Prince Edward County
Referred to as ‘the County’ by those in the know, Prince Edward County is one of Ontario’s most treasured holiday spots. Visitors flock to its sandy shores to soak up the laid back vibes of yesteryear, explore natural wonders, peruse antique stores and art galleries and feast on gourmet delights.
A world away from the big cities, the County is one of those dreamy destinations that conjures up memories of holidays gone by — of driving along country roads, rolling down giant dunes, stopping by quaint villages, diving into icy-cool water on a hot summer’s day, eating ice cream full of the flavours of the land and picking up fresh fruit from local carts.
Of course, there’s plenty for grown-ups in Prince Edward County too, from visiting wineries and doing a beer crawl along the famous Millennium Trail to staying in picture-perfect B&Bs and even scuba diving shipwrecks.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in Prince Edward County, scroll down or visit the area's tourism website.
Where is Prince Edward County?
Prince Edward County is located on the eastern shores of Lake Ontario. Not to be confused with Prince Edward Island, the County is an idyllic lakeside haven where the world slows down to tractor-pace and time is measured in memories, not moments.
Located between Toronto and Ottawa (two and three hours’ drive away, respectively), Prince Edward County makes for an ideal lakeside getaway or road-trip stopover. Visitors can fly into Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (YOW), Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL) or Kingston Norman Rogers Airport (YGK).
While driving is the best way to get out to the County—and to get around while you’re there—you can also take public transport to nearby Belleville. There are occasional buses out to Picton and Bloomfield, but you have to time it right or wait a while, as they only run a couple of times a day, Monday to Friday.
Things to Do in Prince Edward County
For such a laid-back destination, there are lots of things to do in Prince Edward County. From the moment you arrive, you’ll notice how the landscape changes and the beautiful buildings are reminiscent of times gone by. The towns are peaceful yet quirky, with independent boutiques and vintage shops nudging up against cafes and restaurants that are up there with the world’s best.
To make the most of your time, combine sightseeing with the Prince Edward County Countylicious, showcasing some of the island’s best wineries, breweries, and eateries. Alternatively, there’s the Arts Trail, where you can visit galleries and studios as you pass by the landscapes that have inspired artists for generations.
Outdoor lovers, kids and big kids alike will love exploring Prince Edward County’s parks and beaches. Home to some of Ontario’s most magical natural hotspots, like Lake on the Mountain, Little Bluff, and Sandbanks Provincial Park, there is also no end of secret places to discover.
While you’re out and about, don’t miss the opportunity to swing by some of the many farm stalls that line the country roads. Here, you can take your pick of produce and ensure your cents are going straight back into the community. Some even allow you to pick your own fruit, so you literally can take your pick! Just make sure you okay it with the farmers first.
Throughout the year, Prince Edward County also hosts many festivals, events and markets. The County Fair is arguably the most impressive, but there are plenty of others, including music festivals, food festivals and even a lavender festival. From spring to fall, you can visit the Saturday Picton Artisan Market or the weekend Farmers' Market in Wellington.
Prince Edward County Neighbourhoods & Districts
Encompassing over a thousand kilometers, Prince Edward County is divided into nine different districts, each with its charms. Bordering the Bay of Quinte and Lake Ontario, the County’s biggest districts are Ameliasburgh, Sophiasburgh and South Shore, which are famed for their scenic viewpoints, idyllic rural boltholes, thriving artistic communities and laid back villages.
In the middle of the island, the settlements of Picton, Bloomfield and Wellington make up the beating heart of Prince Edward County. Small in size, but not in stature, this is where most visitors set up a home base to explore the rest of the County.
The largest town in Prince Edward County, Picton is a good place to base yourself (with lots of amazing hotels to choose from) or treat yourself to a fantastic gourmet meal.
More of a big village than a town, Bloomfield is famed for its antique and vintage shopping, amazing food scene, funky art galleries and quirky vibe.
Between Wellington and Ameliasburgh, Hillier is the centre of the County’s thriving wine and craft beer industry.
The largest district in Prince Edward County, Ameliasburgh is known for its art galleries, stunning shoreline, historical spots, and maple trees.
One of the County’s most up-and-coming destinations, Sophiasburgh has a motley crew of farmers, artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs banding together to make local products and put their name on the map.
Giving a nod to the County’s Mohawk heritage, Waupoos—named after the Ojibwe word for rabbit—is home to the culturally significant Lake on the Mountain, along with fruit farms, cheesemakers and sunflower fields.
Where nature, history and culture collide, Prince Edward County’s south shore has everything from fossils to bird observatories, shipwrecks and quaint, character-filled hamlets.
Named after its biggest attraction, Sandbanks has many beautiful spots to discover and plenty of accommodation options.
Things to Know About Visiting Prince Edward County
Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to Prince Edward County, it’s nice to learn what the locals know about the area.