Prince Edward Island Hotels
Rte. 310, R.R. 4, Bay Fortune, C0A 2B0, Canada
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Prince Edward Island Transportation
I have mentioned in another tip on this page that there are two ways to get to PEI, both of them free, it is only when you want to get off the island that it costs money! In fairness, I could understand why people would want to go there and never leave as it really is that wonderful.
My previous tip referred to the ferry from New Glasgow (technically Caribou) - Wood Island and this one refers to the Confederation Bridge from Borden-Carleton on PEI to Cape Jourimain in New Brunswick. For a man known as being pretty verbose normally I found myself almost speechless at the sight of this thing, never mind when we started driving across it as it is simply stunning. It is the longest bridge over ice-covered waters in the world which would make it, in and of itself, fairly impressive but you just cannot believe (well, not if you are from UK) the sheer scale of this massive engineering feat. I had been over the Forth River road bridge outside Edinburgh and it really impressed me but frankly that was like going across a bridge over a carp pond compared to this beast. I have never seen anything like it as you cannot see one end from the other as the whole thing goes on for the guts of 13km. which is probably eight miles in proper money.
When we travelled over it, we followed a couple of bikers from Maine in the USA and another RV ahead of them which I thought appropriate as that was mostly what we met on the road. It is apparently about 40 metres or so high to allow for the passage of shipping underneath and which may have led to my slight uneasiness especially as a decent side wind had got up and was giving us a bit of abuse.
Pedestrians and bicyclists are not allowed on the bridge but there is a regular shuttle going in either direction (see attached website for times). Whilst this used to be free it is now $4:50 a go, regrettably I suppose another sign of the times we live in whereby they try to tout sustainable transportation and then they do not allow you to actually do it and charge you for the enforced alternative, but enough of this.
This really is a fantastic structure and, even if you are not travelling over it, it is worth going to have a look at from either side as it is a genuinely jaw-dropping piece of engineering. As a small tip, I reckon the better photo opportunities are from the Visitors Centre on the New Brunswick side.Related to:
- Road Trip
Prince Edward Island, or PEI as it is more commonly known, is a slightly odd place to get to and come back from so please allow me to explain.
Going to the island from either Nova Scotia by way of the New Glasgow (technically Caribou) - Wood Island ferry or from New Brunswick by the rather impressive road bridge (see separate tip) it is completely free which is certainly a bargain. It is only when you have to leave the island again that you have to pay! Given the natural beauty and friendliness of the place I can well understand the traveller may never want to leave but the chances are that you will have to at some point so here is how to go about the trip.
We had elected to go across on the ferry and return on the bridge as it suited our vague itinerary and so we rolled up to the ferry port at New Glasgow. There is a small terminal there which advertised a cafeteria (presumably with toilet facilities) although we had timed our run to meet a departing boat and so did not avail ourselves of the services.
I have to say that I was surprised on a Saturday in the height of tourist season (mid July) just how few vehicles there were waiting to board. One of the images should illustrate that. We were quickly and effieciently marshalled on board by the deckhands and allocated the correct position where I found us parked behind a vehicle towing a Boler "caravan". I have used the inverted commas here for a reason as the Bolero, if you have never seen one as I had not in Europe, is like a caravan that somebody shrunk as it is tiny (the image will give you an idea). I had seen a few on the roads and was fascinated by them and so lost no time in engaging the owner in conversation. Like most caravan / campervan (RV) owners, he was only too happy to show me the salient features and instruct me in the history of the breed which is fascinating and I do commend the reader to look it up. Had I not left the car deck (which you are required to do) the journey would have been worth it for that alone.
Heading upstairs to join my travelling companion I entered the lounge / cafeteria / restaurant area, whatever you want to call it. OK, restaurant may be stretching a point but for a short crossing there was a very decent range of burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, fish and chips and the like offered and I was glad to see that they were at very reasonable prices and not the rip-off that they seem to be on UK and European ferries, presumably playing on the "monopoly market" idea. I did not eat myself but the place was spotless and the food I saw other people eating looked very tasty.
I took a wander up onto the sundeck although, regrettably, there was not so much sun that day even in the height of summer but I had become somewhat accustomed to that in these parts so not a problem. I duly took a few images and retired back downstairs to the warmth and comfort of the lounge to await us docking on PEI. At 75 minutes crossing time it was certainly one of the shorter ferry journeys I have been on but certainly one of the more enjoyable.
