When my husband first suggested we go camping with our 18 month old, I was a little tentative. When he books 6 nights at the headquarter campground in Fundy National Park, I was petrified. Something about being a mother means I worry about logistics more than ever. How would she sleep? Would she eat? What about poison ivy? Bug bites? Sun burns?
Planning a trip with a toddler is a little different than planning without one. There were naps to consider - she took none of them. There was her early bedtime - she didn't pass out until the sun had set. There was picky toddler food considerations - toddlers can survive on applesauce, milk and cheese. There was her limited attention span and little legs but busy body to plan for - there's an amazing playground a short walk from the headquarter campground.
We arrived on Satuday afternoon at Alma NB after an enjoyable 5.5 hr drive. I'd never driven out the Airline road from Ellsworth. It's pretty middle of no where country. We stopped in St. John to get stock up on food for the week, which was a good thing. While there are markets in Alma and restaurants, the nearest groceries stores are an hour away.
I didn't expect the Bean to nap much. Usually she takes a two hour nap everyday after lunch. That was a no go camping. She would either fall asleep in the car or the pack. Otherwise she ran around the campsite like a crazy toddler from shortly after sunrise until a half an hour after sunset.
Our first two nights we spent in the tent at the Headquarter campground. It was a little chilly and damp. So we moved to the temporary cabins (Otentiks). With bunks, propane heat and a table, the Otentik was fantastic. I didn't have to worry about Bean getting cold. Coaxing her into her sleeping bag was as challenging as getting her to fall asleep.
We opted for a relaxed vacation schedule. We visited some of the major landmarks like Hopewell Rocks and Cape Enrage (high recommend on their lobster poutine - pricy but worth it). For hiking we stuck to nearby short, easy trails like Shiphhaven , Caribou Plains, Dickson Falls and short walks for the parking lot to the beach. We did get on the bikes and took a 45 min spin on the Black Horse trail. The ability to hike and bike on the same trails was great. There are plenty of boardwalks, waterfalls and ocean views to take in.
Having a toddler around made for both a more stressful and more relaxing vacation. We couldn't do any long or strenuous hikes and spent a lot of time hanging around the campsite trying to convince Bean to sleep. With a toddler, you are always on the go - just not very far distances.
The geological formations of the area and tides were amazing. May was foggy, cool and buggy with a few breaks of sun and high temperatures. However, visiting at the beginning of the season meant there were no crowds or traffic to fight.
On the way home we stopped by the chocolate museum in St. Stephen. The samples more than made up for the admission cost and Bean went home with a new friend (Casey the teddy bear).