Prince Edward Island National Park is located on the central north shore of Prince Edward Island, facing the Gulf of St. Lawrence. While the park is one of Canada’s smallest, its beautiful sunsets and gorgeous landscape make it a popular destination. The park includes famous beaches, sand dunes, salt marshes, remnants of an Acadian forest, coastal headlands and sandstone cliffs. The land in the park inspired Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery.
The park has three separate segments: Cavendish, Brackley-Dalvay and Greenwich, each of which has its own unique characteristics. The ecosystem of the park supports 400 species of plants as well as numerous animal species, such as coyotes, red foxes, raccoons, beavers, mink and weasels. There are also more than 300 species of birds inhabiting the park. Prince Edward Island National Park shares borders with traditional farming and fishing communities, which augment the experience for those taking a visit to the park.
You can visit Prince Edward Island National Park anytime during the year and enjoy what each season has to offer. Full-service campgrounds are available at Cavendish and Stanhope, offering the opportunity for you to get an early start on whatever adventure you desire.
So fill up your RV and hit the road; plenty of fun awaits you at Prince Edward Island National Park.
Prince Edward Island National Park includes 40 km (24.85 miles) along the north coast of the island from Cavendish to Dalvay, as well as 6 km (3.7 miles) along the Greenwich peninsula.
There are two ways to get to the Prince Edward Island and the National Park. One option is to take the eight-mile bridge, which is the world’s longest bridge over ice-covered water and extends from Cape Jourimain in New Brunswick to Borden-Carleton on Prince Edward Island. You can also choose to take Northumberland Ferries for a 75- minute ride from Caribou, Nova Scotia, to Wooden Islands.
To travel from Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island to the Cavendish section of the park, you can take Route 2 west to Route 7 in Milton. After turning west on Route 6 in Oyster Bed Bridge, head 20 km (12.4 miles) to the junction of Routes 6 and 13. Looking to get from Charlottetown to Brackley? Take Route 1, the Charlotteville Arterial Highway and exit onto Route 15 north. After driving for 17 km (10.6 miles) the Gulf Shore Parkway will continue for 12 km (7.5 miles) from Brackley to Dalvay. To get to Greenwich from Charlottetown, take Route 2 east to St. Peter’s driving for 52 km (32.3). Head left on St. Peter’s in order to stay on Route 2, then continue straight onto Route 313. After heading 450 m (0.28 miles) you will turn left on Greenwich Rd (Route 313) and follow the road for 9.5 km (5.9 miles), which will lead you to the Greenwich Interpretation Centre.
There is ample parking throughout Prince Edward Island National Park
Prince Edward Island National Park is located about 24 km (14.9 miles) from the provincial capital of Charlottetown. While bus service in Charlottetown does not extend outside of the city, visitors can consider renting a car or taking a taxi to the park.
Cavendish Campground is Prince Edward Island National Park’s largest campground. Offer more than 200 sites, the campground offers easy access to a white sand beach. Also close to Cavendish Campground is the Homestead Trail, where one can enjoy hiking or cycling. All sites have fire pits and communal water taps and dump stations are available. The campground offers shower facilities, flush toilets, a laundromat, a playground and kitchen shelters. Some sites offer electricity, water and sewer hook ups and RV’s and trailers of all sizes can be accommodated, depending on the particular campsite. Cavendish Campground also offers six oTENTiks, which are a hybrid of a tent and a cabin. Some of the campsites and oTENTiks are accessible and all can be reserved.
Stanhope Campground is located right across the road from the beach and is close to hiking and cycling trails, ensuring easy access to the recreation opportunities you are looking for. The campground can accommodate Trailers and RV’s up to 27 feet in length and all sites include firepits. The campground has washrooms with showers and flush toilets, along with kitchen shelters, a laundromat and a playground. Water and dump stations are also available at the campground. There are 20 sites that include electricity, water and sewer hook-ups and 73 pull-in sites that have electricity and water hook-ups only. The remaining 39 sites do not have hookups; 95% of the campground’s sites are able to be reserved
There are a variety of hiking trails at different levels of difficulty in Prince Edward Island National Park. Each trail offers something different for you to experience; from gorgeous vistas, mixed woodlands, red cliffs, sandy beaches and wildlife sightings.
Greenwich Dunes, for example, is a 4.8 km (2.98 miles) trail that is rated as moderate. Maintained from June 2 to October 12, the trail offers the opportunity to get a workout while also enjoying views of the park and birdwatching opportunities.
Cavendish Dunelands is considered an “easy” trail. Enjoy a pleasant walk (2.3 km/1.4 miles each way) that starts at Oceanview Lookoff or Cavendish Beach. The trail is maintained from May 15 to October 12.
Some of the trails are wheelchair accessible. These include: Gulf Shore Way East, Gulf Shore Way West and Havre Saint Pierre.
A great way to explore Prince Edward Island National Park is by bike on Gulf Shore Way. A seaside route, the two-way trail is paved and recently updated. Following the Gulf Shore Parkway, the trail offers cyclists a smooth service that includes flat stretches and rolling slopes. Enjoy views of red sandstone cliffs at Cavendish, dunescapes in Brackley, the Covehead lighthouse and six of the park’s magnificent beaches. Some of the park’s hiking trails are also open to cyclists, to include: Cavendish Dunelands, the Homestead Trail and the Cavendish Beach Trail, among others.
There are quite a few water activities that you can engage in while visiting Prince Edward Island National Park. Enjoy a peaceful day taking in the scenery while piloting a kayak, canoe or standup paddleboard. The park offers multiple places to paddle; there are various ponds as well as the Gulf of St. Lawrence. As motorized watercraft are not allowed within the park, you can enjoy the quiet of your surroundings. You can also enjoy the beautiful beaches in the park and go for a swim. Each beach offers different facilities, including changing rooms, bathrooms and showers.
Prince Edward Island National Park is a key bird area. Numerous birds call the island’s north shore home, and others stop by briefly on their way to someplace else. The park offers guided birding events; you can also look out for birds on your own. Some of the common birds to watch for include: the Song Sparrow, Yellow Warbler, Belted Kingfisher, Osprey, Grackle, Canada Goose, Great Blue Heron, Bonaparte’s Gull, Blue Jay, Red-Winged Blackbird and the White-Throated Sparrow. While on a hike or relaxing on the beach, keep your eyes out for birds in the area and make sure you report any sightings to the park! You can observe birds year-round in the park; northerly migration tends to happen from mid-March to late May, while mid-August to mid-December is typically the time for southerly migration. June through mid-August is nesting season.
The cooler weather months are the perfect time to drive through the Prince Edward Island National Park. The Gulf Shore Parkway extends from Oceanview Look-off in Cavendish to North Rustico Beach and offers unparalleled views of the sandstone cliffs of the island. The road will also lead you to several scenic lookoffs. You can continue on the Gulf Shore Parkway to the park at Brakley and through to Dalvay. During your drive you will be treated to a view of rolling dunes and salt marshes before crossing the bridge at Covehead Harbour. You will also pass the Covehead Lighthouse and the Historic Dalvay-by-the-Sea Hotel.
When it is a bit chilly for water activities but you still want to enjoy the outdoors, you can embark on the Prince Edward Island National Park Geocache Challenge. Geocaching is essentially a treasure hunt activity that is meant to get you outdoors to spend time exploring nature. Your goal while exploring is to find hidden containers known as “geocaches” by using a Global Positioning System (GPS) or a GPS-enabled mobile phone. The park’s website offers instructions and you can seek out the caches located along the routes you are traveling through the park. Make sure to sign the logbook in each cache and remember to log your findings on geocaching.com