If you are driving a long distance on a particular day I suggest you use the ferry as it gives you a chance to stretch your legs, perhaps have a short doze so no falling asleep at the wheel, have a coffee or whatever and recharge your batteries. Certainly the Confederation Bridge is worth seeing and driving across but you will be driving all day if you are doing big mileage. This really is a pleasant way to travel.
The attached website indicates that there is live entertainment offered on board at certain parts of the season. Shame there was none on that day or I would have got the guitar out of the vehicle and joined in. Irrespective of the lack of live music, this was a delightful introduction to the wonderful island and Province of PEI and should you wish to do it here are the logistecs, taken from the attached website.
Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island to Caribou, Nova Scotia
2014 Dates Times
May 1 – June 13 6:30, 9:30, 13:00, 16:30, 20:00
June 14 – June 26 6:30, 9:30, 11:15, 13:00, 14:45, 16:30, 20:00
June 27 – Sept. 1
(Peak Season) 6:30, 8:00, 9:30, 11:15, 13:00, 14:45, 16:30, 18:15, 20:00
Sept. 2 – Oct. 5 6:30, 9:30, 11:15, 13:00, 14:45, 16:30, 20:00
Oct. 6 – Nov. 9 6:30, 9:30, 13:00, 16:30, 20:00
Nov. 10 – Nov. 30 6:30, 11:15, 14:45, 18:15
Dec. 1 – Dec. 20 8:00, 11:15, 16:30
Caribou, Nova Scotia to Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island
2014 Dates Times
May 1 – June 13 8:00, 11:15, 14:45, 18:15, 21:30
June 14 – June 26 8:00, 11:15, 13:00, 14:45, 16:30, 18:15, 21:30
June 27 – Sept. 1
(Peak Season) 8:00, 9:30, 11:15, 13:00, 14:45, 16:30, 18:15, 20:00, 21:30
Sept. 2 – Oct. 5 8:00, 11:15, 13:00, 14:45, 16:30, 18:15, 21:30
Oct. 6 – Nov. 9 8:00, 11:15, 14:45, 18:15, 21:30
Nov. 10 – Nov. 30 9:30, 13:00, 16:30, 20:00
Dec. 1 – Dec. 20 9:30, 13:00, 18:15*
As stated, these are 2014 schedules so check the website for 2015 or beyond.
Here are the fares.
Walk On Passenger Fares
Adult (13 to 59 years) $18.00
Senior (60 years +) $16.00
Child (12 years or less) FREE
Passenger Vehicle (Including Passengers)
Automobiles Up to 6’6″ in Height $69.00
- up to 20 ft $69.00
- up to 30 ft $93.00
- up to 40 ft $93.00
- up to 50 ft $111.00
- Greater than 50 ft $111.00
Mini Bus $182.00
The traveller should also not that there is a fuel surcharge which I thought only applied to aeroplanes.
Notice – Fuel Surcharge
Surcharge – All Commercial Vehicles : $10.00 CDN
Surcharge – Passenger Vehicles : $5.00 CDN
I have just noticed this surcharge as I have been researching this tip. I wonder will it be reduced or removed if the international oil price is reduced. I do dislike "hidden" charges although this is the only negative thing I can find to say about this excellent service.Related to:
- Food and Dining
1 Hotels in Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island Warnings and Dangers
I visited Prince Edward Island in July 2014 and I should preface this tip by saying that I had a thoroughly wonderful trip and hope to return very soon. This is not intended to be negative at all but merely a "word to the wise".
I am not sure what I was actually expecting in terms of weather. I think I had a notion that because the scenery is much like parts of Northern Europe and it is on roughly the same latitude as France that it would have much the same weather but in that I was much mistaken. Firstly, there is the notorious ship-killing fog, which affects areas of the Eastern coast for up to 150 days a year. Indeed, a lady in a Visitor Information Centre elsewhere in the Maritimes told me in all seriousness that there are places that have at least a few minutes of fog every single day of the year. I am not sure how true this is but it seems possible. There is also the rain which can be torrential even in the height of summer and I had earlier managed to survive an unseasonally early hurricane named Arthur whilst in Nova Scotia. I was wondering therefore what Mother Natue had in store for me on PEI when I go there. Possibly unsurprisingly it was much of the same altohugh she was good enough not to test me with a second hurricane.
