As the capital and largest city of Prince Edward Island, there are plenty of things to do in Charlottetown with kids.
With great outdoor spaces and lots of kid-friendly attractions, from taking a ride on the Harbour Hippo to exploring the waterfront or taking a story walk through the downtown area, Charlottetown is the perfect place to visit with kids.
Whether you’re spending a day or a weekend, you’re sure to find plenty of things to do in Charlottetown with kids.
Visiting Charlottetown with Kids
Charlottetown is a very walkable city – in fact the tourist maps boast that it’s a city made for walking!
And most of the things to do in Charlottetown with kids are within walking distance of each other in the downtown area, making it easy to explore the city with kids.
There are quite a few great choices for accommodations downtown as well.
The Holman Grand Hotel and Delta Hotel are conveniently located within a few blocks of each other and provide easy access to everything in downtown Charlottetown.
More information on these hotels can be found towards the end of this post.
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Things to Do in Charlottetown with Kids
Find Eckhart in the City
One of the most fun, and free things to do in Charlottetown with kids, is to take go on a mouse hunt!
Eckhart the Mouse is a popular character in local PEI author David Weale’s book, The True Meaning of Crumbfest.
He was also featured on the Amazing Race Canada, and had his own animated series on Teletoon in 2000.
Today, you can find Eckhart throughout Charlottetown!
Start at Founders Hall and pick up a brochure, which gives clues on the locations of the statues, or download a set of instructions here.
Then take a walk around Downtown Charlottetown to see if you can find all nine little statues of Eckhart.
It’s a great way to explore Charlottetown’s historic downtown area with kids and make it a game to see how many mouse statues you can find!
Take a Fox Story Walk
The Fox Story Walk is another great way to explore Charlottetown with kids while getting some fresh air.
There are nine story boards around the downtown area that tell the story of Ringo the Fox.
Each board has a section of the story, along with illustrations, fox facts and a map to the next story board.
Start the story walk at the giant sunflower just outside Founder’s Hall.
Visit Victoria Park
Victoria Park is one of the best things to do in Charlottetown with kids.
The park has a waterfront boardwalk, with a lookout area and cannons, walking trails through the park and plenty of green space to run around.
There’s also an accessible playground, and in the summer months, there’s a splash pad and swimming pool.
Be sure to stop at the Kiwanis dairy bar for a cool treat!
Take a Ride on the Harbour Hippo
Similar to the Harbour Hopper in Halifax, the Harbour Hippo tour is a fun and family friendly way to discover Charlottetown.
The amphibious “hippo” takes you along the city’s historic streets before splashing into the water for a fun harbour cruise.
The tour is just under an hour long and a perfect to see the sights of Downtown Charlottetown with young kids, no walking required!
Rates and information can be found here.
Explore Charlottetown’s Waterfront
Charlottetown’s waterfront is a great place to explore with kids.
Stroll through Confederation Landing, browse the shops at Peake’s Wharf, watch the boats in the harbour and stop for an ice cream at Cow’s Creamery.
Then walk over to Queen’s Wharf, play a few notes on the piano, check out the Love-Lock sculpture, and take a photo with the large 2022 display.
There are plenty of chairs to sit and enjoy the view of the water or to watch the sunset!
Visit Peake’s Wharf
We mentioned Peake’s Wharf above, but it’s such a great spot to visit in Charlottetown, that we had to mention it in a bit more detail.
Peake’s Wharf is surrounded with unique shops and restaurants, and has live entertainment daily in the summer months.
There’s also family-friendly boat tours that take you out onto the water, where you can see seals, haul lobster and learn how to be a fisherman or fisherwoman on PEI.
Stop in at Founders’ Hall
Founders’ Hall & Food Market, just beside Peake’s Wharf, is a large indoor market where you’ll find artisans and crafters, food booths and the Visitor Information Center.
Try some PEI Potato fudge or pick up a PEI Dirt Shirt – specially coloured with PEI dirt and perfect for kids to wear when exploring the beaches of PEI!
This is also where you’ll start the Fox Story Walk and Eckhart Scavenger Hunt, that we mentioned above.
Try Cow’s Ice Cream
When you’re in PEI, you’ve got to try a scoop of the Island’s world-famous COWS Ice Cream!
There’s two locations in Charlottetown; one at Peake’s Wharf and another on Queen Street across from the Confederation Center of the Arts in Downtown Charlottetown.
There’s also a Cows location just outside the city, where you can take a tour of the factory.
With plenty of fun flavours to choose from – Cownadian Mint and Wowie Cowie are two favourites in our family – as well as fun merchandise and even delicious cow chips, there’s something everyone will enjoy!
Visit Connaught Square
One of four parks in Downtown Charlottetown, this green space is a perfect place to take a break from sightseeing and exploring.
There’s large trees to provide shade in summer, the pathways are stroller friendly and there’s playground equipment for little ones to enjoy.
See Interesting Art
As you’re walking through the downtown area, keep an eye out for the large metal sculpture of a tuna fish.
Located in front of the library on Queen Street, this life-sized sculpture of a Bluefin tuna is pretty impressive, with a skin of scales made from 2500 stainless steel spoons.
Try taking a picture in the reflections of the spoons!
The large tuna is just one of the many art sculptures you’ll find throughout Charlottetown. There’s also a Great Blue Heron a few blocks down, John A. MacDonald sitting on a bench and several large murals throughout the downtown area.
Visit the Book Emporium
The Book Emporium on Queen Street has a large selection of used books, including a large kids section.
It’s a perfect place to pick up a few books and replenish the kids’ reading material for any day trips or scenic drives around the Island, or for the road trip home.
Indoor Things to Do in Charlottetown with Kids
Visit Owl’s Hollow
Owl’s Hollow is a locally owned and family-run toy store, with an indoor playland and coffee bar for parents.
