The hottest destination in Ontario right now is Prince Edward County. And, for good reason. With so many wineries, breweries, eateries, 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.

With so many things to do and attractions, I’ve pulled together the best of Prince Edward County. This list breaks down where to eat, what to do, and where to stay while in Prince Edward County.

Where is Prince Edward County

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. It is the halfway point from Toronto to Ottawa.

Jutting into the turquoise waters of Lake Ontario sits Prince Edward County. It covers much of the area between Brighton and Kingston. The main small towns in Prince Edward County are Picton, Bloomfield, and Wellington. There are a number of small communities that are dispersed around the island. Places like Hillier, Waupoos, and Carrying Place to name a few. 

Best of Prince Edward County

A top thing to do in Prince Edward County is to follow the 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.

Prince Edward County Restaurants

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. If you go from November to April, you will feel like you have it all to yourself. Here are a few standouts to check out: The Drake DevonshireEast & Main BistroThe Vic CaféThe Miller House Café & Brasserie, Jamie Kennedy Farm, The Marans, The Agrarian,  La Condesa, and Warning House. 

restaurant in Prince Edward County

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

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

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

Prince Edward County Wineries

If you love wine, then you’ll love Prince Edward County! As the second-largest wine region, there are a ton of county wineries 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.

3 wine glasses in Prince Edward County

Here are some of my favourites: Hinterland Wine CompanyGrange of Prince Edward Vineyards, Closson Chase Vineyards, The Old Third Vineyard, Karlo Estates, Casa DeaNorman Hardie, and Waupoos Estates and Winery.

Read more | Check out my guide to the Best Wineries in Prince Edward County 

Prince Edward County Ciders & Breweries

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

flight of 4 beer in Prince Edward County

Some of my favourites are: Barley Days BreweryParsons Brewing Company, 555 Brewing, The County Cider Company, Loch Mór Cider Company, and Lake on the Mountain Brewing Company.

Prince Edward County Coffee Shops

And if you’re looking for the perfect coffee shop to start your day in The County here are a few favourites: Enid Grace Culinary, Beacon Bike and Brew, The Bean Counter & Café, and Picnic Café.

Prince Edward County is a picturesque island jutting into Lake Ontario. Only a couple hours east of Toronto and couple hours west of Ottawa, it is a popular day trip or fun weekend getaway. With so many wineries, breweries, eateries, cute shops and galleries, there are endless things to do in Prince Edward County.

Read more | Check out my favourite Italian inspired café Enid Grace Culinary & Piccolina

Prince Edward County Shops

Some of the best places to go in Prince Edward County are Wellington, Bloomfield, and Picton. The top things to do are to visit the cute shops that line the main street.  Here are some of my favourites: Parlor Studio, Luna, Sunday’s Company, Kokito, Coriander Girl, Terra Florens, and KC’s Closet. 

Prince Edward County shops

If it’s antiques you’re after, be sure to check out: Dead People’s Stuff, MacCool’s Reuse, Wooden Wishe, and Retrospective. 

Prince Edward County shop

Beyond the main streets of Wellington, Bloomfield and Picton, be sure to seek out these shops:  Chetwyn Farms has an Alpaca shop called Shed, The Local Store – 130 local artists and artisans sell their work, Millefleurs – Lavender Farm and Meadery, and Prince Edward County Lavender.

Things to Do in Prince Edward County

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 while in the County. 

Head to the Beach at Sandbanks Provincial Park

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

Stroll along North Beach Provincial Park

beach 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. 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

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 seek out. 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).

Discover a Natural Wonder

lake in Prince Edward County

Lake on the Mountain is 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. Today, geologists believe the lake is the result of a collapsed sinkhole. It’s a great spot for a picnic. 

Photograph some 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 the County and in every colour. Forget #DoorsofInstragram or #CabinPorn – I think photographing barns is so much better. 

Find a Hidden Gem

lake ontario in Prince Edward County

One of the best-kept secrets in Prince Edward County 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 the perfect spot for sunrise and sunset watching.

Cycle The County

white barn 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 as it’s close proximity to the Millennium Trail. This 48-km former railroad winds through the County from Wellington to Picton. 

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.

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 ANDARA Gallery, 2gallery, Mad Dog Gallery, J.D. Thompson Fine Paintings, Sybil Frank Gallery, and Oneo Gallery

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. This is a popular thing to do in October to see the fall foliage. 

Places to Stay 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. 

Let’s start with the boutique inns and motels: Drake Devonshire, The Lakeside Motel, The June Hotel, The Wander Resort, The Wilfred Boutique Farmhouse, and Angeline’s Inn.

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.

