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Full Island Tour - Vacation Summary

Elkton, Maryland
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61 posts
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Full Island Tour - Vacation Summary

Here is the review of our 13 day itinerary on the Island. First, we had a great time, the kids had a blast, 4 people camping in a Vanagon did get tight and tiring at time, but it allowed us to tour the entire Island and have the best views going to sleep at night. And now that I’m looking at the pictures, it was an awesome vacation! I will review the campgrounds in another post.

Day 1

We stopped at Cape Jourimain right before getting on the bridge. It was a neat stop, they have an observation tower where you get a great view of the bridge. We didn’t spent much time there as we were just excited to get ON the Island. A whole 9m43sec later (the length of the bridge, carefully timed by my 8 y.old!) we arrived :) First stop: Summerside. We checked out the Farmer’s Market, not much to find, very small. We walked around Spinnakers Landing, it was smaller than expected, but they have cute little shops and found a nice restaurant for lunch with an outdoor terrace and a great water view.

SKIPPED:

Bishop Machine Shop Museum

NIGHT:

Green Park Provincial Park

Day 2

We were going to take it easy, but the high wind kick us out of Green Park! Nice Sunday drive along the coast to Jacques Cartier Provincial Park, spent the afternoon on the beach. The jellyfish kept us out of the water, the were bad the entire time we were on the Island, but only on the North Shore. We went exploring and found a little marsh off the beach, the kids had small fish nets so we went critter hunting in the water. I would suggest anyone with boys to bring fish nets, critter hunting might have been on of the highlights of the vacations.

NIGHT:

Jacques Cartier Provincial Park

Day 3

North Cape Wind Energy Interpretive Center: Not worth it, pricey and very short exhibit. Learn about windmills at home then spend more time exploring

Longest Natural Rock Reef in North America: This was great, we got the North Cape at low tide so we managed to walk quite far but you will need good water shoes, kids & hubby had flip flops, they had a hard time. Low tide stays low for a while, would have been nice to know, we would have stay on that little rock island longer to explore.

Black Marsh Nature Trail: Didn’t do much of it, but it’s nice to see the windmill from up close.

North Cape Historic Lighthouse: Can’t climb in, it’s even gated. But we did get our tip-to-tip ribbon from the gift shop.

West Point Lighthouse: Nice views, but really hot and stuffy as you get to the top on a hot day.

NIGHT:

Cedar Dunes Provincial Park

Day 4

Potato Museum Experience: I have mixed feelings about this. It was fun, we had a private tour guide through the museum, he was such a nice man. We talked about potatoes, but also the Island in general. Lunch was great, they claim having the best french fries on the Island and I would have to agree, we ate lots of fries in 2 weeks and none came close. And all their potato sweets were great. Then he took us on a potato farm, and well, we saw all the machine and were explained how they worked. We were expecting/hoping to put our hands in the dirt and maybe dig up a potato, would have been neat for the kids. That was the disappointing part, if we would have left after lunch, I would have been fine with it.

Bottle Houses Museum: That was really cool, besides the houses, the gardens are maintained beautifully and the lady that runs the shop (that day anyhow) is the daughter (if I remember correctly) of the man who built them, she was more than happy to share a photo album and discuss it further. She did mention the best time of day to visit is at sunset.

NIGHT:

Linkletter Provincial Park

Day 5

Acadian Museum: Part of the heritage museums where you pick 3 and get a cheaper rate. It was very interesting, they have a short video that explains about the Acadian’s history. I’m happier with a 7 min video than ready everything. Don’t expect to be there very long, the little outdoor trail was worth it, takes you in front of the beautiful church next door and gives you more history.

Lower Bedeque School House: Neat stop on the Anne trail, this is where LM Montgomery taught. It’s free, but we didn’t go in, I was happy to just see it.

MacCallums Point Lighthouse: This was by far my favorite lighthouse. The walk to it is on really big rocks, again good grip sneakers. We didn’t make it to the end (lack of time – rather meat in the car!) but I doubt you can go in. It’s a beautiful site, and more critter hunting for the kids. I was glad we didn’t take the time to go in the schoolhouse.

