I’ll go ahead and come out with it right away: I’m not a big beach person. I don’t enjoy the feel of wet sand between my toes. Or tides of seaweed wrapping my ankles. Or unidentified things brushing my legs in the murky water. Or the smell and oily feel of sunscreen on my skin while I bake in an uncomfortable chair. Should I go on?
So it comes as a surprise, maybe to me the most, that I had such a great time at Basin Head Beach and would go back without hesitation and recommend it without reservation.
Where is it?
Basin Head Beach is located just east of the town of Souris on the eastern side of PEI. At one point named the top beach in Canada, it’s a designated provincial park (the rough equivalent of a national park in the US) and free to use for the day. Basin Head is most famous for it’s singing sands, which are supposed to squeak as you walk (I’ll be honest I didn’t really hear it) and it’s tidal run.
Why should I visit?
The tidal run is ostensibly a boat run, a narrow channel, that connects the ocean with an inland pond. In practice, doing the run involves jumping off the sides of the wharf or the spanning bridge and letting the often fast moving tide carry you along to one side or the other. And depending on where the tide cycle is, you can really get pulled along! There are life guards on duty to rescue anyone that gets in trouble or finds the current too strong.
Jumping is by far the most popular thing to do at Basin Head (there are t-shirts in the gift shop to celebrate those brave enough to jump), but the park also offers a number of other worthwhile activities. The beach itself is split in two parts as you come down the boardwalk from the parking lot. There is a smaller section bordered by a rock wall of cliffs on one side and the run on the other. On the opposite side of the run is a long, spacious white sand beach that stretches off into the distance.
What else is there?
Along with the run and the beaches, the well-appointed park has showers, picnic areas, a small play area and a boardwalk that leads up to an ice cream/snack shack.
Oh, and you can bring your dog on the beach as long as it stays on its leash.
We didn’t do it, but it appears you can rent kayaks and SUP boards to use on the pond side.
Overall, this is a great experience and offers something to do for just about everyone. The young kids will like the soft sand and gentle waves. The older kids will enjoy jumping off the run. Heck, the adults might like that, too. Or they can just sit and enjoy the beach while their kids are off being entertained by Basin Head’s natural wonders.