On the principle that a picture paints a thousand words, a few images here may give you an idea and the reader may also wish to look at some of my videos on various pages here which include footage of the hurricane as well as some pretty ghastly driving conditions. As I said, the rain can be torrential as it was the day I flew into Halifax at the start of my trip up to PEI (and the nearest international airport) which made for a fairly lively landing through the very low cloud and did not entirely fill me full of confidence for spending six weeks in a campervan (RV).
The weather in the Maritimes in winter can be absolutely brutal. I am writing this in late March 2015 and I know there are places under literally feet of snow with the snowploughs unable to go out and police are advising people to stay indoors.
It is not, however, all doom and gloom and there were many other days when I was running about in a T-shirt and shorts (not a pretty sight with my legs!) and even managed to work up a bit of a suntan. My advice would be to adopt the old maxim and prepare (i.e. pack) for the worst and hope for the best, you'll probably get a bit of both.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Just when you think you know how much you are paying for something - you're most likely wrong. 90% of the time the prices that are posted on a item, an admission to an attraction. More often than not you will have to pay the 15% HST in Prince Edward Island.
So when you pick up some candy for $2.00 this is not you total --- add the 15% and now you will pay $2.30.
Beware the HST!!!!!Related to:
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.
Prince Edward Island Favorites
Favorite thing: Canada is a country I had often thought of visiting but only really in abstract terms. My problem is that it is so vast that public transport is not really an option and I do not drive a car so transportation was always going to be an issue. Certainly there are organised tours utilising buses and / or trains but that type of trip would be total travelling Hell for me and so I had put the whole idea on the back burner whilst I travelled elsewhere, mostly in Asia.
It was something of a windfall opportunity therefore when VT member Ravenswing aka Lynne offered me the chance of a road trip in a campervan (or RV as they are called in North America) in the summer of 2014 and one which I naturally jumped at and I am so glad I did as it turned out to be one of the best trips in a life that has been fortunate enough to have made a few.
A campervan (or RV as they are called there) is an ideal way to see this beautiful country although again with the caveat that I only saw a small proportion of it namely ]Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island with an all too brief couple of days in New Brunswick. I am constructing this tip primarily to suggest some resources for anyone that may wish to "hit the road" in this way.
Firstly, there are two main ways you can do this. You can either buy, beg, borrow or steal (only joking) an RV or else hire one. We were lucky enough to have our own, a venerable 33 year old Glendale body on a Chevyvan chassis. Sadly Glendale are no more having filed for bankruptcy in 2010 by which time they had been building RV's for 60 years but Chevrolet seem to be going strong. It is a shame about Glendale as they built some lovely rigs and we certainly saw plenty of them on our travels. Ours was 23 feet C class which was more than adequate for our needs and could theoretically sleep six, two in a bunk above the cab, two in a pullout settee in the rear and another two in a bunk which was made by folding down the dining table although that wasn't too long and would only have been good for kids. I think six would have been pretty cramped and I should explain that a Class C is the type of RV based on a truck chassis with a "cabover" profile although I didn't know any of this until I started the trip.
If you cannot get your own RV then the other option is renting and there are plenty of companies offering the service although from my experience the largest by far seems to be Canadream but this is certainly not cheap. An RV similar to ours although slightly longer (they start at 24 feet) would cost an eye-watering $8330 to recreate our journey in 2015 although admittedly they are very well appointed. We bought our old beauty for a fraction of that and even though it blew up and died on the last day we saved ourselves a fortune.
Once you have secured your vehicle you then have two options as to where to spend the night. The first and most obvious option is to go to one of the many RV / Campgrounds available and which I found to be of a uniformly good standard with varying levels of facilities like swimming pools, kids playgrounds, shuffleboard, volleyball courts, the list is endless. In a Class C of our length you can expect to pay between $30 and $50 per night although obviously the longer your vehicle the more you pay.
A quick primer here for the uninitiated (as I was) about some of the jargon associated with campgrounds. As the name suggets a pull-through is a pitch where you drive in and drive out forwards again without the need to reverse and I have to say I would not like trying to reverse some of the monster rigs we saw.
An unserviced site is merely a piece of ground where you park up for the night and you have the opportunity to use the onsite facilities but you need to be self-sufficient for water and electric. A two way site provides both of these and a three way site provides both and also a sewage pipe to empty your sewage tank. Electric generally comes in either 30amp or 50 amp supply. With 30 amp you can only run a limited number of appliances in your rig but a 50 amp will allow you to run anything you want although obviously it is more expensive.
A very limited number of sites are now even offering an additional service of a cable TV hook up on your pitch.
