Thanks to its lakes, coastline and mountains, Maine may well be the perfect destination for a family vacation. That’s now possible, thanks to the “Moving Maine Forward” plan, which is designed to protect public health and support Maine’s economy. Here are a few ideas for family travels in Vacationland this summer.
Camping & Glamping
Twelve of Maine’s State Parks offer family camping facilities. There’s the dramatic coastal Cobscook Bay State Park in Downeast Maine as well as the picturesque Mount Blue State Park in Central Maine. Way up north on Moosehead Lake, Lily Bay offers great camping spots, walking trails and an opportunity to fish Maine’s largest lake. The campground setup is just as inviting at Rangeley Lake in Western Maine and Sebago Lake in the southern part of the state. There are commercial campgrounds across the state, as well as excellent camping at Acadia National Park. Maine has also proven to be prime territory for glamping resorts. Glamping offers more creature comforts than camping, and those comforts can include canvas wall platform tents, showers and cooking facilities. They include Tentr, which has sites scattered throughout the state, as well as Sandy Pines Campground in Kennebunkport, Terramor Outdoor Resort in Bar Harbor and Maine Forest Yurts in Durham. Under Canvas opens Under Canvas Acadia in May.
When it comes to beaches, Southern Maine offers long, sandy strands like Wells Beach, Ogunquit Beach and Kennbunk Beach. Old Orchard Beach has seven miles of sandy beach, amusements, restaurants and a classic 500 foot pier. Surfers head to Scarborough Beach while closer to Portland lies quiet Crescent Beach. In Midcoast Maine, Reid State Park and Popham Beach State Park are favorites, as is Pemaquid Beach in Bristol. Looking for beaches without the crowds? Roque Bluffs along Englishman’s Bay is a half-mile strand of sand while Lamoine State Park lies across from busy Mt. Desert Island. There are also hundreds of lakes in the state that have public beaches. For more information, go to Visit Maine.
Hiking, Walking and Fishing with Kids
Take the kids on a hike this summer. Start by going to Maine Trail Finder, which has details on hundreds of trails throughout the state. This free interactive mapping site can help you find hiking, walking and mountain biking trails. Better yet, while they cover popular routes, they also include lesser known reserves, parks and preserves. The Maine Land Trust Network is a network of more than 75 land trusts that provide public access that include more than 1,260 miles of walking and hiking trails, 275 miles of mountain biking trails and over 200 beaches, perfect for cooling down after a hike in the woods. With more than 2,500 named lakes and ponds and 5,000 streams, Maine is known for brook trout, landlocked salmon and large and smallmouth bass. It’s easy to get on the water just about anywhere in the state and introduce kids to the joys of fishing. Go to Visit Maine for more details.
Museums for Curious Kids
Maine has three museums devoted to children: The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, in Portland; the Maine Discovery Museum, in Bangor; and the Coastal Children’s Museum in Rockland. They anticipate opening by summertime, but before going, it’s best to check in with them first. Other museums include the Portland Museum of Art, and the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, both of which have just reopened.
Maine’s whale watching season runs through early October and a handful of tour operators offer day trips to see the earth’s largest living creatures just 20 miles off the Maine coast. This is an opportunity to spot humpback whales, pilot whales, minke whales and finback whales. Less commonly seen but still possible to glimpse are sei whales, sperm whales, orcas and right whale. Head out with Bar Harbor Whale Watch, which has taken visitors out to the Gulf of Maine for more than 25 years. In Boothbay, Cap’n Fish’s Whale Watch has offered trips for more than 80 years while First Chance Whale Watch in Kennebunkport and Odyssey Whale Watch in Portland offer trips in the southern end of the state. Downeast, there’s Robertson Sea Tours and Adventures in Millbridge and Tarquin Whale Watch in Lubec. Find out more at Visit Maine.