The scenery in Cavendish is second to none on PEI – epic sand dunes, huge sandstone cliffs and picturesque farmers’ fields are spread along the coastal roadway that takes you from East to West and vice versa. But if you’re looking for those truly remarkable views – the Instagram gold, as they say – the best way to do it is to hop on a bike and hit the trails.
Long known as the vacation destination on PEI, Cavendish has recently gone through some upgrades to the cycling trails and infrastructure along the North Shore. From safe, smooth paved lanes on the seaside roadway to flowing double-track through abundant fields, it’s easy to spend a full day exploring this area by bike and one of the only ways to see some of the most Instagram/TikTok/Twitter/Facebook-friendly vistas available on P.E.I.
Let’s take a look at a few of those spots.
Starting out on the Homestead Trail, you’ll be heading West towards New London Bay. As you make your way down the trail you’ll come to a look-off that with a raised platform overlooking the aforementioned bay and giving a nice glimpse at the Cavendish sand dunes along the North Shore. Proper spot for your first snap on the trail.
The Homestead Trail then takes you over a few small bridges, through forested pathways and farmers fields. Eventually the loop circles you back to where you started and you’re able to make your way East towards the Cavendish Dunelands trail. On this connecting trail you’ll be riding through tall trees on an easy gravel path – about halfway through there’s a quick turn off to the left hand side (that can be easily missed if you’re pedaling hard). That’ll give you an even closer view of the sand dunes along the North Shore. Haul out the camera.
Carry on down the trail and it eventually opens up to the main entrance to Cavendish Beach and the start of the Dunelands trail. Quick pit stop here to grab a photo in front of the classic Dunelands sign with the floating bridge in the background. Nice work. You can also take a few minutes to check out Macneill’s pond and the various flora and fauna of the area. Shortly after, take the path to the Oceanview Look Off to take in the majestic Cavendish Beach. Remember this spot for the way back as the sunsets here are what dreams are made of.
Once you leave Oceanview Look Off, you’re on the dedicated bike lane on Gulf Shore Parkway. The entire length of this road is worthy of photographing, but there are a few key spots. One of my favorites on this stretch is just past Macneill’s Brook – once you’re done climbing the hill after the parking area on your left, take a break and then look back the way you came. The roadway curves to the left with the Island shoreline jutting in and out of the ocean for miles. Exquisite.
Right after, you’ll see the signs pointing to Orby Head. Plan to spend a bit of time here as it’s one of the highest cliffs on the Island and there’s plenty to see looking both East and West. Pretty popular spot for engagements, picnics (countless lobster rolls have been consumed here), sunrises and sunsets. Can’t go wrong here.
Following Orby Head you’ll eventually make your way past Doyle’s Cove and flow your way into the seaside town of North Rustico. Here you’ll find multiple A+ restaurants, a busy harbour and more PEI beach vibes. Once you’re had your share of seafood and whatever else may float your boat, it’s time to head back along Gulf Shore Parkway and maybe find a new favorite view from the opposite perspective. That camera roll must be getting pretty full by now – time to hit the ‘Gram.