wandering through coastal maine: a travel guide

This long cold winter has me longing for hotter temperatures. Although, ironically last spring we jumped on a plane headed north in an effort to get AWAY from the hot South Carolina weather. Funny how we always seem to want what we don’t have. Whatever the case, last spring we found ourselves on a trip up the coast of Maine. And ever since  we returned, I have had friends ask the same two questions: What is the best time of year to visit Maine? And how did it go traveling with a baby? So I am happy to finally share our itinerary, some photos of our trip, and how we did it all with a 16 month old.  IMG_6252First Stop:  Portland

 What we did: 

  • walk around Old Port Area
  • Victoria Mansion (we just drove by and saw it. Decided not to take the tour).
  • walk around the Portland Fish Exchange and Harbor Fish Market
  • Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad tour and train ride along the Eastern Promenade trail (only $3 per adult and such a fun way to see the E. Promenade)
  • Portland Breakwater Lighthouse – outside of the city, need a rental car to get here.
  • Portland Head Lighthouse and Goddard Mansion at Fort Williams Park
  • side trip to Freeport – shopped at the LL Bean Flagship Store and Outlet

Where we ate:

  • the Lobster Shack at Two Lights State park
  • Holy Donuts for breakfast/snack
  • Bite into ME food truck – our favorite lobster rolls the entire trip was here!
  • Margaritas Mexican – typical Mexican cuisine but was open late and good comfort food after a late flight.

Where we stayed:  the Inn at St John. 933 Congress St. Beautiful rooms, free continental breakfast, and one of the few inns in town that allows children.IMG_6462IMG_6492Next Stop: Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor

What we did: 

  • Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse 
  • walked the Shore Path in Bar Harbor near Agamont Park
  • walked around downtown Bar Harbor for ice cream
  • Park Loop Road (27 mile drivable loop starting at Hull Visitor Center)
    • Beaver Dam Pond- a small, round pond accessible from a road pull-off.
    • Egg Rock Overlook
    • Sand Beach- easy parking area and quick walk to the beach
    • Hike the Ocean Path Trail – 3 mi round trip along the coast
    • Thunder Hole
    • Otter Cliff
    • Jordan’s Pond Nature Trail – we hiked about 1/3 of the way and then walked back.
    • Bubble Rock Trail – longer hike but beautiful view at the top
  • drive up to Cadillac Mountain summit, park and get out for beautiful views of Bar Harbor.

Where we ate:

  • lunch at Jordan Pond House in Acadia (soups, lobster rolls, popovers, tea)
  • Take-A-Break Cafe at the college for a fast and inexpensive breakfast
  • breakfast at Jordan’s Resturant in Bar Harbor (amazing blueberry pancakes)
  • Dinner at C Ray’s (casual picnic table style lobster rolls)

Where we stayed:  Edenbook Motel in Bar Harbor. No frill, no breakfast, but allows children, has a crib, and is budget friendly and very close to Acadia.  IMG_6194IMG_6218

Next Stop: Various Coastal Towns 

What we did: 

  • Ellsworth –  stopped at Big Chicken Barn Books. Will loves a used book store.
  • Blue Hill- played at the playground on the harbor on Water Street
  • Bucksport– stop and visit the Penobscot Narrows Bridge observatory tower
  • Searsport– drive through and see the small town
  • Belfast- drive through the downtown
  • Lincolnville – drive through or stop at the beach area near McGlaughlin’s
  • Camden- Camden Hills State Park, drove the “Prettiest Walk in the World,” and stopped to pet the belted Galloway cows at Aldermere Farm
  • Rockland- park and see the windjammer fleet on Samoset Rd
  • Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

Where we ate:

  • Bagaduce Lunch in Penobscot on the river
  • McGlaughlin’s Lobster Shack in Lincolnville
  • Young’s Lobster Pound in Belfast

(if you’re wondering why it looks like we ate lobster rolls three times in one day, its because we did.)IMG_6368

IMG_6314

Next Stop: Boothbay and Pemaquid Peninsulas

What we did:

  • Pemaquid Point Lighthouse – walking distance from our hotel
  • Boothbay Harbor- walk around downtown, toured the small but quaint aquarium
  • New Harbor – went on the Hardy Boat cruise out to Egg Rock to see the puffins! Book this in advance. So much fun despite a bit of sea sickness!

Where we ate: 

  • breakfast at the SeaGull Restaurant next to the Pemaquid lighthouse.
  • lunch at Red Eats in Wiscasset for lobster rolls- cash only and expect a long wait time. Good lobster rolls but not the best we had this trip. 
  • Dinner at Shaw’s Fish and Lobster Warf next to Hardy Boat cruise boat landing

Where we stayed: Hotel Pemaquid: 3098 Bristol Rd, New Harbor, ME. Allowed children, but did not have a crib or pack-n-play so this night was a little rough sharing the bed. But your options on Pemaquid Peninsula are very limited. IMG_5497Tips on Traveling to Maine with a baby:

  • Call ahead far in advance to reserve lodging as many of the hotels and bed and breakfasts that I called did not allow children.
  • There is so much sight seeing that can be done via car. Take advance of babies who nap in the car seat and plan for that to be your driving time.
  • We also ate a lot of our meals (lobster rolls to-go!) in the car (or sitting on the hood of the car in the sun) while the baby slept. Don’t waste your time trying to plan nice dining at indoors restaurants. So much of Maine’s best dining is casual, laid back, and order at the counter.
  • There are many great hikes in Acadia that are short and not too strenuous. Consider doing these if you will be hiking with a 20+ lb baby on your back. We liked the Ocean Path Trail and the Jordan Pond Nature Trail.
  • As much fun as sight seeing and hiking can be for adults, remember that it can be equally boring for a baby or toddler. Take breaks at parks, playgrounds, or aquariums. Also look for a local library for a fun and familiar wind down moment for baby. We found a great local library in Boothbay Harbor to rest and read a few books before we ventured on.
  • For more tips and tricks on flying with a baby, check out this post I did here: skirtmagazine.com

When to travel to Coastal Maine: We decided to travel in the month of June and I am so glad we did. Maine is at peak wildflower season and I could not get over all the beautiful colors along the side of the road, in fields, and along the water’s edge. (The lupins were my favorite.) We had friends travel in August and they informed us that the wildflowers were pretty much gone by then. And for being the middle of June, we had not a single issue with too-many-tourists, as we have in other places we’ve traveled.  So if seeing wildflowers and perfect temperatures (highs in the 70s) is what you are seeking, I would shoot for May or June.  As for the winter months, we are not snow bunnies, nor do I think any of the famous skiing and snow actives take place along Coastal Maine (you’ll want to head Northwest towards Sugarloaf for that), so November-March was pretty much out for us. Fall would also be beautiful to see the leaves change, I predict somewhere between Sept- October but I have never experienced this in Maine myself. Maybe we will try that on our next trip up to Maine!

IMG_6336

For more scenes from our trip, check out the video I put together on Youtube. This has become one of Liam’s favorite “family” Youtube Videos to watch and he asks to watch “home” all the time. I have to correct him that “home” is South Carolina and not Maine. He’s not even two yet so cut him some slack. But thanks to my little music editor, I’ll have to choose a better song on my next travel video!

Message me or comment if you have any questions about our trip! xoxo Priscilla

 

 

 

 


One thought on “wandering through coastal maine: a travel guide

  1. Looks beautiful. I really want to go there. I imagine the coastal towns are charming and the people friendly. Thank you for such a detailed summary.

    Like

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