In the Summer of 2010, we took a road trip to Prince Edward Island. Leaving our home nestled in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. We packed our small sedan to the rim with all the necessities for camping, every space was used, it was noticable on our car’s suspension. Three boys sandwiched together in the back seat, realizing at this point that a minivan would have made this trip more comfortable. It was exciting to think we were going to explore a part of Canada we only knew from books. Our initial plan was to drive to the most Eastern point of Canada, Cape Breton, but Mother Nature had other plans for us.
After 13hrs driving and one overnight stop, camping at New Brunswick’s “New River Provincial park ” we arrived at the “famous” Confederation Bridge*. Reaching the other side, we stopped at the tourist office to get some info. Prior to this trip, Steph had gathered tidbits about the Island, places she considered a must see. Making sure we were not going offtrack, we sought the advice of the locals. Acadian music playing on outdoor speakers and tradional dancers greeted us before Steph went inside. I felt this feeling before, the realization that we were officially on vacation! The boys and I needed to stretch our legs, so we opted to play on the impressive outdoor playground, situated on a vast green space at the front of the building. Many boutiques, bakeries, cafes and candy stores lined the main street around the bureau. Promising the boys we would have a stop at the “Candy Factory” when we ended our trip. Since there is only one road on and off the island.
Our next stop was Brudenell River Provincial Park. Now it’s important to note that Provincial Parks have some of the best kept grounds available. Not only are they affordable, they are clean, accessible and often have a lot of great extras like swimming pools, clean showers and a laundromat. A great bonus for the weary road traveller. This particular campground was located in a mature forest setting, on the banks of a salt water river that experiences high and low tide. There are many small fish and crustaceans to find in the muddy tide pools. Pitching up a tent at this location is a camper’s dream, the ground is made up of shallow rooted grass with soft red earth, perfect for tent pegs.
We were pleased with our new camping gear as we set it up with ease. Wood and ice, as well as vending machines were available at the office check-in. For those who are tired after a long day’s drive, restaurants and grocery stores are only a 10 minutes drive away.
Red Point Provincial Park
We had a good night sleep thanks to the overall silence and being immersed in complete darkness. Note: hikers headlight is a must, especially when walking from the tent site to the washroom. We were, however, raided by raccoons several times that night, who decided to play a symphony with our kitchen pots and pans. We learned to store away all our cooking gear and food into the trunk of the car. We set off onto our day trip to the Red Point Provincial Park, a 20 minutes drive from the campground. What stunning panaroma! Beautiful red cliffs etched by the Atlantic ocean, lined the silky white sand beach. Steph had read that this beach held a wonderful secret, the sand can sing! My children could not believe it, and were eager to see if the tale rang true. Sure enough, it makes noise if you kick it with your feet, kind of like the bendy sound of a tradional saw instrument. Even just by walking on it, you create a squeaky kind of sound. The children were impressed and made their own choruses by running up and down the beach together.
We spent hours here exploring this landscape. The children were delighted with their new surroundings. What child can resist climbing red stone cliffs? This place was teaming with wildlife, from the bright red jellyfish floating amongst the neon green kelp, to the little crabs stranded in the pools on the cliffs above. The only regret was that we forgot our water shoes at camp, this included our youngest who we oftened had to carry over rough rocks and sharp shells. After spending the day on the beach, we returned to the campground for a little dip in the heated pool which had a shallow end for the waddling toddlers. We washed up and showered, put on our best clothes, and headed out to dinner.
Locals boasted about a little restaurant in Murray Harbour called Brehaut’s. Located in a small fishing town 25 minutes south from camp, so we decided to give it a try. The staff had country hospitality, thinking of the children’s needs and our own. The food was exceptionally tasty and prices were reasonable, plates averaged around 8.00$ to 15$. They had a good variety on the children’s menu to choose from. We got talking with the family behind our booth, thanks to magnetism of our youngest son, and they declared to be loyal customers for decades, Bostonian’s visiting PEI on their annual summer stay at their family cottage. Please do note, the locals were not exaggerating with the word “little”, my suggestion is to reserve in advance. Because the wait can get long and there is not much space.
Basin Head Provincial Park
Our last day, was spent at another point of interest that Stephanie discovered while searching the net. Just a little past the town of Souris, port to the Magdalene Island daily ferries, is Basin Head Provincial Park. Rave reviews about great sandy beaches and warm welcome water for the avid swimmer. Real quaint location, free parking, beautiful cedar planked buildings surrounded by great boardwalks to keep your feet clean of sand. The water was crystal clear and delicious, considering PEI is located north of Maine and New Brunswick’s frigid Bay of Fundy. Another plus, it was shallow for most parts, reaching a maximum of 3′ deep. Exposed sand dunes, 50′ from shore breaking the wave and undertow, making it very safe for children. The highlight of the day was watching and participating in wharf jumping. Upon arrival, I was immediately drawn to the crowds standing at the edge of the wharf and the bridge connecting each side. People of all ages were taking turns jumping off the 10′ sides into the incoming tides that washed inland. The more daring, jumped from the bridge adding an extra of 3′ to 5′ depending if they jumped from the side or the rail above. There were some brave souls who were actually doing backflips off and even over the bridge diving into the water on the other side. It was an incredible spectacle! I was inspired and took the plunge, although I never got the courage to jump off the bridge. I spent a good part of my time jumping in avoiding floating jellyfish, chunks of seaweed and unsynchronized children. It was a blast!
Tristan and Stephanie also took part in this exhilarating activity, it was smiles and splashes all around. To make an end to a perfect day, the boys found a real live starfish clinging to an algae covered rock in the shallows. It was something they always wanted to see in real life.
*Please note their is a toll on the Confederation Bridge which you will need to pay upon your return. Prices are based as of March 2010. Subject to change. Please visit their official site for precise toll.
First two axles : 43.25$
Each additonnal axles: 7.00$
Pedestrians and cyclist are not allowed on the Confederation Bridge for their own safety. A shuttle service is provided 24hrs/day, 7 days of week.
For more information on Prince Edward Island Travel, please visit the following links: