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Prince Edward Island has debuted a 435-mile walking trail, so travelers can circumnavigate the postcard-perfect province (or a portion of it, at least)!
The Island Walk traces the outer perimeter of PEI, and it’s a route that’s laced with charming small towns, bucolic farmland and miles of scenic beaches. PEI is the country’s smallest island and it’s also known as “Canada’s food island” thanks to a bounty of fresh produce and the delicious seafood it’s famous for, including PEI oysters and mussels. (To put it another way, there’s plenty of tasty stops along the route.)
The new route is ideal for both seasoned hikers and casual walkers who want to slow down and witness the idyllic scenery. The Island Walk has a mix of inland and coastal sections and includes red dirt roads, beaches and quiet streets as well as much of the Confederation Trail, which runs tip to tip on the island.
If you were to complete the full 435-mile route, it would take about 32 days at a pace of 12 to 15 miles per day. But the trail is broken up into 32 sections, with day trips that you can conquer with sneakers and a backpack.
The route, which debuted in September 2021, appeals to those who want to be more mindful travelers. According to research from Expedia, nearly 50% of travelers say physical and mental wellness is the top benefit of travel.
PEI’s Island Walk joins famous walking trails around the world like Spain’s Camino de Santiago, the John Muir Trail in the United States and the Shikoku Pilgrimage in Japan.
“Just like the Camino de Santiago, the Island Walk will give you the time to slow down and be present in your thoughts and daily journey, while experiencing the simple beauty of the island around you,” said Bryson Guptill, Island Walk creator, in a news release.
The path includes PEI’s two major cities, Charlottetown (pictured below) and Summerside, as well as many rural communities. Partnering inns and hotels offer accommodations and luggage transfer services along the way.
Some highlights along or near the route include community festivals in Tyne Valley, which hosts a summer Oyster Festival and Rock the Boat MusicFest, and craft breweries with water views in Montague. You can get your fill of maritime charm in Victoria-by-the-Sea, which is perched on PEI’S South Shore (the Victoria Seaport Lighthouse Museum is pictured above). And in O’Leary, a farming region, you can tour the Canadian Potato Museum.
Ready to hit the trail? Tourism officials say mid-May to late October are the best times to walk. July and August are peak tourism months, so lodging is in higher demand on the island. October has the added perk of fall colors.