1. Confederation Trail, Morell to St. Peter’s Bay
Prince Edward Island, bikes and families were made for each other: The whole island has gentle terrain and small, friendly communities. The level, off-road Confederation Trail extends across the entire island on old railway beds, and the 15-kilometre stretch between Morell and St. Peter’s Bay, at the east end of the island, is especially scenic. Bike along the shoreline and cross the Morell River on a 72-metre-long bridge! Pause for a view across the water to the west and then pedal past a whole lot of “mussel socks” (mesh bags that farmed mussels grow in) in St. Peter’s Bay before reaching St. Peter’s Landing. Fish and chips, anyone?
Get riding: Confederation Trail, St. Peter’s Road, Morell 1-800-463-4734 tourismpei.com>
2. Greenwich Dunes Trail, St. Peter’s Bay
This is a bike ride and hike combo. The island’s largest sand dunes are found at Greenwich Peninsula at Prince Edward Island National Park. Start at the Greenwich Interpretation Centre, which has washrooms, a picnic area and lots of information about the area’s history and ecosystem, including a 3-D floor map. On the 4.8-kilometre (one way) moderate Greenwich Dunes Trail, you’ll travel across homestead fields, through the woods and over Bowley Pond on a floating boardwalk. When you come to the Tlaqatik Trail, it’s time to lock up your bikes (you can borrow bike locks from the Interpretation Centre) and stretch your legs with a walk to the beautiful and fragile sand dunes. (If you want to swim, head to Greenwich Beach, north of the Interpretation Centre.)
Get riding: Prince Edward Island National Park, Greenwich location, Route 313 902-672-6350 $19.60 per family; $9.80 in shoulder season pc.gc.ca>
3. Robinsons Island Trail System, Brackley
The Robinsons Island Trail System (also known as RITS) is a new five-kilometre trail on Robinsons Island in Prince Edward Island National Park. The small island (which is actually connected to the mainland by a thin sliver of land) has five kilometres of stacked loop trails, which means you can pick a shorter or longer route. Bike the main trail for a fun, bumpy beginner ride, or branch off to the spur trails, which have 11 technical features—like ramps and see-saws—if your family wants to develop some skills. When you’re ready for a break, there’s access to picnic areas and the beach.
Get riding: Prince Edward Island National Park, Brackley-Dalvay location, Route 15 902-672-6350 $19.60 per family; $9.80 in shoulder season pc.gc.ca>
4. Confederation Trail, Charlottetown
Your starting point for this nine-kilometre section of the Confederation Trail is Royalty Junction—look for the Confederation Trail sign and parking lot on Route 223. From there, the trail winds beside the University of Prince Edward Island and the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market (cross street is Belvedere Avenue), where you can buy fresh local produce, cheese, baking and prepared meals. Your destination is Joseph A. Ghiz Memorial Park at Grafton Street in Charlottetown, a small city park that has a playground, basketball courts, a fountain and gardens. Enjoy your farmers’ market picnic at the gazebo, or secure your bikes and stroll one kilometre to the waterfront, which includes Confederation Landing Park and the shops and restaurants of Peake’s Wharf.
Get riding: Confederation Trail, Royalty Junction Road, Charlottetown 1-800-463-4734 Free tourismpei.com>
5. Gulf Shore Way, Cavendish
A bicycle built for…six? The whole family can bike together on a “Coastal Cruiser” that looks like, well, a four-wheeled bike. There is a two-person model and a four-person model, each with seating for two small kids in the front. There’s also a two-person tram that can be attached to the back and a canopy overhead to keep the sun off. Once you’ve got everyone settled in, start pedalling! The smooth asphalt Gulf Shore Way runs for 11 kilometres along the shores of Prince Edward Island National Park from Cavendish to North Rustico, giving you plenty of chances to see the famous red sandstone cliffs, six oh-so-lovely supervised beaches and Covehead Harbour Lighthouse.
Get riding: Prince Edward Island National Park, Brackley-Dalvay location, Route 15 902-672-6350 $19.60 per family; $9.80 in shoulder season; $40 for half-day Cruiser rental pc.gc.ca>
6. Beck Trail, Murray River
When a local resident inherited a farm woodlot that dates back to 1880, he turned it into a natural area, named it in honour of his great-grandparents, enlisted some mountain biking experts and created two mountain biking trails. The 4.6-kilometre Red Loop is the beginner trail, and it takes you over moderately rugged dirt paths. There are some interesting finds along the way: spot the old truck, car, cabin and house foundation that are being taken over by the forest, as well as some cool old signs and artifacts. There is plenty of parking at the trailhead but no washrooms. Pack your own snacks.
Get riding: John J. and Annie Beck Natural Area, off Route 4, near Murray River 902-620-0214 Free becktrail.com>