21 Best Vacation Spots in Maine for Families

There is a reason why Maine is known as Vacationland! The Pine Tree State offers scenic rocky coasts, soft sand beaches, serene lakes, mountain landscapes, and untouched natural beauty. Spend the perfect day at the beach searching for sand dollars or hike up mountains to enjoy picturesque views. Ride a Ferris wheel after snacking on fried dough or shop in unique boutiques. The best vacation spots in Maine for families range in price, attractions, and location, making sure there is something for everyone.

Maine has always been my family’s favorite vacation spot. It’s less crowded, more affordable, and cooler in the summer months than other popular New England destinations like Cape Cod. We often ventured up to Maine during the off-season, resulting in more affordable vacations and tranquil atmospheres. My favorite childhood memories include walking the pier at Old Orchard Beach, holding a lobster on Diver’s Ed in Bar Harbor, and building sand castles at Wells Beach. 

Here are some highlights of the best vacation spots in Maine to choose from: 

Best Vacation Spots in Maine for Families


sunset at beach
Image courtesy of Lily O’Neill

If you are looking for a more low-key family vacation, visit Maine’s oldest town Kittery. Known for its mix of shopping outlets and historic forts, this coastal town has a lot to offer. Located right across the border from Portsmouth, it is easy to venture down to New Hampshire Beaches or take a day trip to Boston. Kittery is less touristy than the beach towns just to the north, such as York and Ogunquit, but you can easily travel there for a beach day.

Grab lunch with the family at When Pigs Fly Pizzeria or Bob’s Clam Hut, and then munch on fresh cookies and bread at their company store. Head on over to the ocean and visit Fort Foster State Park on Gerrish Island. This old military fort has rolling grass to picnic and a small rocky beach to walk along. It’s quite dog-friendly, and the water is calm and clear. This spot is better for a weekend, day trip, or stop on a road trip


rocky jetty at Wells Beach
Jetty at Wells Beach, image courtesy of Lily O’Neill

Wells was a common vacation spot for my family, especially when we were little kids. There are several inns close by and multiple sandy beaches. Some of the most popular beaches include Moody Beach and Drakes Island Beach, but Wells Beach has to be the best. It’s rockier and has a jetty, perfect for kids to search for marine creatures in tide pools. It’s a great place to walk, boogie board, build sand castles, or just relax under the sun. 

Nearby there is the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, a collection of extensive nature trails focused on protecting local ecosystems. It’s a great way for families to explore while learning about natural sciences. 

There are also great food spots like Congdon’s Doughnuts which was a favorite for us as kids. Wells is a great central location, with easy access to nearby popular towns like Old Orchard Beach, Ogunquit, and York. 


harbor view of Belfast
Belfast Harbor, image courtesy of Lily O’Neill

For over a decade, my family has vacationed in Belfast, an underrated coastal town nestled in Penobscot Bay. This artsy, dog-friendly, cozy town has plenty of things to do for the family. 

Head to the historic downtown where you can eat at Rollie’s Bar and Grill, try every flavor of jelly bean at Chocolate Drop Candy Shop, and shop at all the unique boutiques. You can watch movies at the old school theater, take a sailboat ride to see the sunset, visit the Blue Alpaca Ranch, bring the kids to the town park, or spend all day sea glass hunting on the beach. 

You can take a day trip to Camden to hike Mount Battie at Camden Hills State Park. There are also several islands in the mid-coast region to explore, making Belfast a great central location. 

Wonderview Cottages is the perfect place to stay for a family vacation. This cozy community of cottages gives you access to a private rocky beach on Penobscot Bay. The water is calm and shallow, perfect for younger kids to swim. 


Rangeley Lake
Rangeley Lake, image courtesy of Lily O’Neill

If your family is more interested in off-the-beaten-path lake life, Rangeley is a great vacation destination. Rangeley Lake is quite large and clear, making it well-suited for water activities. From kayaking and swimming to hiking and picturesque views, you will fall for the natural beauty. 

As kids, we camped at Rangeley State Park with other families at a remote campsite with swimming access to the lake. At night, we would pile into the back of a truck and go moose sightseeing! 

Quill Hill is a great spot to drive up and see beautiful views of the region. On your way down make sure to drive slowly and keep your eyes peeled. The road back into town is called “Moose Alley” where you can often spot these elusive giants after sunset. If you are looking for a family-friendly hike, check out Cascade Gorge Stream Trail, which leads to a natural waterfall and swimming hole. The hike is not very strenuous making it very accessible for different ages.  

