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If you haven’t seen part 1 of Prince Edward Island you can click here.
Now that all that Anne stuff is out of my system I can tell you about why we keep returning!
Many people would assume that the beaches so far north would be cold, rocky, and a kind of a side note. But they haven’t seen PEI beaches! Beautiful red and white sand beaches punctuated by red rock cliffs and farmland that seems to reach to the very tip of the land. 500 miles of beaches to be precise. And the water is warm! Due to the Northumberland Strait’s shallow depth the beaches are the warmest north of the Carolinas. The summer water temp is around 70 degrees! All that remains is to decide what kind of beach experience you like. If you like walking along the shore and enjoying nature you must visit- North Cape or Seacow Head.
If you want white sand to build sand castles and sunbathe- Singing Sands Beach.
If you want some time alone and a sandbar for the kids to play on- North Rustico (my family’s favorite).
If you want the red sand and calmer waves- south shore.
The most popular is Cavendish with a lifeguard, bathrooms, camping nearby, easy waves and long stretches of beach.
The best gentle bike ride of your life is down the bike trail within PEI National Park. Beach after beach is ahead of you, dunes, grass, and a straight paved road. Start in Cavendish and it is almost all downhill to North Rustico or go a long way down to Brackley Beach. Go around 6:30 in the evening in the summer and when the sun hits the tops of the dunes and you are in for a glorious view.
Tip: There a number of bike rental places near Cavendish. However, we always take our own bikes. If you are driving, it is worth the small hassle.
Once upon a time the Trans Canadian railroad went from one side of PEI to the other (the long way). Part of me wishes it was still around so I could see the whole island from the train. When it was deemed unusable in 1989 it was made into a biking and walking trail. 435 kilometers of mostly level gravel trail will guide you on your way to the quaint towns of PEI.
Deep Sea Fishing-
There are lots of deep sea fishing companies in wharfs all along the North Shore of Prince Edward Island. We have found they are all pretty similar in price and activity but our favorite view are from New London wharf so we would recommend New London Wharf Deep Sea Fishing. You need to call and reserve your spot a few days in advance. Try to reserve a spot early on in your trip, so if it needs to be rescheduled due to weather, you have some wiggle room.
The adventure begins as you power out of the harbor into open water. The boat stops just off the coast and you begin to fish for mackerel to use as bait for the cod. These guys are fairly easy to catch even for the youngest members. Captain Wade distributes rods and demonstrates the best way to get the fish to bite. After some mackerel are caught, you will go further out to sea and use the mackerel to catch some cod. This is a little bit trickier, but my kids have lucked out every time we have gone.
You will boat back to shore, and the catch is divided up between the sailing party. Cook the cod that night for the freshest and most delicious meal.
A ceilidh (pronounced “cay-lee”) is a traditional Scottish or Irish folk music evening with singing and dancing. You must find one and go. I dragged my reluctant husband and kids to one on our past visit and by intermission my husband was buying CD’s of the group performing. There are many fabulous ceildhs on PEI, but I enthusiastically recommend the Ross Family in Stanley Bridge Hall (at corner of Routes 6 and 254). A more entertaining group would be very hard to find, and they have real musical chops. A brother and sisters group, they play the violin, guitar, and piano. They sing and dance and often do everything at the same time.
For more info go to www.rossfamily.ca
tip: The doors open at 7:00pm, but if you want to see the show you need to be there by 6:30 at the absolute latest. The crowd is huge!
Every time we go to Prince Edward Island we go to the drive-in in Brackley Beach. It is such a fun thing to do with the family. A double feature is shown every night! There is a really decent snack bar that goes beyond popcorn and candy. My favorite is a freshly fried churro. There are a fair number of Adirondack chairs available to sit in, but bring your bug spray because the mosquitoes are bad when dusk hits.
French River– the charming town of French River is north of New London on Rte 20. Just before you reach it there is a nice parking lot/overlook that is perfect for a picture of the charming town. We take a picture here on every trip.
Few towns are as beautiful as New Glasgow with its rolling hills, lakes, and beautiful farmland. There is a toy factory in the center of town and a small park directly across from the toy store. Beautiful picture.
PEI national park, Gulf Shore Parkway-
There is an amazing overlook of Cavendish beach here. Come when the sun is beginning to set and you will be rewarded with amazing pictures of the beach and the greenery surrounding it.
Where to eat:
New Glasgow Lobster Supper-
A local favorite! Every time we have been here (I won’t admit the number of times) we run into locals who come weekly or monthly, and who can blame them? For C$32.95 you can have delicious homemade rolls, chowder, all you can eat PEI mussels, salad, a one pound lobster, and as many desserts as you can eat! The standout desert is the lemon meringue pie which has the highest meringue I have ever seen! There’s one other lobster supper on the island in North Rustico. We have been to it, but we keep going back to New Glasgow for a more relaxed atmosphere and superior food.
Tip: Come early at 4:00 pm. There is a discount code on their website and you will not have to wait in the long lines that occur after 5 pm.
Cows Ice Cream, various locations-
Voted the best ice cream in Canada! Our family is a big fan of this place, so much so that our kids expect to have this every day we are on vacation. We like it so much we get it for them! Fresh and creamy ice cream in a large variety of daily flavors. Plus they offer t-shirts with cow parodies on them, which make great souvenirs.
Tip: our favorite flavors: Wowie Cowie, PEI Apple Crisp, Chocolate Monster, Chunky Chocolate Mint, and Gooey Mooey.
Very reminiscent of a Five Guys but with poutine! And the poutine is gluten free! An inexpensive and delicious meal a little off from downtown Charlottetown. Across the parking lot is a Cows Ice Cream shop and an Anne of Green Gables chocolates, so we haven’t been able to do one without the other!I hope this information has inspired you to travel to this little appreciated Island and make your own family adventures.