While the western side of PEI doesn’t boast as many tourist attractions as the other regions of the province, there are still some great places to stop on the North Cape Coastal Drive.
It’s an area worth exploring, with quiet fishing villages, picturesque harbours, plenty of potato farms and stunning coastlines.
It’s a perfect spot to take a leisurely road trip and explore rural PEI.
And while the best part of a road trip is the journey itself, here are 11 great places that you won’t want to miss on the North Cape Coastal drive.
About the North Cape Coastal Drive
The North Cape Coastal Drive is a 350km scenic drive around the western side of PEI, and boasts some of the most stunning scenery on the island.
It’s a circular route, with plenty of opportunities to stop and explore small towns and side roads along the way. The North Cape Coastal drive begins and ends in Summerside, PEI’s second largest city.
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11 Places to Stop on the North Cape Coastal Drive
1. Tyne Valley
Centuries ago, this was an important shipbuilding area, and the village of Tyne Valley was known as “the Landing”, as lumber floated up the river from the shipyards.
Nowadays, it’s better known for its Malpeque Oysters and is often considered one of the most scenic areas of PEI.
Stroll through the picturesque village, or choose to stay overnight at the Tyne Valley Country Inn before exploring the next few stops on the drive.
2. Valley Pearl Oysters
Known as Canada’s Oyster Coast, this area of the province is home to the world famous Malpeque Oyster. And one of the best places to try these oysters is at Valley Pearl Oysters in Tyne Valley.
Pick up fresh oysters to take with you or choose from some mouthwatering oyster features on the pub-style menu.
3. Green Park Shipbuilding Museum
Centuries ago, Tyne Valley was an important shipbuilding area.
Learn about the area’s shipbuilding past at the Green Park Shipbuilding Museum, the restored Victorian house of James Yeo, a famous, and wealthy, shipbuilder in the area.
The museum tells the story of PEI’s shipbuilding past, with exhibits, artifacts and activities for the whole family.
4. Green Gable Alpacas
Also nearby is Green Gable Alpacas, which is home to a few dozen alpacas.
Stop in for an interactive tour of the farm and learn about these amazing creatures.
Then browse the gift shop which offers hand dyed yarns, cozy socks and mitts, as well as other alpaca products.
Farm tours and experiences must be booked online ahead of time, but the gift shop is open from 10-5 daily.
5. Jacques Cartier Provincial Park
One of the best beaches on PEI for families, Jacques Cartier Provincial Park is a quiet beach, boasting red sand and calm water.
And even if you don’t feel like spending a day on the beach, the panoramic views of the Gulf of St.Lawrence make this park one of the must-see stops on the North Cape Coastal Drive.
The most northern area of Prince Edward Island, North Cape is a remote and windy spot. Although it’s the namesake of this coastal drive, it’s one of the least visited areas of the province.
It’s also home to the longest natural rock reef on the continent! (My Wild Kratts-loving kids thought this was are really interesting fact.)
6. North Cape Wind Energy Interpretative Center
North Cape is home to the Wind Energy Institute of Canada and here you’ll find windmills of different sizes, some with towers up to 80 meters!
Admire the giant wind turbines, then head inside to the North Cape Wind Energy Interpretative Centre to learn more about wind energy. Displays provide information about wind energy and the significance of North Cape, and there is an aquarium as well.
Grab a bite to eat at the Wind and Reef Restaurant, then head outside to explore the Black Marsh Nature Trail. This 5.5km trail leads to the west side of the cape, where you’ll have views of the gorgeous red sand cliffs and the North Cape Light.
7. Skinner’s Pond
Skinners Pond is one of the popular stops on the North Cape Coastal Drive.
Home to the Stompin’ Tom Centre, Skinner’s Pond is the boyhood home of the famous Canadian folk-country singer. Tour the homestead and schoolhouse, or experience some live entertainment.
In the summer months, there are free daily performances, as well as other special events and weekend performances.
8. Howards Cove Waterfall
Being from Hamilton, which is the city of waterfalls, we can’t help but find them wherever we travel.
So when I came across this hidden gem of a waterfall at Howards Cove, I knew we had to make a stop to see it!
There’s also a small lighthouse, and while it’s not open to the public, some say it has one of the best views on the island.
9. West Point Lighthouse
In contrast to the short lighthouse at Howard’s Cove, West Point Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse on PEI and one of the must-see stops on the North Cape Coastal drive.
Rather than the traditional red and white paint that the rest of PEI’s lighthouses have, West Point Lighthouse is painted with large black and white stripes.