Several Airbnb cabins nearby offer a cozy rustic setting among the trees. Rangeley is more remote and further north into Maine than other destinations, perfect for families looking to get away from the crowds and enjoy nature. However, there is a small downtown with shops like Classic Provisions, a delicious sandwich shop. 

Boothbay Harbor

Puffins in the water in Boothbay Harbor

Boothbay Harbor is a perfect all-around vacation destination that is a little mix of everything. Located on the mid-coast, there are many attractions in this charming town. The kids will love the Summer Windjammer Days where authentic historic schooners sail into town. Celebrations are carried out through both on-land and boat parades, finishing with fireworks. 

The Maine State Aquarium is a nearby attraction that kids will love. You can explore touch tanks with baby sharks, picnic, and browse the gift shop. I touched the sharks when I was around five years old and it was the coolest experience, so it’s great for even the young ones. 

Some other family-friendly attractions include the Boothbay Railway Village, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (where you can see giant trolls), and whale-watching or puffin sightseeing boat tours! Downtown, there are several cute shops, great restaurants, and historic sweet shops like Downeast Ice Cream Factory and Orne’s Candy Store for saltwater taffy. 


A little less known but an absolute gem is Oxford County’s oldest town Fryeburg. Located close to the White Mountains, this charming town is great for nature lovers. In the summertime, vacationers flock to Weston’s Beach where you can swim in the calm Saco River. It’s a small sandy beach, ideal for families with younger children. You can also go tubing, kayaking, and paddle boarding in the Saco River or Kezer Pond. 

The community is lively with weekly concerts in Bradley Memorial Park. Set up a picnic on the grass and enjoy the ambiance every Tuesday in the summer. In the fall, the Fryeburg Fair attracts visitors from all over to see over 3,000 animals! The kids will love seeing the horses and cows up close, as well as the amusement park rides and concessions. 

Moosehead lake

Adirondack chairs overlooking Moosehead Lake
Overlooking Moosehead Lake in Greenville

Maine is known for its lakes and the largest is Moosehead Lake in the Maine Highlands. Lily Bay State Park is a great spot to enjoy lake life. Fine Pebble Beach is popular for swimming, there is a playground for the kids, two campgrounds, and areas to go boating. 

The Lodge at Moosehead Lake is a great accommodation that offers fine dining and outdoor activities. Cabin rentals are also available if that’s more your style. The nearby village of Greenville is quaint and has all the necessities for food and shops. 

Take a boat ride around the lake, try hiking some of the mountains on the Pinnacle Pursuit challenge, take a moose safari, and enjoy some of Maine’s most beautiful sunsets.

Millinocket Lake 

moose on the lakeshore next to a rock

Millinocket Lake is another peaceful vacation spot, full of outdoor adventure in the shadow of Mount Katahdin. The New England Outdoor Center offers cabins on the lake and a plethora of adventure opportunities.

Get up close to wildlife safely through one of NEOC’s moose safaris. Traveling either by pontoon boat or passenger van, you can take a tour of the surrounding area to spot moose! The same company also offers water rafting on Penobscot River from relaxing cruises to rapid rides. 

Take a day trip to Baxter State Park, a great spot for hiking. Just keep in mind that if you want to hike Mount Katahdin, it is an extreme hike that can take eight to twelve hours and requires a parking permit in advance, so make sure to come well-prepared. 

Monhegan Island 

Is your family a lover of art? Looking for a more slow-paced, relaxing getaway? Take a ferry from either Boothbay Harbor or New Harbor to Monhegan Island. This one square mile of land is off-the-beaten path with its rocky cliffs, magical woods, and cozy cottages. Cathedral Woods is a popular spot for artists to gather due to its beauty, and several fairy houses can be found on the walking trails. 

There are cute shops like The Morring Chain which offers coffee, tea, fresh bagels, and pastries. The Monhegan House is the perfect place to stay as it’s a bed and breakfast right on the ocean. Enjoy scenic views and interact with local artists.

Bar harbor / Acadia National park  

Schoodic Peninsula at Acadia National Park

Bar Harbor is one of the most popular destinations in Maine due to its close proximity to Acadia National Park. Acadia National Park is a true wonder where you can drive up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain to see the sunrise, watch 40-foot waves spray up at Thunder Hole, or relax among the rocky cliffs and sandy shoreline of Sand Beach. 

