Summer ‘Must-Dos’ on Canada’s Food Island

Summer on PEI invites a special kind of magic into the ether! ‘You have to make the most of it’ is the mantra every Islander and visitor lives by during the season of beach days, patio nights, dairy bar visits, and lobster roll indulgences!

To celebrate the arrival of summer, we’ve put together our Ultimate Summer ‘Must Dos’ List on Canada’s Food Island. And yes, it’s unabashedly food-centric, we know you’ll approve!

PEI Lobster Crawl

grilling lobster

Forget the classic pub crawl, on Canada’s Food Island we’ve got something even better…

New in 2023, the Legendary PEI Lobster Crawl is your easy-peasy and delicious way to discover our most famous crustacean.

Find Island restaurants with tasty dishes featuring PEI lobster, retail marketplaces that sell and ship PEI lobster, excursions you can go on to get hands-on experiences with PEI lobster and iconic lobster-themed events – all in one handy-dandy place!

Get all the deets here and start crawlin’

Dine at Blue Mussel Cafe 

The Blue Mussel Cafe (BMC) is a well-loved food destination for Islanders and visitors alike, thanks to the incredible trifecta of warm hospitality, stunning waterside views of Rustico Bay, and super fresh seafood and produce. Enjoy table service at the light and airy restaurant or order to-go from their Blue Roller and enjoy your eats at the nearby North Rustico Beach.

Pro tip: If you want to eat-in, bear in mind they don’t take reservations. Arrive before/after peak hours OR take a stroll around the charming village while you wait for your buzzer to buzz!

Check out the Blue Roller here

Try a Unique PEI Shellfish Experience 

Get your rubber boots and slickers on and get ready for a unique PEI Shellfish Experience with Joyce & Hubert Marchbank. The Marchbanks are bonafide PEI fishers with a  boatload of knowledge to share about all things shellfish! 

Book your on-the-water experience with them and learn all about quahogs, oysters, and other shellfish, while enjoying the waterscapes of western PEI. 

Check out our video tour!

Contact Joyce & Hubert Marchbank

Take Some Patio Time

Sometimes the best way to enjoy an afternoon is to make ZERO plans and just go with the flow. On PEI, that often means finding the nearest patio, ordering up a selection of cold beverages and soaking up the sunshine while you chat with your favourite people. Sounds pretty sweet, eh?  Trust us, it’s bliss.

Pssst, if you find yourself patio-ing it up in Charlottetown, consider levelling things up with a lil’ patio hopping around the very walkable downtown core. But, like, don’t force it. Only hop if it goes with the flow, you know…

PRO TIP: For waterside patio vibes, check out JC’s Tiki Bar in Charlottetown or The Knot in Summerside!

Fulfil Your Ice Cream Dreams

Hot summer days call for cool ice cream treats! Lucky for you, the Island has a whole slew of le-gen-dairy spots serving up indulgent cones of creamy goodness.

The PEI dairy bar is an experience unto itself. No matter where you are on the Island, you can ask a local where the best ‘dairy bar’ is. They’ll know exactly what you’re talking about and they’ll very likely have a strong opinion about where to go! Now, that being said, there are a couple of ‘famous’ PEI dairy bars, the first and foremost of which is the Frosty Treat in Kensington. The Richmond Dairy Bar in, you guessed it, Richmond, is also well-loved by many. There are, however, a whole whack of dairy bars across PEI and each has its own loyal following!

If you’re looking for a hit of nostalgia, epic flavour creations, and a beautiful setting for your ice cream experience, make sure you check out Holman’s Ice Cream Parlour in Summerside.

And, of course, a PEI summer isn’t complete until you’ve had a cone of our famous COWS Ice Cream! No matter what COWS location you land at, you’re sure to be wooed by the fun flavours, homemade waffle cones, and bevvy of punny merchandise on offer. And, yes, the ice cream is incredibly decadent but don’t let that stop you from getting a double scoop.

Dig into a PEI Lobster Supper AND a PEI Lobster Roll

Earlier we mentioned the PEI Lobster Crawl. Well, while you’re out ‘crawling’, we humbly suggest you indulge in two classic PEI lobster experiences – The PEI Lobster Supper and the PEI Lobster Roll.

There are plenty of variations on the PEI lobster supper, all involving a feast of PEI lobster along with fixins’ such as steamed mussels, fresh rolls, PEI potatoes, and dessert. You can endeavour to put together your own lobster supper, find a way to snag an invite to someone else’s lobster boil OR dine out! When it comes to a classic PEI lobster supper, you can’t go wrong at New Glasgow Lobster Suppers, they’ve been serving up this Island treat for 65 years! Or, if you prefer a buffet-style experience, check out Fisherman’s Wharf in North Rustico!

Every Islander has their own (generally strong) opinion on what makes for a great lobster roll. Some prefer a minimalist approach, while others prefer a saucier experience. What everyone can agree on is that it HAS to be packed full of PEI lobster and the butter bun has got to hold its own under the weight of that lobster. You’ll find PEI lobster rolls gracing menus at restaurants, cafes, and seafood shacks from tip-to-tip. We’re not going to dare wade into the debate about who has the best lobster roll on PEI, all we’ll say is we have the best lobster in the world!

Explore the Island Walk 

The Island Walk is nothing short of epic. This 700 km walking trail loops around PEI and takes approximately 32 days to complete if you walk 20-25 kilometres per day. Don’t have that much time or stamina? No worries, you can enjoy a section or sections of the Island Walk, which will take you along the red cliffs, much of the Confederation Trail, beaches, red dirt roads, and quiet secondary roads.

