Vacationing in Maine with kids?

Mrs. Pagan and I are considering a Maine vacation this summer. Neither of us have ever been there. We’re thinking about going in late June, before tourist season completely peaks, even though it may be a little chillier. We have two kids, aged 12 and 7, and want to have a trip that they’ll enjoy and remember. Places like outlet malls have ZERO appeal to us, so I assume we’ll be skipping Freeport.

We’re into hiking, sightseeing, beachcombing, whale watching, eating lobster, etc., and don’t want to spend the whole trip in the car.

Rather than flying into Portland, we’re considering flying directly into Bangor, then heading down to Mount Desert Island and using that as a base for Acadia exploration and day trips. Would we miss too much if we were to skip Portland and the stretch between Portland and Acadia?

Staying on the “Quiet Side” of Mount Desert Island feels more like the thing for us to do, but we’re not sure.

And should we consider a side trip to Nova Scotia for a few days? Does it have much to recommend it that Maine does not (in terms of stuff that would appeal to kids)?

There are a lot of nifty things in Portland (not the least of which: me) however if it’s hiking you’re after you probably won’t miss it.

It’s still a nice little city to be a tourist in. The waterfront is tourist-central, but it’s not over the top schmaltzy. The Old Port has outdoor cafe’s, coffee shops, indie-theaters, hipster kind of stuff. And bars. Lots of bars. Still, during the day it’s a fine place for kids.

It’s a very walkable city – excellent restaurants – seafood, natch – charter fishing – whale watches – that kind of stuff.

Then you got your Sea-Dogs (AA Red Sox affiliate) where the most expensive seat in the house is $8. If that’s your kind of thing, a fine way to spend an afternoon.

Portland might be a little bit more unquiet than what you’ve got going on at Mount Desert Island, but I’d recommend it.

I should say though that Portland is quite a hike from MDI. About a 3 hour drive, I think, on mostly two-lane roads. It’s not a very easy day-trip down from Bar Harbor.

Either Portland or Bar Harbor offers most of what you have described. Just a word of caution, only the area South of Portland has any real beaches that have sand on them. Most “beaches” North of Portland are stone.

Both locations offer lots of activities. The quiet side of Bar Harbor is similar to Nova Scotia. NS has fewer people per mile and it’s further between interesting places.

Just my 2 cents. Enjoy your trip, spend lots of money, we need it.