Prince Edward County, located in the province of Ontario, is a favourite destination for wine enthusiasts and outdoor lovers. The island, which is located on Lake Ontario, offers over 50 wineries along with breweries, cideries, cheese shops, and of course the well-loved Sandbanks Provincial Park. The area has gained a lot of popularity and while not quite as busy as Niagara on the Lake, this part of the province has become a sought-after getaway for many Canadians and even Americans. But, how much does it cost to visit Prince Edward County? How much to tour the PEC wineries and visit Sandbanks Provincial park? Read on to find out.
For the purpose of this article, I’m going to suggest spending 3 days and 2 nights in Prince Edward County. This is enough to explore the island and visit a few wineries along the way. Please note that this guide is based on the costs for a single person. If you are travelling as a couple, be sure to double these costs except for hotels and transportation if sharing a vehicle. All cost estimates are in Canadian dollars.
|Food and drink||$240|
Prince Edward County is about a 3-hour drive from Ottawa and 2 hours from Toronto. The area is also quite a bit bigger than you would expect so if you plan on exploring then you will be doing quite a bit of driving around. Gas price will depend on current rates as well as the make and model of your car but to be safe I recommend budgeting about $75 for gas for this trip. Unfortunately, there’s no bus service to Prince Edward Country from Toronto or Ottawa, so you’ll need to have access to a car.
The majority of accommodation options in Prince Edward County are B&Bs, vacation rentals, and camping options. Hotels aren’t really a thing here but that doesn’t mean you can expect low prices. Prince Edward counts isn’t cheap!
Of course, there are different ranges of price points but for a midrange average, you can expect to pay about $250 per night. If you are looking for some recommendations try these top-rated spots.
Note that some vacation homes and rentals have a minimum 3 night stays during the busy season. It’s also worth noting that services like Uber do not exist in this area and there are only a couple of small, local taxi drivers. So if you do plan on visiting a lot of wineries and doing tastings, you will want to ensure that you stay in one of the towns (Wellington and Picton are the most popular) to be within walking distance of restaurants. If you stay more in the countryside, dining options are slim to non-existent so you will need to do some meal planning ahead of time.
The big draw for most people in Prince Edward County is all the wineries, breweries, and cideries. There are well over 50 so you won’t be able to visit them all and will have to select a few favourites. You can visit on your own, however, if you would like to make a day out of it and not worry about having to drive it’s recommended to take a tour.
There are some companies, like Prince Edward County Wine Tour, that offer group tours. They will load the bus and take you to 4 different wineries that have been pre-selected.
If you prefer, you can do a private tour with just your group. The Local Tour Co offers this option and they also let you pick the wineries you want to visit. If you want to substitute a brewery or cidery in there as well, you can.
Tours are about $145 per person plus tax depending on the company. Insider tip: try to choose an option that includes the tasting built into the price- not all of them do!
Another must-do if you are visiting in the summer months is Sandbanks Provincial Park. It’s a popular spot for camping but even if you aren’t camping you can visit for a day. As of 2021, you do need to purchase a day pass permit to enter and visit the park. These can be bought online within 5 days of your visit. Passes on the weekend are about $21 per vehicle.
You may also want to explore the towns of Picton and Wellington. There are a bunch of little shops and boutiques and restaurants. On weekends, parking is free however you will have to pay for parking during the weekdays.
Food and drink
Food and drink in PEC can really vary depending on how much you plan on eating and drinking and where.
Tastings at wineries vary in price. Some places charge $3 per sample while others will charge $10 (or more) for a flight of 4. Many of the wineries and breweries also have snacks on hand like charcuterie boards or pizza. They aren’t cheap though! A personal-sized pizza can easily cost you $20+.
In terms of restaurants, there’s a good mix of nicer dining spaces and typical budget-friendly go-to’s in the little towns like Subway or Tim Hortons. If you want to dine out at restaurants and wineries for the trip you can expect your costs to look something like this:
- Breakfast: usually included in your stay
- Lunch: $20
- Dinner: $30
Plus, any tastings you may choose to do if not included in the tour. If you plan on a few then maybe add another $30 per day. So, to be safe I would suggest budgeting $80 per day on food and drink.
I always suggest having a little extra on hand just in case. If you are coming for Prince Edward County wineries, you might want to bring a little more than normal if you are hoping to buy some wine (or beer or cider) to bring home. Bottles range in price depending but the averages I saw were $6 – $8 for small bottles of beer/cider and $20 – $25 for wine. In this case, you might want to bring an extra $150.
So, how much does it cost to go visit the Prince Edward County Wineries? Well, based on this estimate you can expect to pay about $1,130. It’s definitely not a cheap weekend escape. As PEC gets more popular the price tags get higher too. But, it is a nice, local getaway that makes for a great weekend with friends or your partner.
Can I visit Prince Edward County wineries year-round?
Yes! Most people go spring/fall/summer however you can visit in the winter as well.
Do I need reservations for wineries?
Most wineries won’t take reservations. It’s first come first serve. If you are taking a tour they may make reservations for you.
Is PEC kid-friendly?
Prince Edward County in general, yes absolutely! Sandbanks and even Wellington beach can be a lot of fun. While you may not want to bring your little ones on a winery tour, you can still bring them along if you decide to stop at one or two during your visit to PEC. Some spots, including Hinterland Winery and County Cider Cider Co have a reputation for being kid-friendly.