Maine is the perfect state for a family vacation and there is a long list of things to do in Maine with kids. Many of the things that make the perfect Maine family vacation are outdoor activities. Kids of all ages love to be active and Maine is an outdoor playground from it’s quaint towns on the rocky shore to the inland mountains and lakes. Find the perfect vacation spots in Maine for families with this list of fun activities.
Looking for more activities for your Maine vacation? Check out the Maine Travel Guide
Things to do in Maine with Kids
Acadia National Park
You can’t come to Maine without visiting Acadia National Park. This corner of rocky coastline includes biking and hiking trails and you should definitely plan a stop at Jordon Pond for the lemonade and popovers. Drive the road through the park and stop along the way. You can get a meal in Bar Harbor and don’t forget that 4th graders get a free pass into all US National Parks (See more about Every Kid Outdoors program). Acadia should be at top of your list of things to do in Maine with kids.
See our guide on exploring Acadia.
Go on a Whale Watch
The coastal water offshore in the Gulf of Maine are a wonderful place to see whales. Hop aboard a whale watch for a chance to experience Maine from the water – it is truly the best way to experience Maine at it’s finest. Many tours also see seals, water birds and sometimes even puffins. Check out Cap’n Fish’s Cruises (Boothbay) or Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co.
Baxter State Park
Baxter State Park is located in North-Central Maine and has over 200 miles of hiking trails. This gorgeous and somewhat remote state park includes Mount Katahdin and plenty of streams, ponds and lakes. There are many campsites and the park has moose, bear and plenty of other wildlife. Your kids will love the feeling of nature and the hiking trails and the park makes one of the best family camping in Maine.
Take a Sailing Tour
Maine has a rich sailing history and taking a sail on one of Maine’s tall ships is a must for adults and kids alike. You can find sailing trips for a few hours and even a few days. Many of the sailing vessels offer education programs and the chance to help set the sails or steer the boat, and you can catch a boat our of several different towns. Here are a few excellent options for sailing tours:
- Bar Harbor: Windjammer Sailing Trip
- Portland: Portland Tall Ship Cruise
- Camden: Windjammer Sunset Sail
Take a Lobster Tour
Maine is known for lobstering and almost every restaurant has lobster on the menu. The Maine culture of lobstering is old and strong and many coastal towns still operate around the lobstering industry. Just wake a boat ride and you’ll see the colorful traps bobbing in the water that have some to define Maine. There are several boats that offer lobstering tours and this should be on your list of things to do in Maine with kids. Check out this private tour in Casco Bay, or look at Lucky Catch Cruises out of Portland, Rugosa Lobster Tours in Kennebunkport, or Westwind Lobster Tours in Orr’s Island.
Maine State Aquarium
The Maine State Aquarium in West Boothbay Harbor is full of fun and learning for your Maine family vacation. With exhibits, touch tanks and a beautiful picnic area it’s a great stop and I think the highlight is the different lobsters and the touch tanks.
The Maine Wildlife Park
This lovely nature center has over 30 animal species that have been rescued for various reasons. The Maine Wildlife Park has excellent information about the animals an natural habitats. There are places to sit and eat a picnic and the Wildlife Park is large enough to include some walking and exploring.
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
The Coastal Maine Botanical Garden is an amazing place to visit for anyone, but is definitely one of the best things to do in Maine with kids. The garden is designed with plenty of place to explore and there are children’s gardens, sensory gardens, fairy building, and several new giant wooden trolls to spark your imagination. Check out their calendar of events as they have events and classes throughout the year.
Funtown Splashtown USA
If your kids love waterparks, this is a great family activity in Maine right in Saco. The park is both a ride park and a waterpark so you are best off visiting in the summer months when it’s warm. You can learn more on their website.
Visit the Beach:
Maine is full of beautiful beaches and your kids will love to spend the day hunting for crabs and maybe even braving the cold Maine waters. Most of the beaches in Maine are rocky and the few sand beaches are usually bordered with beautiful Rocky Shorelines. You can find the sandier beached in the South or consider visiting one of the beaches on a lake. Some of our favorites are York Beach, Wells Beach, Kennebunk Beach, Crescent Beach State Park
Visit one of Maine’s Many Lakes
Maine might have a stunning coastline, but don’t overlook the many lakes and ponds in Maine. The water inland is usually warmer and you can boat, waterski, kayak, ice fish, skate, and more. Rent a lake house or cabin and spend a week relaxing with your family. Make sure to check out some of the smaller lakes or visit Sebago Lake and the Rangeley Lakes region.
Find the perfect Maine Family Resort
Sometimes the best thing to do in Maine with kids is to simply find an amazing family resort. Check out Nonantum Report, The Birches Resort. Edgewater Motel & Cottages, The Cliff House, and The Colony Hotel.
Maine Discovery Museum
The Maine Discovery Museum located in Bangor, is a fun, science focused center. The center has exhibits with live animals, ecosystems, dinosaurs, the human body and more. They also host a once a year science festival, parties and camp programs.
Take a Hike
Hiking with kids is a great way to explore. Select a hike that is the right level for your kids and has something fun to see and explore. You can look for hikes in All Trails. Some of our favorite hikes in Maine with kids include Moxey Falls, The Marginal Way, and Mount Battie.
We also enjoy hiking at Grafton Notch.
Seashore Trolley Museum
This unique museum in Kennebunkport is a fun stop for families. The museum is focused on trolleys and trains and is perfect for kids who are interested in transportation. There are also exhibits exploring history in motion. The Seashore Trolley Museum is also an easy stop off on your way further north in Maine.
