Welcome to our blog! We share our own personal experiences about the challenges and joys of traveling with a toddler and a dog, how we plan for our vacations, and give you travel tips from our personal experiences. I also enjoy cooking and crafting, so there will be a few posts about those topics as well.
Our family recently took a road trip from Rhode Island, USA to Maine, USA and to New Brunswick, Canada in our 2018 Airstream Classic 30′ Travel Trailer. Our tow vehicle (Ford F-150).
This was our very first long road trip (over two weeks), with our 2 year old toddler and 3 year old dog. It took a lot of patience, planning, and negotiation.
In the end it was very rewarding and extremely educational for our family. We learned a lot about our Airstream, our family, our limits, and how we truly appreciate some of the things we had with us during our journey.
Let me start off by saying that this list is not EVERYTHING we packed. It’s just most, if not all, of the items we found to be extremely useful along our road trip.
This is not a go-to packing list but a resource for inspiration if you’re planning on taking a long drive with your toddler, or with your dog.
Our Fire HD8 tablet for Kai helped a lot; and we especially love the case we purchased for it. This was our third case, and it’s by far my favorite! We even have it in bright blue, so it really stands out! It was such a breeze to put onto the Fire Tablet too.
Kai especially loves the puzzle games and just watching movies/tv shows. We do only resort to the tablet when we are driving long distances, or when we go out to eat. We used it when we went out to lunch in Freeport.
Other clutch item for our travels? The OXO 2-in-1 travel potty🙂 You can stand it up so he can sit independently sit on it or use it on a regular toilet seat so toddler doesn’t feel like he’s falling in.
It was perfect for Kai, since he prefers to take his time to poop. We mostly use it as the stand-up option. And, the OXO bags are great because they have an absorption pad so it helps with excessive pee. I have also used a regular plastic shopping bag (make sure there are no holes in it). I add some paper towels for absorption. We also find the splash guard on this potty to be such a nice feature (since he is a boy, and he still pees sitting down). He hasn’t really gotten the whole aiming thing down yet 😉
While the above sippy cups by Munchkin have mixed reviews, we have been using them for Kai since he started drinking cows milk at 12 months old.
Kai was an early walker. At 10 months old he took his first step, and by 11 months he was close to running! Before he was mobile, we used the Baby Bjorn carrier (black). Prior to this trip, we simply used the stroller for long walks. But, we had planned to do some long hikes, so we decided to invest in some sort of carrier. Initially we were torn on getting a hiking carrier, but it was going to be over $200 and we were just concerned we weren’t going to get too much use out of it. I ended up finding this teal BabySteps carrier (weight max capacity 44lbs) on Amazon.com that we purchased. It worked perfectly for us and it was a fraction of the cost of a hiking carrier.
Also, this collapsible mixing bowl is very convenient when you have a large salad to serve , popcorn for a movie, or brownies to bake and need a large bowl. This one is a little pricey, but it’s a lot sturdier than the food storage containers.
Water shoes were so helpful when we went to Fundy National Park and we were exploring the rocky ocean floor during low tide. Those rocks are very hard and wearing protective footwear was important for me. I bought myself these sock-like water shoes and purchased my husband a pair of Speedos.
For Our Dog
Collapsible dog food and water bowls came in very handy while on the road. When we stopped so that Kai could use the potty, we also took Stanley out to pee. When Kai stretched his legs and ran around, so did Stanley. Then he got thirsty. So, we pulled out our bowl for him and always gave him our drinking water. We just didn’t trust the water at the rest stops or at the campgrounds (for drinking, at least).
No, we didn’t need these “EXTRA LARGE” ones for our 20 lb Cairn Terrier, but you get the idea 🙂
Another important item to have on hand when camping at sites is a sturdy and reliable tie out. We used this every time we had to set up our site and when we were outside eating, so Stanley could hang out with us.
Thanks for reading all this post, everyone. Happy travels, happy camping, and live riveted!
In July, our family took a road trip to visit Maine and Canada with our 2-year old toddler, Kai, and our 3-year old Cairn terrier, Stanley. We traveled in our 2018 30′ Airstream Classic. Our tow vehicle is a Ford F-150. This was the longest trip we have been on with our growing family.
The last really long road trip we took was back in 2014, when my husband and I left our full-time jobs and traveled for six months before our wedding. We rounded off our 50th state when we experienced Kauai, Hawaii for our honeymoon.
When my family and I took a vacation to Fundy National Park, I was obsessed with the cocktail sauce Fundy Take-Out served with its fried seafood platter.
I did some research and finally found out what it was called: Olde Style, distributed by Lynch Foods. So tasty! It was like cocktail sauce that I’m accustomed to, but with a punch. How did I find out?
