Planning a trip to Prince Edward Island is very straightforward for many visitors; to most, Queens County is PEI. A typical itinerary would be to catch the ferry to Wood Islands, spend one day in the capital, Charlottetown, and another in Cavendish before driving off the island via the Confederation Bridge. This is enough time in the capital to visit major attractions such as Founders’ Hall and Province House while having enough time to end the day with an evening walk through Victoria Park. If your travels coincide with the late September International Shellfish Festival, you may want to stay longer.
Cavendish, the most popular destination on all of Prince Edward Island, is just an hour’s drive from the capital. This makes a day trip possible and means you can settle yourself into Charlottetown for two or more nights, taking advantage of the theater and many restaurants. Cavendish does have many accommodations, but good dining rooms are severely lacking. Regardless of where you stay, your trip to Cavendish should include a drive through Prince Edward Island National Park, the short detour to North Rustico Harbour, and a visit to Green Gables Heritage Place.
Getting to Prince Edward Island
Most visitors to PEI arrive by road, traveling either across the Confederation Bridge or on the ferry. You can also fly to Charlottetown.
The impressive Confederation Bridge (902/437-7300 or 888/437-6565) is Prince Edward Island’s most important transportation link to the rest of Canada. From Cape Jourimain (New Brunswick), 80 kilometers east of Moncton, the bridge stretches across Northumberland Strait to Borden-Carleton, which is in Prince County, 60 kilometers west of Charlottetown. Driving across the impressive 12.9-kilometer span takes about 10 minutes (views are blocked by concrete barriers erected as a windbreak).
The round-trip bridge toll is $45 per vehicle, including passengers. Payment (credit card, debit card, or cash) is collected at Borden-Carleton upon leaving the island.
Prince Edward Island is also linked to the rest of Atlantic Canada by ferry. The mainland departure point is Caribou (Nova Scotia), near Pictou, a two-hour drive from Halifax. The ferry docks at Wood Islands, a scenic 62-kilometer drive southeast from Charlottetown. The 75-minute crossing is operated by Northumberland Ferries (902/566-3838 or 800/565-0201) May to mid-December, with up to nine crossings in each direction daily during peak summer season. The round-trip fare is $69 per vehicle, regardless of the number of passengers. As with the bridge crossing, payment is made upon leaving the island, so to save a few bucks, take the ferry to PEI and return on the Confederation Bridge.