And for those who want to stay active, there are plenty of fishing and paddling opportunities. There is also a Fisheries museum on the beach, which is worth a visit.

Basin Head Provincial Park, beaches on PEI
Basin Head Provincial Park
Basin Head Beach from above
Basin Head Beach from above

4. Greenwich Beach, Prince Edward Island National Park

Location: Prince Edward Island National Park, Greenwich, Prince Edward Island
Facilities: Washrooms, change rooms, exterior showers, large picnic shelters
Supervised Beach: Yes
Ideal for: Families, first-time visitors

Greenwich Beach, PEI is a quiet and secluded beach located inside Prince Edward Island National Park. The beach is known for its craggy cliffs, extensive sand dunes, crystal-clear water, and stunning scenery. Visitors can find a variety of activities to enjoy while at Greenwich Beach, including hiking, swimming, fishing, and cycling. The location is a perfect place to spend a day in nature. 

Families with small children find this coast the perfect place to relax and play. 

Greenwich Beach, PEI National Park
Greenwich Beach, PEI National Park

5. Chelton Beach

Location: Chelton Beach Provincial Park, Red Sands Shore, PEI
Facilities: Washrooms, showers, small playground, kitchen shelter
Ideal for: Families with small children

There’s something special about Chelton Beach. Maybe it’s the gentle waves lapping at the shore or seagulls overhead. Either way, this tiny Canadian beach has a lot to offer visitors.

The water is clean and clear, perfect for swimming, standup paddle boarding and kayaking. And the sand is red, providing a lovely place to relax in the sun. Not to mention, Chelton Beach is situated in a beautiful natural setting with towering evergreens all around.

Chelton Beach was created in the early 1960s when a dam was built to create a freshwater lake. Today, the beach is a popular spot for sunbathing, picnicking, and enjoying the great outdoors. Families enjoy this coast as it is safe and easy to supervise small children.

beaches on PEI
Chelton Beach. Photo credits: Tourism PEI/Louisse Vessey

6. Cabot Beach

Location: Cabot Beach Provincial Park, Green Gables Shore, PEI
Facilities: Campground, wifi, laundromat, playground, kitchen shelter, washrooms with showers
Supervised Beach: Yes
Ideal for: Families, first-time visitors

The largest and most popular beach on Prince Edward Island, Cabot Beach, is a must-visit for any traveller to the area. The beach is 30 minutes by car from Cavendish and stretches over 2 kilometres inside the Cabot Beach Provincial Park.

Cabot Beach is well-known for its rustic red sand, which is unique to the area. The sand gets its colour from the high iron concentration in the nearby soil. The seaside is also great for swimming, sunbathing, hiking in the Provincial Park and enjoying the stunning scenery.

Lifeguards are on duty during summer, making it perfect for families with small children. There are also a restaurant and a cafe near the beach, making it the ideal place to spend a day in nature.

Cabot Beach, Cabot Beach Provincial Park
Cabot Beach, Cabot Beach Provincial Park
Entrance to Cabot Beach Provincial Park
Entrance to Cabot Beach Provincial Park

7. Tea Hill Beach

Location: Tea Hill Park, Charlottetown, PEI
Facilities: Parking, washroom, playground
Ideal for: Families and couples

Tea Hill Beach is a hidden gem of a beach in PEI and is definitely worth a visit! The park comprises 15 acres of shoreline with public beach access and stunning views. It’s the closest beach on our list to Charlottetown, the capital of PEI and can be easily accessed within 15 mins from the city. 

The coast around Tea Hill is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and relaxing. On the shore, you will spot seagulls, clams, and starfish. Tea Hill Beach is perfect for picnics, as several picnic tables are nearby. The vast green ground of the Park adds to the beauty of the place and is an ideal space to play sports. 

You can come with your family and have a great time or enjoy a romantic walk with your partner.

8. Brackley Beach, Prince Edward Island National Park

Location: Prince Edward Island National Park, Brackley, Prince Edward Island
Facilities: Washrooms, change rooms, vast parking
Supervised beach: Yes
Ideal for: families with small children

Another great beach on Prince Edward Island is Brackley Beach on the north shore. Located about 30 mins drive from Charlottetown within PEI National Park, the beach is located inside Prince Edward Island National Park is famous for its towering sand dunes. 

Brackley Beach PEI is well-known for its gentle waves, making it perfect for swimming. The towering sand dunes are perfect for soaking up the sun, and the sunsets here are lovely. Families enjoy this beach as it is safe and easy to supervise small children.

There are plenty of activities to keep you busy at Brackley Beach. You can go for a swim, build sandcastles, fly a kite, cycle on the multi-use trail or just enjoy a leisurely walk along the shore.

Beaches on PEI
Brackley Beach. Credit: ©Tourism PEI / Chestnut Studios

9. North Rustico, Prince Edward Island National Park

Location: North Rustico Beach, Prince Edward Island National Park, Green Gables Shore, PEI
Facilities: Washrooms
Ideal for: families with small children

North Rustico is another popular beach in Green Gables Shore located inside Prince Edward Island National Park. The beach is located in the town of Rustico, a 5 minutes drive from Cavendish. The red sandy beach and red cliffs make for a postcard-perfect view, and the ocean is always warm and inviting.

North Rustico beach is a hotspot for fishing but is also perfect for relaxing. Those wanting to get active will enjoy an opportunity to go kayaking with PEI’s oldest kayak outfitter, Get Outside. The beach itself offers no amenities aside from lifeguard supervision in the summer, but is conveniently located close to North Rustico town, where you’ll find restaurants, shops, accommodation and other facilities. 