Downtown Bar Harbor is conveniently accessible through the free Island Explorer bus. This area can get quite congested with tourists in the busy summer months, so make sure to plan for crowds and higher prices. This charming town offers several interactive activities to do with your family.

Diver’s Ed Dive in Theater was an unforgettable experience for my family. You board a boat, go out to sea, and then a diver goes down to collect marine life to put into touch tanks for kids to learn and explore. Kids will enjoy holding lobsters, starfish, and other fun creatures, making it both an educational and exciting experience. There are also boat tours to explore the wildlife in Frenchman Bay and some are even dog-friendly. 

If you would like to camp, Smuggler’s Den is a family-friendly campground 30 minutes from town. If you prefer glamping, check out Terramor Outdoor Resort. There are several bed and breakfasts in town as well. For a day trip, venture to the Schoodic Peninsula and some of the other scenic areas near Acadia.


Portland harbor

As the largest city in Maine, Portland offers great food, a fantastic craft beer scene, shopping, and entertainment of all sorts. Old Port is the historic district which is known for amazing food and boutiques. Flatbread Pizza is a family favorite with crispy fresh pizza, but there are also several good seafood options like Luke’s Lobster and Eventide Oyster Company. Of course, it is a time-honored tradition to line up for the amazing shakes and fries at Duckfat.

You can explore Casco Bay and the nearby islands like Peaks Island or Great Diamond Island via ferry or take the kids on a lobster boat tour to see what it is like to be a lobsterman (or woman!). A must-visit is to see Portland Head Light in nearby Cape Elizabeth and spend some time exploring the coast and climbing on the rocky beach.

Because of the amount of things to do and the city scale, I would recommend Portland for families with older kids and a weekend stay. Visiting in the winter is a great time to avoid crowds and the exorbitant hotel rates that you find in the summer. There are still plenty of things to do in the winter months like browse bookstores, and thrift shops, take food tours, and explore the history of the area.


Rockland Maine breakwater light

With a unique and artsy vibe, Rockland is a hidden gem. With art museums and street art to admire, this historic downtown holds a special charm. Nearby attractions include the Rockland Breakwater where you walk out to a beautiful lighthouse. You can also take a drive to Owls Head Lighthouse for another scenic experience. 

In early August, you can enjoy the Maine Lobster Festival. Due to its mid-coast location, Rockland would be a great stop on a road trip or as a base camp for exploring the nearby islands like VinalHaven and Monhegan or taking day trips to Camden.

Sebago Lake

Sebago Lake State Park, image courtesy of Lily O’Neill

If you don’t want to drive all the way up to the Maine Highlands region, Sebago Lake is only an hour from Portland and is the deepest and second largest lake in Maine. Sebago Lake State Park offers a camping experience with bathrooms, beach access, a playground, and electricity. 

I remember making homemade ice cream, biking along the trails, and swimming in the clear, refreshing lake water during our family vacations to Sebago Lake. We also reneted a pontoon boat in nearby Naples. It was fun swimming, jumping, and fishing off the boat. Point Sebago Campground and Resort is a popular spot if you are looking for a step up from Sebago Lake State Park camping. 

Ogunquit beach

best places to go in Maine in the summer - Ogunquit Perkins Cove

Ogunquit offers the quintessential Maine beach experience. You can access the three miles of sandy beach from nearby rental cottages, inns, and downtown hotels. The charm of the town is shown in its trolley rides, historic architecture, and vibrant atmosphere. 

Perkins Cove is a tourist hub with famous restaurants like Barnacle Billy’s and Perkins Cove Candies. This old fishing village downtown brings a unique charm. The beach itself is sandy, spacious, and attracts a ton of vacationers every year. There is a small inlet for kids to swim, keeping them safe from the stronger waves and potential currents.

York beach 

York Beach cliff walk

The main draw of York for families is the endless amount of kid-friendly attractions. With both Long Sands Beach and Short Sands Beach, there are plenty of activities to enjoy. Long Sands is sandy and wide, with bigger waves, perfect for boogie boarding and beach sports. It has a more laid-back atmosphere. Short Sands Beach is smaller and is close to downtown. There is an old-school arcade and a bowling alley, and it is close to Golden Rod, a shop where you can watch through a window how salt water taffy is made and then eat some! 

