Beaches along the North Cape Coastal Region are cradled in the arms of wide and quiet bays with red cliffs, home to bank swallows and foxes. You’ll see swathes of wind-swept sand where piping plovers hop through waves and gulls wheel in the sky. And you can dig for clams and search the tidal pools for hermit crabs and other sea life.
Prince Edward Island’s first European visitor landed in 1534 near the provincial park which bears his name: Jacques Cartier. He exclaimed that this was “…the fairest land ’tis possible to see!”
The Island’s North Cape Coastal Region is indeed fair, with 350 kilometers of red and sandy beaches that edge our crinkled shoreline. Many, like the local favourite at St. Chrysostome, where, at low tide, you can wade ankle-deep for miles out, thanks to a long progression of shallow sandbars – perfect for families with little ones to explore. Other beaches are rocky and hold mini ecosystems of hermit crabs and dulse in their tidal pools.
Whether you are looking for a quiet place to stroll and beach-comb or the perfect spot to set out on your kayak, a safe and family friendly supervised beach, or something off the beaten track where you can explore and marvel at Prince Edward Island’s natural wonders, North Cape Coastal Drive has just what you’re looking for.
Supervised Provincial Park Beaches
The supervised Provincial Park beaches are equipped with washrooms and changing rooms. Most facilities are open from mid-June to mid-September. Please check for accessibility off season.
Cedar Dunes Provincial Park
Cedar Dunes is famous for miles of beautiful beaches and dunes. Enjoy a swim on the supervised beach, while the kids participate in children’s activities.
This is also one of the best places to catch a romantic sunset over the water. Better yet, stay at the West Point Lighthouse Inn, Canada’s only inn that is also a functioning lighthouse, with unparalleled views over the Northumberland Strait. While you’re here, be sure to stop by The Catch restaurant for seafood right on the wharf.
Green Park Provincial Day Park
This park, open mid-June to mid-September, has a children’s playground, nature trails and a sandy riverside beach. You can camp here or rent a rustic cottage right on the water.
During the 19th century, Green Park was the site of an active shipyard. Be sure to visit the Shipbuilding Museum and Historic Yeo House while you’re here. Nearby attractions include the Britannia Hall Theater where local theater and entertainment is produced regularly. Every first weekend of August, Green Park hosts the Rock the Boat Music Festival.
Jacques Cartier Provincial Park
Jacques Cartier Provincial Park was famously named after the first European explorer to visit our shores and offers a wide range of activities for all ages. There are supervised swimming and gorgeous views along this seacoast strand on the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Unsupervised Provincial Park Beaches
Unsupervised beaches at our Provincial Parks have changing and bathroom facilities.
Belmont Provincial Park
Belmont Provincial Park features a wide bay, with towering red capes. Located on Route 123, Belmont is a day-use park featuring an unsupervised beach, playground equipment, firepits, picnic facilities, showers and flush toilets. Pets are permitted on leash.
Linkletter Provincial Park
This park, located on Bedeque Bay, is in close proximity to Summerside, the recreational and cultural center of Prince County. It is also close to Slemon Park, which hosts several summer hockey schools. Linkletter is the closest Provincial Park to the Confederation Bridge that offers camping.
Nearby attractions include the Summerside Golf and Country Club and the Acadian Museum of PEI in Miscouche.
Union Corner Provincial Park
Located on Route 11, Union Corner is a day-use park featuring a playground, beach, change rooms and firepits. Pets are permitted on leash.
North Cape Coastal Region has plenty of unsupervised beaches, so you can explore and find your own little piece of paradise. No bathrooms or changing rooms here, but you may find a few locals enjoying the natural beauty. Very likely, you’ll have miles of sand all to yourself. Read on if you’d like some tips about these beaches.
River Beach off Route 12, North of Jacques Cartier Beach
There is a beach, much beloved by the locals, that a river estuary runs through. What’s most impressive is that it changes its configuration after every winter’s beating. Sometimes, it cuts a course swift and straight through the beach and out to sea. In other years, the river meanders along the beach, picking up bits of flotsam like any beachcomber might, before it turns and gently gives itself to the bigger body of water.
Rocky Point Beach at St. Chrysostome
Known as Rocky Point, or St. Chrysostome Beach by locals, this beach has the remains of a long stone jetty that extends out into the water. Sandbars go out for miles, which keeps the waters shallow and wonderfully warm. This unsupervised beach is a favourite with locals and is sure to keep the kids occupied hunting the shallow tidal pools for hermit crabs – hours of fun for youngsters.
From Route 2 on the Central Coastal Drive (south shore) just east of Summerside, turn south onto Route 1A and drive for 10 km (6.3 miles). Turn right onto Route 171 (Callbeck Street), and then after 1.9 km (1.2 miles) turn right on Route 112 towards Lower Bedeque. Follow Route 112 to its end where you will see the Indian Head Lighthouse at the end of the breakwater. At low tide it is sometimes possible to walk out to the lighthouse.
From Route 2 turn onto Water Street at Reads Corner. Turn left at the intersection with lights at MacEwen Road and Glover Shore Road. Turn onto Glover Shore Road and you will see it a short distance away on your right.