Whether you are coming to see your kids for camp visiting day or making a mini vacation out of touring Maine camps in the summer, you will want to explore the many family-friendly activities that Portland offers. It’s convenient to most camps. Here’s my take on what to do in Portland that truly makes summers and camp belong in Maine.
What I like best about Portland is that it is a compact walking city which allows you to see the main attractions by foot yet you won’t be dragging your kids through long city blocks. When I think of our past trips to Portland, the image that comes to mind is walking slightly uphill from the harbor amidst atmospheric brick buildings that are home to festive shops, cute restaurants, small museums and offices.
My youngsters’ favorite attraction in Portland is the Portland Children’s Museum. This hands-on fun museum is geared more to younger children. Just beware: there is a really good children’s gift shop in the lobby of the Children’s Museum. You can’t say you weren’t forewarned!
If you’re like me and have a wide age spread in your kids’ ages, you might want to take the little ones to the children’s museum while your spouse or adult travel companion brings the older ones to the Portland Museum of Art since they are right next to each other. Due to its intimate size, the Portland Museum of Art is very manageable for older children and teens.
Close to the harbor is Downeast Duck Adventures which feature sightseeing tours on amphibious vehicles. While the kazoos they give passengers to blow can get a bit loud, kids love the excitement of splashing into the harbor after the land portion of the sightseeing trip. Make sure you reserve a spot on these memorable tours ahead of time.
Also close to the pier is the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum. Here you can go on short train rides along Casco Bay and also view the collection at the small museum.
Another activity you’ll want to book ahead of time is one of the many harbor cruises. There are sailing ships, whale watches and fishing boats to choose from. I suggest you take into consideration the age of your children to determine which nautical adventure to book – the older the children, the longer the cruise you might opt for.
“Go-to travel mom” Luisa Frey has been writing about family travel for the past 17 years while trotting and cruising the globe – from Alaska to the Mediterranean — with her two children. Her family travel advice has been featured on ABCnews.com, USAtoday.com, CNN.com, FamilyFun magazine, CruiseMates.com, and more. In 2009, Luisa created the blog www.teentraveltalk.com, which is written by teens for their peers and parents. Her mission is to bring families together through shared, positive travel experiences.
Talk to Laurie, our Maine Campcierge™, about choosing the right camp for your child and what to do in Maine.