Five Family-Friendly Destinations in Maine
Maine's dreamy, scenic coast is something everybody should see once in their lifetimes. From Portland to Bangor, here are four great shoreline stops and one inland destination to enjoy with your kids. Don't forget to try fresh-off-the-docks lobster for a truly authentic Maine experience.
Enjoy Baseball and History in Portland
Indulge in an all-American pastime by taking your kids to watch Maine's Minor League Baseball team, the Portland Sea Dogs, play at Hadlock Field (271 Park Ave., Portland, ME). Then let your kids gawk at the lavish interiors of the 19th-century Victoria Mansion (109 Danforth St., Portland, ME). Honor the city's maritime heritage by climbing to the top of America's last standing signal tower at the red octagonal Portland Observatory (138 Congress St., Portland, ME). For free entertainment, walk the cobblestone streets of the Old Port district to check out the 19th-century brick buildings, fishing piers and shops.
Explore the Outdoors in Bar Harbor
There's endless exploration to be done in the 50 square miles of Acadia National Park. And Bar Harbor, the largest town on Mount Desert Island, is the perfect place from which to do it. You can drive the 27-mile Park Loop Road to get to the top of the East Coast's highest mountain, Cadillac Mountain, without losing your breath. Another option is to walk the scenic Ocean Trail to Thunder Hole, where sometimes the waves and tide combine to create a sound like thunder. If your kids are little, try the free Shore Path for a short jaunt along the seawall past million-dollar homes. On rainy days, your kids will like seeing the lobster hatchery at the Mount Desert Island Aquarium (1351 Route 3, Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island, ME).
Play in the Sand at Old Orchard Beach
Your kids will love playing in the 7 miles of white sandy beach at Old Orchard Beach (11 First St., Old Orchard Beach, ME), which has no entry fees. Dig for crabs or wade in the chilly waters. Then wipe the sand off and let your kids get their thrills at the beachfront amusement park, Palace Playland (1 Old Orchard St., Old Orchard Beach, ME). Top off your day with homemade cotton candy at the Old Pier (2 Old Orchard St., Old Orchard Beach, ME). Hire a sitter and return later that night for some fresh Maine seafood and dancing.
Learn About Lighthouses in Rockland
Kids love lighthouses. Walk down a 7/8-mile-long breakwater to the wood-and-brick Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, built at the beginning of the 20th century. Then check out the lifesaving artifacts at the Maine Lighthouse Museum (1 Park Drive, Rockland, ME). Teach your kids what they can do to help save the puffins on the Maine coast at the Project Puffin Visitor Center (311 Main St., Rockland, ME). Immerse in the arts at the Farnsworth Art Museum (16 Museum St., Rockland, ME), which is free the first Friday of each month, with Maine-inspired art by Andrew Wyeth and others.
Learn About Transportation in Bangor
Got kids who are fascinated by fire trucks? Take them to the Cole Land Transportation Museum (405 Perry Road, Bangor, ME) to get their fix. They'll be transported in time as they walk down Fire Engine Lane and Snowplow Alley. Then explore three floors of interactive exhibits at Maine's largest museum, the Maine Discovery Museum (74 Main St., Bangor, ME). Entertain your kids for free by snapping a photo of them in front of the Paul Bunyan Statue (519 Main St., Bangor, ME) in honor of Maine's logging history. Then, if you're a Stephen King fan, do something for yourself: Book a sitter, and take a spooky literary tour through the town that inspired the backdrop for many of his books.
- TripAdvisor: Travelers' Top-Rated Places in Maine
- Greater Portland Landmarks: The Portland Observatory
- Victoria Mansion
- Maine Lighthouse Museum
- New England Lighthouses: Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse
- Bar Harbor Shore Path
- Mount Desert Oceanarium
- Old Orchard Beach
- Palace Playland
- TripAdvisor: Things to Do in Old Orchard Beach
- TripAdvisor: Things to Do in Rockland
- TripAdvisor: Things to Do in Bangor
- TripAdvisor: Portland, Maine
- TripAdvisor: Bar Harbor, Maine