Cavendish was settled in the early 1800s by three families from Scotland who opted to farm because there was no workable harbor. Not much else happened until the world-class, record-holding clipper, Marco Polo, ran aground and broke apart on Cavendish Beach. The locale became famous the world over thanks to local writer Lucy Maude Montgomery. Now the area is treasured for its charm and exceptional, unusual beach.
Close to the water, the sand on this sunny beach is beige, but as it draws back from the water’s edge, it turns increasingly red to the point where it matches the red sandstone cliffs that protect it from winds off the land. Atop the cliffs are lush tufts of greenery and some visitors have noted its similarity to a “chia pet”. All jokes aside, this is a beautiful beach in a lovely part of the Canadian maritimes, with plenty of attractions, or the ideal spot to relax and savor a lobster sandwich.
Cavendish and surrounds are a haven for golfers and fans of deep-sea fishing, but there are dozens of other activities depending on your energy levels on any given day. For a lazy sort of visit, check out the many antique shops and galleries featuring local artisans, or tour historical sites, and Green Gables House and Avonlea Village. For the sports-minded, there is horseback riding, parasailing, kayaking and camping.
Or pick your month to vacation here and check out the rock music concerts at the annual Cavendish Beach Music Festival, four days in early July. Perhaps the rustic Provincial Exhibition and Old Home Week, held for 10 days in mid-August, is more laid-back and to your taste; it offers a midway, dog shows, agricultural displays and tourism treats. A highlight of the festival season in Cavendish Beach is Acadian Harvest in late September, featuring Acadian food, crafts, arts, music, dance, stories and songs. It celebrates the French side of Canadian maritime culture that has existed in these provinces since around 1604.
Cavendish is a great spot to vacation with children of all ages. There are two amusement parks, all the fun of Green Gables, and a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! “Odditorium”. The Sandspit amusement park has miniature golf, a rollercoaster and go-karts. The entire area is part of Prince Edward Island National Park that runs 37 miles (60 kilometers) along the north coast of the island, every part of it worth exploring.
Peak season here is May to September, but the beach is accessible for walking all year round, providing the snow isn’t too heavy (which in the winter it can be). A happy place full of fun and a quiet place for total rest and relaxation; Cavendish Beach is both.