Prince Edward County Attractions: Your Ultimate Guide

The hottest destination in Ontario right now is Prince Edward County. And, for good reason – there are endless Prince Edward County attractions!

With so many wineries, breweries, eateries, and charming towns with cute shops and galleries, it’s no wonder it has quickly become THE sought-after weekend getaway. Even Condé Nast Traveller calls it Canada’s Coolest Island Hideout

Only a couple of hours east of Toronto and a couple of hours west of Ottawa, Prince Edward County is a popular day trip or fun weekend getaway from either destination.

This is your ultimate Prince Edward County guide!
I will cover the:
✔️towns in Prince Edward County you’re going to want to visit
✔️top things to do in Prince Edward County you’re going to want to experience
✔️best places to visit in Prince Edward County you’re going to want to hang out
✔️best places to stay in Prince Edward County

Summary: Prince Edward County Attractions

stream, barn in prince edward county attractions

Prince Edward County, or “PEC”, as it is often referred to, or the locals simply call it “the County,” is one of Ontario’s prime travel destinations.

Wondering what to do in Prince Edward County? There’s a lot! So before we dive in, here’s your quick, at-a-glance look at the best of Prince Edward County attractions.

Towns in Prince Edward County

  • Wellington Ontario
  • Bloomfield Ontario
  • Picton Ontario

Hamlets in PEC

  • Hillier
  • Waupoos
  • Cherry Valley

Things to do in Prince Edward County

  • Taste Trail
  • Art Studio Trail
  • Millennium Trail
  • Shops, antiques

Places to Visit in Prince Edward County

  • Restaurants, Coffee Shops
  • Wineries, Breweries, Ciders
  • Sandbanks Provincial Park
  • Lake on the Mountain

I’ve taken a Prince Edward County day trip almost annually since 2006- yep, that’s nearly 20 years! Plus, I’ve made three long weekend trips to The County. So I’m happy to share some of my favourites with you.

Now, keep reading for all your Prince Edward County what to do details.

Towns in Prince Edward County

Picton Ontario – the largest town in Prince Edward County

Picton has a vibrant downtown lined with endless shops and restaurants. But it is also the busiest of all the towns.

Beyond the downtown, visit Picton Harbour, a popular spot where many arrive by boat.

Wellington Ontario – the next largest town in Prince Edward County

Wellington is located on the north shore of Lake Ontario and is one that most people coming from Toronto will stop at. It has a much smaller downtown than Picton but has a couple of sought-after eateries.

There is Wellington Beach, which is part of Sandbanks Provincial Park. But most will know Wellington as the town closest to the Prince Edward Couty wineries.

Bloomfield Ontario – the smallest town in Prince Edward County

Bloomfield is the town that most will see before they get to Picton. To me, it’s the most charming of the three.

Tiny Hamlets in Prince Edward County to Visit

  • Hillier: known for hosting the majority of the wineries in Prince Edward County
  • Waupoos: known for having the first cidery in Prince Edward County and where you can find the Lake on the Mountain conservation area
  • Cherry Valley: known for the camping spot for Sandbanks Provincial Park and an overall scenic area

Things to Do in Prince Edward County

Prince Edward County shop

Part of the attraction of Prince Edward County is that life seems to slow down a little.

As soon as you leave the busy highway and cross over onto the island you will immediately feel it. The landscape is nothing but flat grassy farmland with soft shades of green and yellow against a blue sky.

Here are the top things to do Prince Edward County style.

3 Prince Edward County Experiences

1. Eat Your Way Through The County on the Taste Trail

ice cream in couple hands detail of ice cream in couple hands ice cream cone stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

A top thing to do in Prince Edward County is to follow the self-guided Taste Trail.

Discover some of the best food, drink, and ice cream while in The County. Whether at a farm stand, vineyard, or table you’ll experience the local bounty The County is best known for.

For foodies, this has to be the best things to do in Prince Edward County Ontario!

A visit to Prince Edward County in the summer is not complete without stopping for ice cream at Slickers, one of the participants on the Taste Trail. With two locations, one in Picton and the original Slickers location in Bloomfield.

Slickers is known for using locally sourced ingredients. Maybe that’s why they are often referred to as one of Ontario’s best ice cream places. Slickers offer some delicious flavours like rhubarb ginger (my favourite) and vanilla brownie caramel (my husband’s favourite).