NIGHT:

KOA Cornwall

Day 6

Our first and only rainy day in 13 days on the Island! Had to be a beach day! Because of the rain, we were able to do our full planed day.

Victoria-by-the-Sea: Cute little town, stop in the shops, saw the biggest tree on PEI (we like that kind of cheesy sight-see!)

Argyle Beach: As I said, it rained, but we never found it! 2 years ago, we saw the most beautiful red sand beach at low tide. Maybe it was high tide, maybe it was the rain or maybe it eroded? Who knows, we were sad.

Matos Winery: Well, we love wineries. A big disappointment. Not the most picturesque one, tours have to be by appointments only and we just didn’t care for the owner, they’re not from the Island and complaining about the lack of activities outside of tourist season isn’t a very good attitude to have.

Cheeselady’s Gouda: We love her, great cheese, nice video if you are interested on how she makes her gouda and cute lamas.

NIGHT:

KOA Cornwall

Day 7

Cows Creamery: The tour is a giant commercial for everything associated with Cow’s Creamery. We didn’t see one machine in action, they only run on Tues-Wed-Thurs, maybe, just maybe it would be worth it during those days, but really, skip the fees for the tour and getting yourself a nice fat double scoop ice cream cone, they do have the best ice cream!

Provincial House National Historic Site: Another neat and interesting video. Fun self-tour.

The Confederation Centre Young: At noon, on the steps of the centre, they have a very fun musical that last 45 minutes, lots of dancing, music and great costume. This would be worth paying for, a must if you will be in Charlottetown, not sure how late they will run the show but it is every day.

Picnic at Victoria Park: Transformed into a stroll around the park and grabbing an ice cream. Nice park, worth spending some time for a walk. Nice views of the city, water, boats.

NIGHT:

Lord Selkirk Provincial Park

Day 8

Orwell Corner Historic Village: Part of the heritage museums. We only went because it was a bit wet outside and grey and we had the card. Should have skipped. It was ok, your typical historic village you would find anywhere they offer one.

Rossignol Winery: That was a quick stop, we wanted to get more of their maple wine. They have a great variety of fruit wine and the vineyard sites over the water. On a bright sunny day, it is a gorgeous sight. A well worth stop and we drove right in front of it on our way to the next stop. This time around, we skipped the distilleries on the East coast. Myriad, not worth the stop, the potato distillery in Hermanville is a very fun stop with a great quick tour.

Cape Bear Lighthouse (Titanic Museum): This was neat because of its link with the Titanic, we did the guided tour because it was included in the fee, but really, the poor girl just stated everything we saw as “this is a radio” and didn’t add much to the “climb”.

SKIPPED:

Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead

Point Prim Lighthouse

Wood Island Lighthouse

Kings Castle Provincial Park – This is the one stop I was bummed about skipping. I wish we hadn’t done Orwell in order to stop there, but we were all tired and hungry, even a sleeping child on board.

NIGHT:

Panmure Island Provincial Park

Day 9

Basin Head Beach “Singing Sands”: Took us a while to figure out what the singing sands were, but we managed to get some sound, so we were happy. Tourists!! LOL! Hubby jumped off the bridge, water was fridgid, very high current and some jelly fish, so kiddo didn’t jump even though he wanted, mama said no! Nice spot, but it was a bit crowded so we ended up going back to Red Point Provincial Park and chilled on the beach.

NIGHT:

Red Point Provincial Park

Day 10

East Point Lighthouse: Another great lighthouse, again guided tour if wanted, this gal was much better ;) They have a pair of binoculars on top where you can see the Cape Breton, and the water was loaded with seals, so that was neat.

Elmira Railway: Our third stop with the heritage museum, which I believe a necessity to fully know about the Island’s past. Even talk about how the bridge came to life. Extra $$ to take the small train ride through the woods, wish it was included in the fee as one ride per person, otherwise it makes it pricey and not sure it’s worth spending the extra money, but it was fun.

Greenwich Dunes: Beautiful dunes, we didn’t make it to the beach though, but it was a nice hike.

Rick’s Fish & Chips: Yep, it got added, didn’t feel like fixing lunch and after hearing about him so many times... hubby did confirm that it was the best one he had.

