Standing on the edge of steep red cliffs, the lighthouses on Prince Edward Island have some of the most picturesque settings. With 700 km of coastline, there are many of these iconic scenes on this pretty island province. From the stripped West Point Lighthouse, to the oldest on Point Prim, you will not be disappointed in your quest to find the perfect lighthouse.
Our Great Canadian Roadtrip brought us to Prince Edward Island (PEI) where we wanted to see as many lighthouses as possible. Below are our favourites and a suggested route so you can visit them on your next trip to PEI. Even though distances are short, plan on two days to see these lighthouses and the small towns surrounding them.
West Point Lighthouse
If you take Confederation Bridge to reach the island, the first lighthouse you should visit is on the south west coast. The black and white stripes of West Point Lighthouse provide contrast to the bright red beach at its base. It is very picturesque and the perfect one to begin your lighthouse sightseeing adventure.
There are accommodations beside the lighthouse and a campground down the beach. Since we heard rumours that the lighthouse is haunted though, you may want to reconsider your stay.
North Cape Lighthouse
After West Point, take the coastal road to the most northerly point on PEI to reach North Cape Lighthouse. The road travels between fishing villages where lobster traps are piled high during the off-season. On the other side of the road the landscape is dotted with farm houses and potato fields. The white and red North Cape Lighthouse sits above a rugged red coast. Unfortunately there are dozens of windmills spoiling the best views of this wild coast. The octagonal lighthouse is still operational but is not open to the public.
The drive from North Cape to Cape Tryon will take you near the town of Summerside. It’s worth it to stop and visit the town’s historic downtown. Well maintained heritage homes and buildings line the streets of this quiet town. On the edge of downtown is a cute tourist harbour with a faux lighthouse and brightly painted wooden buildings. Grab a coffee or ice-cream from one of the harbour restaurants and then take a walking tour through the historic downtown.
Cape Tryon Lighthouse
From Summerside drive north to Cape Tryon Lighthouse. The white lighthouse stands proudly above bright red cliffs and the rough waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The setting looks like a picture-postcard. It is so pretty that we saw a couple getting their engagement pictures taken there.
The lighthouse is privately owned which allowed us to dream for a short while that it was ours. Don’t forget to take a walk along the rugged cliffs for spectacular views of the lighthouse. There are also a lot of birds in the area. We saw hundreds of cormorants and an eagle on the cliffs beside the lighthouse.
If you haven’t already visited, stop at Green Gables and PEI National Park which are only a short drive away.
East Point Lighthouse
From Cape Tryon follow the northern coastal route to reach the east coast. The drive takes you through cute towns like St Margaret’s and St. Peter’s. At the most eastern point on PEI is the octagonal shaped East Point Lighthouse. It is nicknamed “Canada’s Confederation Lighthouse” because it was the only lighthouse in Canada that was built in the year of confederation, 1867. It is still operational today and offers tours inside.
Souris Historic Lighthouse
Once you reach the east coast follow the Points East Coastal Drive south to see even more lighthouses. The next one is Souris Historic Lighthouse. Built in 1888, the wooden lighthouse is set above a small harbour and overlooks the town of Souris. Next door is an interpretative centre that offers lighthouse tours. There are quite a few restaurants in town if you’re ready to stop for lunch.
Cape Bear Lighthouse
After Souris drive to Panmure Island Provincial Park and take the causeway to see the island’s lighthouse. We didn’t see this lighthouse, but wish we did. We mistakenly drove right past it toward Beach Point Lighthouse which was highly recommended somewhere on the internet. To reach Beach Point we drove on a very rough, sandy road and found a dilapidated lighthouse. Even though the pictures came out quite well, we wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to see Beach Point Lighthouse. Instead visit the nearby Cape Bear Lighthouse. It’s a pretty white lighthouse with lobster traps in front and views of the red cliffs that PEI is known for.
On April 14, 1912 the lighthouse keeper at Cape Bear heard the first distress signal from the Titanic. A station in Newfoundland however was closer and continued communication with the sinking ship. Today a there is small museum on the first floor and tours are offered to climb to the top.
Point Prim Lighthouse
End your lighthouse tour at Point Prim Lighthouse. Point Prim is a long narrow point and the lighthouse marks the southeastern entrance to Hillsborough Bay and Charlottetown Harbour. Surrounded by a green park, Point Prim is the oldest lighthouse in Prince Edward Island. The circular lighthouse was made out of brick and covered in wood shingles. It was built in 1845, nearly 30 years before Prince Edward Island joined Confederation. It is managed by Parks Canada and there is a nominal entrance fee.
Tips for your trip to PEI
• The island is not large, only 225 km (140 miles) long and at most 65 km (40 miles) wide driving distances in PEI are quite short. We often looked at a map of where we were going, and arrived much earlier than we thought we would. Even though it’s a small island there is a lot to see so plan to spend at least 3 days. We recommend The Bryanton’s Bed and Breakfast in Kensington.
• We suggest taking the ferry to get to PEI and the bridge to get off because it’s more economical. Both options are free to get to PEI, but on the way out the ferry charges $82 per vehicle, and the bridge only charges $48.50. If you are already in New Brunswick and want to do the trip in reverse it will work just as well. If you’d rather fly, Charlottetown has an international airport.
• For the best pictures of Confederation Bridge, stop near Cape Jourimain in New Brunswick or North Carleton, PEI
• PEI has an HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) therefore 15% will be added to most purchases.
Coming Next – Nova Scotia’s Halifax Harbour
For more pictures from our travels around the world visit Gallery on monkeystale.ca
To read stories from other parts of the world visit Destinations.
If you like what you read please share, with credit, using one of the links below.