Maine is famous for two things: picturesque seaside and an abundance of lobsters. It’s also a vacation hotspot for those living in Eastern Canada. Being only a short drive from Montreal and Quebec, it’s a particularly easy road trip for families looking to take a dive in the Atlantic. Yet most people I asked in preparation for our family road trip have never set foot north of Portland, which is exactly what motivated us to visit this magnificent part of the world.
The experience the Mid Coast offers is unlike any other. It feels authentic. There are no long piers cramped with tourist traps and no noisy arcades here. What you’ll find are a series of lovely coastal villages with quirky boutiques and restaurants offering the quintessential Maine cuisine.
Since the journey is always as important as the destination, we made the most of our early departure and stopped for our first hearty American-style breakfast at the Looney Moose café, south of the border near Sugarloaf Mountain. We had fun counting the number of American flags masted on utility poles as we discussed with our Australian children some of the features of this new-to-them country.
We met up with another family mid-afternoon at our first destination, the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland . Despite the almost unbearable heat, we headed straight to the food tent to grab our share of the state’s most famous food. Messy never tasted so good! After a few rides and play, it was time to cool down at the Rock Harbor Pub and Brewery. Pints taste lovely after a day at the beach but with the children exhausted from their big day, we made our way to Belfast to meet our Airbnb hosts Alice and Nick from Chez Seeger and call it a day.
We woke up to another splendid day and took our kids for a short walk to the Harbour while the others (older kids!) slept in. While we planned to take it easy and wander around the local area, we just couldn’t stay put, and when the heat settled in we decided it was time to go for a swim in the sea at Lincolnville. The beach was perfect for kids as the nearby islands block the waves. The water temperature was surprisingly warm, something I did not expect nor had remembered from our many trips to Maine as a kid. The lobster shack next door offered the perfect end to the day, with excellent food and a grassy area for the kids to play while we watched the sunset by the sea.
Camden was the crowd favourite as it had something for everybody. The kids loved scootering around town eating lobster ice cream (don’t worry it’s not made with real lobster!), while I particularly enjoyed the scenery near the bay, looking at the big wooden yachts. The Sea Dog Brewery was also a hit with their seasonal blueberry beer and their huge children meals. The afternoon dip at the nearby Megunticook lake made us appreciate the beauty of inland Maine.
On our way back home, we treated ourselves to one last lobster meal at the Northern Outdoor Resort at the Forks. The long summer days also meant that we had enough time to squeeze in one more swim in the Kennebec River before crossing back to Canada.