Our first trip to Prince Edward Island (PEI) will go down as my favorite family trip of all time. It was worth every second of the ten hour drive to get there. It is the land of red sandy beaches, rugged cliff sides, and fields of purple lupine. A land with a deep love of a red-headed girl, endless rows of potato plants, and sly foxes that show glimpses of themselves at dusk.
We set up our home base in Cavendish at the lovely Kindred Spirits Inn & Cottages. Of course, my kids did enjoy mini golfing and laser tag on route 6, but these are the unique experiences that will stay with us always.
The Top 10 Things to do on Prince Edward Island with Children:
1. Explore the rock formations at Teacup Rock
We spent a day at Thunder Cove Beach in Darnley. The parking was free and easy. The red cliffs were beautiful and I was amazed that we almost had the beach to ourselves. We walked along the beach and thought we had come to an end, because we reached a steep embankment that we couldn’t climb over. After wading through the water to get around it, we found tea cup rock. The kids loved exploring the caves and rock formations.
2. Find your Kindred Spirit at Green Gables
Step into a storybook at the house that inspired L.M. Montgomery to write Anne of Green Gables. I bought a straw hat with red braids attached and my daughter loved it. She looked like she worked there and people even asked to have their picture taken with her. It was hysterical. After exploring the house, we admired the immaculate gardens and then followed the trail through the haunted woods. There are many Anne of Green Gables attractions on the island, but this is the most notable literary landmark in Canada and shouldn’t be missed.
3. Make a Wind Chime at Island Winds
Building a wind chime was one of the most memorable experiences we had. As a family, we worked together to build and assemble our own gale force wind chime. There are many sizes and sounds to choose from and we settled on the “Anne” Chime, because the harmony is based on the musical production of Anne of Green Gables. The kids did everything from drilling holes, stringing the pipes, and hanging the glass. Now we will be reminded of our time in PEI every time the wind blows.
4. Wander the historic streets of Charlottetown
You could spend the better half of a day wandering the historic streets of Charlottetown. Let Eckhart the mouse lead your kids on a scavenger hunt to find the nine small bronze mice in different hiding places around the city. Click here to download the brochure that lists the clues to find them all. This permanent interactive attraction is a really fun way to see the city.
There is a painted line that will lead you on an easy self-guided walking tour through the city (similar to the Freedom Trail in Boston). Don’t miss the bronze sculpture of the two fathers of Confederation, having a conversation about creating the nation across from St. Dunstan’s Basilica Church. Do some shopping on Victoria Row or relax on a blanket in Victoria Park. My sister took the older kids to see the Anne of Green Gables Musical and they were all really impressed.
I have a slight ice cream obsession. I would go as far to say that I am something of an ice cream connoisseur. Cows ice cream has the BEST maple walnut I have ever had. I will admit now- I ate an ice cream cone, finished it, and went straight back in for another. I gained 5 pounds on vacation thanks to Cows ice cream. It’s just that good. We frequented the creamery on the Cavendish boardwalk, but there are other locations around the island.
6. Cuddle baby animals at Island Hill Farm
This is such a cute children’s farm that has baby animals frolicking around everywhere you turn. My kids loved how hands on it was. They walked a donkey, held a chicken and bottle-fed a baby goat.
The biggest highlight was walking in the back field where there were animals peacefully grazing. The farmer taught them how to yell “here girls!” while clapping their hands. Let’s just say that it worked well. A herd of 30 goats ran straight for them. My tiny daughter bolted like it was a scene from Jurassic Park.
There is also a really nice gift store that sells their goat milk soaps and candles. It was the perfect place to find gifts for friends and family. They even gift wrapped them.
It is hard to explain just how beautiful this beach is. There are several boardwalks that lead over the dunes where you will find a great view of the red stone cliffs. While we loved Thunder Cove Beach for the rock formations, this is probably a better choice for families. The brand new facilities include bathrooms, changing rooms, shaded picnic areas and a canteen. There is a park fee, but it is free after 6:00.
A cèilidh is a traditional Scottish or Irish social gathering. It usually involves fiddling, step dancing, singing, Celtic music and even story telling. It is an experience that will give you a glimpse of the culture and it’s really good fun at the same time. There are different cèilidhs across the countryside almost every night of the week, so your best bet is to ask your hotel when you check in so you can plan ahead. We tried to go see Courtney Hogan at the Emerald Boxcar, which is the longest running ceilidh on Prince Edward Island, but it was sold out. We stumbled upon Leon Gallant & Friends playing at the Stanley Bridge Hall right down the street from us and they were just amazing.
Starting in 1980, a man collected and cemented over 25,000 bottles of various shapes and sizes to create six different buildings. This small fantasy-like village includes a house, a tavern and even a chapel. Dainty pathways will lead you through the beautiful flower gardens. The way the light shines in through the different colored glass is pretty magical.
10. Eat seaweed pie at the Potato Museum
The kids were really unsure about this one, especially when they saw that it is actually green. But once they took a bite, I couldn’t get them away from it. I have no idea how you can make Irish moss taste that good, but it does. The Potato Museum is the only place you can find it in the world. Be sure to pose for a picture with the largest potato sculpture in the world while you are there.
This is what we love to do on Prince Edward Island with children. Although we missed it, I would also suggest checking out Basin Head. What is your favorite thing to do on PEI? I hope this list gave you some ideas!
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