NIGHT:

St. Peters Park

Day 11

Tandem bicycle – Dalvay-by-the-Sea 1 hr: This was a fun stop, we all enjoyed our quick ride and an hour was plenty for us since we’re not big bike riders. Bonus: I got to see Dalvay up close, I’m an Anne fan.

Green Gables Heritage Place: A must for any Anne fan, but we didn’t spend much time there. We went through the house, then walked on the Lover’s Lane and in the Haunted Woods, really it got us moving, but didn’t care to see the rest of the buildings or activities. Fees were free since we got the 7-day park pass to get in Greenwich and Cavendish as we camped there.

Brackley Beach Ceilidh: THAT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!! It was late for the kids so (not sure how) they almost fell asleep! We saw Cynthia MacLoed and she was just great and full of energy. Anyone that visits the Island HAS to see one of those.

SKIPPED: By then we were getting tired by busy days, had seen enough museums and wanted to take it easy.

The Little Church at Beaver Run

The Farmers Bank at Rustico

Great Canadian Soap Co.

NIGHT:

Cavendish Campground

Day 12

Shining Waters: It was a fun day. The kids were looking forward to it, weather was beautiful. Food was horrible, pack a lunch! Downside: Only 4 slides we could do, it gets old after a while. We started with slides, then lunch, then walk around the park and did all the fun cheesy little “rides”. WARNING: The roller coaster is not for adults, I was seriously hurting myself on that thing. But the mirror maze, fun house and spaceship, they were like old fashion park ride, they were neat. Then more slides, by 4:30PM we had enough. Fun day. And best, it was not crowded (compared to American waterparks anyhow!)

NIGHT:

Cavendish Campground

Day 13

Black Magic Indoor Blacklight Mini-Golf: This was cool. A bit overpriced, but it was very neat. If you like mini-golf, this is the one to hit on the Island.

EXPO-Centre at Abram-Village: Last meal on the Island, we went for Acadian food. They have an Acadian variety plate that gives you a little bit of everything. The restaurant was a lot nicer than we were expecting and it was a great way to end a vacation. Anyone that enjoys tasting different food from different cultures should definitely stop there. With that said, the rapure is better at Water Street Bakery in Summerside if you have a way of heating it up.

SKIPPED:

Jurassic Bart’s Dinosaurs Museum

Cape Tryon Lighthouse

Haunted Mansion - My little guy chickened out, it was his pick, then he got scared. We all agreed to skip the rest and go chill at the campground, last night.

NIGHT:

Linkletter Provincial Park

Day 14

Home, but not without a stop at Water Street Bakery first. They had the best cinnamon rolls, no icing, which was a bit unusual for us, but they were amazingly crispy and good. And we wanted dishes for the first few days after vacation, so we brought home a taste of PEI, a rapure and a meat pie.

Overall:

We had a great time. We all agreed that Cavendish Beach was our favorite beach, a nice mixture of dunes, red cliffs and rocks, soft sand. Highlights: North Cape natural rock reef, Macallums Lighthouse (it was a nice unexpected surprise), Critter hunting, Ceilidh, Shining Waters, Black Light mini-golf. Not so: Orwell Village, Cows Creamery, Matos Winery, North Cape interpretive center. Camping through the Island allowed us to see it all, but it was also very tiring, most nights we didn’t get to the campsite before 5-6PM so dinners were often late. It was a lot of work (camping) and a lot of driving, but a lot less than if we had been in a hotel and taking long drive every day. It also kept the cost down. By the end, we started cutting down on the “coastal drive” and started taking the quick way, we felt we had seen every coastal scenery possible! Next trip (if there is one) would be in the fall to see the colors and we would station ourselves in Cavendish, while all parts of the Island are very different and beautiful in their own ways, this is our favorite area. Thanks to digital imaging, getting home and seeing all the wonderful photos makes all the “negatives” be all worth it. Still our favorite vacation spot :)

Kuujjuaq, Canada
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for Prince Edward Island
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1. Re: Full Island Tour - Vacation Summary

Wow that is quite a summary, thanks for posting. I pretty much figured when you were sharing your itinerary that you would have about that kind of a trip. The thing with PEI is everyone wants to do the "authentic" "non-touristy" type of trip. The reality is PEI is a tourist destination and there's no use trying to change that as much as you would like to. Sure we have the so-called authentic places but they are for the most part relatively dull as you obviously found out with several. I am also not surprised that you found Cavendish to be the best of the beaches you visited, very pristine. That is precisely why I tend to recommend the North shore beaches, they are just so much more complete than the South shore and the water temperature thing is not as dramatic as people make it out to be.

