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Home is Where You Park It

Franklin Beecham
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“Home is where you park it.” We see that phrase often, and it’s true.

The shakedown trip in our new 2019 Wonder RTB consisted of staying at friends’ places, a combination of Walmart, Canadian Tire, and Maxi stores, Harvest Hosts, and several campgrounds, all in all covering over 7,500 kms and four provinces in six weeks. This was not only our very first trip in our Leisure Travel Van, but our first in any RV.

There was lots to learn about our rig firsthand, even if we thought we knew everything from watching countless videos. Still, it all comes easily and pretty quickly, and driving the Wonder was relatively painless considering our other vehicle is a Fiat – dramatically different in sizes! One thing we did notice is the many people who wanted to check out our snazzy new van, pretty much everywhere we parked.

This blog article will point out the different RV campgrounds we stayed at from Ontario to Prince Edward Island, and our impressions as newbie RVers.

Québec

The first was Camping Transit in Lévis, Québec, where we stopped for two nights on the recommendation of friends. I forgot, though, that our friend speaks fluent Québécois. We don’t, and we soon found out that the family-run campground only had one person who spoke fluent English. Still, they were great and we managed. We had full hookups and were parked in an area with other rigs of a similar size to ours. The park wasn’t too big and seemed packed with long-term rigs. We found out later that it was “construction holiday,” an industry-mandated time when all construction-related workers have to take their vacation at the same time. Everyone who owned a RV was driving and camping, it seemed! One of the advantages of camping here was that they offered a shuttle service to and from the Lévis ferry terminal. From here we could take the ferry to Québec City, which is a definite must-visit destination. We enjoyed the many eateries and street art and basked in the history.

New Brunswick

A few days later we met some locals at a Harvest Host in New Brunswick. They suggested going to Grand Manan Island, which is located in the Bay of Fundy. It would be the first ferry ride for our RV.

Here we spent one night at The Anchorage Provincial Park. The property was spacious, though the ground was extremely muddy due to recent wet weather. We found that one of the desk clerks wasn’t very friendly, which was surprising as there were a lot of empty sites. Grand Manan has a small museum, which explained the history of the cod fishery. There are lighthouse trails on both ends of the island. There is also a local laundromat, which we desperately needed. If you like dulse, they are famous for their seaweeds.

Back on the New Brunswick mainland, one of our favourite campgrounds was Fundy National Park. As we didn’t prebook, we had a different site for the two nights we stayed. Both were exceptional – very clean, spacious, and quiet – and had hookups. The first day we visited nearby Alma, a thriving tourist town, where we bought fresh lobster for our camp dinner and tried a beer at the local brewpub. Parking is at a premium, as is finding a place to eat. The seafood is very popular!

The next day we drove to the famous Hopewell Rocks to experience the classic Bay of Fundy tides. As the tide was out, we were able to walk around and photograph the rocks up close. The beach gets busy, so go early. Tide times are posted at the Park.

On our way back, we picked up a plate of clams and lobster rolls at a local restaurant for a late lunch at our campsite.

Prince Edward Island

On Prince Edward Island, we spent a week with friends at Fortune Bay, but also camped at two parks on the Island. The first was Cabot Provincial Park in Malpeque, located in the Green Gables Shore region. The sites were huge, and the ocean view was stunning. Many campers gather along the cliffs above the beach to watch the sunsets.

Our second stay, again on recommendation from friends, was at Campbell’s Cove, located on the northeastern shore of PEI near Souris. This is a private, family-owned park where the staff were fun and very accommodating. The campground had many sites, some with exceptional views of the ocean. Site sizes aren’t uniform. Note that wifi is spotty. We stayed here for two nights and really liked it. The red sand beaches are very memorable and a favourite part of the PEI landscape.

Back to New Brunswick

Making our way back into New Brunswick, we spent one night at Camping et Aquaparc de la Rivière Tracadie. This was not my favourite park, and definitely caters to families and long-term visitors. We were placed in what looked like an overflow campsite, right next to the entrance and a towering water slide. Lots of vehicle and munchkin traffic! Unfortunately there was nowhere else to stay!