It’s the perfect place to take a break from exploring and let the kids burn off some energy. With plenty of toys, games and puzzles to choose from, they’ll be entertained for hours!
And as it’s indoors, it’s a great spot to visit if you’re looking rainy day activities in PEI. Admission rates and hours for the playland can be found here.
Confederation Court Mall
Another idea for rainy day activities in PEI or even those hot summer days, Confederation Court Mall is a shopping mall in the heart of Downtown Charlottetown.
There’s over 70 shops, including independently and locally owned boutiques and plenty of places to eat.
One to try is Hive + Honeycomb, which serves up snacks and fancy drinks, including some fancy ones for the adults.
They also have board games available to play or purchase, and paint your own pottery kits to make there or take to go.
Charlottetown’s only glow bowling alley, the Alley another great idea if you’re looking for rainy day activities in PEI.
There’s also a full service restaurant or you can enjoy snacks and drinks as you bowl.
That Fun Place
Another great option for rainy day fun is That Fun Place. This huge indoor playground in Charlottetown is definitely a place where kids can have fun!
With slides, bouncy castles, climbing walls and a large play structure, kids can burn off some energy while parents relax with a tea or coffee, or even lunch from the cafe.
Things to Do Around Charlottetown, PEI
Charlottetown is a great spot to use as a base to explore the rest of the Island. There are plenty of easy day trips from Charlottetown, in fact, we have a whole post on the best day trips to do from the city, but here are a few of our favourites.
Visit a Beach
Whether you explore the red cliffs of the south shore or the white sandy dunes of the north shore, there’s a beach nearby.
The well-known white sand beaches of Cavendish are only 35 minutes away on the north coast, or if you prefer red sand, Argyle Shore is a 25 minute drive on the south coast of the Island.
Read more | Best Beaches in PEI for Families
Cavendish, as we mentioned above, is only a 35 minute drive from Charlottetown and is home to the Anne of Green Gables Heritage Place and Avonlea Village. It’s a must-see for any fan of the classic book series by Lucy Maud Montgomery and one of the most popular things to do in PEI with kids.
Orwell Corner Historic Village is 30 minutes east of Charlottetown. This village is a perfect place to take a step back in time and learn about life in the 1800’s on PEI.
The village includes a working farm, blacksmith shop, one room schoolhouse and special programs in the summer, such as candle and ice cream making.
Point Prim and the Bottle Villages
A little further along the Points East Coastal Drive, you’ll find Point Prim and Hannah’s Bottle Villages.
Point Prim is the oldest lighthouse on PEI and one of the only round brick lighthouses in Canada.
The nearby Bottle Village is a series of cottages made from… you guessed it, bottles! It’s definitely a unique spot to check out while driving around the Island and kids will love seeing the different buildings made of bottles.
When is the Best Time to Visit Charlottetown
While Prince Edward Island is popular place to visit in the summer, it’s actually a great destination to visit anytime of year.
In the summer, there are plenty of activities for Canada Day including a large fireworks display. There are also various festivals all summer long and the weather is great to get out and enjoy all the outdoor activities!
In fall, parents may enjoy the Fall Flavours Festival, a month long food festival highlighting local island traditions and food.
And during the Charlottetown Scarecrow Festival for 2 weeks in October, you’ll find handmade scarecrows all around the Downtown core.
In December, the city comes alive with the Christmas Festival and Victorian Christmas Market. The Victorian-themed Christmas Market has free horse and wagon rides, visits with Santa and plenty of festive fun.
And there are plenty of things to do in Charlottetown in the winter, with ice skating, ice sculptures and family entertainment held throughout the month of March.
Fall Flavours Festival: September 8 – October 8, 2022
Scarecrow Festival: October 7 – 23, 2022
Christmas Festival: November 18 – December 18, 2022
Victorian Christmas Market: November 25 – 27, 2022
Ice fest: February 2023
Where to Stay in Charlottetown
Holman Grand Hotel
Located right in the heart of historic Downtown Charlottetown, the Holman Grand Hotel is within easy walking distance to everything in the downtown area.
Rooms are comfy and have hardwood floors, which is a big plus for me. There’s also an indoor pool and hot tub, as well as an on-site restaurant, if you don’t feel like going out.
The hotel is connected to Confederation Center of the Arts and the shops of Confederation Court Mall, and Cows Creamery is across the street!
Public parking is available nearby but is not included in the room rate.
Delta Hotels by Marriott Prince Edward
Another great hotel in Downtown Charlottetown, the Delta Hotel is right on the waterfront. It’s a quick walk to Peake’s Wharf, or the shops and restaurants in the downtown area.
The rooms are spacious with large windows and some rooms have water views. Parking is available but is not included in the room rate.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites
Just outside of the downtown area, the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites is a great choice for families.
Rooms are spacious and modern, with a fridge, microwave and coffeemaker in each room. A continental breakfast is included and there’s also an indoor pool. There are plenty of restaurants and stores nearby, including a Walmart and grocery store in Royalty Crossing.
Although the hotel is not in the downtown area, it’s under a 10 minute drive to the attractions in the Confederation Centre of the Arts or the Charlottetown waterfront.
Getting to Charlottetown
Charlottetown is the capital city of Prince Edward Island and is located on the east coast of Canada.
The Charlottetown Airport (YYG) is located just outside of the city and has regular flights from Toronto, Halifax, Montreal and Ottawa.
If you’re coming from New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, you can take the Confederation Bridge to get to PEI. The bridge is 12.9 kilometers long and spans the Northumberland Strait between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
There is also a ferry service that runs between Wood Islands, PEI and Caribou, Nova Scotia. The ferry ride is about 1 hour and 45 minutes long.