Compiled by Kristy, MCE Social Media Manager, with suggestions by veteran Maine camp parents.
One of the absolute best parts of sending your kids to summer camp in Maine is…visiting Maine! For so many of our camp families, making an annual trek to Maine becomes a family tradition, something everyone comes to look forward to and really enjoy. Whether it’s during pickup, drop off, or visiting day weekend (or visiting day “week,” as one of our moms likes to call it), there is so much to do in this glorious state that you won’t be disappointed. We asked some of our most enthusiastic Maine parents, “What is your favorite thing to do in Maine?” They had lots to say! Check this list, chock-full of suggestions to get you excited and ready to plan your first trip, or inject some new energy into your annual tradition!
“Portland by far is the true standout in Maine. One of the foodie capitals of the US … so many amazing restaurants and cafes and bars to choose from along with quaint cobblestone streets and waterfront shopping.”
-David, Camp Kippewa Parent
“We are really looking forward to visiting day “week”. We love to visit Portland, walk around and shop, take boat trips around to the little islands off the coast and eat the most amazing pizza at Flatbreads!”
-Tracy, Camp Matoaka Parent
“We are one of the few families from Maine that send their kids to camp in Maine. Portland has some of the best restaurants in the country. Duckfat has some of the best french fries/poutine and paninis around. Street and Co. is known for fabulous seafood and Otto’s has the best pizza in town. Other great places are Fore Street, The Corner Room, and Paciarino.
-Amy, Camp Kippewa Parent
“To really get a solid sense of Maine you need to spend some time on the coast. 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.”
-David, Camp Kippewa Parent
“Other than visiting camp, our favorite thing(s) to do in Maine include trips to Kennebunkport, trips to the beach (Old Orchard, Ogonquit), mini golf and trips to the many water parks in and around Maine. This year we will be renting a house in Ogonquit for the week following visiting day and cannot wait!”
–Andrea, Camp Matoaka Parent
“Every year my husband and I spend a few days in Kennebunkport. We have tried a few hotels but our favorite is the Tides Beach Club and our favorite place to eat is the White Barn Inn. We also like going on the Garden Tour in Kennebunkport.”
-Gayle, Camp Kippewa Parent
4. Change Things Up
“[The boys] being in camp has made the trips to Maine a “great excuse”. We bring the boys back to camp, come there on parents weekend, and come to pick them up … every time enjoying a few extra days in the beautiful woods of Maine.
We have a tradition when we come back to Maine in June of spending a few days in Portland, and then renting a cabin in Boothbay Harbor … On parents weekend, my wife and I do something fun and different each and every year. A few days in Bar Harbor, shopping in Freeport, a drive up the coast, and last year a drive up to Quebec City. Always a new and exciting experience! At pickup time it is always an excuse to go back there and enjoy the great restaurants!”
–Charles, Camp Androscoggin Parent
“Each year on visiting day weekend we try to visit a different town. They are all fun! We have gone to Kennebunkport, where any of the little fresh fish places are great. Boothbay Harbor was a fun, quaint town to walk around in. When we had our younger one with us (too young for camp), we stopped at Old Orchard Beach on our way home – it’s a fun beach with a boardwalk and amusement park attached to it. Also, on our drive up to camp, we always stopped at 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 (wholesale prices, I think!). A great, casual (picnic style) lobster lunch place to stop in on your drive up north is Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier (16 Chauncey Creek Rd, Kittery Point, ME). “
– Jennifer, Camp Laurel Parent
– Mark, Camp Androscoggin Parent
Additional Resources and Ideas:
Also, do you have a future Maine camper tagging along? Check out the brand new day camp offered by LL Bean in Freeport.
Single day or week long programs are available, so that you can shop, dine and take in all that Freeport has to offer without your little ones getting bored AND when they get home they can tell their friends that they also went to camp in Maine this summer!
Enjoy your visit to the beautiful state of Maine. Please be sure to share with us what you loved the most.
Talk to Laurie, our Maine Campcierge™, about choosing the right camp for your child and what to do in Maine.