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Top Summer Things to Do with Kids on the Southern Maine Coast

Maine, often referred to as “Vacationland,” holds a special place in my family’s heart. Modern Boca Dad is from there and our daughter has spent every summer in Maine since birth (with the exception of 2020, of course.) The Southern Maine Coast, with its blend of natural beauty and family-friendly activities, is a particularly enchanting destination for those traveling with kids. As my family and I prepare for our annual summer trip to Freeport, ME, I wanted to share some of the best New England vacation spots I’ve found that cater to both the young and the young at heart. Here are my top picks for both indoor and outdoor summer things to do with kids on the Southern Maine Coast…

L.L. Bean Boot in Freeport, ME
Things to Do with Kids on the Southern Maine Coast

Things to Do with Kids on the Southern Maine Coast

Dive into Creativity at the Children’s Museum + Theatre of Maine in Portland

The Children’s Museum + Theatre of Maine is a magical place where kids are encouraged to touch, play, and explore every exhibit. It’s an interactive haven that fosters creativity and curiosity in children through hands-on learning experiences.

Things to Do with Kids on the Southern Maine Coast

From imaginative play areas to captivating educational exhibits, the museum offers endless fun for toddlers to tweens. Don’t miss the chance to see your child’s eyes light up with wonder as they discover something new at every turn (unless it’s on a Tuesday, when they are closed).

Things to Do with Kids on the Southern Maine Coast

If you visited the Children’s Museum’s previous location in Downtown Portland, you’ll have to check out their new, HUGE facility at Thompson’s Point. It is a serious upgrade when it comes to things to do with kids on the Southern Maine Coast! 

Things to Do with Kids on the Southern Maine Coast

MBMom Tip: There are several breweries including Bissell Brothers located across the street, so you and your partner can trade off museum supervision with enjoying a cold bevy!

 

Admire Art with the Family at the Portland Museum of Art

Who says art museums are only for adults? Not this mom! The Portland Museum of Art challenges this notion by welcoming families to explore its impressive collection of artwork in a kid-friendly environment (except for Mondays & Tuesdays when they are closed).

Things to Do with Kids on the Southern Maine Coast

With a variety of programs designed specifically for children, such as interactive tours and art-making activities, the museum makes art accessible and enjoyable for all ages. It’s a great way to introduce your little ones to the world of art while spending quality time together as a family, especially if you encounter a rainy day.

Things to Do with Kids on the Southern Maine Coast
Paintings at the Portland Museum of Art

MBMom Tip: Fridays from 4-8pm are FREE admission times! Be sure to take advantage and then plan to head to dinner at Eventide Oyster Co., which serves up the best brown butter lobster roll of your life…YUM.

 

Explore Natural Wonders at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is a sprawling paradise only open from May 1-October 20 that invites families to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. It is something I look forward to every year when it comes to things to do with kids on the Southern Maine Coast!

Things to Do with Kids on the Southern Maine Coast
Mr. McGregor’s Garden, part of the Children’s Garden at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

With stunning floral displays, whimsical garden designs, and scenic walking paths, it’s a place where children can run freely and explore the wonders of the natural world. We love Mr. McGregor’s Garden based on the beloved Peter Rabbit books! Don’t miss the “Blueberries for Sal” statue either.

 

The gardens host a variety of family-friendly events throughout the summer, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a chill day amongst nature’s splendor.

MBMom Tip: Don’t miss seeing all of the “Guardians of the Seeds”, giant trolls that you can hunt for around the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. They are larger than life and super impressive–make for fantastic Instagram photos too! Also, you can save $2 per ticket if you book them online in advance of your visit.

 

Adventure Awaits Kayaking with L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Program

For families (kids ages 10+) looking for a bit of adventure, kayaking with L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Program offers an unforgettable experience on the water. Guided by experienced instructors, you and your kids can paddle through the serene coastal waters of Casco Bay, spotting local wildlife (in partnership with the Maine Audubon Society) along the way. It’s not only a thrilling activity, but also a wonderful opportunity to bond with your children and create lasting memories on the water!

Kayaking in Casco Bay with L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Program

Visit the Iconic L.L. Bean Boot at the Freeport Flagship Store

When I think of Maine, I always think of two things: lobsters and L.L. Bean. If you have family members who also love shopping for a deal on vacation, head to downtown Freeport and check out their amazing outlet offerings (my personal favs are J. Crew Factory and the Old Navy Outlet)!

Be sure to visit the iconic L.L. Bean Boot located in front of their flagship retail store. Standing next to that giant boot is always a fun and memorable experience along with exploring the flagship store and all the outdoor gear. The craftsmanship and history behind L.L. Bean’s products are truly inspiring. For those looking for summer things to do with kids on the Southern Maine Coast, this is a must-visit spot for some family fun and a touch of outdoorsy nostalgia! 

 

Hide Out at a Hobbit House at Purposely Lost

Imagine tucking your kids into bed in a real-life Hobbit House! At Purposely Lost, this fantasy becomes a reality.

Their enchanting accommodations are nestled in the heart of nature in Springvale, ME, offering a unique and whimsical lodging experience that will captivate the imagination of both kids and adults. With cozy interiors and charming details reminiscent of a storybook setting, staying at the Fern Hollow Hobbit House is an experience your family will talk about for years to come.

MBMom Tip: Bring your favorite Lord of the Rings DVD because the Hobbit House comes with a projector to watch your choice of programs. The house also has a full kitchen and outdoor grill, so you can cook whatever you like! Also, be sure to pack swimsuits as you’ll have your own personal hot tub next to the outdoor fire pit…

 

Marvel at the Portland Head Light House at Fort Williams Park

It’s become an annual tradition to take a family picture in front of Portland Head Light and enjoy a delicious lobster roll from the Bite Into Maine food truck. I highly recommend the Connecticut roll! The grilled cheese isn’t bad either…

I can’t think of a more beautiful lighthouse scene than this one. In fact, it’s the oldest lighthouse in Maine and a must-see!

Things to do with kids on the Southern Maine Coast
Portland Head Light 2023

MBMom Tip: Try to go on a clear day! I know that’s easier said than done, but it makes all the difference in your photos.

 

The Southern Maine Coast is a treasure trove of family-friendly adventures waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re exploring the wonders of a children’s museum, admiring art, wandering through botanical gardens, paddling along the coast, sleeping in a Hobbit House or exploring a lighthouse, each experience promises to enrich your Maine family vacation with joy, wonder, and unforgettable moments.

 

So, pack your bags, gather your little adventurers, and set off for a magical summer journey to the Southern Maine Coast!


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Michelle Olson-Rogers, Modern Boca Mom Headshot

Michelle Olson-Rogers is the founder of Modern Boca Mom, a leading lifestyle site for the stylish & modern South Florida mommy. ModernBocaMom.com features local businesses, events, lifestyle and family travel options and was the proud winner of the 2019 Florida Blog Con Sunshine Award in the “Favorite Events/Neighborhood Blogger” category. Michelle is also a regular contributor to Boca Raton magazine.


In addition to blogging, Michelle also serves as the Director of Communications and Community Outreach for Grandview Preparatory School, a private PK3-Grade 12 independent school in east Boca Raton. Her successful “Modern Boca Mommy & Me” program has been running there year-round since 2014.

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