Basin Head Beach
|museum, singing sands
|None but easy to follow
We went to Basin Head looking for the singing sands and found what is now our favorite beach on PEI. The sand is high in silica and creeks when you kick it with your heals. The grains are also a bit bigger so they don't stick to everything as much.
The boardwalk starts at the Fistheries Museum and descends at an angle. It then takes a sharp left turn and goes to the wharf where Basin Head Harbour flows into the Northumberland Strait. You can access a short stretch of beach from this side of the wharf, or cross a small steal bridge to get to the other side. Kids love to jump from this bridge and get swept out to the beach at the end of the wharf.
On the other side of the bridge is a much longer beach. The beach extends for 4.5 kilometers and goes along a really interesting landscape.
From the Sign
An ecosystem worth protecting
You are in a special place. Basin Head is a diverse ecosystem home to a unique form of Irish moss that is believed to be found nowhere else.
A rich diversity of other species, fish, birds, mammals and plants also live here. To protect this unique ecosystem, Basin Head has be designated a Marine Protected Area.
Basin Head was designated as a Marine Protected Area in 2005 by the Government of Canada. This special status protects the marine resources found here. The 923 hectares, including an outer coastal area, has three management zones where only certain activities are allowed, in order to protect its plants and animals.
Irish Moss (Chondrus crispus) grows on rocky coasts along both sides of the North Atlantic, but this is the only place a variety called giant moss, up to eight times bigger than the kind found elsewhere, is known to live. It is valuable for its high content of carrageenan a compound used to thicken products from ice cream to sunscreen. Unlike common Irish moss, the kind found here anchors itself to blue mussels to keep from floating out to sea. By protecting the Basin Head area, we can safeguard the only place known on the planet where this unusual seaweed is found.
Green crab (Carcinus Maenas) is an unwanted pest and aquatic invasive species from Europe, now found in Basin Head and elsewhere on PEI. Its voracious appetite makes it a threat to shellfish. Scientists are working in Basin Head to understand how green crab impacts blue mussels and Irish moss.
From Souris, continue east on route 16. Drive for 14.4 kilometers to Kingsboro and you will see signs for Basin Head. Turn right onto Basin Head Road. Drive for 1.6 kilometers to the end of the road and you will come to a large parking lot. Park here and go through the Fisheries Museum to access the boardwalk down to the beach.
Trail Last Hiked: July 25, 2021.
Page Last Updated: March 28, 2022.