East Coast Family Road Trip
When I first booked our trip out East to Prince Edwards Island I wasn’t sure if I was being brave or crazy. Our toddler (2+ years old) does not nap in the car. She stopped sleeping in the vehicle when she was 3 months old. I made a bag (which she called my Mary Poppins bag) full of activities to keep her busy. We knew she wouldn’t be sleeping for our 15 hour road trip but I had hope that maybe our newborn would.
Our daughter Ivy is 2.5 months old and she did sleep in the car but it had to be perfectly timed. She won’t take a soother and is breastfed (no bottles) so we had to stop, a lot. She would sleep for a maximum of 30 minutes at a time in the truck but when she was awake she was content.
We went into the trip with low expectations, aiming for Quebec City on day 1 (coming from 45 minutes west of Ottawa which equals a 6 hour + drive). We stopped shortly before QC and stayed at a hotel just off the highway.
Our 2nd day we hoped to at least reach the coast so we could stay along the Ocean and we did. Half way to the ocean though I realized that it didn’t matter if we reached the ocean because our daughter was having the time of her life. We stopped at a play ground in Kedgwick, New Brunswick and Lux told us this was “the best day ever.” When you are 2 years old, it’s all about the simple things.
We made it to Charlo, New Brunswick where we spent the night at a Herons Nest Cottage. The cottage was nice and was conveniently located across from the ocean and a really fun play ground (which when you have kids can be really exciting). Lux spent her time playing on the play ground and checking out the jelly fish. Ivy spent her time sleeping.
Day 3 we decided to take our time since we were driving the coastal highway and stop as often as we wanted which with 2 young children, was a lot. We came across some more really great playgrounds (New Brunswick wins for coolest play grounds), and some beautiful beaches.
We ended up stopping in Caraquet, New Brunswick for the night where we found a Super 8 hotel with a pool. We thought Lux would be really excited about this but no… because they had a PLAY GROUND. Yes, I am starting to feel like we were traveling just for the sake of going to play grounds, but that’s okay. She was loving her life, so were we.
The hotel was right along the ocean and had a beautiful little walkway. Lux had a busy day playing at 3 different play grounds so we gave her a break and let her enjoy the view in our Urban Glide Thule Stroller.
The girls both slept in (till 9am) so we got a late start on Day 4 and took our time driving along the coastal highway. The one thing about traveling along the ocean is the lack of shade. We packed a shade tent and made use of it any time we stopped somewhere without trees. We wanted to be close to PEI so we ended up spending the night at a motel in Shediac, which is home to the largest lobster.
Shediac is not far from PEI, maybe an hour, so on Day 5 we woke up and headed straight for the Confederation Bridge. Before leaving on our trip I spent weeks preparing Lux for it. Talking to her about how we would all be sleeping in the same room some nights, how we would be sleeping somewhere different each night on the way there, how we would be in the car for a long time, how we would be traveling through different provinces to get to the Atlantic Ocean, etc… We looked at maps, we read books, and I told her stories about what it looked like. Our first stop we made was the light house right at the end of the confederation bridge. When she saw it, she yelled “PEI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and ran straight for it. The excitement was real and it made every minute getting there worth it.
She was a little disappointed though when she got to the lighthouse and realized she couldn’t go inside it so we promised we would take her to one that she could go in.
We wanted to save some money so we decided to camp. I did a little researching the night before and discovered that Cavendish (a campground Mike and I have stayed at before was completely booked). I came across a campground called Linkletter Provincial Park. It had lots of availability so I didn’t bother booking anything. When we got to the campground we were pleasantly surprised that our site was well shaded and the campground was very quiet. This was Ivy’s first time camping and aside from the mosquitos being almost worse than in Ontario, we had a great time. We spent most of our time at the ocean where the breeze kept them away or in the tent, reading story after story.
Day 6 was when we were due to arrive at the Airbnb I had booked us. I booked 4 nights/5 days at Gary and Loretta’s Inlaw suite which was located right on the ocean. Since this trip was a bit last minute there was slim pickings and not much available. Gary kindly accommodated us (they usually only book ppl per week) and we were very grateful. The place was perfect, we couldn’t have asked for a better spot. The beach was incredible and perfect for children.
We spent every morning and every evening searching for seashells, sea glass, hermit crabs, and more. On Day 7 we decided to go for a short drive (5 minutes) to the Glass Bottle Houses. There are 3 buildings made of over 25,000 glass bottles. It is a very unique attraction and I am glad we went. Not far from the glass bottle houses is the Cape Egmont Lighthouse.
Once the girls were in bed, if there was a little bit of daylight left, I was able to get out for a quick paddle. It was nice being able to walk down the stairs, hop on our board, and paddle on the ocean. I got to watch crabs walking on the ocean floor underneath me which is not something you see SUPing on Calabogie Lake.
Day 8 is where we filled our promise to Lux. We took her to a light house she could actually go inside. And it wasn’t just one of those lighthouses that has a gift shop in the bottom of it. It was an actual light house that is still working and that you can go up to the top, see the light and the view.
West Point Lighthouse was built in 1875 and is located by Cedar Dunes Provincial Park. It is one of the top 11 Lighthouse inns in the world. I kind of wish we would have known about this prior to going to PEI and I would have booked a night at this inn for Lux’s sake. She loved the lighthouse so much that we had to go back in, all the way to the top, 3 times and she could have went more.
After visiting the light house we went for ice-cream, walked along the beach and let Lux stay awake for her first sunset (she’s always in bed before the sunset). While her and I watched the sunset, Mike paddled into the sunset.
Day 10 We decided to spend our last full day not going anywhere and just enjoying the beach. We went for our last morning and evening walk along the beach. I know Ivy won’t remember anything about our trip but I hope she enjoyed herself. She naps best in our Onya Baby Carrier so it was really nice to be able to walk along the beach with her. Now that we are home, I’m already missing our daily beach naps.
Lux controlled most of our trip. She made us find a light house we could go inside, she convinced us to stop for ice-cream, and she got us to stop at Hopewell Rocks on our way home. It was a little out of our way but after seeing the picture of it in the New Brunswick Visitor Center she spent the rest of the trip talking about Hopewell Rocks when she wasn’t talking about Light Houses or Lego Friends. So on Day 11 we packed our things, said goodbye to our little home away from home, and headed home, stopping at Hopewell Rocks along the way.
Hopewell Rocks have the highest tides in the world and they happen twice a day, every day. We wanted to see the tide at it’s highest but the timing wasn’t right and we would have to stick around for another day in order to see it so we decided to continue on towards home. We will be going back to the East Coast when the girls are a bit bigger so we can always stop again to see it at high tide. I am glad Lux was interested enough in these big rocks to make us stop here.
Day 12 the girls woke up super early, which is rare, so we took full advantage of it, and attempted the drive home. We drove from Fredericton to home. It took us 14 hours in total, not sure how much of that was driving, we probably stopped like 10+ times but we made it home. We went into it knowing we would have to stop a lot though and we didn’t mind because we had the time and it allowed us to see parts of Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edwards Island that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
“In the end, kids won’t remember that fancy toy or game you bought for them, they will remember the time you spent with them.” – Kevin Heath