And, if you like to rent a home then look further than these dreamy Airbnb properties. Check out my two recent Airbnb stays. The Coach House – an eclectic budget-friendly stay perfect for a couple right in Picton. Or,  Easterbrook – a French country stay in a 200-year old farmhouse perfect for larger groups. 

As a holidaymaker…

If you love small towns, friendly people and a thriving arts community head to Prince Edward County. Where 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, eclectic, Euro, and yes, a little bit country. That’s the best of Prince Edward County if you ask me. 

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  1. Oh My God! Your pictures of Prince Edward County give me the vibes to fly there straight away and explore all the places, try new cafes, go to art galleries and all. Prince Edward County: with its many wineries, eateries, and galleries, no wonder is my hot preference for sure. Thanks for this article.

  2. My mom is an antique collector and I am pretty sure we’d like a trip to PEC. Thank you for the tip. So excited to know there is so much to see and do. Bookmarking your post for future reference.

  3. I love wine, so that’s defintely a reason to have this on my wish list. And then ice cream is another favourite. But I think I would like to cycle around for hidden gems for sure. Prince Edward County looks so beautiful.

  4. I have not been to Prince Edward county yet, but looks like a lovely place. Your wine images are very inviting! I would love to do a scenic drive here and explore the Cherry Valley, Black River and lake Glenora. I will not miss the art trail! 🙂

  5. Seems like the County is my kind of destinations. I prefer small towns than big cities, and I like the shops and the scenic drive around the PEC. Stop at the barns along the road, find a hidden gem, I’m sold!

  6. I’ve heard of Prince Edward County before and I associate it with farmers’ markets and cheese. I didn’t know that this county has some of the best breweries and wineries in Canada. Now, I have a different perspective of it!

  7. Great guide, this is all I would need to plan the perfect weekend in Prince Edward County. I would absolutely love taking a scenic drive and stopping to photograph as many barns as possible. A morning walk at North Beach Provincial Park enjoying the dunes and beach grass sounds amazing too.

  8. It looks like you can’t go wrong with Prince Edward Country, wine and beer tasting – tick, art trail- tick, coffee shops – tick, the list is endless. I love that you can also get out on the river and although I don’t fish I would love to glide along and take in the beautiful scenery all around me.

  9. You had me at where to drink with so many breweries this place looks amazing! I keep saying Canada has so many places that surprise you. I have only been to Vancouver BC and hope to be able to explore more soon!

  10. I want to go back here again, it looks so quaint and peaceful and just ridiculously cute. Definitely somewhere to spend more time on my next Ontario trip. I’m not a wine fan but I’d be all over the breweries and lovely little shops. It still always confuses me that Ontario has beaches but no ocean, but the lakes are so big it feels like you could be looking at the ocean

    1. I’m so glad you would like to return. It’s a place I return to over and over again too. Always something to do in Prince Edward County.

  11. This island looks absolutely adorable! So quaint, with lots of great food and brewery options. And Point Petr looks gorgeous. I haven’t been to this part of Canada yet but I’d love to explore it.

  12. What a great place to visit. It certainly sounds like a perfect getaway for wine and food lovers. The lake on the mountain sounds interesting and somewhere I’d like to visit. Overall, I nice place for a weekend away.

  13. We got our first taste ever of Prince Edward County this fall. Shameful for people born in Ontario. But we know we will go back! We would definitely try out the wineries and breweries. Which means a stay in the local area. Sounds like we should definitely take our bikes with us!

    1. Most definitely, or rent them while there, but next time- spend a little while and explore a little more.

  14. I love that photo of the barn, I’d definitely see myself also doing the same and going on a barn-photo hunt! It looks like such an amazing, photogenic place and what a beautiful beach.

    1. Sarah, I think I have a photo of a barn in every colour! So many and such a pleasure to drive or cycle along the country roads and seek them out.

  15. Can’t wait to book a trip here some day. Seems like such a perfect local getaway – so relaxing and charming. I love that there’s a good brewery scene and the cute shops look perfect. Of course, the natural elements are awesome too!

    1. Thanks Riana, I’m sure you’d love the vibe here – so chill and laid back. And, many amazing breweries.

  16. This island is so cute! Love the rustic feel in the commercial places, restaurants and cafes. Yet the airbnb looks so chic and modern! I would definitely check out the wineries and breweries 👍🏻

    1. Thanks Jeremy for stopping by and commenting. So glad you like it, now you’ll just have to go and visit!

  17. Thank you for including Karlo Estates. We’re always delighted to host new friends. Come join us as to try our gold medal wines made by rockstar winemaker, Derek Barnet and find out why we were named among the top 20 wineries in Ontario.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I loved visiting your winery, getting a tour of your new ‘speak easy’ space – perfect for after dinner drinks and entertainment with friends. Your wines are delicious and your team is amazing.

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