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Robinsons Island National Park, PEI
Monday, July 26, 2004 - 6:30am by Lolo
20 miles and 0.5 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay
Cavendish was lots of fun, but we were ready for something a little quieter and more remote. That’s what’s nice about PEI National Park—there’s something for everyone. If you want lots of action and man-made entertainment, then Cavendish, along the western part of the park, is the place to be. However, if you want the more natural beauty of a secluded beach, then the Robinsons Island section of the park is the right choice. We tend to find that it’s good to mix things up—a little time in Cavendish to satisfy the kids’ need for amusement and then on to Robinsons Island to enjoy a beautiful beach to ourselves. It’s the contrast that makes things interesting.
Although we had been unable to get a campsite at the Cavendish National Park Campground, we had no trouble getting one at Robinsons Island, and the reason for that was—no hookups. We find that it’s pretty easy to go a few days without a hookup, and the willingness to do so has given us the opportunity to stay in some very scenic and uncrowded campgrounds. Robinsons Island was definitely one of them. Although most of the sites are wooded, we chose to stay in one of the open grassy sites right on Rustico Bay. I’m not sure why anyone wouldn’t—the view from the motorhome was spectacular. Perched in beach chairs at the edge of a small bluff, we could sit back and watch herons feeding in the bay.
After lunch, we hopped on our bikes and rode a short distance down a dirt road to a deserted red sand beach at the mouth of Rustico Bay. The beach was quite lovely and the water was warm. Unfortunately, the numerous jellyfish carcass that lined the shore—and the ones that we could see in the water—made the thought of swimming less than inviting. As an alternative to swimming, we decided to have a photography contest. This is something that we started since Tommy got his digital camera, and we find that besides being entertaining, it’s a great way for the kids, and us, to really see things in a different way. Also, we’ve taken some great photographs in the process. What we do is assign a theme or topic, such as texture, wildlife, reflections, etc., and then we each take a picture to fit that theme. Then comes the judging, which surprisingly doesn’t get too ugly. Amazingly enough, we all seem to agree on the winning shot.
That night before dinner, Andrew and I decided to go on a run—separately, of course, as he is much faster and finds it embarrassing to run with his mother. I’m not sure where he went, but I ran back down the dirt road to the beach and along the water for awhile. The sun was getting low and the lighting was perfect. As I ran out on a spit of sand that jutted out into Rustico Bay, I just couldn’t resist any longer. I took off my sneakers and jumped in, taking my chances with the jellyfish. It was wonderful—except for having to put my sneakers back on my now wet and sandy feet.
Back at the campsite, we barbecued and watched the sun set over the bay--very lovely and another great photographic opportunity. Unfortunately, the bugs soon came out in droves, making it impossible for us to remain outside any longer. It’s too bad. This place would have been perfect if it weren’t for the jellyfish and the bugs. That’s what prompted our decision to not stay a second night, but to move on and explore another section of PEI.
Prince Edward Island National Park encompasses a 24-mile stretch of red sand beaches along the island’s north central coast. Park activities include hiking on its numerous trails, swimming in the warm waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, digging for clams, kayaking in the protected bays and rivers, cycling on its roads and trails, and bird watching.
The park is separated into sections by various bays and inlets. West of Rustico Bay is the very popular and often crowded Cavendish section. Here you’ll find the park’s largest campground (260 sites), a supervised beach, and the spectacular hiking/biking Homestead Trail. Reservations are not accepted in the campground, so plan to arrive early in the day.
East of Rustico Bay is the much more remote Robinsons Island Campground (148 sites – none of which have hookups), which has wooded sites as well as open area sites right on Rustico Bay. From the campground, it’s just a short walk down a dirt road to the secluded, unsupervised sandy beach at the mouth of Rustico Bay.
2 ½ miles east of the Robinsons Island Campground is the very popular Brackley Beach, where there are lifeguards and changing facilities. Another 5 miles east is the Stanhope Campground, which is located just across the park road from another supervised beach.
Robinsons Island National Park location map in "high definition"