Prince Edward County is one of Ontario’s premier destinations! It’s perfect for a girls’ weekend, for a couple’s retreat, and for a family getaway. But how about for a solo adventure traveller? I spent three days exploring Prince Edward County as a solo adventure traveller and here are all the things to do in Prince Edward County to have fun on a solo trip.
NOTE: Travel is not recommended at this time. These posts are here to serve as inspiration when we can explore again. Hey there – this post likely contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them. This helps me earn a few dollars to run this website.
Where is Prince Edward County?
Prince Edward County – aka The County – is a peninsula located on the eastern shores of Lake Ontario smack dap in the middle of Toronto and Montreal (okay, it’s a little closer to Toronto…)
You can get to Prince Edward County by car and is located 2.5 hours from Toronto Pearson International Airport, 3 hours from Ottawa’s Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, and 3.5 hours from the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport.
Why is Prince Edward County so popular?
Prince Edward County is like an escape from the city – it’s got a slow rural life, mixed with small-town charm. It’s got a stunning coastline along Lake Ontario, several sandy beaches for relaxing and a ton of restaurants and wineries to visit along the way.
Because of its location, Prince Edward County makes for a great weekend getaway for people visiting from Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.
How do you get around in Prince Edward County?
A car is a necessity for getting around in Prince Edward County. All the small towns are connected by country roads that are serviced by public transportation, but many places outside the towns are not. You could hire a taxi, but that could cost you quite a bit.
If you are going on a Do-It-Yourself winery tour, you could hire a private car or bus for the trip. There are also plenty of winery tours, like Vintage Car Wine Tours, that take you in a private vehicle. Or you could join in on a bike tour and see the county’s wineries by bicycle.
Where to stay in Prince Edward County?
There is an abundance of places to stay in Prince Edward County. It seems like every third house is a rental or Bed & Breakfast. That said, places book up fast, especially the popular ones, so make sure you’re booking as far in advance as possible.
If you’re looking to stay in one of the more popular places in Prince Edward County, then it’s a good idea to sign up for the hotel’s newsletter so you stay up to date on date openings or if there are any last-minute cancellations.
High-end stays in Prince Edward County
There are so many high-end places you can stay in Prince Edward County. The June Motel (around $320 a night) in Picton is one of the most recognizable. Its modern decor completely transformed the old motor-side hotel and it’s now become a destination itself for visitors to the County. The Drake Motor Inn (starting at $390 night) in Wellington has a similar vibe.
You could also stay at one of the many B&Bs that dot the County. Angeline’s Inn for example has motel rooms, rooms at their Inn, and private cottages. Prices there start at around $598 for two nights.
Mid-range stays in Prince Edward County
I was a huge fan of the Picton Harbour Inn in Picton, which was about $225 a night. It was super spacious with comfy sheets and a stunning view of the surrounding harbour. It’s located just outside of downtown Picton, so I ended up walking to the restaurants and shops.
Budget stays in Prince Edward County
If you’re trying to stay in Prince Edward County on a budget, then consider staying at one of the campgrounds in Sandbanks Provincial Park. There are five campgrounds here ranging from tent sites to large electrical sites. They even have a few group camping sites.
Campsites start around $50 and can be booked up to five months in advance online through Ontario Parks.
Things to do in Prince Edward County:
Prince Edward County offers so many activities for all types of travellers. Whether you’re visiting for fun with friends or for a getaway with your special someone, there are so many things to do in Prince Edward County.
Visit a winery
No matter if you like wine or not, visiting one of the 40 wineries that dot the landscape is one of the best things to do in Prince Edward County. Why? Because each place offers a lovely experience coupled with a stunning view.
The County has a unique terroir – look at that wine jargon – that makes it easy to grow some stellar grapes that get turned into stellar wine.
Some of the more popular wineries in the County include Sandbanks, Huff Estates and Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards. But there are so many to see.
I stopped in at Hinterland Wine Company. I’m a sucker for beautiful branding and just had to visit. And I’m so glad I did. They were showcasing their delicious wines and even had frozen peach bellinis made with their own wines
I don’t know too much about wine myself, so you can visit Prince Edward County Wineries to find out more about all the amazing wine growers in the region.
Lounge on the beach at Sandbanks Provincial Park or North Beach
The other thing Prince Edward County is known for is the sand. Sandbanks Provincial Park is one of the most recognizable sand beaches in Ontario, behind Wasaga Beach and Sauble Beach. Because of that, Sandbanks is immensely popular during the summer. Sandbanks has three options for sandy lounging, Outlet Beach, Dunes Beach and Lakeshore Beach.
