Exploring Summerside, Prince Edward Island

exploring summerside, prince edward island

Hi, friends! I hope this post finds you well and in a good mood, because otherwise my overwhelmingly happy tone will likely irritate you! It brings me so much joy to share with you today: Exploring Summerside, Prince Edward Island. Aka, my first ever Canadian blog post!! After wanting to visit Canada for so very long, it seems almost unreal to me that we actually made it there – at last! It only took three years, four differently planned trips, and three cancelled flights, but who’s counting? Fiancé & I, along with his parents, finally crossed the pond to the land of maple syrup this past August, for an extremely Covid-delayed family wedding. Me being me, on this my first ever time in Canada, we used said wedding as an excuse to explore as much as possible. Spoiler alert: we had the best time ever!

Over the course of our entire trip, we hit up three provinces, Nova Scotia / New Brunswick / Prince Edward Island, and three cities/towns: Lunenburg, Summerside, and Halifax. Normally, I like to share our trips in chronological order of the way they actually happened, but I’m going slightly off-piste with these Canadian posts. Summerside was actually the second spot we visited – we had been in Lunenburg, NS for a couple days beforehand – but the photos from Summerside turned out much more, well, summery, so it makes more seasonal sense to share this post first.

Let’s just get straight into it, shall we? Heaps and heaps of information below – fun PEI fact, how to get there, where we stayed, ate, drank, tourist-ed, and lots of fun titbits in-between! Enjoy!

exploring summerside, prince edward island
exploring summerside, prince edward island
exploring summerside, prince edward island


exploring summerside, prince edward island
exploring summerside, prince edward island
exploring summerside, prince edward island

before you visit + fun PEI facts

A few things to consider if you’re thinking about visiting Summerside, as well as a small handful of fun facts about PEI. Don’t you just love having some fun facts up your sleeve?

• according to my research, PEI as a whole is a very seasonal place to visit. We visited at the height of the summer travel season, so everything was open and busy etc., but in the off-seasons apparently many attractions/restaurants close. Something to keep in mind if you’re looking to visit off-season!

• Summerside is one of only two cities on the whole of PEI. Charlottetown is the capital, and Summerside is the second city – although I don’t get the impression that either of them are very large. Everywhere on the island outside of these two cities is considered rural.

• Prince Edward Island is the smallest province in Canada – by like, a lot – and you can drive from one end to the other in around 3-hours. It is also one of the least visited provinces in all of Canada, often competing for the least visited spot with Nunavut, a province in the arctic region.

• PEI is famous for its red soil and red sandy beaches. According to the internet, this is due to a high iron content, which turns the soil red when exposed to air. The red soil + beaches made for some rather pretty drives & walks, it’s very visually striking!

• PEI is also famous for its potatoes! I love a good potato, and while I didn’t have a bad potato during my time on the island, I’m not sure I noticed a particularly big difference from Irish potatoes. We saw loads of potato farms on our drive into Summerside – PEI produces about 1/4 of all of Canada’s potatoes! – and even a few plastic potato souvenirs in tourist shops. Crazy!

exploring summerside, prince edward island
exploring summerside, prince edward island

getting there

With Fiancé’s parents, we drove from Lunenburg to Summerside via a detour through Halifax, before eventually crossing over the Confederation Bridge into PEI. Due to a few hiccups along the way, the drive ended up taking 2-hours longer than it should have, but we got there in the end. Whether you’re looking to visit Summerside by air, car, or boat, I’ve got all the details below!

• Charlottetown Airport is the only airport in PEI, and from my understanding, it’s quite small. There are just four airlines that fly in/out of the province, and only with routes to/from other Canadian cities, so you’ll likely have to connect. More info about the airport here. From Charlottetown Airport, the drive to Summerside takes just under 1-hour.

• alternatively, if you’re coming from nearby Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, you can drive to PEI via the Confederation Bridge. From Halifax to Summerside, the drive should take about 3.5-hours. There is a toll for crossing the bridge (at the time of our trip it was $50.25 CAD for cars) but it only has to be paid when leaving the island en route back to the mainland.

