Prince Edward Island (PEI) is justifiably famous for its long stretches of beaches. The Cavendish area beaches and Brackley Beach are tourist favourites; I prefer the off the beaten path Greenwich section of PEI National Park. In 1998 Greenwich became part of the National Park because of its large parabolic sand dunes, the endangered piping plover and many rare plants.

I loved the Greenwich section of PEI National Park because of its boardwalks, beaches and sand dunes – and there weren’t many people.

"Boardwalks through the Greenwich section of PEI Nat'l Park"

Boardwalks through the Greenwich section of PEI Nat’l Park

"Floating boardwalk on the Greenwich Dunes Trail"

Floating boardwalk on the Greenwich Dunes Trail

Greenwich is accessed via Highway 313 out of the town of St. Peters, less than an hour’s drive from Charlottetown. Buy your park pass at the interpretation center (bikers are free!) for $7.80 per adult and spend at least 30 minutes checking out the displays. I took simple pleasure in trying to guess the bird type from the assorted stuffed ones and felt like a kid walking over the giant 3D map. Then you have some tough decisions to make. Which beach do you want to explore? Greenwich Beach is a kilometer from the Interpretation Centre, accessed via a .75 km boardwalk. We chose the 4.5 km return trip to visit the Greenwich Dunes and beach.

"End of the Greenwich Dunes Trail"

End of the Greenwich Dunes Trail

"Parabolic dunes"

Parabolic dunes

It’s an easy walk to get to the dunes and the section over the floating boardwalk is particularly beautiful. (Do not bring your dog on this trail.) If I’d known more beforehand I would have brought a picnic lunch and a bathing suit. There are about six kms of lovely clean beach with very few people about.

"Beach in the Greenwich section of PEI National Park"

Beach in the Greenwich section of PEI National Park

Two other trails offer hiking possibilities. Havre Saint Pierre is a short 1.25 km walk that explains the history of St. Peters Bay and the cultured mussel industry. The other hike on Tlaqatik Trail is an easy 4.5 kilometres. Enjoy great vistas of the very scenic St. Peters Bay and follow the interpretive signs to get a cultural overview of the area. Bring a pair of binoculars and try to catch a view of the endangered piping plover too.

"Piping plover"

Piping plover

Other PEI posts you might find useful:

Leigh McAdam

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
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Photo credit: Plover

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