Back Through Québec

Next, we squeezed into Camping Côte Surprise in Percé, Québec. It seemed that there weren’t many campsites available anywhere near Percé Rock, but we lucked out as there were two left in this campground. All the cliff sites facing the waterfront were for tent camping, which was just as well because they got hammered by a downpour. Having no tree cover, they couldn’t tie tarps up for shelter. The campground is multi-leveled, and being up on the cliff gives the RVs a great view.

The on-site laundromat came in handy and was kept busy. Luckily, we got in early. Percé Rock is definitely worth the stop to see. There are many vantage points to get a souvenir photo, and even a viewing tower if you don’t mind heights. For those with deep pockets, you can board a ferry that’ll take you closely around the Rock. I think it’s more impressive from a distance! Percé offers many restaurants along the beachfront and many souvenir shops willing to take your money.

We booked two nights at Camping Gaspé outside Gaspé, Québec, because we wanted to experience the nearby national park. Camping Gaspé is managed by a very friendly couple who are perfect for their role.

As we hadn’t pre-booked, we were allocated different sites for the two nights. Both had hookups, were partially treed, and came with quirky “mobile” firepits – looks like they sourced used lawn mowers and adhered firepit rings to them. It makes sense to me, as you’re able to manoeuvre them to wherever you want on your site! Clean washrooms, showers, and laundromat were on-site, as well as a dump station.

We ended up extending our stay for a third night because of the helpfulness and camaraderie of Sharon and Jacques, a wonderful couple we met who were vacationing from New Brunswick. We shared a lot of laughter and ate some great camp-cooked meals like fresh lobster (get live lobster at Poissonnerie de Gaspé).

You must visit Forillon National Park – lots of trails, scenery, beaches, and wicked hills. Our Leisure Travel Van made them all safely and without effort, using the handy shifter instead of blowing out our brakes. We also took in a summer World Music Festival in Gaspé.

Driving around the coastal road of the Gaspé Peninsula, we passed many small campgrounds packed like sardines with RVs. We needed a place for the night and, not wanting to turn around, came up to Camping au Bord de la Mer in Cap-Chat, Québec. This place was huge and had quite a few sites available with hookups. While there was absolutely no tree cover, it was suitable and the staff was very friendly and bilingual. The beach was long and afforded yet another glorious sunset. Showers and washrooms were clean. There’s a dump station near the exit.

On to Ontario

Happy Green Acres Campground in Mallorytown, Ontario was our next destination. Located in the 1000 Islands region near Brockville, this is a well-run and massive campground with both permanent sites and drive-through day sites, as well as clean showers, a nice lap pool, and a convenient dump station. We had just missed their Woodstock Music Festival event, which was full. As it was, we were the only transient campers on our second night and pretty much had our pick of sites with hookups. The town of Brockville is close by with many tourist-related activities like the Aquatarium and interesting Railway Tunnel.

We had tent camped at Presqu’ile Provincial Park with the family twenty years ago. Once famous for its sandy beaches and beautiful trails, we found that the Park had changed quite a lot. The waters of Lake Ontario were high and the beaches were closed due to high bacterial content, and many of the trails were washed out. The electrical site we were on was unkempt and the 15-amp post was too far away from our van. The campground was also noisy at night and proved to be a disappointment. It’s too bad, because this and neighbouring Sandbanks Provincial Park were once known as quality destinations in eastern Ontario.

All in all, we believe that there are many fabulous campgrounds throughout North America. Do your research on available amenities and read the reviews. We use the RV Parky app for mapping out our trips, amongst others.

Safe travels and see you on the road.

Check out our Leisure Lists on the Top Campgrounds and RV Parks in Canada and the United States and 50+ Essential Apps for RVers for more great recommendations from RVers!

Franklin Beecham

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