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The best way to experience PEI is to live it like the locals, through the charm, beauty, and intimacy of the small towns and close-knit neighborhoods.
If you’re visiting in the summer, don’t miss North Rustico, a harborside town located 20 miles north of Charlottetown in the Green Gables Shore Touring Region. Known as “The Crick,” by locals, it is the heart of Prince Edward Island’s rich fishing culture. Enjoy freshly caught lobsters at Fisherman’s Wharf Lobster Supper, Restaurant, and Gift Shop, or head out on the harbor with any of the deep-sea fishing outfits based there. If you’re hungry for some beach time, North Rustico is adjacent to the sprawling Prince Island National Park, which is filled with sandy beaches, dunes, and wetlands. North Rustico is also just six minutes from Cavendish, which offers shopping, restaurants and other attractions.
In the southeast corner of Prince Edward Island sits Murray River, with its rich history of shipbuilding. You can see it by walking or driving along Riverside Drive and park. Take a boat tour on the river, watch for seals, and learn about the mussel industry that thrives there. Enjoy McLure’s Dam and old grist mill, or take a seaplane tour to see the island by air. Attend a ceilidh in the historic Murray River Hall to soak up some folk music. Explore the Beck Trail, a 10-kilometer multipurpose trail for cyclists, walkers, hikers, dog walkers, and snowshoers, that runs through the John J. and Annie Beck Natural Area, which is open for public use year round.
Located on the eastern end of Prince Edward Island, along the Points East Coastal Drive, the seaside town of Souris is known for its sandy beaches, rolling green hills, and impressive views. It is the center of farming and fishing in the region. The Basin Head Fisheries Museum showcases the history of the area. At a variety of shops in town you can find handmade quilts and sweaters, locally-made preserves, and works by local artisans.
Souris is a wonderful place to indulge in freshly-caught seafood — oysters, lobster, scallops, haddock. You can also catch a ferry from Souris to Les Iles-de-la-Madeleine, an archipelago in the Gulf of St. Lawrence that is part of Quebec. Visit Basin Head Beach or Souris Beach to swim or hunt for sea glass that will look beautiful back on your mantle at home.
Located on the southwest side of PEI, Victoria-by-the-Sea, halfway between Charlottetown and Summerside, became a center of tourism and trade, afforded by its sheltered harbor. Today, it has a year-round population of less than 200 residents. You can learn about the area’s history at the Victoria Seaport Museum, which is located in Palmer’s Range Light. Stroll the tree-lined streets that were laid out in the 1860s, dine in a sea captain’s house or attend a play in The Victoria Playhouse, PEI’s Longest Running Little Theatre, in the historic Victoria Community Hall. The Playhouse has been featured in The New York Times, and is a favorite entertainment spot for islanders and visitors. An annual summer at the Victoria Playhouse Festival features comedy, drama, concerts and storytelling events. The protected waters of the Northumberland Strait make this a popular area for paddling. By the Sea Kayaking offers tours and rentals, as well as a Clam Digging Experience.