Coastal Maine: Route 1 Family Road Trip
Updated: Jun 30, 2019
Freeport to Bar Harbor- Part Two
Last time on the blog, I profiled a perfect summer family road trip. It involved sunny days, coastal blue waters, and lots and lots of seafood. Specifically, lobster! Yep, it was a New England road trip through Maine! Part One entailed stops in Kittery, York, Ogunquit, and Portland in Southern Maine. Now, for Part Two we're following Route 1 northward up the coast. Here We Go!
*Please note, this article contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive commission at no additional cost to you. The revenue I make helps keep this website active and free content flowing! Know that I only recommend brands that I love and believe in and would use myself.
Thanks for your support in this way!
1. Freeport, Maine
Leaving Portland, it's only a 20-30 minute drive to Freeport. When I visited Maine every summer, we made it a family tradition to travel to LL Bean's flagship store in Freeport to stock up on quality school items for the year. I have the fondest memories of picking out my LL Bean backpack before each school year. I would definitely suggest a stop here with your family if only to get a picture in front of the famous LL Bean boot (pictured).
Of course, there's more to do in Freeport than just LL Bean. It is also a great road trip stop for outlet shopping. So, if you didn't stop at the Kittery Premium Outlets, now is the perfect time to shop. Maybe, it's colder in Maine than you expected and you need to pick up a jacket from The North Face. Or, you forgot a sun hat for the kiddos. Even if you have nothing to buy, just take a stroll through the charming streets of Freeport and enjoy window shopping to your heart's content. When you do need some munching, head to When Pigs Fly for bread, bread, and more bread! Buy a loaf for pull-and-eat enjoyment on the road!
2. Boothbay Harbor, Maine
You know the pictures you've always seen of Maine, with the harbor views and the anchored boats? That picture was probably taken somewhere along the mid-coast of Maine. Boothbay Harbor is one of those coastal towns on the mid-coast with the stellar views and it's definitely worth a road trip stop. Here's why. If you choose a restaurant more than likely you'll have (a) outdoor seating and (b) a spectacular view.
Our suggestion for great views and yummy food is Boothbay Lobster Wharf for a classic lobstah roll, a local brew, and no-fuss dining. If you want to kick your outdoor dining up a notch (and your little ones are mostly agreeable) then buy your tickets for a traditional island lobster feast with Cabbage Island Clambakes. Tickets are $70/adults and $31/kids. The price also includes an hour-long guided boat tour and the experience will likely be one of the stars of your family vacation.
Sightseeing in Boothbay Harbor involves ample opportunities for taking in the views. Just hope you have the camera! The kids will most likely love a walk along the wooden Boothbay Harbor footbridge which connects one side of the harbor to the other. If your little ones are like mine, you'll probably have to give reminders to slooow down! Another must-see Maine road trip stop is the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens located in Boothbay. Flowers, paved paths, and ornamental gardens abound! This is a perfect destination for a stroller walk. You can spend a few hours here or all day.
Pictured below, left to right: (1) The Boothbay Lobster Wharf is a great family-friendly stop for Maine lobstah (2) Boothbay Harbor Maine is famous for its picturesque coastal and island views (3) Boothbay is a working harbor, you and your family can watch the fishing boats unload their haul from the sea
3. Camden, Maine
We only had a few hours for a stop in Camden on our Maine road trip. So, we decided instead of wasting time at a restaurant we wanted views! And, boy did we get them at Camden Hills State Park! Maine's harbor views are spectacular on level ground but from near 1,000 feet of elevation, they're on another level of grandeur. After paying the entrance fee and driving up to the top, we strapped Mira in her Infantino baby carrier and explored the summit of Mt. Battie for about 30 minutes. My son loved the freedom to roam, stretch his legs, and hunt for bugs!
There is also the famous Mt. Battie Tower on the summit to commemorate fallen soldiers. Trust me, your kids will love to climb the spiral staircase and reach the top of the tower. You'll love the view!
On our quick stop through Camden, we also stopped at Harbor Park near downtown. The views were such a quintessential small town coastal Maine view of large-sail schooners, forested small islands, and gorgeous blue waters. We can't wait to head back to Camden Maine to try some delicious eats and explore downtown. If you have any recommendations, please share them in the comments below.
Pictured below, left to right: (1) A hilly view of downtown Camden from Harbor Park (2) An aerial view of Camden Maine from Camden Hills State Park (3) Another view of Camden's harbor from atop the hill at Harbor Park
4. Bar Harbor, Maine
Bah Habah, as the locals say, is such a Maine gem. It's located at the northern tip of Maine on Mount Desert Island and it's worth the long drive to get here. It's super hip with coffee shops, brewpubs, and local foodie restaurants. Of course, you might just be visiting this place because it's outside of Acadia National Park (up on the blog now) but it has merit all its own. Make scheduled visits for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with time to explore.
There are a few great breakfast options but we'll profile two here. Great Maine Breakfast and Jordan's Restaurant are both open early, 6am and 5am respectively, so after a sunrise atop Cadillac Mountain head down into Bar Harbor to enjoy coffee and Maine blueberry pancakes! They're both casual diners so if you come in your hiking gear or even your pajamas, you should be fine!
After you all have stuffed yourself on breakfast fare, go for a walk along the Bar Harbor Shore Path. It's a 1.5 mile gravel trail along the coast of Bar Harbor. It's all level terrain so another great stroller-friendly walk. You and the fam will enjoy ocean views to the left and mansion views to the right. We walked about half-way, took the Grant Park entrance into town, and finished our stroll through the business district, popping in and out of tourist shops and walking up and down side streets.
Look for more on Bar Harbor in my upcoming Acadia Natl Park post on the blog! This seacoast town is surrounded by natural beauty that I can't wait to share with you!
Pictured below, left to right: (1) Morning views from downtown Bar Harbor (2) Why not enjoy a full Maine experience by eating a whole lobster. My husband Matt enjoyed his first lobstah at Stewman's Lobster Pound in Bar Harbor (3) The Bar Harbor Shore Path is only 1.5 miles long, stroller-friendly, with beautiful ocean views
The Long Drive (With Kids): Freeport to Bar Harbor Maine
164 miles, 3 1/2 hours
Have any questions about this route? Comment below and I'll get back to you... Want more road trip itineraries? Subscribe to get my monthly newsletter with new travel guides, family road trip itineraries, and journal entries from the road. Tag me with your Maine road trip photos #longdriveswithkids