One of the many reasons families choose to send their children to summer camp in Maine is it is one of the most outstanding vacation destinations for everyone. Visiting Day and camp tour visits are the perfect excuse to make a weekend into an extended trip, and to make a summer event into a family tradition. So when we’re looking for advice on where to go and what to do in Maine, we go to the experts – Maine camp parents. They return year after year with their families in tow to tour Maine’s beautiful cities, glide along its crystal clear waters, breathe in the heady pine air, and unplug from everyday life. We asked them what their favorite things are to do in Maine, and here is what they had to say. All the quotes in italics below are from parents who send their child(ren) to a Maine Camp Experience member camp.
The next two weekends are Visiting Day weekends for most of our Maine camps, so here are a variety of tips from our blog – how to make the most of our Visiting Day, other things to do in Maine from the writer of Cute Potato, as well as some tips and deals from the Portland Visitor’s Bureau. Go prepared for an amazing time!
“Portland is by far the true standout in Maine.”
You’ll hear it time and time again – Portland is a special place. There are amazing restaurants and bars, and visitors can amble along quaint cobblestone streets while visiting charming shops along the waterfront. Many Maine camp parents have suggested taking a boat trip around Casco Bay to the many little islands off the coast, or seeing how the beer gets made at Allagash Brewing Company.
“Duckfat has some of the best French fries/poutine and paninis around.”
Often called the “culinary capital of Maine,” Portland has a vibrant food scene boasting over three hundred restaurants. For a true gourmet experience, visit Fore Street, where you’ll find locally sourced, carefully crafted food one block from the waterfront in Portland’s Old Port District. Our camp parents have also suggested Street and Co., for fantastic seafood, pizza at Flatbreads, Otto, or The Corner Room, and pasta at Paciarino. It’s hard to go wrong with this many delicious choices.
Also in Cape Elizabeth, Inn By The Sea is a hidden gem in Portland. Families often use this luxurious resort as a home base while touring Maine summer camps, or as a getaway after Visiting Day Weekend.
Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor
“To really get a solid sense of Maine you need to spend some time on the coast. [There is] nothing like driving up the coast through all the small villages north of Portland on the way to Acadia National Park … a must-see for anyone visiting the state.”
Both the trip up to Acadia and Acadia itself are full of magic. At New England’s only national park, you’ll find breathtaking views, camping, hiking, swimming, boating, and natural beauty in every direction. A large part of the park is within Bar Harbor, Maine, a quintessential coastal town that is an excellent home base while exploring Acadia. There are a wide variety of activities to do in Bar Harbor, or you could be just as happy wandering around the quaint streets, shopping local boutiques, and discovering the history of the area through its picturesque coastline.
Depending on your passion, the list of things to discover at Acadia is long – visit Cadillac Mountain for a stunning sunrise walk; hike, jog, or bike along the park’s Carriage Roads; and if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can rappel Otter Cliff, which is located only minutes from downtown Bar Harbor.
Kennebunkport has all that makes Maine so magical on a smaller scale and with fewer tourists, but there is still a lot to do. In addition to the aforementioned White Barn Inn, additional fine dining can be found in your own private potting shed at Earth at Hidden Pond, where the “farm to table” concept is put into practice – ingredients are sourced from two onsite organic gardens. Or if you’re looking for something more casual, order a lobster roll from The Clam Shack – the only stand-up shack on the Kennebunk Bridge. You can shop funky at one of Kennebunkport’s indie boutiques, or head over to the old-school H.B. Provisions, a general store with worn-plank floors, wine, coffee, and delicious bites. Pick blueberries, wander through the woods, or learn how to pull up a lobster trap with Kylie’s Chance Lobster Tour. There is every opportunity to have the perfect Maine getaway.
“This year we will be renting a house in Ogonquit for the week following visiting day and cannot wait!”
With a name that means “Beautiful Place by the Sea,” Ogonquit is the perfect place to spend a week in the summer. Like the rest of Maine, this lovely area is made up of craggy coastlines, sandy beaches, quaint buildings, and a picturesque harbor.
Just For Fun
“Yummies (384 State Road /US Rt. 1, Kittery, ME) – it’s a big old fashioned candy warehouse that you can pick up some treats to bring to your camper! “
Traveling to Maine is an amazing experience for people of all ages, but it’s no coincidence that the state boasts the greatest number of the oldest, most established summer camps in the country. Kids from ages 7–17 head to Maine camps every summer to enjoy incredible natural beauty, strong traditions and values, and top-notch activities and instruction. They unplug, connect with nature, make new friends, learn new skills, experience amazing trips, and gain confidence, independence and more. Kids come back from a summer in Maine different; a little more mature, a little more independent, and having had a lot of new experiences that have changed them for the better.
Maine Camp Experience is a community of 30+ best-in-class summer camps, located in the state of Maine. The website mainecampexperience.com has camp selection and planning tools, including the Campcierge™ who personally assists families select the right camp. NOW is a great time to research for summer 2017 – nothing beats getting to see the camps while they’re in session AND getting to enjoy Maine, America’s Vacationland.
Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools
Looking for the perfect Maine camp for your child? Try out our helpful tool where you can select a camp by choosing: type of camp (girls, boys or coed) and session length (1-8 weeks). It helps to narrow down a few camps to a manageable list that includes rates. Then you can research these camps in more depth.
Next, be sure to contact our Maine Campcierge™ to discuss these camps as well as for free, year-round advice and assistance on choosing a great Maine summer camp for your child.
Talk to Laurie, our Maine Campcierge®, about choosing the right camp for your child and what to do in Maine.