Super pretty scenery, great food, with friendly people and affordable prices, Prince Edward Island makes an ideal spot for a family getaway. Here on Canada’s smallest province, you can easily drive from one end of the island to the other in a day. But you wouldn’t want to do that. No, visitors need to savor time on this verdant land of rolling hills and red earth surrounded by the Atlantic. Let’s explore five fabulous things to do on Prince Edward Island with kids.
Go clam digging
When you’re on an island, you might as well do as the islanders do. On Prince Edward Island (a.k.a. PEI), that means digging for your supper. Tranquility Cove Adventures is where my daughter and I got our sea legs on Skipper Perry’s comfortable boat. Possibly the friendliest guy in the Maritimes (and that’s saying something, ‘cuz everybody is super friendly out here), Perry takes groups past PEI’s oldest wooden lighthouse and into a calm bay.
After donning wet suits, we plunged into the waist-deep ocean and began raking the soft sand with your hands. When you feel something hard like a rock, put a bit of muscle into it and ideally you’ll pull up with a hefty-sized bar clam in your fist. You then take your bounty to the beach, where you’ll tuck into a proper clam bake. I guess my daughter, Eve has more muscle on her than I because she netted the most clams. Kids 10 years and older are welcome on this adventure.
Make your own chocolates
A half-hour jaunt outside the capital of Charlottetown, lies Victoria by the Sea. In this storybook village you’ll find Island Chocolates, a family run chocolatier that offers weekly classes during the summer season. Hands-on lessons begin with a frothy mug of cocoa and a chat about the history of chocolate, harvesting and production practices. Then it’s time to delve deep into the world of Willy Wonka, making your own cream centers, nut clusters, and chocolate bowls. The best part? Eating your efforts, of course!
Even if you can’t attend a scheduled class (though they do offer other class times by appointment), it’s worth poking into this village to suss out the quaint shops. Naturally, Island Chocolates has a great dessert menu and the meals served up and down the road are well worth it.
Step back in time
Anne of Green Gables is a national treasure. Never heard of this spunky red-headed character? Anne is the Canadian equivalent to Laura Ingalls, except Anne is a fictional character. Lucy Maud Montgomery created Anne as the star of her novels over a century ago, but the inspiration for the story is alive and well in PEI.
Families can tour Green Gables Heritage Place and explore out the Anne’s storybook green gabled home. Theater buffs shouldn’t miss taking in a performance of Anne of Green Gables – The Musical in Charlottetown. It’s the world’s longest running annual musical and a big hit for school-age kids.
I was initially worried Avonlea Village was going to be a major snoozer, but strolling this historic village wound up being our favorite activity. Here you’ll find roving performers who act out scenes from the books. My 9-year-old couldn’t get enough of the place. She played on the old-fashioned equipment in the school yard, ran alongside the pig races and loved acting as my stylist in the dressmaker (and dress up) shop.
Honestly, it was such a relief to go to kiddie attraction where you felt safe and weren’t constantly shelling out money. Eve felt an immense sense of freedom roaming the village on her own, while her mother sat blissfully in the shade of a century-old tree sipping something cool (yet sadly not alcoholic).
Pickings are slim for good food options in Cavendish (where the majority of the Anne attractions are). Hit up the Moo Moo shop in Avonlea Village for incredible gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.
Some of Canada’s prettiest and most pristine beaches are found on PEI. What’s more, you have your pick of sand color. The island is famous for its red soil, so you can plunk your towel down on a red (or white or brown) sand beach. Best are the free activities Parks Canada serves up along the coast. We had a hoot building sand castles with a master sculpture, plus they offer other interpretive activities, such as story-telling and guided walks.
The price of lobster is at an all time low and nowhere is that more evident than on the Eastern Seaboard. From lobster rolls to entire lobster dinners, it’s easy to affordably get your fill. For a true Maritime experience, try a traditional lobster supper available at churches and community halls throughout the province.
One of our best (and most massive) meals was at New Glasgow Lobster Suppers. It included all you can eat mussels (we polished off two buckets) a one pound lobster, three salads and a crazy selection of pies. Besides lobster, PEI is world-famous for their oysters, mussels and of course, there’s those clams…
It should come as no surprise that this Travel Mama gained a happy seven pounds over the course of her family holiday. Well, when wine is $5.25 a glass in most restaurants, wouldn’t you enjoy a glass (or two) with every meal? OK, it wasn’t just the wine, it was indulging in the great food, enjoying the company of the lovely locals and forgetting I have a workout routine. But you know what? It was worth it, each and every pound.
Read more about exploring Canada’s Maritimes over on my blog, JodyRobbins.com.
Have you ever visited Prince Edward Island? Share your thoughts and questions below!
A Note from The Saucy Travel Mama: Thank you Tourism PEI for hosting my stay. As always, my opinions are my own.