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DSC_9694Prince Edward Island National Park covers a long stretch of disconnected coastline along the northern border of PEI. Its easternmost segment, Greenwich, is located on a peninsula bordering St. Peter’s Bay and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Greenwich is the site of some of the island’s most impressive sand dunes, and access to a beautiful beach as well as wooded trails.

Greenwich was our first stop after arriving on Prince Edward Island for a week-long visit, and it made a great introduction to the variety of landscapes we could expect around the island.

At the entrance to the park, the Greenwich Interpretation Center is reviewed as a “must-see” attraction, with a unique theatrical video experience and some exhibits. Unfortunately for us, the center was still “closed for the season” when we arrived in mid-June, even though the schedule from PEI Tourism indicated that it should have been open by that time. (This was not an isolated incident, we discovered… until tourist season is in full swing, any stated hours of operation may be taken with a grain of salt! We didn’t complain, however, as the state park also waives all access fees during seasons when the attractions are not staffed.)

Besides the public beach, the real centerpiece of the park is the “Greenwich Dunes” walking trail through the peninsula, crossing fields, woods, and lakes (on a 1/4-mile long floating boardwalk!) to reach the dunes.

The floating boardwalk crossing Bowley Pond is especially unique, and well-constructed with beautiful views on both sides that show off classic landscapes of PEI.

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After reaching the end of the boardwalk and crossing over the dunes, the path opens out to beach access and beautiful ocean vistas. The Greenwich Dunes trail is a comfortable hike, without much change in elevation over its path of almost 2 miles (each direction), but this isolation gives the beach a much more private feel than the larger Greenwich Beach accessible by car from the Interpretation Center.

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Even though our visit took place earlier in the year than most tourists come to PEI, the Greenwich Dunes trail was still very well maintained and clean. There were a few other people enjoying the park at the same time we were there, but it still felt much more isolated than areas of the park near Cavendish and more popular parts of the island.

Greenwich made for a lovely afternoon walk, and was one of our favorite family-friendly natural spots on PEI!

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