The biggest draw for my family was York’s Wild Kingdom! This one-stop event for family fun is the combination of a zoo and an amusement park for young kids. There is even a kid zone with puzzles, games, and arts and crafts.

Old orchard beach

Old Orchard Beach pier
Old Orchard Beach Pier

What’s more perfect than spending the day at the beach and then going to an amusement park? Old Orchard Beach has the only oceanfront amusement park in the area, Palace Playland. This coastal town has that classic American retro atmosphere where you can ride the Ferris wheel, eat fried dough, and walk along the pier. 

Near the beach, there is indoor karting, mini golf, parasailing, and biking as some of the available attractions. However, the best part is the seven-mile-long sandy beach perfect for enjoying an entire day under the sun. Every Thursday there are fireworks at 9:45 p.m. during the summer months. 

Old Orchard Beach is a more touristy area so it can get quite crowded. Parking can be tricky so make sure to plan ahead. You can easily enjoy a vacation here with the family and create lasting nostalgic memories. 

Family Glamping, Camping & Skiing in Maine

Sometimes the perfect vacation spot is all about finding a fun campground, glamping experience, or special resort for the family to enjoy. Here are some of our favorites: 

Sunday River Resort 

Upper Dreammaker at Sunday River
A snow storm on Upper Dreammaker at Sunday River

Maine turns into a winter wonderland in the colder months, attracting winter sports enthusiasts. Sunday River Resort, located in Bethel is one of Maines’s largest resorts with over 84 km of trails and 15 lifts. You can ski, snowboard, snowmobile, snowshoe, and even dog sled with the whole family. All levels of skill and experience are welcome from beginners to returning pros. 

We have loved skiing at Sunday River because it isn’t nearly as crowded as the Vermont ski resorts and there is a section and lift dedicated to beginners that provide enough options to ski all weekend without getting bored. There are different options for accommodation like the Resort Lodging and the Grand Summit Hotel.

Terramor Outdoor Resort 

Terramor tent at night

Looking to get close to nature without all the hassle that comes with camping? Your family can enjoy a luxury New England glamping experience at Terramor Outdoor Resort alongside the natural beauty of Acadia National Park. You will be staying in a furnished tent with beds, indoor bathrooms, and screened in porches. There are all the amenities one would need like Wi-Fi, electricity, space heaters, and overhead fans. 

There are communal amenities like the Lodge that serves breakfast and dinner. Families will enjoy the spacious tent options, corn hole, board games, and heated pool and hot tub. Your location will be prime for exploring Bar Harbor and hiking in Acadia. 

Shin Pond Village 

side by side at Shin Pond village

Looking for a rustic outdoor setting that is off-the-beaten path where you can enjoy off roading, snowmobiling, hiking, and more? Shin Pond Village is a recreational resort in the Maine Highlands, near Patten. There are options for all types of campers from campsites and RV sites to more spacious cottages. This 100-acre destination has a general store, gift shop, and a restaurant and bar.

In the surrounding area, you can hike, explore Baxter State Park, star gaze, and rent ATVS or side-by-sides to explore the miles of maintained trails. In the winter season, snowmobiling is very popular. 

Huttopia Southern Maine 

Huttopia White Mountains glamping tent
Huttopia White Mountains

Huttopia is a European-influenced glamping resort with locations in Southern Maine and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This resort is more utilitarian than luxury, focusing on providing an immersive nature experience. There is a heated pool, game room, food truck, and access to the lake where you can paddle board and swim. 

The basics are covered with a propane-fueled camp stove, electricity, cooking supplies, and a full bathroom. Enjoy the peace of the forest or venture not far out to the coastal beaches.

Baileys Camping Resort 

Vacationing in Bayley’s Camping Resort was one of our family’s favorite spots when we were kids. Its location in Scarborough is conveniently close to popular beaches like Old Orchard Beach, Ogunquit, and Wells. 

The resort offers areas to set up your tent or camper, or you can book a small cabin. The three pools kept us kids busy with diving boards where we could practice our jumps. There’s a movie theater and multiple camp stores to buy snacks. The area is safe, spacious, and perfect for biking around. There are public bathrooms and electricity.

Fun Town Splash Town, a fun combination of an amusement park and a water park, is about ten minutes away in Saco. There are also beautiful beaches nearby to explore like Scarborough State Park and Higgins Beach. 

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