Sixteen awesome things to do with the kids in Down East Maine

Sixteen awesome things to do with the kids in Down East Maine

Planning a trip to coastal Washington County, Maine with kids this year?  Or maybe you live in the area, but have never ‘played tourist’ with your kids?  The Bold Coast region of Maine is known as the place where one goes to escape throngs of tourists.  You won’t find go-carts and mini-golf every mile.  Instead, you’ll be able to unplug and reconnect with nature.  Especially now, when kids are hooked on technology (face it, we all are), it is a good opportunity for families to get outside and just…well… to be cliche… commune with nature.  Always check an event calendar for the area — almost every month there is some festival or celebration weekend in some part of the county.

Here is a list of 16 things to do with kiddos — some/most are seasonal, with the season opening for most places sometime in May, so always check ahead if you’re visit is during a shoulder or off-season.

Maine Vacation Rental1) Head to Machiasport’s Jasper Beach for the ultimate in beach combing.  Jasper Beach is one of the most unique beaches in the world — instead of sand dunes, you will need to climb dunes made of ocean-smoothed rocks.  Listen to the singing of the waves as they gently crash, tumbling the rocks.  It’s a great place for every age for beach combing.  Learn more about Jasper Beach HERE

 

 

 

 

 

Sea salt Maine Vacation Rental2) Learn how they get salt from the ocean to the jar at a fascinating free tour of the Maine Sea Salt Company.  Have you ever thought about how salt gets from the sea to your salt shaker?  Learn the answer here in a free tour of the factory where salt is made.  It’s sourced locally, from Bucks Harbor in Machiasport and then evaporated in greenhouses.  Free tours are offered May through December.  

 

 

 

 

 

downeast puffin tour3) Hop aboard the Kandi Leigh and take a sightseeing trip to see the cutest little animals on the planet.   One of the highlights of any trip to Down East Maine is a boat trip to see the puffins.  The three hour boat tour is available May through August  to Petit Manan Island to see Puffin and other shorebirds.  These tours often fill up months in advance so plan early.  Robertsons Sea Tours also offer whale watch and other scenic tours as well.   

 

 

 

Bad Little Falls Park Machias4) Take a picnic lunch to any of the charming little pocket parks in the area.  This corner of Maine is beautiful and there are so many little parks tucked here and there, most will views and lawns — great places for picnics and romping.  Here are just a few in the area:

Mill Memorial Park, East Machias

Bad Little Falls Park, Machias

Middle River Park, Machias

Fort O’Brien State Historic Site, Machiasport

 

Roque Bluffs State Park5) Spend the day strolling and dipping your toes in the mighty Atlantic ocean at Roque Bluffs State Park.  At the end of one of the fingers that reaches into the Atlantic ocean is one of Maine’s most beautiful state parks.  There is a wide stretch of sandy beach — one of the very few sand beaches in this part of the world.  Across the lane, there is a fresh water pond.  The park also has restroom facilities and 182 miles of walking trails. 

 

 

 

 

Mustard Maine Vacation Rental6) Tour a historic stone mill and see where mustard is made at Rayes Mustard Factory in Eastport. Visit a shop and mill that has been around for four generations.  Sample different flavors of mustard and pick up some of the tasty condiments at their general store.  

 

 

 

 

 

Minion Maine Vacation Rentals7) Pack up a lawn chair and enjoy one of Machias’ free outdoor movies for children at the Boxcar.  Every other Friday in July and August, the Machias Bay Chamber of Commerce offers free movies at their visitor center/boxcar.  Bring a blanket, chairs, bug spray and popcorn.

 

 

 

 

 

Ropes course Maine Vacation Rental8) Take a day trip to Wild Acadia Fun Park in Bar Harbor.  Enjoy the afternoon at this family fun park which includes an aerial park, zip lines, a water park, go carts, mini golf and more.  The Wild Acadia Fun Park is located on the road to Bar Harbor, just south of Ellsworth.  It’s open from June until Labor Day.   

If you are visiting the area a little earlier or later in the season, Pirate’s Cove Mini Golf in Bar Harbor is open from mid-April through October. 