• if you’re not keen on driving over water, you could instead take the ferry from Nova Scotia to PEI. It leaves Caribou, NS, and arrives in Wood Islands, PEI, 75-minutes later. The drive from Wood Islands to Summerside should take about 1.5-hours. Fiancé’s parents were initially leaning towards this option, but you have to arrive at the ferry 40-minutes before setting sail and, all in all, it was just working out at too long a journey.

I understand that in all three of the above scenarios you need to drive or have access to a car, but if you don’t: Maritime Bus offer a couple services from Halifax and nearby. More bus timetable info can be found here.

exploring summerside, prince edward island
exploring summerside, prince edward island
exploring summerside, prince edward island

where we stayed

Due to circumstances outside of our control, our travel plans changed shortly before our trip was due to happen. As a result, we got to try out two different accommodation options: one hotel and one AirBnB apartment. Details on both below!

The Loyalist Country Inn // a very basic, no frills hotel. It has a good location right across from Spinnakers’ Landing, within easy walking distance to the boardwalk and most places. Our bedroom was comfortable and spacious, with a lovely view of the harbour. We only stayed there for one night before moving to the below, but were both left with the overall impression that the property is in desperate need of a facelift. Address: 195 Heather Moyse Dr, Summerside

AirBnB // our fantastic AirBnB apartment! I can’t give the exact location, but trust me when I say that it was stellar! Only an 8-minute walk away from the above, and within a stone’s throw of several wonderful eateries. The apartment itself was perfect for two, with a double bed, couch, dining table, small kitchen, spacious bathroom, and even a balcony! The host was lovely, he had no problem allowing us early check-in, and the apartment building felt very safe + secure. Would definitely recommend!

exploring summerside, prince edward island
exploring summerside, prince edward island
exploring summerside, prince edward island

where we ate

I say this every time, but it’s true: this is my favourite section to share! For the most part, we ate quite well in Summerside! I scoured the internet for weeks before visiting, reading every travel guide I could lay my hands on, just trying to get an idea of the food scene. Frustratingly, there’s not a whole lot of information out there, but I managed to cobble together a little list of places I wanted to try. We hit up nearly everywhere on my to-eat list, except a) Granville Street Diner, b) High On The Hog Smokin’ BBQ, and c) Kool Breeze Ice Cream Barn. Next time 😉

Details on everywhere we ate – divided into breakfast / lunch / dinner / ice-cream – listed below! Oh to be back in the land of large portions.. *drool*

exploring summerside, prince edward island
exploring summerside, prince edward island

breakfast

Starlite Diner and Dairy Bar // a super cool ’50s themed diner! Mini jukeboxes on the tables, wait staff wearing checkered swing skirts, and a classic red/yellow colour theme! Along with the unlimited coffee(!), Fiancé devoured a stack of buttermilk blueberry pancakes, while I delighted in eating my Little Breakfast: one egg sunny side up, sausages, toast, and home fries. Pre-buttered toast and fried potatoes with breakfast? I think yes! A must visit. Address: 810 Water St E, Summerside

Samuel’s Coffee House // this was located conveniently close to our AirBnB, so we found ourselves here twice in search of breakfast foods. Once we ended up with a Montreal bagel with cream cheese, and once with a ‘Breakfast Sam’. The ‘Breakfast Sam’ was good – cheesy bun, fried egg, smoked ham + cheese, tomatoes + spinach – but the Montreal bagel was insane! A lightly toasted sesame seed bagel with the creamiest and most lusciously fatty cream cheese I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. The bagel was truly a work of art – not doughy or stodgy or anything like the bagels we’ve been subjected to in Ireland. Would recommend. Address: 4 Queen St, Summerside

exploring summerside, prince edward island
exploring summerside, prince edward island

lunch

South Central Kitchen & Provisions // three words: oh! my! god! Hands down, home to some of the best sandwiches we’ve ever eaten! We shared both the Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese and the Roast Chicken. Both were epic-ly large, ideal for sharing, and downright delicious – but the pulled pork ever so slightly stole the show! I was skeptical about the brie in the PPGC, but obviously they know what they’re doing, because it was divine. We died and went to sandwich heaven! An absolute must visit! Address: 24 Central St, Summerside

