Family vacations in Maine can be rewarding experiences or absolute disasters — it all depends on pre-trip homework. To make planning easier, we've done all the preparation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on traveling with children, here are recommended attractions for those planning Maine family vacations.
Acadia National Park
For families looking for the kind of relaxation only a rural environment can provide, look no further than Acadia National Park. More than 2 million people travel here every year to explore hiking and cycling trails that lead off into different areas of Maine's Mount Desert Island. For less outdoorsy types, there are plenty of upscale hotels, restaurants and shops in the area.
Address: 109 Cottage St., Bar Harbor, ME 04609-1442
Hours: The majority of Park Loop Road is closed to visitors December 1 through April 14. Unpaved roads are closed November 15 through May 14. Aside from these exceptions, Acadia National Park remains open year-round.
Price: Seven-day individual entrance pass, $5; Seven-day vehicle entrance pass, $20; May through through October, $10
Ogunquit is one of the most visually appealing beaches on the coast of Maine due to its three miles of sand, dunes and the popular Marginal Way, a walking path more than a mile long. It's this kind of beautiful scenery that prompted the Algonquin Indians to give it the name, which means "beautiful place by the sea."
Address: Beach St., Ogunquit, ME 03907
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily
Children's Museum And Theater Of Maine
The Children's Museum and Theater of Maine gives kids the chance to perform at a miniature theater, dress up like a fireman or hang out in a pretend diner. Portland parents Morgan and Dave Surkin frequently bring their son Sawyer to the museum, who always ends up at the fire truck and water exhibits.
Address: 142 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101
Hours: Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.; Extended hours the first Friday of every month from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Price: General admission, $9; children under 18 months, free; group rates with at least 10 people start at $6 when reserved at least 24 hours in advance
L.L.Bean Flagship Store
L.L.Bean's style has been rooted in the outdoors for years and the brand's flagship store brings a taste of this culture to its customers. Aside from trying on new clothes, including pieces from Alex Carleton's popular Signature line, shoppers can sign up for rugged activities ranging from kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding to fly fishing and archery.
Address: 95 Main Street, Freeport, ME 04032
Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
Maine State Aquarium
The Maine State Aquarium, operated by the Department of Marine Resources, allows visitors to both observe and pet its marine creatures. A popular exhibit for children is the touch tank where guests can feel a sea urchin's spine and interact with other ocean dwellers.
Address: 194 McKown Point Rd., West Boothbay Harbor, ME 04575
Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Memorial Day weekend until September 4; September 4 through September 25, Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m; The aquarium is closed for the season after September 25.
Price: Adults, $5; children ages 5 to 16, $3; children ages 4 and under, free; adults 62 and over, $3
Funtown Splashtown USA
For the family's thrill-seekers, there's always Funtown Splashtown USA. The Funtown Ride Park will satisfy cravings for roller coasters and rushes of adrenaline with rides like Excalibur and Dragon's Descent. When the heat becomes too overwhelming, walk over to Splashtown Water Park and take a family raft slide down the Mammoth.
Address: 774 Portland Road, Saco, ME 04072
Hours: Typically, Funtown Ride Park is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Splashtown Water Park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hours may change due to weather and other factors, call ahead for details.
Price: Combination Funtown and Splashtown passes: 4 feet and taller, $35; 3 feet to 4 feet and seniors, $26
York's Wild Kingdom
York's Wild Kingdom prides itself on being both a zoo and amusement park. In addition to a few roller coasters and children's attractions, the zoo's portion is home to a rich variety of animals including primates and exotic birds. Kids will enjoy watching the larger cats lick down their meat popsicles in addition to the other equally exciting exhibits like the Butterfly Kingdom and animal presentations.
Address: 1090 Blue Star Memorial Highway, York, ME 03909
Hours: Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Price: Zoo only: adults, $14.75; children, $9; under 3 years, $1
Have you been to Maine? What's your favorite attraction?
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