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5 Reasons to Visit Maine This Summer

by Barbara Rogers

Jul 2, 2024

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Destinations / North America

Maine embodies the ideals of a summer vacation — beaches, camping, sailing, clambakes, starry skies — so it’s no wonder families travel there to kick back and have fun. These are five of the many reasons to choose Maine this summer.


It’s not just the long stretches of white sand at York, Old Orchard, Wells, Ogunquit and Kennebunkport — it’s what you can do there. Surf at York, stroll the boardwalk or ride New England’s only oceanside Ferris wheel at Old Orchard, fly a kite at Footbridge Beach in Ogunquit, or find a spot under the dunes at Kennebunkport’s Parson’s Beach. Somewhere in Maine is just the right beach for your family.


Maine’s state parks are some of the best in the Northeast for family camping. Large campsites for tents and RVs, well-maintained facilities, and locations near beaches and attractions make them ideal for a relaxing vacation. Camden Hills State Park adjoins Mount Battie, a day climb with poetry-inspiring views; and Popham Beach is one of Maine’s family favorites, with a beach right at the campground. Farther up the coast, Cobscook Bay has water-side sites where you can launch kayaks and, in the northern mountains. Rangeley Lake has swimming, kayaking and fishing.


Sailing Cruises
Maine Windjammers are ideal for multigen vacations with older kids or for day sails with the whole family. Some are historic vessels and others, like the two-masted schooner Mary Day, are modern versions of the ships once vital to Maine’s trade and economy. Several of these sleek sailing ships take passengers for multinight sailing cruises through Penobscott Bay; others offer day cruises from harbors in Camden and Rockland.


Whale Watching
From Kennebunk to Bar Harbor, ports along the coast are starting points for whale-watching cruises. Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. cruises are accompanied by a whale scientist who can point out the differences between humpback, finback, pilot and right whales, along with dolphin, porpoise and seals. Sailing from Portland with Odyssey Whale Watch, you’re likely to see humpbacks, finbacks, minkes, dolphins and basking sharks.


Quirky Attractions
Variety is the spice of any Maine vacation, and you’ll find plenty of it. For example, in Portland you can learn all about Big Foot and Sasquatch at International Cryptozoology Museum. In the free sculpture garden of Ogunquit Museum of American Art, kids will love the giant whimsical animals constructed of scrap wood by Maine artist Bernard Langlais. In Freeport, visit Desert of Maine to see the sand-covered pine trees and learn how this desert landscape of drifting dunes replaced a once-prosperous farm. In Bangor, Stephen King fans will want to drive past the fantastic iron spiderweb gate at his former home.


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