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8 Things To Do in Prince Edward County With Kids

by - Tuesday, August 06, 2019

I know, I know. It's already August and some kids are back to school next week - but there's still lots of summer left!

You've probably noticed that over the summer and fall we escape to Prince Edward County, Ontario as often as we can. From Toronto to Montreal, PEC has become the favourite place for city folks to escape to. And what's not to love? There's so many things to do in Prince Edward County that you have to visit more than once. There are more than 40 wineries, breweries and cider houses in the area and eager entrepreneurs have opened up new restaurants, dancehalls, and buzzy hotels, making it a premier culinary and wine destination.

All of which makes it a fun playground for the adults - but what is there to do in Prince Edward County for families?

Kid Friendly Prince Edward County

We've been vacationing in the area for about a decade and own a cottage in Cherry Valley and we've discovered PEC is fun for all ages. As we like to say, #theCountyismysummercamp. It really has everything you need to have a carefree, relaxing and memorable summer.

I've written about family fun activities in PEC before but there's new experiences, places to visit, and kid friendly restaurants popping up all the time. Here's my Top 8 List of things to do in Prince Edward County with kids (plus a special offer just for my readers!):

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1. Stay at East Lake Shores (formerly Sandbanks Summer Village)

Now this resort is where we have own a cottage so I might be biased, but I truly believe East Lake Shores is THE perfect home base for your family summer adventures. ELS is your typical cottage experience plus so much more. Some owners choose to use their cottage themselves (like us) while others put their cottage into the rental pool for use by guests like you. On our first visit in 2014, we rented for a week and by the end of the week we decided to buy our own! If you think you might be interested, mention you saw this on Rambling Renovators and the front desk staff can give you a sales tour of the resort.

But back to renting for your getaway. The cottage experience at ELS is truly everything you could imagine. You get to pick your neighbourhood (Meadows, Woodlands or Water view) and cottage style (with a loft? large screened porch? breakfast nook?) and settle in for an easy, maintenance-free cottage experience.

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Your kids will never find themselves bored at ELS. You can enjoy just hanging out in a beautiful new-build cottage or explore the resort which offers lots of amenities including an on-site restaurant, two swimming pools, playground, biking trails, tennis, shuffleboard, and basketball courts, and a lakefront stocked with all sorts of watercraft for your use.

Our favourite way to spend a summer's day is out exploring the County, then head back to SSV for an afternoon swim, cook up a bbq dinner at the cottage, and enjoy marshmallows around the fire pit (there's dozens dotted around the resort!). And ELS is great for letting kids be kids: you'll see kids riding their bikes unsupervised along the safe resort roads, joining in on the organized resort activities (paint night is always a favourite), or jumping off the dock into the lake.

The only drawback? You might fall in love with East Lake Shores so much during your rental stay that you'll want to buy a cottage of your own - that's what happened to us, lol!

SPECIAL OFFER for Rambling Renovators readers for 2019:

East Lake Shores has a special offer, just for my readers! Use code RAMBLINGRENO when making your phone reservation or put the code in the Reservations Summary when booking online to receive:
  • A $50 voucher for the Water's Edge restaurant, plus
  • Free Date Night activities for up to two kids. Drop the kids off at the Pavilion for dinner and activities while you spend some alone time together

2. Go Swimming at Sandbanks

If it's summer, no doubt you'll want to spend a day at the beach and I would argue that Sandbanks Provincial Park has the best beaches in Ontario. The park also offers campsites but the white sandy beaches are what draw me in. There are three beaches in the park:

  • Dunes Beach: a shallow, calm beach perfect for babies and young children though not a large sandy area. Snack bar and washroom facilities.
  • Sandbanks Beach: a wide and quiet beach with fewer facilities
  • Outlet Beach: the most popular beach with a long wide sandbar, good waves, change rooms and washrooms, and a restaurant. 
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My preference is to park at Lot 7 on Outlet Beach, near the restaurant, so you can head over for afternoon snacks or ice cream! It also seems to have the most bathrooms and change rooms in the park. If you do go to the beach, go early and plan to be on the sand before 10am, especially if it's a long weekend. They've been known to close the beach when things get too crowded!