Evermore Brewing Co. // such a nice restaurant with a beautiful space! We stopped by on our first night in town for a beer and liked it so much we made a reservation to come back for lunch a few days later. We both went for a Summerside Light and a ‘pub pizza’ – BBQ Chicken Supreme for me, and Classic Meat for Fiancé; both were delicious! The bases were thin + crispy, and the toppings were super flavourful. Added bonus: they bring a little can of popcorn to the table while you’re waiting! Would recommend. See also: where we drank, below. Address: 192 Water St, Summerside

exploring summerside, prince edward island
exploring summerside, prince edward island

dinner

Brothers 2 // such a busy spot! We stopped by with Fiancé’s parents for dinner on our first night in town and it was entirely overrun and hectic! Fiancé & I ordered the same thing: nachos to share, followed by a chipotle burger and fries each. The portions were huge, and, while our meals were tasty, we were more blown away by the sheer volume of food than we were by the quality – you know what I mean? Considering it’s the #1 rated restaurant in Summerside, we didn’t think it was anything special, but maybe we caught them on an extra busy night. Pro tip: on Thursday they do half-priced appetizers, which is a good deal considering how large the portions are! Address: 618 Water St E, Summerside

Breakwater Bar & Grill // a casual clubhouse restaurant overlooking the marina. The main space is quite nice, with a woody + boat-y décor, and lots of light streaming in from outside. Fiancé enjoyed a burger with fries, I opted for a chicken quesadilla – I was rather burger-ed out by this stage – and we shared fried pepperoni with a honey mustard sauce between us; everything was tasty. We also enjoyed a few glasses of gamay-noir from a local PEI winery, Matos, which was pleasingly delightful! Address: 110 Water St, Summerside

exploring summerside, prince edward island
exploring summerside, prince edward island

ice-cream

Holman’s Ice Cream Parlour // the CUTEST ice-cream parlour! I went for a house-made waffle cone with salted caramel toffee crunch ice-cream and it was completely delicious! However, Fiancé went for the crème de la crème: a hot fudge sundae, complete with cream, ice cream, chocolate sauce, and a literal cherry on top. I have never seen anybody so happy about a dessert before, it was love at first sight! Added bonus: the place is beyond adorable! We sat outside in the beautiful garden, underneath a huge leafy tree, people watching & enjoying the dappled sunlight; it was so dreamy! A must visit. Address: 286 Fitzroy St, Summerside

Sunny’s Dairy Bar // the sunniest little dairy bar just off the Baywalk Boardwalk. We didn’t know we needed ice-cream until we saw the cheery sign outside Sunny’s, at which point we suddenly couldn’t live without it! Both of us went for “hard serve” – French vanilla for me, chocolate for Fiancé, and we mix & matched a scoop from each. We took them back across the road to the boardwalk, where we ate them on a bench overlooking the red sandy beach of Summerside; it was delightful! Would recommend. Address: 559 Water St, Summerside

exploring summerside, prince edward island
exploring summerside, prince edward island

where we drank

Evermore Brewing Co. // literally around the corner from The Loyalist Hotel, this is where we found ourselves on the first night in town. We enjoyed a couple pints of their Summerside Light, which was super smooth and easy to drink! Pro tip: stop by early-ish to grab a seat – it was jammed when we walked in just before 6pm! The staff were super lovely and accommodating though, making up a little romantic corner table complete with candelabra for us to sit at 🙂 Would recommend. See also: where we ate lunch, above. Address: 192 Water St, Summerside