North Rustico Beach
North Rustico Beach
North Rustico Beach
North Rustico Beach
North Rustico Beach, beaches on PEI
North Rustico Beach

10. Little Harbour Beach

Location: Little Harbour, Points East Coastal Drive, PEI
Facilities: none
Ideal for: off-the-beaten-path travelers

Little Harbour Beach is one of Canada’s best-kept secrets. This hidden pocket of paradise offers visitors soft white sand and stunning turquoise waters. Visitors can find plenty of things to do on the coast, including swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and kayaking. 

It is best for families to explore the beach with children as it is not crowded, and the water is clean and shallow. The various marine life, like bay scallops, quahog, whelk, and ark shells, can be spotted on the shore. There are no restaurants or cafes in the immediate vicinity, so you must pack a picnic lunch if you plan to spend the day here. There are also no facilities.

Little Harbour Beach, beaches on PEI
Little Harbour Beach

11. Panmure Island Beach

Location: Panmure Island Provincial Park, Points East Coastal Drive, PEI
Facilities: Washrooms, change rooms, restaurants, kitchen shelters, provincial campground
Supervised Beach: Yes
Ideal for: Families, couples and first-time visitors

The long stretches of sand and crystal-clear waters make Panmure Island Beach is a must-see for any beach lover visiting Prince Edward Island’s beaches. The beach is located on Panmure Island and offers serene beauty and isolated tranquility that you wont find at many other beautiful beaches in PEI. 

Many supervised swimming areas make this beach perfect for families, and there’s also a campground inside the park and picnic area. An old wooden lighthouse provides a picturesque backdrop and plenty of photo opportunities. There is no entrance fee to access the top of the lighthouse, but we recommend you donate to help with maintenance and restoration costs. 

Panmure Island
Panmure Island

12. Thunder Cove Beach

Location: Thunder Cove Beach,Green Gables Shores, PEI
Facilities: none
Ideal for: Photographers

Thanks to its beautiful rocky coastline, Thunder Cove Beach is a popular destination for visitors to PEI. The beach itself is beautiful, and the water is warm, but the real drawcard for many visitors coming to this PEI beach is the rock formations dotted along the beach. To reach them, follow the trail to the beach, then head left and keep walking until you get to the formations.

Note that the beach is best accessed at low tide when it’s easy to walk to the formation along the shore. Sadly, the most famous rock formation known as the “Tea Cup” was destroyed by Hurricane Fiona that ravaged the region in October 2022. But don’t be dismay, there are plenty of others still standing!

In busy summer months, parking at Thunder Cove Beach can be a real challenge, so plan ahead, visit early or late in the day or stay in town and walk/bike to the beach instead. 

Beautiful shore at Thunder Cove Beach
Beautiful shore at Thunder Cove Beach
Rock formations on Thunder Cove Beach
Rock formations on Thunder Cove Beach
Thunder Cove Beach
Tea Cup rock and other formations at Thunder Cove Beach

13. Souris Beach

Location: Souris Beach Getaway Park, Points East Coastal Drive, PEI
Facilities: Shops, refreshments, playground, washrooms, showers, parking, pavilion
Ideal for: Families

Souris Beach is a lovely stretch of sand and a hidden gem on the eastern coast of Prince Edward Island.  

The beach gets its name from the nearby Souris River, which flows out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. If you’re looking for a bit of solitude, you’ll want to visit early in the morning or late in the day, as the beach can get quite busy during peak tourist season.

Families will find plenty of things to do at Souris Beach, including swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and paddle boarding. Several restaurants and cafes are located nearby, so you won’t have to go far to find a bite to eat.

Souris Lighthouse
Souris Lighthouse

14. Blooming Point Beach

Location: Blooming Point, Green Gables Shore, PEI
Facilities: Parking
Ideal for: First-time visitors, Couples

There are no shortages of beaches on the Green Gables Shore region of PEI. But what makes Blooming point seaside even more remarkable is its incredible sunsets. Every day visitors and locals flock to the beach to watch the sun dip below the horizon, painting the sky in a spectrum of oranges, pinks, and purples.  

During the day, the beach is largely quiet and even offers a nude beach section for those looking to sunbathe in the nude. There are no facilities at the beach, not even garbage bins and no lifeguards.

15. Cedar Dunes Beach

Location: Cedar Dunes Provincial Park, North Cape Coastal Drive, PEI
Facilities: Laundromat, washrooms with showers, playground, wide-open spaces, kitchen shelter, parking, wifi
Supervised beach: Yes
Ideal for: Families with small children, couples

Cedar Dunes Provincial Park in PEI is the perfect spot if you’re looking for a beautiful and secluded beach to visit for a long-term stay. Tucked away on the West Coast of Prince Edward Island, Cedar Dunes Provincial Park is home to a nice campground with plenty of facilities and a beach to call your own. Even on busy summer days, you’ll find plenty of space to enjoy the peaceful surroundings. The beach is supervised during summer and is wheelchair accessible. 

The clear warm water and soft red sand here make it perfect for swimming, kayaking, or just hanging out for the day. There is a landmark lighthouse and a small museum nearby, as well as a restaurant and ice cream shop within walking distance. There is a day-use park and no fees to enter the beach or day-use area. 

West Point Lighthouse at Cedar Dunes beach
West Point Lighthouse at Cedar Dunes beach

Having visited a lot of beaches of Prince Edward Island, we found them to be some of the most beautiful in Canada. Their gentle waves, comfy sand, and unique scenery offer the perfect spot for a relaxing vacation. 

Whether you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life or simply enjoy the area’s natural beauty, you’ll find everything you’re looking for on PEI. Be sure to add these fantastic top beaches to your list of must-see places in Canada. 

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