Canada is a huge country, yet its smallest province, Prince Edward Island, packs a big punch as a golf destination.
With more than 400 Fairways, all within an easy drive of one another, PEI is an idyllic golf vacation spot in the country's Maritimes, especially for those looking to escape the searing summer heat.
Its cool island breezes, incredible seafood, friendly locals and pubs and miles of beaches lure visitors from around the globe each year. It became famous as the setting for Lucy Maud Montgomery's 1908 novel "Anne of Green Gables," beckoning fans of the book to make the journey to see where Anne had her adventures (in fact, the home is visible from one of the fairways at Green Gables Golf Club).
If you’re looking for an ideal place to tee it up this summer, it doesn't get much better than this beautiful island province. You could spend close to a whole month on PEI and play a different course each day.
Why Prince Edward Island? See for yourself
There are so many reasons to come to PEI. A big one for value-oriented golfers: green fees are all much less than $100 USD! You can stay at local hotels for around $125 a night, and Golf PEI offers all kinds of stay-and-play packages that can save you even more.
The golf here is exceptional, highlighted by the island's premier course, The Links at Crowbush Cove. This Thomas McBroom design is ranked No. 12 in Canada according to Golf Digest and No. 33 according to Score Golf. With ocean views on half the golf course, it doesn't get any better than this site of the 1998 Skins Game between Mark O'Meara, John Daly, Fred Couples and Canada's own Mike Weir.
There's also Glasgow Hills, full of elevated tees and doglegs; Green Gables, a historic national parks course designed by Stanley Thompson; and Dundarave Golf Course, a Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry design with distinctive red sandstone bunkers. And this is just the beginning.
If you like seafood, there might not be a better spot in the world. PEI’s fertile waters are renowned for mussels, oysters, clams and lobsters. If you love shellfish, this is definitely a bucket-list destination.
The rest of the culinary scene is top notch, too. The Prince Edward Island Culinary Trail has close to 50 stops on it, ranging from Anne of Green Gables Chocolates to the Downtown Charlottetown Farmers Market. And in addition to the seafood, PEI also has great steaks at places like Sim's Corner Steakhouse & Oyster Bar, located in the historic downtown core of Charlottetown, the provincial capital.
As for the 19th hole, PEI’s craft beer is among the best in the world, too. You could start with a tour of the historic Gahan House Brewery. Craft beers are available throughout the island in the pubs and the golf courses.
Customize your golf package
With the vast amount of courses all within an easy distance of one another, the package options are endless, and Golf PEI can build you your own customized golf package.
You can stay a couple of nights or a week. You can play two or three courses or every course on the island if you want and stay a couple of weeks. Your itinerary is entirely up to you, and you can always tap into Golf PEI’s local expertise to guide you.
You can also go peruse the great selection of prepackaged golf trips from GolfPEI. These packages start as low as $268 CAN for two days and three rounds, while other packages can be as long as a week for as little as $478.
For example, the Cavendish Package comes with unlimited golf at Green Gables and Anderson Creek and a round at either Eagles Glenn or Glasgow Hills, plus seven nights of accommodations.
You can also book spa/couples packages, arrange for ground transportation or add other activities such as the Top Notch Lobster Tour or Tranquility Cove Adventures.
What the experts have to say about PEI
"This summer paradise proved to be full of friendly people, value golf, fresh seafood and fast-acting firewater." – Matt Ginella, Golf Advisor editor-at-large
"The golf and cultural experience was so deep, so fascinating that I cannot wait to make a return visit. – Matt Adams, Fairways of Life
"With nearly 30 courses, golf on Prince Edward Island is abundant -- but also affordable." – Brandon Tucker, managing editor, Golf Advisor
So much more than golf
Even if you're not a huge fan of horse racing, you'll still want to check out the Red Shores Racetrack & Casino in Charlottetown in the summertime. This is one of the premier harness-racing facilities in the world.
Red Shores is believed to be the oldest continuously racing track in Canada, dating back to 1886. In 2005, the current facility opened. This 50,000-square-foot entertainment complex includes the three-tier Top of the Park Restaurant, a new grandstand and a casino with slots and table games as well as a tribute to harness racing families and racing history in PEI.
If you love ice cream (and who doesn't?) be sure to stop by Cows Ice Cream, which started in Cavendish and has expanded to several locations. The recipes date back more than 100 years, and it's been voted "World's Best" by Taulk World Travel.
If you go to the Creamery on Capital Drive, you can also take a self-guided tour, sample the flavors or buy a T-shirt or other gifts.
Finally, be sure to check out The Myriad View Moonshine Distillery. (PEI endured prohibition longer than any location in North America – until 1948). It's been a tradition to sip a little "'Shine" at weddings, funerals, etc.
At the Myriad View Distillery, you can take a tour and sample a few products, which include Strait Shine or the other spirits they distill such as gin, vodka, rum and whiskey.
Golf Advisor insider tips
Your US dollar is going to stretch in Canada this summer. The current exchange rate is $1.28 US to $1 CAD.
Looking for a family golf vacation destination? Kids play FREE on PEI with a paid adult after 3pm!
Love PEI mussels? Go straight to the source. At Glasgow Hills Resort & Golf Club, for example, they serve up complimentary mussels after your round, and you'll be hard-pressed to find fresher ones anywhere in the world.
Mill River is the most remote of the courses on PEI. But it's just a 90 minute drive from the capital city of Charlottetown. Stay in a central location near Charlottetown and nearly all of the remaining courses are within a 35-minute drive.
How to get to PEI
So how do you get to this little slice of maritime golf paradise? There are direct flights on Air Canada (part of Star Alliance) into PEI's capital city of Charlottetown (YYG) from several Canadian cities, including Halifax (YHZ), Montreal (YUL), Toronto (YYZ) and, on a seasonal basis, Ottawa (YOW). WestJet also provides direct flights from Toronto.
Want to learn more or start building your custom golf package? Start here at GolfPEI.com.