The Knot Beach Bar // a lovely little bar, right off the waterfront, complete with actual sand area! We stopped by after our walk along the boardwalk & impromptu ice-cream – because what better way to round off such a lovely afternoon than by adding an impromptu drink? The barman poured us two pints of Evermore’s Summerside Light, and we enjoyed them in the lovely shady deck area out the back. It was so peaceful and calming, aka: perfect. Would recommend. Address: 368 Water St, Summerside

Deckhouse Pub & Eatery // a surprisingly nice place for a drink! ‘Surprisingly’ because a) it’s a super touristy spot, b) it was heaving when we stopped in and, c) we got literally the last two seats at the tiny bar – and yet we had a great time! Fiancé enjoyed a pint of Upstreet Brewery’s Commons Pilsner – a local PEI brewery! – and I savored a lovely chilled glass of Jackson-Triggs chardonnay – also from Canada, but not PEI. Our server also happened to be the bartender, who was extremely run off his feet trying to make the drinks for the entire restaurant, and yet he was so friendly and cheery – a sharp contrast to the service you’d get in Ireland! Would definitely recommend. Address: Spinnakers’ Landing, 150 Heather Moyse Dr, Summerside

exploring summerside, prince edward island
exploring summerside, prince edward island

where we tourist-ed

Jess, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry – but I don’t think there’s a whole lot to actually do in Summerside. However! For Fiancé & me, that was part of its charm! Everywhere you walked there was a beautiful view or a nice beach etc. – it was such a pretty place! Here’s a little list of the places we tourist-ed during our time in Summerside:

Classic Car Nights // okay, this was pretty cool! Every Friday in July & August, from 6-9pm, they close down Water Street and have a street-long display of classic cars! We were on our way out for the evening when we walked by, but we glimpsed a couple vintage vehicles getting into position – such a fun idea! Seasonal, but would recommend. Address: Water St, Summerside

Baywalk Boardwalk / Green’s Shore Beach // a lovely boardwalk/cycle path overlooking Green’s Shore Beach. Fiancé & I followed the boardwalk from Water St to the Outer Range Lighthouse & back, and it was so pleasant! A rather nice spot for a stroll, which conveniently walks you right by Sunny’s Dairy Bar, above! A must visit. Address: Summerside, PE C1N 1E1

Summerside Outer Range Front Light // it would appear that it’s sacrilegious to visit The Maritimes without visiting a lighthouse. If you don’t have the time and/or means to visit the most famous lighthouse in all of Canada – Peggy’s Cove – you’ll have to settle for this. Built in 1991, this little range light is still used for safe navigational purposes today! Would recommend. Address: 75 MacKenzie Dr, Summerside

Confederation Bridge // I feel like I am this bridge’s biggest fan, but it’s so cool! Spanning a total of 12.9km in length, the Confederation Bridge is the longest in the world that crosses over ice-covered water, in the winter, obvz. It took four years to build, and takes 12-minutes to drive across – over water the whole time! When you’re on it, it’s almost like being in a movie or on a strange rollercoaster; it turns, rises & falls randomly, and you can’t see anything around you except the road and the skyline. So, so cool! A must visit. Address: Confederation Bridge, Borden-Carleton, PE, Canada

Spinnakers’ Landing // a recreated fishing village sitting on stilts over the waterfront. From what I saw, there’s a couple souvenir shops, clothing stores, and a restaurant or two. Cutesy, but very touristy. Address: 150 Heather Moyse Dr, Summerside

exploring summerside, prince edward island
exploring summerside, prince edward island
exploring summerside, prince edward island

And there we have it, my first ever Canadian travel guide: Exploring Summerside, Prince Edward Island! We were both very pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed Summerside and definitely wouldn’t have any problems returning in the future! Have you been to Canada’s smallest province? I’d love to hear whatever thoughts you have – leave me a comment using the box below!

Stay tuned for our Lunenburg blog post, hopefully coming soon!

Until then,

Vicki & Rob xo

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