Visit the museum at the bottom of the lighthouse and then climb the five floors for some stunning views from the top of the Tower.
It’s a great spot to watch the sunset, or take a walk along the red sand beach, which is part of Cedar Dunes Provincial Park.
And for those looking for a unique place to stay, the West Point Lighthouse offers accommodations in the lighthouse.
It’s a popular place to stay though, so be sure to book ahead of time!
(We didn’t book in time so weren’t able to stay in a lighthouse, but friends of our did. You can read their review on staying in the Lighthouse here).
10. Canadian Potato Museum
Prince Edward Island has an excellent climate for growing potatoes, and this area of the island has plenty of potato farms. And since PEI is known for its’ potatoes, it makes sense that they have a potato museum!
Similar to the potato museum in Florenceville, NB, the Canadian Potato Museum in O’Leary offers a chance to learn about the mighty potato with exhibits and artifacts on potato machinery and potato farming.
Then stop in at the PEI Potato Country Kitchen for some interesting potato themed snacks, or browse the Potato Blossom Boutique for some unique gifts and souvenirs.
Be sure to get a photo with the world’s largest potato sculpture, right outside the front door!
11. Cap Egmont
The Cap Egmont lighthouse is one of the most popular stops in the Evangeline Region of the North Cape Coastal drive.
The lighthouse, with its blue base, red top and yellow star is decorated to honour the Acadian heritage of the region.
And perched on the edge of red sandstone cliffs with views of the Northumberland Strait, it makes for a great photo, so be sure to bring your camera!
12. Bottle Houses
The Bottle Houses of Wellington are a collection of three houses made entirely out of recycled bottles and other materials.
Beginning in 1980, Édouard Arsenault collected over 25,000 bottles of various shapes and sizes to create these unique buildings.
The three buildings include a house, a tavern and a chapel, which unfortunately wasn’t completed before he passed away, but is still a work of art. It’s especially stunning to see at sunset, when the light uillumates the bottles behind the altar.
The bottle houses have been featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not as well as 1000 Places to see before you die – it’s definitely one of the must-see stops on the the North Cape Coastal drive.
Summerside is the second largest city on PEI and is located right at the gateway to the North Cape Coastal Drive.
Take a walk along the boardwalk or, if the tide is out, venture out onto the beach to look for some sea glass.
If you’re feeling hungry, stop in at Samuel’s Coffee House for a fantastic cup of coffee and sandwich or try the Deckhouse Pub & Eatery for some fresh seafood.
And be sure to visit Holman’s Ice Cream Bar for some handcrafted, small-batch ice cream.
Where To Stay on the North Cape Coastal Drive
While it’s possible to drive the North Cape Coastal Drive in one day, you may want to take your time and explore the area a little more. If that’s the case, here are some great places to stay along the route!
Mill River Resort
Stay in style at Mill River Resort. This 4-season family resort along the North Cape Coastal Drive is one of PEI’s most unique resorts. Rooms are large and comfortable, and include all the amenities you would need, including a coffee maker, fridge and air conditioning. Suites and residences are also available, featuring a chef’s kitchen, open concept living area and laundry room.
Enjoy the challenging 18-hole golf course, hike and bike the trails throughout the resort or get out on the river – it’s a perfect spot to canoe, kayak or SUP. The resort also boasts a saltwater pool with a large waterslide, a hot tub and sauna, as well as a fitness room and Aveda spa. The on-site Callaghan’s Restaurant & Bar features a patio overlooking the golf course.
Tyne Valley Country Inn
Located in a historic home, the Tyne Valley Country Inn has spacious rooms and a shared lounge, as well as garden and barbecue facilities. Breakfast is included and will keep you full for the days activities. The inn is located on the edge of lovely Tyne Valley, one of the first stops on the North Cape Coastal drive that we mentioned above.
West Point Lighthouse
How often can you say you stayed in a lighthouse?
The West Point Lighthouse is a working lighthouse that also offers accommodations, with 11 guest rooms featuring seaside views and 2 rooms in the tower.
It is a popular places to stay though, so book ahead (or you’ll be out of luck like we were).
Loyalist County Inn & Conference Center
Located in Summerside, the Loyalist Country Inn & Conference Centre makes a good base to explore the west side of the island.
With an on-site restaurant and indoor pool, it’s a perfect choice for families. Rooms are clean and comfortable, with a fridge, coffee maker and air conditioning in each room.
It’s conveniently located downtown and close to everything Summerside has to offer.