I did get a chuckle out of your description of Basin head as "fridgid". I can see where you get that as you are much further South and Islanders regularly joke about how what water we find warm is actually probably freezing to tourists.My g/f and I were the only ones for much of the time in the water the past few weeks and tourists were watching us like we had two heads lol. Next time you would be best to come later in August, much warmer water. I also agree that the jellyfish have been much worse this year than past(due largely to the "warmer" than usual waters lol). Next time you might want to consider spending a bit more time in Charlottetown. As you found out, lots of little festivals and events happening almost every week.

Glad you enjoyed your trip though and you and your family will always have the memories and I am sure your kids will remember their "critter hunting" even as adult lol. Cheers.

Syracuse, NY
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2. Re: Full Island Tour - Vacation Summary

Thank you for taking the time to post your trip report. It was very informative and enjoyable to read. Glad to hear you had fun!

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3. Re: Full Island Tour - Vacation Summary

Great summary!

I was wondering what your thoughts were of KOA in Cornwall? My family will be visiting there soon.

Elkton, Maryland
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4. Re: Full Island Tour - Vacation Summary

nramsay, well.. I'm sure as an Islander you more used to colder waters than we are, but we couldn't believe the difference between the south shore (much warmer) vs north shore. I agree, there really is no such thing about "authentic" experience no matter what you do or where you go. The most authentic we got wasn't places or activities, but rather chatting with the locals. As I said, we toured the entire Island, which is what we set out to do, but I do wish our schedule weren't so packed so that it would have allowed for more down time in the evenings. With that said, having now toured the full Island, 1) we no longer need to see everything 2) we know what our favorite places are so it would be much easier to plan a vacation and decide where to stay. But I agree, in 2 trips, we only managed to be in Charlottetown for the equivalent to about a day and a half, stil much more I would like to enjoy in the city.

Derrick123, the KOA was a nice campground. They do have a heated pool but only 76F. We were there during week day so not too many activities, but our schedule wouldn't have allowed to partake in too many. The tent site by the water were nice with quite a bit of privacy compared to most provincial park although their WI-FI weren't accessible from our site which they said it would. Maybe it was just my device because the folks next too us were typing the heck out of their cell phones! Very close to the city, but personally, I prefered the quieter provincial parks and they were cheaper. With that said $37 for a premium water site is much cheaper than we would pay in most campgrounds in the US to get the same. And they do have quite a big camp store, but get your wood elsewhere if you can, you will save a few bucks. We didn't have to buy any there but it was one of the priciest spot on the Island.

Kuujjuaq, Canada
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for Prince Edward Island
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5. Re: Full Island Tour - Vacation Summary

Funny you mention the South shore being colder than the North because I had the complete opposite experience yesterday. Went to the South shore because there is a beach in Cape Traverse that allows dogs and it was absolutely freezing. The g/f and I both were laughing about how some people seem to think the opposite. I can tell you for a fact that the water we were in yesterday was several degrees colder than the North shore where we were the weekend before. Maybe there were other factors at play but much colder to be certain.

Elkton, Maryland
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6. Re: Full Island Tour - Vacation Summary

Maybe it changes all the time? Our first trip, all the Islanders we spoke with were in disagreement on this subject!

Kuujjuaq, Canada
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for Prince Edward Island
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7. Re: Full Island Tour - Vacation Summary

I think it is just one of those myths that has stuck around and people who are not from here have latched on to. It comes from the idea that the South shore encompasses the Northumberland straight which is shallower and more sheltered from the open ocean. In that sense it seems like a reasonable assumption but I have my doubts. Personally I think the North shore and South shore are about equal and it just depends on tides and other environmental conditions such as wind whether one side is colder than the other at any given day. To say one is substantially warmer or colder than the other is a bit of a stretch just in my personal opinion.

8. Re: Full Island Tour - Vacation Summary

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