Back in December 2015, after Adam and I had decided to full-time RV, we sat down on a cold winters night and brainstormed where we would want to start our adventure. The slate was wide open. We really could go anywhere in Canada that we wanted to whether it be British Columbia, Newfoundland or PEI.
We both really loved a trip that we had taken to Newfoundland but we felt to start out RVing in Newfoundland could be a little bit more than we could handle. We were there in June of 2011 and it snowed and was freezing cold. One day we will RV in Newfoundland but for now, we needed something a little easier to begin with.
We contemplated Nova Scotia, especially around Cape Breton. Cape Breton Highlands National Park is one of the most beautiful places on this earth and I could really see us spending a gorgeous summer there in our new RV. However, when we looked at all of the places we could start full-time RVing, Prince Edward Island kept coming up.
We had lived in PEI from 2010 to 2012. We both loved the Island. We have friends here. Adam played baseball in PEI and loved it. Plus, in the summer, there are a lot of jobs in the service industry. There was certainly a sense of familiarity with PEI which we both liked since there would be so much uncertainty with RVing.
After contemplating all of our options we decided to start our full-time RV lifestyle in PEI. We know that it’s going to be the perfect place to start our journey and to help us to get acclimated with our RV and the whole RV lifestyle before we hit the road and travel across Canada.
Aside from our familiarity with PEI, there were many other reasons we chose to RV in PEI. If you’re looking for somewhere new to explore this summer, definitely consider PEI. Here are 7 reasons why you should choose to RV in PEI.
1. Beaches. Soft sand, red cliffs, and that ocean smell. The beaches here inspired me to start Kate & Bella’s Beach Walk Challenge. The goal is Bella & I will walk on the beach every day. Bella will probably also go for a daily swim. There is something about the sound of waves and shorebirds that instantly makes me happy. We’ll post pictures daily for our beach walks. Feel free to join in on the daily challenge and go for a daily beach walk yourself. Don’t forget to share your pictures too.
From our past experiences on PEI, there are a few beaches you definitely do not want to miss.
Cavendish Beach. This is likely the most popular beach during the summer and it’s no wonder. Cavendish has beautiful sand dunes and red clay cliffs. The beach is located in the Prince Edward Island National Park which also offers plenty of camping opportunities. There are also lots of other campgrounds in Cavendish. It’s a busy spot, though, so book as far as head as possible.
Image by Dennis Jarvis via Flickr
Greenwich Dunes. This is probably one of the most beautiful areas of PEI, which is saying a lot based on how many beautiful spots there are. Greenwich Dunes, like Cavendish, is also a part of the PEI National Park, however, the two beaches are over an hour apart from one another. Greenwich Dunes features massive sand dunes, boardwalk trails, and the beach is relatively quiet compared to Cavendish.
Basin Head. Located at Basin Head Provincial Park near Souris, this beach is a popular spot because of the unique feature the beach provides. Basin Head is home to the Singing Sands. When you walk along the white sand beach, you’ll start to notice the beach squeaks as you walk along it. There’s also a bridge that you’ll see kids jumping off of into the water which can be endless hours of fun for them.
Basin Head also features a play area, washroom and shower facilities and food on site. There’s also a really great Fisheries Museum on site for when you need a break from the sun & the sand. It really is the perfect spot to spend many hours during a beautiful PEI day.
There are many other beaches on PEI and we will cover more of them throughout the summer, but if you only have a short time to spend on PEI, we definitely recommend the 3 beaches above.
2. The Food. We have lived in Ontario, New Brunswick and PEI. The food in PEI is the best by far and I’m not just talking about the seafood. Yes, if you love seafood, you’ll easily find succulent lobster dipped in melted butter, or lobster rolls on toasted buttered rolls, mussels covered in garlic butter or deep fried clams that are second to none.
Image by Tourism PEI / Stephen Harris via Flickr
PEI is known for the best french fries anywhere on this earth. PEI is covered in potato farms and the folks here know how to make fries! Check out my friend Rishi Sankar’s blog about PEI fries, you’ll see what we’re talking about.
Image by Rishi Sankar via www.rishiray.com
If you love ice cream, (and who doesn’t?) Ice Cream here is FREAKING amazing. It’s creamier, the flavours are bolder, and we just can’t get enough of it. Make sure you try Cows in Borden-Carleton and Charlottetown. Cows is definitely the popular tourist spot for ice cream. You can take tours of their factory just outside of Charlottetown and purchase their famous witty t-shirts as well. As for less touristy spots, there is the Frosty Treat in Kensington, Sunny’s Dairy Bar in Summerside and our favourite on a hot summer’s day after a big bike ride is in St. Peters Bay at DJ’s Dairy Bar.
In Charlottetown, the city is filled with amazing restaurants. From pub food to high-quality cuisine, you can get it in Charlottetown. The small communities outside of the city also harbour some very tasty dishes that are worth exploring. If you ask Adam’s parents about food on PEI, the first thing they will say is that you have to get fish & chips from Richard’s at the Covehead Wharf. They visited the Island a few years back and haven’t stopped talking about how good it was.
3. The Sites. There really are too many sites on PEI to list, but we’ll try to scratch the surface a little bit so you can have an idea of some of the things you will want to do once getting to PEI.
Confederation Bridge. To get to PEI, (unless you take the ferry) you will be crossing one of PEI’s most popular sites – The Confederation Bridge. The Confederation Bridge is a monstrous 12.9 km bridge that connects PEI to the mainland. It’s quite an amazing feeling to drive over this amazing structure but once you finish travelling the bridge, make sure to stop in Borden-Carleton so you can see the bridge from the ground. It’s remarkable.