I messaged Fundy takeout and asked what sauce they serve with the fried seafood platter! I finally found the brand of cocktail sauce!!! When I tried googling, I typed in old tyme and old bay kept piping up, but it was called “olde style”. Fundy told me it was oldestye, but that didn’t pop up, so I deduced it was olde style! Yippy:)
Unfortunately the company Lynch Foods only distributes it to companies, and I don’t see them selling them in stores to consumers 🙁 at least not internationally.
2018 ROAD TRIP TO MAINE & CANADA
Days 14 – 16: Tuesday, 7/24 – Thursday, 7/26
We got an early start on the morning of July 24th and headed back towards the U.S. border.
On the way back, we made a pit stop at the Walmart in Sussex, NB to use the bathroom. And, we picked up a few toys for Kai for the ride back.
This border crossing was in a different location than when we had entered Canada. It was a more direct route back to our home.Unfortunately, this particular border crossing to come back into the States took forever! It seemed like we were waiting about half an hour. And, there were only five cars ahead of us. They were a lot more thorough with their search.
When it was our turn, one agent asked us to open the trailer to see if we snuck anyone inside (across the border). Then when Michael went to go and open the door, the guy asked me several questions (typical questions).
When the other agent opened our wardrobe closet, our Dyson vacuum fell on her :/ but everything was fine after that haha.
Initially, we planned to stay overnight at the Walmart that was right over the border. We did end up stopping there, but just for a bathroom break. We also played a little badminton in a field with Kai so he could run around a little…before we headed back on the road to another Walmart that was about 1.5 hours away.
Boondocking Tales: What a horrible night’s sleep
The first time we boondocked, it was perfect! We were at the Cabela’s in Scarborough, ME. It was a quiet and large parking lot. And we had gotten there around 9:30pm, so the store had closed and it was just a nice area for us to spend the night in our camper.
This time, we chose to stay at a Walmart, with an Applebee’s nearby. This particular one was located in Brewer, ME. It was near Bangor. Boy, was it busy there!
There were so many cars coming in and out of that Walmart. It was crazy!
We thought it would slow down at night, but since this particular Walmart stays open until 12am every day, it was super busy! And, they open at 6am too.
One thing that made me so nervous, was that in the middle of the night, Stanley kept barking. I knew there was something going on, so I peaked outside the trailer, and there were two police cars outside one of the Class A’s. I was obviously being very nosy, but I was concerned they were going to kick us out of there in the middle of the night. It was around 2:30am.
They knocked on the door of the Class A, said a few things, and then they were on their way.
From then on, I could not sleep until about 6am. There were cars constantly going in and out of the parking lot. And, I even spotted a few people using the parking lot as a “Park and Ride”.
Phew! While Stanley and I were up most of the night, Michael and Kai, well Kai especially, slept so peacefully. No worry in the world. Just happy and content to be with us all:)
The next morning, I woke up around 7am. Yes, so I only got a few hours of sleep in that evening. I decided to walk across the street to grab a coffee from Dunkin Donuts.
Yes, I was THAT desperate. Many of you know that I rarely, and I mean rarely, voluntarily go to Dunkin. I got a toasted croissant with my iced hazelnut coffee. It was edible, but not fresh. I was just so tired that I needed something other than a pop tart and the coffee that I had been drinking.
I got the boys donuts and then we were on our way to Cedar Haven Family Campground in Freeport, ME. It just so happened that rain was in the forecast the last few days of our vacation. It definitely helped that we had a nice home away from home!
Our Campground in Freeport, ME
We set up shop. Then, we decided to take a little walk to explore the campground. We decided to start at the office and work our way around.
Our stay was during the weekday, so when we asked about the pizza they serve, the younger girl said they make it in house! I was looking forward to trying it. There are signs everywhere advertising their pizza.
Unfortunately, the lady at the front desk did not seem too accommodating because she said they usually only served it on Thursdays and Fridays when they have more help. Honestly, I can understand that, but there were two staff members who were standing in the office doing nothing. They were all gathered and chatting away. It was just sad they didn’t really go out of the way for us.
Home-Cooked Dinner & Dessert
Therefore, Michael cooked that night, because I get hangry. After I was fully functional with sustenance, Kai helped me make brownies! So, we got to test out our oven. It worked great! It took me a little while to figure out how to get it to light and stay lit, but it worked like a charm.
We attempted to check out Maine’s Wildlife Park, but we got there at 4:36pm. They close their doors at 4:30pm but stay open until 6pm.Instead, we went to a cool playground at an elementary school along the way. Yes, since it was summer and school vacation, we figured this was a sure bet. Kai loved playing with everything here.