3. Visit Wellington Farmers' Market and Wellington Beach

Lots of readers with young kids have asked me where to take their kids and this is one of my favourite destinations. The Wellington Farmers' Market runs every Saturday from mid May to mid October. The vendors offer a charming mix of fresh produce, good food (don't miss Flossie's Sandwiches or Jamie Kennedy's fries!), and housewares and organic products.

Grab your food to go and head over to Wellington Park, next to the farmers' market. There's picnic benches where you can enjoy your lunch and hang out while the kids expend their excess energy playing on the giant playground structure.

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After lunch, head down the road to Wellington Beach. Check out the old lighthouse and gather driftwood as a keepsake of your Prince Edward County adventures.

4. Movie Night at the Mustang Drive In

If you want to have good old-fashioned fun, the Mustang Drive In can't be beat. It is an authentic, old-school experience with popcorn and chocolate bars on offer at the concession stand, a 1960's swing and climbing set for the kids to clamber on while they wait, and a double-bill that doesn't start until 9pm when the sun goes down.

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Tip: Come prepared with folding chairs and lots of bug spray. The best way to watch the movie is with your car end facing the screen, tailgate up, and kids stuffed in the back with pillows and blankets. The mosquitoes can get kinda nasty by the second movie so hoodies and trackpants or long pjs are recommended gear for this outing.

5. Ice Cream at Slickers

No visit to Prince Edward County is complete without a trip to Slickers for their small batch, homemade ice cream. They've got two locations, one in Picton and one in Bloomfield, and no matter where and when you go, there's bound to be a line up. But it's worth the wait!

My hands-down favourite flavour is Campfire, a smoky creamy confection that has a hint of burnt marshmallows. I like to pair it with something tart like Passionfruit or Key Lime Blast which are both flavourful and refreshing.

Tip: If you're getting ice cream for a crowd, opt for a take home litre. You can grab them in the freezer at the Picton location, bypass the line, and pay at the cash. Campfire is good in a cone but it's just as good to enjoy it while sitting out on the porch after your bbq dinner!

6. Picton Playground and Skate Park

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Located on the Crystal Palace Fairgrounds in Picton, this new and large playground has fun for kids young and old. There's a climbing structure the littles will love and a skate park for your teens. We bring Chloe's scooter on our PEC vacations and she loves to use it here at the skate park or just around our resort. There's also a splash pad open throughout the summer. All of this in a fenced-in area, making it easier to keep track of your little ones.

Tip: They have regular antique shows and fairs at Crystal Fairgrounds throughout the summer so if one parent is not so fond of shopping, they've got a nearby place to hang out.

7. Campbell's Orchards

Farm fresh food is abundant in the County and Campbell's Orchards is one stop that kids and adults will love. They feature home grown fruit and produce and lots of fresh baked goods. We can't visit without taking home one of their awesome pies! 

They also offer wagon rides, pick your own fruits and vegetables, and orchard walks in the spring and fall. There's also a few farm animals for the kids to feed and hot food (and cider!) to enjoy during your visit.

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8. Glenora Ferry

Though there's lots in Prince Edward County to enjoy, but if you've got the time, I recommend a day trip to nearby Kingston. Taking your car onto the ferry and onto Kingston will take less than an hour. We like to go for the day and enjoy a delicious lunch at Pan Chancho, a walk by the waterfront, and shopping on Princess Street. We always stop by the Hatley outlet to stock up on winter pj's and rain coats!

BONUS TIP: Top Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Prince Edward County

Of course, in between all this fun, you need to feed your crew! Here's a quick list of kid-friendly places to eat in Prince Edward County:

  • Picton:
    • The Lighthouse Restaurant at Picton Harbour Inn
    • County Canteen
    • Crepe Escape
    • Parson's Brewing Company
    • Miss Lily's Cafe
    • The Vic Cafe
    • Angry Birds Rotisserie Chicken
  • Bloomfield:
    • Saylor House Cafe
    • Agrarian Bistro
    • Terracello
  • Wellington:
    • RockN Rogers Pizzeria
    • North Docks
    • Enid Grace Cafe
    • Midtown Brewing Company

Have you been to Prince Edward County? There's lots to do throughout summer and fall and makes for a great day trip too! Let me know if you head out this way!

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