The second option and one which amazed me when I first saw it is that of parking in the carpark (parking lot) of a shopping centre or supermarket and Walmart seems favourite for this. Obviously you need to be self-sufficient to do this so it was not an option for us as we had no leisure batteries and only had running water when hooked up but plenty of people seem to do it. Indeed in one Walmart carpark we saw about half a dozen rigs all pulled up together in what was obviously "RV Corner". They had the awnings out, chairs and tables and even barbecues out and I could not believe my eyes as in the UK you would be moved on in no time flat. Lynne explained to me that the supermarkets don't mind as you are not costing them anything and on the very reasonable assumption that you may well stock up on whatever you need from their premises and / or use their catering faclilities if you don't feel like cooking yourself. I suppose there is the added benefit that the very visible presence of people may deter crime at night so everyone's a winner. Lynne and I are currently looking for another RV for summer 2015 and beyond and have decided that it needs to be "Walmart compliant" as I have dubbed it.
I suppose carpark RVing all depends on what you want to do. We basically travelled all day and only wanted somewhere to stop at night, use the washrooms and perhaps the laundrette and that was it. If you want to stop for a day or two in pleasant surroundings, fish, go for a swim or avail yourself of the other leisure facilities then RV parks are the way to go. I know supermarket carparks are not exactly the most scenic of places but you can save a lot of money if you are literally just looking for somewhere to spend the night. I should mention that just parking up in the countryside somewhere is not permitted in Nova Scotia. I cannot speak definitively for PEI or New Brunswick but I would be surprised if it was any different. You are OK in the carparks as it is private property.
If you have decided to use an RV site, how do you know which one to use? Actually, there is a wealth of information available and we almost exclusively used two particular guides. The first was one that Lynne had picked up from free the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) as she is a member and the other was Woodalls. Woodalls are an American company but do very comprehensive guides to Canada as well as operating the Good Sam scheme which attracts discounts at participating sites and Lynne's CAA membership also scored us a few discounts.
Another good source of information are the various Provincial tourist boards which I found to be extemely helpful and with a good range of literature including their own RV site guides. You can check here for Prince Edward Island. The website is excellent although I am a bit low-tech and was quite happy just to use to good old-fashioned brochures.
So that is the technical side of the matter but why did I include RVing as my favourite thing about Canada? Well, it is frankly. I had always fancied the idea of an RV trip and this certainly did not disappoint. In the same way as I love canal narrowboats in the UK it is the idea of complete independence and the ability to go or stay at will. I mentioned at the top of this tip that an organised tour would be my idea of Hell so I suppose that with RVing being the complete antithesis of that then this must be my idea of Heaven. When we were discussing this trip Lynne asked me what out our plans were and I told her there weren't any. In fact, it became something of a standing joke between us, "No Planning"! I realise that she was not entirely happy with this arrangement but very gamely allowed herself to go along with it and I think she is much more comfortable with it now. It is how I always travel and I would not have it any other way.
I have mentioned above about the fairly basic facilities in our RV and to me this only added to the appeal of the whole trip as it took on the feel of an adventure rather than a holiday. Obviously some of the rigs now, especially the rental rigs are completely luxurious with every conceivable comfort like microwaves, plasma TVs and Heaven knows what else but why bother?
Basic or not, I found our van really comfortable and I even had the joy of cooking on a gas cooker which is a pleasure denied to me at home where I have to use electric due to building regulations. To explain this a bit further Lynne did all the driving and mechanicing (there was a bit of that to be done!) and I did the navigating and cooking in what may seem like something of a traditional gender role-reversal. I don't drive and know less than nothing about vehicle maintainance and Lynne detests cooking while I love it so it worked perfectly although it did cause the odd raised eyebrow when we spoke to people about it.
I think I have waxed lyrical about this subject quite long enough and so I shall end this tip here. I fully appreciate that this style of travelling is not for everybody and far be it from to to tell anyone how they should travel but I hope that if you have not considerd RVing as an option that you may do so and if you have considered it that the information in this tip may be of some assistance to you.
I apologise for my ugly feet in the main image but to me that it encapsulates entirely what I have been writing about. Bare feet up on the dash in an RV on an open, empty road with nowhere specific to go and complete independence. That is my idea of travelling.
Fondest memory: I do not wish to sound overblown about this but my fondest memory of Prince Edward Island is every single day I spent in that wonderful old van with a dear friend travelling round one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Family Travel