The trail intertwines through PEI’s two major cities, Charlottetown and Summerside, as well as through many small communities throughout the Island.

Plan Your Island Walk

5/15 Fermentation Trail

Located in Central Coastal PEI, the 5/15 Fermentation Trail features five of Prince Edward Island’s incredible craft beverage makers, each within a 15-minute drive of the next! 

The trail includes stops at Deep Roots Distillery, Island Honey Wine Company, Barnone Brewery, Riverdale Orchard & Cidery, and Matos Winery. This is a self-guided tour and you are encouraged to enjoy it at your own pace, while also ensuring you have a sober driver to chauffeur you around!

Watch the Video

Learn More About the Trail

Tyne Valley Oyster Festival

Slurpin’ PEI  oysters and stompin’ along to incredible bands, that’s the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival in a nutshell (or an oyster shell, if you will).

That’s right, the festival is actually TWO big celebrations packed into 5 full days – the Rock the Boat MusicFest and the Canadian Oyster Shucking Championship. And really, what better pairing is there than PEI oysters and rock music?!

This community-driven festival has been running since 1973. And you can bet your bottom dollar, it’s become THE party of the summer for Western PEI. Be there or be square. 

Learn More About the Festival

Enjoy New PEI Potatoes As They Were Meant to be Eaten

Boiled, tossed in a little butter and sprinkled with a dash of salt and pepper. In our humble opinion, that’s how newly harvested PEI potatoes are meant to be enjoyed. August is prime time here on PEI for getting your first fill of new PEI potatoes – make sure you buy more than you think you’ll eat, because they are addictive!

Get Yourself to the Fall Flavours Food & Drink Festival

PEI’s premiere culinary festival is celebrating its 15th anniversary and you’re invited!  All sorts of exciting changes are in store this year and we just know you’re going to love everything about the 2023 edition.

For starters, the Festival will be held over a concentrated two-week period in early October. 

With a wide array of larger-scale and intimate events, unique excursions, and interactive experiences, the 2023 festival will offer up something for every taste and budget.

Learn More About the Festival

Picnic on the Beach

Make your own picnic plans for the beach or elevate your experience and leave the planning to Cordial Picnics. Either way, you’re in for a treat!

If you decide to do it yourself, consider picking up your picnic goodies at one of PEI’s local farmers’ markets or a local food shop, such as Kent Street Market. Those in the Cavendish area may want to stop in at the Olde Village Bakery in North Rustico, we hear they have charcuterie and cheese boxes along with scrumptious pastries! 

If you opt to leave the planning to Cordial Picnics, get ready to be pampered! Also, be sure to bring your camera with you, because you’re going to want to capture the beautiful setting they create for your ultimate PEI picnic. 

An Unforgettable Farm-to-Table Experience

The bounty of PEI’s harvest is at its peak in the summer months (and early fall!). You can certainly enjoy the fruits of our farmers’ and fishers’ labour at many Island restaurants, where chefs are often dedicated to sourcing locally.

If you want to take it up a notch, however, a true farm-to-table experience awaits at the Inn at Bay Fortune’s Fireworks restaurant or The Table Culinary Studio in New London. 

Created by Chef Michael Smith and hosted by his ‘fire brigade’, Fireworks is a culinary experience like no other. Delivered over a four-hour period, it includes a culinary farm tour, oyster hour, sabre toast with sparkling wine, a sit-down multi-course meal (all cooked with fire) and a house-made marshmallow roast!  The featured ingredients in every element are harvested from their Culinary Farm, foraged nearby or sourced from local farmers and fishers.

The Table Culinary Studio is located in a beautifully renovated country church overlooking pastoral farmlands in the tiny village of New London. Led by award-winning Executive Chef Hunter Guindon, each week’s new seven-course menu is entirely inspired by the bounty of ingredients available for harvest in the area. Hyper-local and always innovative, an evening at The Table is one of the PEI summer memory books!  

Visit a Roadside Vegetable Stand

Skip the grocery store and go straight to the source when you visit one of the Island’s many roadside vegetable stands. Some will specialize in one product (usually potatoes!), while others will feature a selection of in-season vegetables, fruits, and other delicious farm goods. Make sure you have cash on hand, as many of these little spots don’t take credit or debit.

Go Deep Sea Fishing

Here on PEI, when we say it’s ‘fish for your supper’ night, we’re not talking about fishing around the fridge for leftovers. We mean it quite literally – go fish around in ocean waters and reel in your meal!

Don’t know a PEI fisher that’ll take you out in their boat? No worries, there are several deep-sea fishing outfits across the Island that will happily show you the ropes on their boat and help you sort out your dinner plans.

Check out our tour with Joey’s Deep Sea Fishing in Rustico

Attend the PEI International Shellfish Festival

It’s a shell-ebration like no other when the PEI International Shellfish Festival sets up in Charlottetown for 4 days of seriously epic food, music, and competition that you don’t want to miss.

During the day, the Festival plays host to high-calibre and high-stakes industry competitions including oyster shucking, a mussel sock tying championship, a potato chowder competition and and the not-to-be-missed Garland Canada International Chef Showdown! 

At night, the lights go down and the volume goes up under the Festival’s ‘big white tent’. That means it’s time to dance the night away to the tunes of incredible bands that know how to amp up the party!

Learn more about the festival


That’s all we have for now, friends, but it’s a fact that the list of things to do on PEI during the summer is a mile-long. We could have gone on and on and on, but then you’d still be sitting here reading this blog instead of getting out and enjoying Canada’s Food Island. Cheers to that!

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