Drive the Coastal Highway
Driving along the Maine coastline on route 1 is a great family adventure and you can plan your day to stop at coastal towns, eat a lobster roll, view a lighthouse or go for a hike. The road has plenty of side roads to explore and you should expect some traffic, especially in the summer as you come through some of the smaller towns.
Explore a Classic Maine Boardwalk
With some classic summer towns in Southern Maine, you will also find the traditional beach and boardwalk scene. Visit York Beach or Old Orchard Beach where you’ll find stores, ice cream, and games. It’s a fun spot to visit during the day or at night and kids of all ages will enjoy the variety of activities.
Take a Ferry Ride
There are several Maine ferries that visit some of the coastal Maine Islands. This is definitely one of the fun things to do in Maine that doesn’t cost too much. You can book a ferry ticket and then spend the day or even just a few hours exploring a Maine Island. This past summer we took our bikes on the Casco Bay Line ferry out to Chebeague Island for the day and had a blast. You can find a list of other ferry services here.
Wolf’s Neck Woods State Park
Wolf’s Neck Farm is a coastal sustainable farm. You can camp here or just visit for the day to learn about agriculture and the environment. As one of the free things in Maine on this list, this is an excellent option and you can rent kayaks or bikes and explore regenerative agriculture.
Check out the Maine Island Trail Association
The Maine Island Trail Association organization works to protect and encourage enjoyment of 200 islands on the Maine coast. The member driven program is a network of campgrounds and picnic areas that you can visit and enjoy by land and by water. Take a kayak trail for a picnic on an island, or find a campground for your family. This is an excellent adventure for your family.
Visit Cabbage Island for a Clambake
Enjoy a classic Maine clambake at Cabbage Island. The boat leaves from Boothbay and heads to Cabbage Island. Once you’re there, you will enjoy a traditional Downeast clambake prepared for you and your kids right on the water’s edge.
Go Lighthouse Hunting
Maine is a great place to find lighthouses and you can make historic lighthouses the center of your Maine vacation. Drive the Maine coast to see as many lighthouses as you can. You can find a great list of the Maine lighthouses here. You can also book a tour to see the lighthouses like this tour to 3 different lighthouses.
Go Apple or Berry Picking
If you’re looking for something fun to do in the fall in Maine, considering taking your family apple picking. Many places offer a full fall experience including hay rides, corn mazes, and animals. If you’re looking for things to do in Maine in summer with kids, look for places to go berry picking. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are all ripe over the summer and make a fun outing.
If you are hoping to find things to do in Maine in winter with kids consider going ice skating. With countless ponds and lakes there are many natural places to skate, but you can also find ice rinks that offer hot coco and warming huts as part of the experience. Check out Thompson’s Point in Portland, the Sugarloaf outdoor rink, or Goddard’s Pond in Bath.
Visit a Fair or Festival
No matter what time of year you’re planning to visit, one of the fun things to do in Maine with kids is to visit a fair or festival. Find a list of upcoming fairs and festivals at Visit Maine.
Take Flight Aerial Adventure Course
If you’re looking for family fun in Maine, especially if you are trying to find things to do in Southern Maine, check out Take Flight Arial Adventure Course in Kittery. With over 75 challenges and elements, this high ropes and elements course is great fun for older kids and teens.
Ski at one of Maine’s Ski Mountains
An outdoor winter activity for kids in Maine is to take them to one of Maine’s ski mountains. From large mountains like Sugarloaf and Sunday River to small mountains like Saddleback, there is a mountain for every level. Most ski resorts also have fun activities off the slopes as well.
Go Kayaking or Paddle boarding
Maine is full of water from the salty coast to the fresh water lakes and ponds. There are many place to rent kayaks, canoe or paddleboards for a paddle, or you can sign up for a tour.
- Kayak on Sebago Lake
- Paddle boarding in Portland
- Kayaking from Stonington
- Covered Bridge Kayak Tour in Windham
- Explore the Maine Island Trails
Children’s Museum and Theatre
Located in Portland, ME, the Children’s Museum and Theatre is an fun, creative way to spend the day with your family in Maine. This is a great option for younger kids with plenty of kid friendly exhibits and theatre shows. It’s a great kids-friendly option in the Portland area, especially if you’re in town on a rainy day.
Go to a Portland Sea Dogs Game
The Portland Sea Dogs are the minor league baseball team in Maine. With a very family friendly baseball stadium, a Portland Sea Dogs Game is a fun way to spend the afternoon.
York’s Wild Kingdom
The York’s Wild Kingdom is a zoo and amusement park located right in York Beach. You can easily spend the day visiting the zoo and then enjoy the games and rides. Our favorite things are York’s Wild Kingdom are the butterflies, monkeys and kangaroos.
With Maine’s rocky coastline there are many places to explore and hunt for marine animals. You’ll find plenty of mussels, snails, and crabs as well as the occasional lobster or sea star. Always use caution when tide pooling and make sure you place the rocks back exactly as you found them.
Go Rafting on the Kennebec
Taking a trip white water rafting on the Kennebec River is a fun and adventurous activity for families with older kids. There are many companies offing rafting tours on the Kennebec and most offer a few hour raft that includes transportation.
Take a Bike Ride
If you have your own bikes, planning a family bike trip is a great way to see the state. You can also rent bikes in many places. Some of the best places to bike are Acadia, Bradbury Mountain State Park, and the Downeast Sunrise Trail. We also love to take our bikes with us on a ferry out to the islands and spend the day exploring.
There are many, many family campgrounds in Maine. Check out Bayley’s Camping Resort, Some’s Sound View Campground, or Cedar Haven Family Campground. Camping makes a full family adventure and many Maine campgrounds have a list of family friendly outdoor activities.
That wraps up the list of fun things to do in Maine with kids. For more information about traveling in Maine, check out the Maine Travel Guide.