This was where it happened – Michael’s first ever BEE STING! Thank God we discovered he was not allergic to them.
I might have actually captured the moment in the second picture too!
Chinese Food in Freeport, ME
That evening we ended up getting my fix of Chinese food at Li’s Place in Freeport, ME. The whole trip, we did not have any Chinese. I did make some Chinese food myself, but that just wasn’t the same:) It definitely hit the spot. That little restaurant was good for Chinese food in Maine.
Take Two: they were open this time!
Throughout our time in Maine over the past few years, we had never ever spotted a moose. Moose is featured in souvenir shops and all the signs on the roads in Maine. I was telling Michael I really wanted to see a moose.
Thankfully, the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, ME was about 35 minutes away from where were staying. We got there in the morning after I made pancakes for breakfast. They are cash only. And, I got some quarters as change from the booth so we could buy some food to feed some animals.
That day was super humid and when the sun was out, it was pretty hot too! We saw so many animals. And, we even had a chance to see a baby moose! It was abandoned in the woods, so they took her in.
We all had a fun time exploring and seeing all the wildlife that day.
Our son napping in our 30′ Airstream Classic
Cairn terrier in our 30′ Airstream Classic
Campground Play Time
In the afternoon, we decided to check out the campground a little and explore! Kai wanted to go to the playground so we did. The campground has a large play area with a basketball court and a sit-on tractor for kids to play pretend. They also have a myriad of scooters, trikes, and ride-on equipment for everyone to play with. Kai enjoyed running around and playing with two other kids that afternoon.
LL Bean in Freeport, Maine
No visit to Freeport was complete without a trip to the LL Bean flagship store. This was our (Michael and me) second visit to this location. Our first visit was back in 2014 – to purchase a large tent for our road trip across all fifty states.
LL Bean Headquarters, Freeport, Maine
Posing with the big boot, LL Bean Headquarters, Freeport, Maine
That morning we told Kai we were taking him to LL Bean, and he got super excited. Why? He says, “I want to get jellybeans!” This little character.
I picked up a pair of lightweight hiking pants in petite:) We were famished after going through the store, so we ate at the restaurant across the street called Maine Kitchen & Topside Tavern (owned by Linda Bean – LL Bean’s granddaughter).
The food was okay. I enjoyed the Kelpslaw and the lemon meringue pie was so big!!!
Afterwards, we visited The Mangy Moose to check out some souvenirs. That afternoon, we decided to pack up and head back home. It was raining that day, and it worked out perfectly that Kai napped on the way back to our campsite.
We were able to pack up our Airstream while Kai napped in the truck.
Even though we didn’t get home until after dinner, it was a nice relief to be home a day earlier because we had a lot of laundry, cleaning and organizing to do!
Sixteen full days out on the road. Fifteen nights. 1,186 miles covered. Two countries. With a toddler, a dog, a Ford F-150, and an Airstream.
It was just the right amount of time. We realized we could only do one hour of driving at a time with Kai in the car. There were definitely certain products we could not live without during our time camping. Read about our road trip lifesavers!
2018 ROAD TRIP TO MAINE & CANADA
Day 12: Sunday, 7/22
Fundy National Park, New Brunswick, Canada
Downtime was in order.
Our last full day camping at Fundy National Park was spent packing up our stuff. Kai had fun playing inside our Airstream with all of his toys. We even bought him a toy box and filled it with some toys he got from his 2nd birthday party.
Relax + Pool Time
That afternoon, we went to the saltwater swimming pool at Fundy National Park one last time. Kai had fun while we got to have some family fun.
These are photos of the view from the parking lot of the saltwater swimming pool at Fundy National Park.
That evening we ordered some fried seafood from Fundy Take-out. We were pleasantly surprised that it included a steamed piece of lobster tail! Their fried clams were so delicious! I especially loved the cocktail sauce they served with the platter. Read, my post about my search for the sauce, to find out what brand of sauce they use.
The Gift Shop
I really wanted to check out the gift shop there. It was right inside the Fundy Visitors Center, near Headquarters Campground. We also noticed there was another one further down towards the Sussex direction on our way out.
It was quite small, but I ended up finding a really cute moose t-shirt for Kai! For some reason, I think the toddler sizes in Canada might be smaller than the sizes in the U.S. Kai is usually a 3T in the U.S., but the t-shirt I picked up was a 4T. It fits him perfectly.
How did we find out about this beach? Well, we noticed some cars parked on the side of the road on our way back from our day trip to Hopewell Rocks. It seems like this was one of the beaches that locals like to go to.
One of the things that attracted me to this particular beach was the soft sand.
The beaches we had been to in the area were all very rocky. This beach was very muddy, but perfect for Kai to dig in and find different creatures!