In order to avoid disappointment, you can book your day pass up to 5 days in advance. To really get the best experience, book a night camping here, which comes with a pass for the beaches.
Alternatively, you could visit North Beach Provincial Park, a stunning day-use beach on Lake Ontario. Don’t forget to book your day pass in advance to guarantee entrance to the park.
Visit Lake on the Mountain
There are three provincial parks in Prince Edward County. Lake on the Mountain is the third. It’s located on the eastern shores of the County and features really just one thing: a really deep lake.
What’s neat about this really deep lake is that it doesn’t have a water source, yet has a constant flow of clean, fresh water. Unusual right? Plus, it sits 60 meters ABOVE Lake Ontario. The theory is that when the glaciers were retreating, this whole area was covered by an enormous lake, which eventually became the great lakes. But three deep lakes on the Prince Edward County table were likely spots of softer limestone that turned into sinkholes.
Weird and wacky: Birdhouse City
Do you like weird and wonderful roadside attractions? Then you don’t want to miss visiting Birdhouse City.
This quirky roadside attraction started out with one scale model of the Massasauga Park Hotel by artist Doug Harnes more than 40 years ago and had turned into an entire city of 100+ scale birdhouses of buildings from all over Prince Edward County.
While the County itself is made up of rolling hills, there are a few places around Prince Edward County that make for good lookouts. The Rutherford Lookout, similar to the Lake On the Mountain lookout is really only worth it if you’re driving by. It’s a quick roadside stop overlooking Lake Ontario.
Things to do in Wellington, Prince Edward County
Wellington is one of Prince Edward County’s fasted growing towns. It’s located on the north shores of Lake Ontario in the heart of Prince Edward County and had a population of less than 2,000 in 2011, but that is expected double by 2023. Wellington is well known for good food, great shopping, and beautiful beaches!
Lemons PEC is located in the heart of Wellington and serves the best fresh pressed lemonades, Italian sodas, iced coffees, and even dog popsicles! It’s adorable and a stop you don’t want to miss out on! They also have a sister store right next door called ‘Sweet Gelato’. I bet you know that’s not to miss out on too!
Creekside Cafe is located on Main Street in Wellington Ontario and serves brunch, lunch, dinner, and drinks! It also has boutique suites right above it if you’re looking for a place to stay.
The Drake Devonshire is probably one of the most famous eateries in Prince Edward County, probably because of their incredible views of the water. They have an extensive menu of fine foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They host brunch on weekends and even have a lovely cocktail menu. It’s always busy here, so make sure to reserve a table in advance or you’ll miss out.
Wellington Park is a beautiful area with a 180-degree view of Lake Ontario! It’s a great place for an afternoon with plenty of picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and even a picnic shelter.
Midtown Brewing Company
Great food (including wood-fired pizza!) and craft beer are located here at Midtown Brewing Company, across from Drake Motor Inn. Don’t worry if you’re not into beer.. they offer wine, cider, and even classic cocktails!
The Old Greenhouse Ice Cream Shop
The Old Greenhouse Ice Cream Shop is a family-run historic business in Wellington serving everything from soft serve & scooped ice cream to slushies!
The best place for all things Italian! Located on Wellington’s Main St, Piccolina Mercato offers Italian foods, pastries, bread, and Espresso! They also serve wine 8-4:00 Daily. Bonus!
Note: They are Closed Mondays & Tuesdays, which is why missed out on checking this place out!
Wellington Beach offers another location for travellers hoping to soak up some sun and waves. There is a $10 fee, 7 days a week in July and August. Make sure to stick around for sunsets! The beach is rocky but turns into beautiful sand once you’re out in the water.
Things to do in Bloomfield, Prince Edward County
Bloomfield, a village smack dab in the centre of Prince Edward County! It’s 15 minutes from the Sandbanks Provincial Park beaches and directly between Wellington and Picton. This quaint village offers historical loyalist architecture and all the great food you could want!
Bloomfield Public House
Bloomfield Public House claims they are ‘Your neighbourhood spot’ and boy are they right. Great location, beautiful food, and a great selection of drinks. What more could you ask for? I picked up a couple of tasty ciders from here before I left the County, because they have so much local stock!
Dead People’s Stuff
note: it seems like this place has closed since I visited
When I heard that this place was called Dead People’s Stuff, I knew I had to check it out. It has two floors of antiques from furniture to decor to old sports things and even old tools. It’s worth checking out, plus I’m always on the lookout for old film cameras.