 

Maine Vacation Rental9) Learn about sea life at the Mount Desert Oceanarium in Bar Harbor. Open from mid-May until late October, the Oceanarium is a lobster museum and hatchery.  While you are there, take the Marsh Walk to learn basic and important ecological principles.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10) Visit a local farm and learn to farm. Pet a goat.  Many farms in the area welcome visitors to learn about the farm.  Some through Open Farm Day, usually held in July.  Others with advance reservations.  Two nearby farms are Tide Mill Organic Farm in Edmunds and Hatch Knoll Farm and Garden Side Dairy in Jonesboro.  (As a side note, both sell products that are unbelievably delicious — head to their websites to see where you can purchase some yummy organic food).

 

 

 

Chainsaw Maine Vacation Rental
StockSnap / Pixabay

11) See a show with Ray Murphy, the Chainsaw artist in Hancock, Maine.  Chainsaw Ray performs his show in the world’s first Sawyer Art Theater building. The audiance can not hear the noise from the chainsaws. Instead, they only hear gentle music.  Chainsaw Ray performs one of the most unique shows in the world and has been performing for over 50 years.  Shows start at 7pm nightly from Late June until the end of September.   

 

 

 

Child swimming Maine Vacation Rental12) Splash around in the indoor pool at the University of Maine Machias.  I remember when my kids were small — we lived surrounded by the ocean but all they wanted to do was go to the pool.  Daily passes to the pool at UMM can be purchased for $5.  Currently the pool is open for kid visitors on weekends from 10-2 on Saturdays and 10-3 on Sundays.  During the week, the open pool is shared with lap swimmers.  

 

 

 

 

13) Really enjoy learning about nature.  I have two vacation rental homes in Machiasport and I have both scavenger hunts and bird and wildlife identification books in both homes.  The scavenger hunts were easily printed from online hunts and I stapled the lists to brown paper lunch bags.  I have two different hunts for two age groups – kids can hunt from everything from “dispose of a piece of trash” to “listen to the sound of wind through the trees”.  Besides looking right in your own yard or neighborhood, there are so, so many good places to hike in the area.  The Bold Coast Trail in Cutler is breathtaking for older kids.  For younger kids, there are fantastic walking trails that surround the campus of the University (UMM).  Other great places to walk are can be found at mainetrailfinder.com/trails  – an invaluable resource for looking for outdoor adventures – where you can input location, degree of difficulty, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

biking on the downeast sunrise trail14) Bike on the Downeast Sunrise Trail.  The Downeast Sunrise Trail connects Pembroke, Maine (almost to the border of Canada) to Ellsworth (and the Appalachian Trail beyond). The trail is multi-use, so you might see walkers, horses, ATV’s, snowmobiles and dogsleds on the path, but no automobiles.  The trail is usually closed during ‘mud’ season in the spring but reopens sometime in May.  Check their website for maps and updated news. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milbridge Outdoor Theater15) Head to Milbridge every Friday evening.  The Milbridge Theater has a ton of great, family friendly entertainment every Friday in summer.  These performances range from puppet shows to live music to game show nights (interspersed with kid-friendly outdoor movies).  The evenings kick off at 5:30 and rain dates are on Sundays.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

16) Back to that scavenger hunt theme, what about geocaching?  Geocaching is something that can be done no matter where you are (my kids were interested in it and I was amazed that there were several hidden within a block from my house in Massachusetts).  Go to the website and sign up for a free account.  From there you can enter whatever destination that you want and it will give you a list of all of the locations in the area.  Find a geocache box, sign in and record your finding.  By this summer, there may be a few additional locations in the downeast area…wink, wink.

 

Feel free to email me or make a comment with other fun things to do with kids!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Five things to do on Campobello Island – New Brunswick, Canada

Five things to do on Campobello Island – New Brunswick, Canada

Did you know that you can take a short day trip from the Machias Bay area of DownEast Maine and have lunch on a Canadian Island. Campobello Island is just a short bridge over a channel of water and is part of the Canadian province of New Brunswick.  Just remember, you now need a passport or passport card to enter Canada.

1) Visit Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s summer house.

Admission to the park and the house and information center is free and there are tour guides to answer any questions that you may have.

Campobello Island

2) Bike the many bike trails around the International and Provincial Parks

The trails and roads in the two island parks — Roosevelt Campobello International Park and Herring Cove Provincial Park – are very bike friendly and wind around the island highlighting beautiful vistas.

vacation rental maine

 

 

3) Go on a whale-watching adventure!

Island Cruises Whale Watch departs from Head Harbour Wharf daily in July through October (weather permitting).