And it wasn’t crowded when we went. It also might have been due to the fact that it was cloudy when we went in the afternoon.
Waterside Beach was a wonderful place for our two-year old son to play! We had an amazing time there and were happy to have brought our chairs instead of sitting on a blanket.
2018 ROAD TRIP TO MAINE & CANADA
Day 9: Thursday, July 19th
Our family went on an unforgettable journey with our Airstream from our home state of Rhode Island to New Brunswick, Canada. This post is a small portion of our family vacation, and it is about our dinner out in Alma, New Brunswick and our campfire at our campground.
Dinner in Alma + Camp Fire
After our eventful day at Herring Cove Beach, we decided to do dinner in town (Alma, NB)! We went to Tipsy Tails = best seafood stew! It was pricey, but mostly tasty. We enjoyed the corn, the stew, and the lobster mac and cheese. The lobster poutine, however, was very bland and not worth it.
This was Kai’s very first campfire! Unfortunately, I did not snap any photos that evening to capture the moment.
After dinner in alma, we joined an older couple who had started a campfire. They were on a 3-week road trip to a wedding in Price Edward Island. They had purchased an older camper, and were really enjoying themselves. The husband brought his ukulele and was playing and singing around the campfire.
I love meeting, chatting with people, and hearing stories when traveling!
We brought marshmallows to share, along with our retractable campfire sticks. The telescoping sticks have definitely come in handy, but I do have to warn that the ends are very sharp. When we first purchased our camper at CampingWorld, our salesperson included those in our “gift bag”.
It was nice to chat with some people around a campfire and listen to some good music. Very intimate and kumbaya.
After about 20 minutes, Kai saw some kids riding bikes and chased them down. So much for our time around the fire 🙂
What a wonderful end to a great day! It’s safe to say we all slept like babies that night.
2018 ROAD TRIP TO MAINE & CANADA
Day 10: Friday, July 20th
Hopewell Rocks, Hopewell Cape, NB, Canada
Hopewell Rocks was a must-see! We took a day trip there while our family went on a road trip to visit Fundy National Park. We even got to bring our dog, our Cairn Terrier named Stanley!
It was about a 45 minute drive from Fundy National Park. And, it was $12/person for entrance. It did allow for a two-day consecutive visit. But, we only went for one day. When we got tickets, the ticket attendants did make us sign a waiver for our dog. We had to keep him on leash, etc. This was for liability issues.
All of us hiked down to the water when it was low tide. They have schedule for when visitors are allowed to visit listed on their website. If you click the PDF file for the month you plan to visit, you can see a chart. Whatever is highlighted in yellow is the time frame they allow Ocean Floor access. It’s pretty much 3.5 hours before and 3.5 after low tide.
We picked a great week to visit the Bay of Fundy because low tide was right in the middle of the day, so we were able to see the exposed ocean floor and explore a little.
The hike down to the Flower Pots was downhill. There were some stairs and ramps too! Kai walked the whole way down.
At the bottom, where the ocean floor was exposed, there was as ranger who was there balancing rocks. Some kids joined in on the fun and tried to make some neat creations. It was fairly rocky and there were sections towards the water that was extremely muddy and dirty.
Of course, Kai loves to play in the mud. His legs were covered by the time we left. We were very prepared and brought his water shoes and swim shorts. He wore those down to the ocean floor are. And, then on the way back, there was a water station. It was pretty much a little spray section to allow visitors to clean mud off before hiking back up to the parking lot.
We opted not to buy lunch at the cafe there.
Instead, we brought packed lunches and left them in our Yeti Cooler in the truck. Michael was absolutely obsessed with wanting to get this one below for our road trip. But, we found the zipper to be very tight to pull, especially around the corners. It was very tough for me when I tried it in stores at Bass Pro Shops.
So, we ended up getting this Yeti Cooler for our road trip instead. We appreciate the shoulder strap, and we like the fact that we only need to pull the zipper across the cooler and not around the corners.
Anyways, we store Kai’s milk in it and our sandwiches, fruits, and other snacks that need to remain cool/cold. And, we use our reusuable Yeti Ice pack in there too!
That afternoon, after Kai’s nap, we decided to cool down at the park’s saltwater swimming pool! It’s free with a park pass! Kai had so much fun.
One thing we didn’t realize was in Canada, at least the areas we went to, they don’t allow regular arm floaties in the pool. They only allow puddle jumpers (the ones when the attached chest piece). A lifeguard told me after I took the pictures.
It was nice to cool off in the saltwater pool at the national park. Kai had such a wonderful time playing in the water! We loved the shallow end where there were some water squirters. The pool also carried infant and children life vests to borrow along with some pool noodles:)