After our Canadian adventure I wrote about a few weeks ago, we drove back to Maine for the second half of our trip. What a beautiful piece of America to experience. We were so lucky to be able to stay with Nanette’s family in her house in Damariscotta during this part of our trip. It saved us a bundle and gave all the cousins a lot of time to spend bonding and making family memories.
There is so much to do in Maine with kids, from beaches, historic museums and lighthouses, to the fresh lobster and Acadia National Park, there really is something for everyone. One of the first items on our list was whale watching. We really wanted to do and see things we couldn’t do here in Illinois. So, we drove to Boothbay Harbor and boarded a boat from CAP’n Fishes Whale Watch in our whale-watching quest. While the boat was definitely rocky, and some in our group had a little bit of queasiness from the motion, we did get to see some incredible ocean wildlife. We saw seals, porpoises and finally whales! Minke and Fin whales to be exact. The kids were all SO excited to see these animals in nature. *Special note: bring a jacket or sweatshirt – it gets cold on the water! Also, binoculars are not a bad idea. Afterwards we couldn’t leave without doing a little souvenir shopping in the cute town around the waterfront area and stopped for a Whoopie Pie at Wicked Whoopies. I can’t resist getting a sweet, local treat when on vacation!
The next day we ventured out to Acadia National Park. All I can say is WOW. This is now my favorite National Park I have ever been to, and we’ve been to quite a few. The views from the top of Cadillac Mountain are incredible as are the natural rock formations along the trail we hiked. There are lots of trails at differing levels of difficulty, but none that we hiked were too hard for our 5 & 7 year old children. The park has a loop with limited parking, so we took their shuttle bus from one location to another. This ended up being perfect as it gave the kids a chance to rest their legs in the air-conditioned bus between stops.
Next up was Pemaquid Point and particularly the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse which is featured on the Maine State Quarter. There is a small entry fee which gives you access to a trip up to the top of the historic lighthouse itself, the light keepers house with a small museum inside, bathroom, and of course the beautiful coastal grounds. A few key notes, our younger daughter was just below the height cut-off for entry into the lighthouse. They did allow her to go up, but with our very careful and diligent supervision. The stairs up the lighthouse are very steep and it could be an issue for unsupervised children or people with limited mobility.
After the lighthouse was a stop at The Contented Sole, a local restaurant, for the quintessential Maine meal – lobster rolls. Fresh and delicious, a trip to Maine is not complete with some lobster! We also took a moment to explore some coastal tidepools while in Pemaquid. We went to the Rachel Carson Salt Pond Preserve. The kids loved searching for crabs and other small sea creatures during low tide. It was a fun, hands-on experience for them and completely free!
I would not hesitate to go back again, we had a great time, but like most vacations you just can’t see everything. If you want a place to visit with your family, add Coastal Maine to your list of destinations – you won’t be disappointed.