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, with world-class beaches, resorts and inns, sticky summer treats and an abundance of places to cycle or paddle.
In summer, visitors flock to its sandy shores to soak up the laid-back vibes, explore natural wonders, peruse antique stores and art galleries and feast on gourmet delights.
In fall and winter, The County is a world away from the big cities. Visitors have a chance to see a different side of The County: there's more time to get to know the area's winemakers, brewers and distillers, shop quaint villages, experience the agricultural side of The County or walk quiet nature trails or snowshoe the Millennium Trail.
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.
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. Historic homes and 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 a visit to some of the island’s best wineries, breweries, and eateries. Or take in a new County experience: spend time with alpacas, horses, sheep or bees, or take a forest walk and forage items for an encaustic work of art.
Outdoor enthusiasts, 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 and Sandbanks Provincial Park, there are dozens of ways to get on the water in all seasons.
While you’re out and about, don’t miss the opportunity to swing by some of the many farm stands 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!
Throughout the year, Prince Edward County also hosts many festivals, events and markets. Watch for the lineup from Festival Players, PEC Jazz Fest, Comedy Country, Sandbanks Music Festival, as well as Ice Box and Flashback February.
Prince Edward County Neighbourhoods & Districts
Encompassing more than 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 draws are Hillier and Wellington, home to one of the province's newest VQA wine regions, the shopping and dining in Picton, and Waupoos, where visitors will find cheese, wine, blueberries, cider, sunflowers and more.
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.
Surrounded by wineries, Wellington is a relaxed, arty spot with a brewery in the heart of town and a weekly farmers' market.
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 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.
Waupoos—named after the Ojibwe word for rabbit—is home to the culturally significant Lake on the Mountain, along with the oldest cidery in The County, 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, it’s nice to learn what the locals know about the area.
Where to snap a great Instagram pic
Where to watch the sunset
Head to Slake Brewing, perched atop a ridge outside of Picton, with unparalleled views of The County. Sunsets are particularly spectacular. Fall colours explode in October, creating a scene guaranteed to make your insta followers green with envy.
When to sample The County's first harvest
In March, visit one of a dozen sugar shacks, where maple syrup producers pair their sweet, sticky syrup with pancakes, waffles, pulled pork and more. Wineries and restaurants get in on the action, offering maple-themed cocktails and treats.
Where to get creative
Try PAUSE: a forest and art experience. Take a forest bath with a local herbalist and learn about ancient uses for the plants at your feet while gathering mementos to add to a collage inspired by your walk. Encaustic artist Susan Wallis welcomes guests to her studio, inside the historic barracks at the former Camp Picton, where wax and found objects mix for an unforgettable one-of-a-kind work of art.
Where to snowshoe
Grab your woollies and head for the Millennium Trail, a 46-km former rail bed that stretches the length of The County. Or do a loop through the vineyards at Sugarbush Winery or tramp a trail to the far reaches of the grapevines at Three Dog Winery.
Last updated: March 10, 2022