Firstly, even checking out the 150-year-old barn that MacCool’s Reuse is located in is cool. Then it’s filled with antiques, collectibles, and mid-century modern pieces! This is a uniquely curated type of thrift shopping you’ve got to experience to understand!
Things to do in Picton, Prince Edward County
Picton is the largest town in Prince Edward County and is located in Lake Ontario’s Bay of Quinte. It was founded in 1786 by loyalists Andrew and Henry Johnson, and then aptly renamed “Picton” by a British Major General, Thomas Picton, during the Napoleonic Wars. This town is home to cute shops, great bakeries, historic buildings and amazing restaurants!
Stroll along the harbour
Stroll along the harbour and take in the marina, shops, beautiful views and of course the lakeside! There’s a perfect spot with picnic tables and shade screens located right behind the Picton Harbour Inn.
Shop till you drop
Along Main Street in Picton is a mecca of cute and unique shops for the one-of-a-kind lover. There’s plenty of small business shopping to do including a few of my favs like Books and Company (which has a resident cat!), Field Made Goods, The Yellow Studio and Keep.
The Vic Cafe
Located on Picton Main St, Vic Cafe is a colourful and vibrant spot serving the most mouthwatering foods, but its specialty is brunch! You’ve got to try the milkshakes! It’s to die for.
Beacon Bike and Brew
Jordan and Stephanie Malka, the owners of Beacon Bike and Brew, set out to create a unique dining and retail experience that caters to all those bike lovers out there. Their store has a cute coffee shop feel but also sells bike accessories and safety supplies.
Picnic Bakeshop and Keep
This is something to get excited about! Picnic sells picnics-in-a-box or a bowl with your choice of a bowl, sandwich, or bagel! It’s just as cute as it sounds.
Have dinner at one of the amazing restaurants
Have dinner at one of Picton’s top-rated restaurants including The County Canteen, The Royal, The Lighthouse Restaurant and Hartley’s Tavern!
Slickers Ice Cream
All natural, small batch, artisan ice cream! Slickers Ice Cream has flavours ranging from Jazzberry, to Campfire Cream, to Jack Daniels and Chocolate, not to mention most of the classics. You can tell they have been at this for over 20 years!
Three-day Prince Edward County itinerary
Day 1: Soak in the afternoon at Sandbanks or North Beach provincial park. Visit a winery and go for an evening drive through the countryside. Stop at Sand and Pearl for an unforgettable dinner. Stay in the Wellington area.
Day 2: Grab breakfast at the Creekside cafe and take a walk through the shops in Wellington with a lemonade in hand. Walk along the Wellington Park. Have lunch at Bloomfields and visit their antique shops. Stop in at another winery because wine not? Drive to Picton, stopping at Lake on the Mountain and Rutherford Lookout and Birdhouse City. Dinner at one of the restaurants in Picton. Stay at the Harbour Hotel or June Motel
Day 3: Head to Vic’s for brunch and stroll along downtown Picton and the harbour. Make sure to stop in at Yellow Studio, Picnic and Books. Stop at a winery or cidery to take stuff with you on the way home.
Important tips for visiting Prince Edward County
Tip 1: Book in advance for accommodations and even restaurants. Places book up fast and get very busy during the peak season, so avoid disappointment and book all your accommodations and restaurant reservations in advance.
Tip 2: call to confirm hours. I ran into several places that were closed when they said they would be open and open when they should have been closed. Save your head and call ahead to confirm opening hours.
Tip 3: reserve your spot at Sandbanks or North Beach. These sandy beaches are popular for a reason. You won’t get in unless you reserve in advance up to 5 days before
How much does it cost for a weekend in Prince Edward County?
Spoiler: It’s not cheap. I call it the popular destination inflation. Things that would cost lower in less popular destinations are marked up here, because people are willing to pay these prices. (I saw an entrée go for $115!!! Be still my Scottish heart.)
However, I like to think that these types of trips are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities (even if I return, you never know) so I will always budget accordingly to have great experiences.
That said, here’s a rundown of everything I spent:
- Accommodations: $592.33 (two nights at Picton Harbour Inn and one night at Sandbanks Provincial Park
- Food: $285.60
- Transportation (including gas and parking): $109.00
- Extras (like permits and wine): $183.02
- Total: $1,169.95
I was technically here for four days (I shot a wedding in Prince Edward County, which meant I was here one extra night), but it cost a total of just over $1,100 for a long weekend in Prince Edward County.