Green Gables Heritage Place. In 1908, Lucy Maud Montgomery released the first Anne of Green Gables novel which has become a favourite for so many. In Cavendish, you can visit Green Gables Heritage Place, the site which inspired Montgomery to write Anne of Green Gables. It’s a great tourist spot for the whole family to enjoy. Make sure you stop by the store and try on one of the famous hats that feature Anne’s red braids.
Image by Robert Linsdell via Flickr
The Lighthouses. One thing we did when we first lived on PEI was to see how many lighthouses could we see in one day. I can’t remember how many we saw, but it was a lot! We started early in the morning, making our way all around the Island. We are going to do it again on a bright sunny day and this time, bring Coco Bella along with us. There are plenty of beautiful lighthouses right across PEI. Some of our favourites include Covehead, Point Prim, West Point and East Point.
Image by Tourism PEI / Heather Ogg via Flickr
Charlottetown. The capital of PEI and the Birthplace of Confederation is a fabulous spot to spend a couple of days. There are plenty of opportunities to learn about the history of Confederation and you will often see historic figures walking around to downtown. There is also a great theatre in Charlottetown – the Confederation Centre of the Arts. In the summer, the theatre is home to many different plays and shows including the popular – Anne of Green Gables – The Musical. Take in a show and then pop into Cows afterwards for some ice cream.
Image by Tourism PEI / John Sylvester via Flickr
Victoria-By-The-Sea. A picturesque, quaint village close to the Confederation Bridge, Victoria-By-The-Sea offers great restaurants, Island chocolates, and a pleasant wharf. If you love theatre they have the Victoria Playhouse which hosts various plays and musical acts.
4. Biking. If you bring your bike to PEI, you’re going to be quite happy with what you’ll be able to enjoy. The Confederation Trail is very popular because it connects the Island with a 435 km trail that was made from an abandoned railroad. A lot of people with come to PEI and bike the entire trail over 4 or 5 days. If you’re looking for something different, hit the road. When we previously lived on the Island, we would pick an area and map out a route. Often we had no idea what kind of roads we’d be biking on but that was definitely part of the excitement. We found so many sites and red dirt roads we wouldn’t have found otherwise. Many of our fondest memories of PEI were biking memories, like when a herd of cows ran along with us as we biked the road. There was also the time that we rolled into Naufrage, a small fishing village, where we saw 7 bald eagles sitting on the beach.
Image by Tourism PEI / John Sylvester via Flickr
5. Nature. PEI is home to a wide variety of wildlife – both on land and sea. If you come to the Island, you’ll certainly see plenty of foxes. There are so many foxes on PEI and they are quite tame as well. You will often see foxes laying on the front lawn of someone’s property.
Image by Dennis Jarvis via Flickr
There are plenty of birds on PEI too. We’ve seen plenty of Bald Eagles already this spring. There are also lots of Osprey flying around. The Piping Plover is also a rare treat. These beautiful shore birds are hard to find, as there are only roughly 50 of them on PEI, but if you do find one you’ll feel quite excited. One of the birds you will see plenty of when visiting the Island are the prehistoric looking Blue Heron.
Image by Martin Cathrae via Flickr
If lucky, you may get to see whales during your visit to PEI. While the Island isn’t exactly known as a hotspot for seeing whales, there are quite a few whale sightings each summer. Adam’s parents were lucky enough to see a whale feeding near Stanley Bridge during their visit a few years ago.
The interesting thing about the wildlife on PEI is that it’s quite different from the rest of Canada. There are no bears, no deer and no moose. There are some coyotes but they are rarely seen. It’s a great feeling knowing that you can safely drive at night in PEI without having to worry about large wildlife crossing the road in front of your vehicle – especially if you’re hauling a trailer.
6. Golf. While not an actual site, we needed to include golf on this list because it is a huge tourist draw to PEI. The Links at Crowbush Cove is the Island’s premier golf course, it’s been rated as one of the top golf courses in Canada. There are golf courses everywhere with varying degrees of difficulty but all seem to offer a scenic setting for your 18 holes.
Image by Tourism PEI / Paul Baglole via Flickr
7. The People. Just like anywhere in the Maritimes or Eastern Canada, or pretty much all of Canada, people here are really nice. However in PEI, you will be called a name. You are a CFA aka Come From Away. “Oh, you must be from away,” you’ll often hear locals say. While this doesn’t always apply to tourists, Adam and I have heard this a lot – and that is ok. We are proud CFA’s that love this little Island. We knew that when starting an adventure like this that if we ran into any trouble someone here will help us.
Bonus. Ease of Access. There really is no place in Canada quite like PEI. Because PEI is a tiny province, you’re pretty much with an hour or two drive of anywhere on the Island. No other province can say that. As for RVers, if you plan on exploring the whole Island during your visit, we have to recommend that you stay in central PEI. This will give you easier access to whatever you might want to do whether it’s on the eastern or western part of the Island. We would personally suggest Jellystone Park in Borden-Carlton. It’s close to the Confederation Bridge, food in Borden-Carleton, and it’s fairly centrally located on the Island. It’s a great park that will be perfect for your family visit to PEI.
This list merely scratches the surface of what the Island has to offer. There’s so much to do and see, which is why chose to start our adventure here. The summers are beautiful and not too hot. PEI really is the perfect location for a summer getaway. If you’re coming to PEI this summer and have any questions about the Island, let us know and we’d be happy to help you plan your fabulous family vacation.
Have you been to PEI before? What was your favourite site on PEI? What was your favourite thing you ate? Comment Below.
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