2. Follow the Prince Edward County Studio Trail

Prince Edward County has a thriving arts community.

It offers year-round studios and galleries featuring amazing works in sculpture, paintings, glass, ceramics, and photography. Download the Arts Trail map and plan your own tour.

Watch for the distinctive blue Arts Trail signs as you drive along the scenic country roads.

Some of my favourites are: 

3. Hike or Cycle the Millennium Trail

white barn in things to do in Prince Edward County

Cycling along the flat rural roads makes this a fun activity to do in Prince Edward County.

County bike rentals can be found in Wellington because of its proximity to the Millennium Trail. This 48-km former railroad winds through the County from Wellington to Picton. Don’t feel like renting a bike, this trail is an excellent spot for going for a hike.

Or, take the Sip and Cycle wine tour taking you an 18-km route and visiting a few of the local Prince Edward County wineries along the way.

Shop ’til You Drop in Prince Edward County

Prince Edward County shops
Sadly, Coriander Girl is closing in April 2024

Each of the three towns is worth going to to visit the shops that line the main street.

Here are some of my favourites:

If it’s antiques you are after, check out these shops:

Beaches in Prince Edward County

beach in Prince Edward County

Some of the largest and best beaches can be found in Sandbanks Provincial Park.

Soft golden sand, sand dunes, and pebble beaches offer visitors multiple spots in The County to enjoy a beach day.

Crystal clear turquoise water just like you would find in the Caribbean. Spending a day at the beach is without a doubt, the best Prince Edward County things to do in summer.

Sandbanks Provincial Park is the top attraction in Prince Edward County as it is rated as one of the top beach destinations in Ontario.

North Beach Provincial Park

beach in prince edward county

North Beach Provincial Park is a thin stretch of sandy beach with Lake Ontario on one side and the calm waters of North Bay on the other. This Prince Edward County beach is much quieter than Sandbanks Provincial Park.

It offers an easy 2.5 km loop trail and is dog-friendly. It’s the perfect spot to come for a picnic with day pass access. 

Take the Scenic Route in Prince Edward County

old fashion gas station and truck in Prince Edward County

Let’s face it, all the roads in The County are scenic.

But here are some standouts to jump in the car and go for a drive.

  • Milford, Cherry Valley, and Black River on County Roads 10, 13, and Miller Road.
  • Glenora, Lake on the Mountain, and Waupoos on County Roads 7 and 8.
  • Carrying Place, Ameliasburgh and Consecon on Highway 62
  • Lakeside Drive
  • Loyalist Parkway (Hwy 33)

Photograph Some Old Barns

barn in Prince Edward County

There’s something about barns. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.

From the old and weathered to the new and modern they are all over Prince Edward County and in every colour.

Forget #DoorsofInstragram or #CabinPorn – I think photographing barns is so much better. 

Find Hidden Gems in Prince Edward County

lake ontario in Prince Edward County

One of the best-kept secrets and hidden gems Prince Edward County has is Point Petre.

Enjoy the pebble beach and the flat limestone ledges leading you out to the crystal-clear water of Lake Ontario. It’s also the best sunset Prince Edward County spot (sunrise too!).

Another hidden gem just outside of Picton is Birdhouse City. This dog-friendly conservation area, a favourite of my dog, is home to you guessed it bird houses. Bird watchers will want to come here and see over 100 species of birds that find their homes here in whimsical birdhouses.

Sail Away

lake with reflection of trees in Prince Edward County

Why not see Prince Edward County from the water?

You can arrange a fishing boat charter or a sailboat charter out of Picton Harbour. Or take the free Glenora Ferry that shuttles you to and from the west side of The County to the east side.

It’s one of the best things to do in PEC in October to see the fall foliage, and it’s a gorgeous way to experience Prince Edward County.

Best Places to Visit in Prince Edward County

Now for the best Prince Edward County places to visit. These include restaurants, wineries, cideries and coffee shops.

Eat at Some of the Best Restaurants in Prince Edward County

restaurant in Prince Edward County

There are so many great places to eat in Prince Edward County.

If you are visiting The County on the weekend or during the summer, make sure you make reservations as this little county fills up quickly, and I would hate for you to miss out on some of these amazing places to eat.

If you go from November to April, you will feel like you have it all to yourself, there are very few crowds.

Seeing I’ve come to The County for nearly 20 years, I’ve tried many restaurants over that time. Unfortunately, some of my favourites have come and gone, like East and Main Bistro. But don’t worry, there are still lots of good ones, and new ones popping up all the time.

Here are the places I recommend:

Prince Edward County Wineries

3 wine glasses in Prince Edward County

If you love wine, then you’ll love Prince Edward County!

As the second-largest wine region, right after the Niagara region which includes Niagara on the Lake, there are a ton of wineries in Prince Edward County to visit.

Renovated old barns have been turned into cool tasting rooms. You don’t have to join a wine tour to experience some of the best wineries in Prince Edward County. Simply pop in, and sip away.

Here are some of my favourites, which I always buy a bottle or two to bring back home:

Prince Edward County Brewery & Ciders

flight of 4 beer in Prince Edward County

Not a wine lover? That’s okay, as craft breweries and ciders are just as popular.

Some of my favourites (well, more my husband’s favourites) are:

Prince Edward County Coffee Shops

cafe sign with ivy in prince edward county ontario

And if you’re looking for the perfect coffee shop to start your day in The County, there is no shortage of those either.

My absolute favourite is Enid Grace Culinary! It’s the best Piccolina Mercato shop that can be found in Wellington. It’s more than just a coffee shop, it will transport you to Italy. To see and read more, check out my article featuring the best coffee shop in Prince Edward County.

Others to visit, that my husband recommends include:

Lake on the Mountain: a Natural Wonder

lake in Prince Edward County

What to see in Prince Edward County is called Lake on the Mountain, and it’s an unexplained natural phenomenon.

Just as the name indicates, it is a lake that sits high on a mountain. It has a constant flow of clear freshwater, with no explained water source about 62 metres above Lake Ontario. You have to see it to believe it!

Today, geologists believe the lake is the result of a collapsed sinkhole. It’s a great spot for a picnic, and to enjoy the views.

Where to Stay in Prince Edward County

A French Country stay at Easterbrook, an Airbnb located in the popular Ontario destination of Prince Edward County. This family and dog friendly property rental is perfect for large group stays in Prince Edward County.

Prince Edward County offers an array of options from boutique inns to Airbnbs to renovated hip motels. With so many choices, here are a few for you to check out. 

Prince Edward County Hotels

Let’s start with the boutique inns and motels: 

And, if you like to rent a home then look further than these dreamy Airbnb properties. 

FAQ: Best of Prince Edward County

Where is Prince Edward County, Ontario?

Prince Edward County is located in southeastern Ontario, Canada about the halfway point between Toronto and Ottawa. Situated on the northern shore of Lake Ontario, it covers much of the area between Brighton and Kingston.

How far is Prince Edward County from Toronto?

Prince Edward County is approximately 200 kilometres (124 miles) east of Toronto. The drive takes around 2 hours.

How to travel from Ottawa to Prince Edward County?

The best way is by car, taking approximately 3 hours to cover the approximately 270 kilometres (168 miles) between Ottawa and Prince Edward County.

What is Prince Edward County known for?

Prince Edward County is known for its picturesque scenery, charming small towns, excellent wineries, artisanal food, and vibrant arts scene.

How do you spend a day in Prince Edward County?

Grab a coffee from The Vic Cafe, visit the Sandbanks Provincial Park, have lunch at one of the Drake Devonshire, taste wine at Norman Hardie, and end the day stargazing at Lake on the Mountain.

When is the best time to visit Prince Edward County?

Prince Edward County is a popular tourist destination year-round, but the best time to go is between May and October for warmer weather and outdoor activities, wine tours, and festivals.

Which is better Prince Edward County or Niagara on the Lake?

Both Prince Edward County and Niagara-on-the-Lake are charming destinations with great wine, food, and scenery. It depends on your preferences – PEC is more laid-back, while NOTL has more history and attractions.

As a Holidaymaker

So, if you love small towns, friendly people, and a thriving arts community take a day trip to Prince Edward County.

You will be treated to some delicious farm-to-table food and wines, craft beers, and ciders.

All the spaces – whether it be the eateries, wineries, shops or accommodations have a similar vibe. It’s a little bit vintage, and eclectic, and has that cool factor without trying to be. That’s the best of Prince Edward County if you ask me. 

If you love day trips just list this one, I specialize in small Ontario towns. Since you are east of Toronto, I recommend you read this next article:

To have easy access to all of my articles visit my Canada Travel page for all of my local content and resources.