Prince Edward County is an island in Lake Ontario which has become an increasingly popular tourist destination in the last decade. Its prime location just 2 hours from Toronto, and 3 hours from Ottawa or Montreal, makes it an easy day trip or weekend getaway.
Known as “The County” by locals, this small island features some of Canada’s best beaches, a multitude of wineries, craft breweries and cideries, fantastic restaurants, lovely scenery and so much more.
With so many things to do, Prince Edward County has something for everyone. So whether you are travelling with friends, seeking a romantic couples getaway or looking for a day out with the kids, consider visiting Prince Edward County.
Tour a Winery, Craft Brewery or Cidery
One of the most popular things to do in Prince Edward County is going on a wine tour. As one of Canada’s up-and-coming wine regions, there are over 40 wineries, breweries and cideries to explore. Hire a tour company or choose a designated driver and enjoy an afternoon amongst the vines.
Sample Local Flavours during Countylicious
Since 2008 Prince Edward County has been known as “The Gastronomic Capital of Ontario”. Specializing in farm-to-table meals, local restaurants craft seasonally inspired menus featuring locally sourced ingredients.
One of the best ways to dine in the County is during “Countylicious”. Similar to Toronto’s Summerlicious / Winerlicious, Countylicious is a bi-annual event which features prix fixe menus at many local restaurants. A three-course County-inspired meal which includes an appetizer, entrée, and dessert costs $40 per person (taxes and tip extra).
Go to a Drive-In Movie
Every summer, families and film-buffs come by the carload to watch blockbuster hits at the Mustang Drive-In. This old-school drive-in theatre offers great value, playing 2 movies back to back for only $11.
Follow the Taste Trail
Featuring 30+ farm stands, wineries, breweries, cafes, and restaurants, the Taste Trail mainly follows along hwy. 33 in Prince Edward County. Essential stops on this self-guided trail include; Slickers County Ice Cream which is known for its all-natural artisan ice cream, the Black River Cheese Company which has been in operation since 1901, and Casa-Dea Estates, a fantastic Prince Edward County winery with an on-site restaurant.
Spend the Day at the Beach
One of my favourite things to do in the summertime is visiting the amazing beaches in Prince Edward County. The most popular beach in the area is Sandbanks Provincial Park. Known as one of the best beaches in Ontario and featuring the world’s largest natural freshwater sandbar and dune formations, Sandbanks often reaches capacity by noon on weekends. Those who prefer a more secluded location should check out Point Petre or the cliffs at Little Bluff.
Visit the One-of-a-Kind Studios on the Arts Trail
Prince Edward County is home to many artists. In fact, more than 20 of them have their galleries and studios along the Arts Trail. Visit them to see their wares, learn their stories, and purchase a piece of authentic Prince Edward County artwork.
Cycle Through the Countryside
In the warmer months, cycling is a popular thing to do in Prince Edward County. Boasting quiet country roads, both families and avid cyclists are able to enjoy the ever-changing scenery. Bring your own bike, or rent one from the Bloomfield Bicycle Co. which is known for its famous “TV SUCKS -Ride your bike” stickers.
Indulge your Sweet-tooth during Maple in the County
If you love maple syrup be sure to add the Prince Edward County maple syrup festival to your list of things to do. Occurring only one weekend each spring, Maple in the County invites visitors to tour the local maple sugar bushes, learn about the boiling process and sample maple flavoured treats. Some farms also offer additional events such as pancake breakfasts and/or petting zoos.
If you’re looking for more unusual things to do in Prince Edward County, consider checking out the local antique shops. I particularly love “Dead People’s Stuff” in Bloomfield, not only for its creative name but also for its amazing collection of eclectic finds.
Attend the Annual Lavender Festival
The bees are abuzz from late June to mid-July at Prince Edward County Lavender Farm. This unique farm offers acres of aromatic lavender fields for visitors to explore, along with a small boutique selling various lavender-themed gifts. If possible, visit during their annual lavender festival. Extended to 2 weekends as of 2019, this event features live music, essential oil extraction demonstrations, children’s entertainment and more!
Ponder the Mystery of Lake on the Mountain
While you’re in The County be sure to visit one of Ontario’s natural wonders, Lake on the Mountain. This mystifying body of water sits 62 above Lake Ontario, with no apparent source. Just across the road, visitors will be amazed by the sight of the ferries and boats cruising the waterways below.
Pick Your Favourite Fruit at Campbell’s Orchards
While visiting Prince Edward County be sure to include Campbell’s Orchards on your list of things to do. The farm offers a market, a variety of pick-your-own fruit and vegetables and a nice selection of baked goods. Campbell’s Orchards is also home to the Apple Falls Cider Company, where you can sample a variety of locally produced hard ciders. The tasting room is open each weekend from noon until 5 pm.
Do some Birdwatching
During the spring and fall seasons, birdwatching is a popular thing to do at Point Petre in Prince Edward County. Known to be one of the premier bird-watching areas in Canada, a variety of birds use the spot as a stopover during their migration. If you can, try to arrive early in the morning as it’s sometimes possible to watch the birds being banded.
Charter a Fishing Boat
With more than 800km of shoreline, the waters around Prince Edward County are a fisherman’s dream come true. In fact, the Bay of Quinte is known as the “Walleye capital of the world”. Other fish that can be caught here include pickerel, bass, perch, lake trout, salmon, sheep-head and pike. Many local experts offer fishing charters during the nice weather and ice fishing during the winter.
Witness the Monarch Migration
Each fall, thousands of monarch butterflies use the South Shore of Prince Edward County to rest before beginning their journey to Mexico. Designated as an International Monarch Butterfly Reserve in 1995, the area has an abundance of milkweed which is the monarch’s only food source.
Instead of Camping, try “Glamping”
Fronterra Farms offers the only luxury camping experience in Prince Edward County. They offer a selection of log-framed tents, each featuring hardwood floors, a king-sized bed, an outdoor bathroom, a fully-equipped outdoor kitchen, and a fire pit. Some tents even offer picturesque views overlooking the North Bay marsh.
Try Horseback Riding
One of the best ways to appreciate the scenery in Prince Edward County is by horseback. Welcoming beginners and experienced riders, local farms offer a variety of trail rides, lessons and boarding opportunities.
Hike Along the Trails
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a great thing to do is go walking or hiking on the trails in Prince Edward County. The most scenic trails can be found in the local conservation areas and provincial parks. The Millennium Trail is the longest, spanning an impressive 49km and passes through a combination of rural and urban areas.
Stay Overnight at a Local Establishment
Whether you are planning a romantic getaway for two, a family beach vacation or a friend’s weekend away, consider spending the night in Prince Edward County.
Families will appreciate the beautiful camping opportunities, charming motels, and vacation homes, while couples and groups will be thrilled by the selection of delightful B&B’s and winery accommodations.
What are your favourite things to do in Prince Edward County? I’d love to hear about them! Let me know in the comments section below.
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