Guaranteed sightings.  Make sure you bring your binoculars, camera, warm outerwear even when warm on land it can be very cool on the ocean, and snacks and refreshments.

whale watch maine vacation rental

4) Play a round of golf

Herring Cove Provincial Park Golf Course

One of two provincial courses in New Brunswick. Located on the Scenic Campobello Island minutes from the late U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s cottage.

Golf on one of New Brunswick’s island treasures at the Herring Cove Provincial Park Golf Course. Situated on Campobello Island, this 9-hole Geoffrey Cornish design offers many challenging holes while providing a spectacular view of the Bay of Fundy. Golfers aren’t the only ones who have grown to love the plush landscape once enjoyed by the Roosevelt family. Bald eagles can be spotted flying overhead while moose and deer are often seen frolicking about as the morning mist rises from the fairways

After your game of golf, be sure to enjoy a leisurely snack or quench your thirst at the licensed clubhouse located upstairs from the pro-shop. For course conditions and information call the Pro-shop – 506 752-7041.

golf campobello island

5) Visit the lighthouse and Marine Life Interpretation Center

The Interpretation centre is opened from June until September from 10-5pm daily.

From the website:

The aim of the centre is to provide education on North Atlantic right whale biology, research and conservation, as well as local marine life on the Bay of Fundy shore. When open, the centre is hosted by 1-2 educational stewards who provide onsite interpretation. The site boasts an excellent view of the quaint town of Lubec, Maine, and harbour and gray seals as they congregate in the Lubec Narrows. Onsite is the Mulholland Lighthouse (an octagonal lighthouse built in 1885 to assist boats and ships through the Lubec Channel), a short walking path, and several picnic tables.

Mulholland Light Campobello

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A Little Bit Of History in DownEast Maine

A Little Bit Of History in DownEast Maine

The tiny town of Machiasport is home to about 1000 residents.  I don’t think there currently are any stores in the town – that’s how small it is.  Machiasport is comprised by several villages including Starboard, Larrabee, Bucks Harbor and the actual village of Machiasport.  As you travel down Route 92 through the pine trees, you will go around the bend where the road meets the ocean and there you are… in the village.  Currently, the village is home to the Machiasport Historical Society and beautiful Liberty Hall which is being lovingly restored.

According to Wikipedia:

Liberty Hall is set on the west side of Port Road (Maine Route 92) in the dispersed village center of Machiasport. It stands on a rise, facing east toward the Machias River. It is a two-story wood frame structure, with a front-facing gable roof, clapboard siding, and a stone foundation. The roof is topped at the front by a small tower, which has an elaborately-decorated open belvidere (viewing platform) with round-arch openings and quoined corner supports, topped by a mansard roof and weathervane. The roof is a replica of the building’s original, which was at one time replaced by a shallow-pitch pyramidal roof. The main facade is symmetrical, with a center double-door entrance topped by a lintel with bracketed molding. Flanking the entrance are doubled sash windows, taller versions of which rise on the second floor. The central second floor windows have round-arch tops. Similar windows adorn the sides, all capped with stylistically similar lintels. The building corners are quoined at the first level, and pilastered at the second. The interior is arranged with a vestibule area in the front, a meeting space on the first floor, and a performance auditorium with stage on the second floor.

Construction of the hall was authorized by the town meeting in 1873, and the building was completed the following year by Andrew Gilson, a Machias contractor and politician. The hall was used not just for town meetings, but also served as a venue for community events, meetings of community organizations such as the Grange, and as a performance venue for traveling shows.[2] The town closed the building in 2000 due to structural conditions, and renovation efforts are currently underway by the Friends of Liberty Hall. The exterior has been restored (included the restoration of the tower’s original appearance), and funds are being raised to restore the interior

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A Little Bit Of History in DownEast Maine

A Little Bit Of History in DownEast Maine

Did you know that Machiasport, Maine was the site of the one of the first naval battles of the American revolutionary war?  It was fought off-shore from Fort O’Brien in Machiasport between the citizens of Machiasport and the British ship, the Margaretta.

The 1775 battle resulted in one death, several woundings and several residents captured.

The fort is now a park with rolling ‘bunkers’ and a signature cannon — a great little stop to visit history.

Worth a stop and you can find it open during daylight hours next door to the elementary school.

 

 

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