Road Trip from Portland Maine to Bar Harbor with Kids

11 states in 11 days… that was our summer Northeast road trip in a nutshell. We started in Baltimore, Maryland and went all the way up to Maine. We stopped at a few Maine coastal towns briefly and then made our way up from Portland Maine to Acadia National Park. If you are planning a trip to Maine, the summer is the best time to visit this gorgeous state. Here are some ideas of what to do on a northeast road trip from Portland Maine to Bar Harbor.

Maine lighthouse

Maine Coastal Towns

Before our northeast road trip from Portland Maine to Bar Harbor, we stopped at a couple of Maine coastal towns just to check them out. The first was Ogunquit and the second was Kennebunkport. Both seemed like such cute Maine coastal towns, but we did not have time for much exploring because we needed to make it to Portland. If you are staying longer in the area, check out a more detailed coastal Maine road trip itinerary.

Maine coastal town

Portland Maine

I had read that Portland, Maine had a great foodie vibe. It did not disappoint! From the potato donuts at Holy Donut to the lobster rolls to the sausages and beer at The Thirsty Pig, the food in Portland was delicious. As usual, I wish we had spent more time. We were only there for a day, and therefore missed out on many things to do in Portland, Maine.

lobster roll in Maine

We arrived in Portland late in the afternoon and were just planning on relaxing at our AirBnB before venturing out to dinner, when my son noticed that the Portland Sea Dogs (a minor league baseball team) had a game that evening against the Trenton Thunder (a Red Sox affiliate). Being the baseball lover that he is, he begged us to go to the game. The prices were about $12 per person at the gate, and we thought…why not!

Kids Portland baseball game

We all actually enjoyed the game very much (even my daughter). It was a nice, small stadium with a decent size crowd, and it was something we had never done before. I am the trip planner of our vacations, and since I usually have things pretty tightly scheduled, there is not always the opportunity for spontaneous activities. This day, it just so happened, that I left some extra time in the schedule.

Portland baseball game

What to do in Portland Maine

10 Best Things to Do in Portland Maine

Visit Portland Maine

Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse

We drove from the downtown Portland area south and headed towards Cape Elizabeth. I love lighthouses, and since we were so close to one, I needed to stop and take a picture. It was so peaceful to watch the waves crashing on the rocky shore and stare at the lighthouse for a few minutes.

Cape Elizabeth

Where to Stay in Portland

Although it would have been nice to stay in downtown Portland Maine, we opted for a more budget friendly option. Because we always try to squeeze every cent on our family trips, we found a free night in Biddeford, about 20 minutes south of Portland.

Hotels in Downtown Portland

We stayed at a Fairfield Inn, a Marriott brand, because it was 10,000 points a night. Since we had those points in our Marriott Rewards account, it would be a free hotel stay. To read about how to maximize your hotel stays and save money, download my e-book: How to Start Travel Hacking.

e-book cover

Bar Harbor Maine Vacations

About 3 hours away from Portland is the seaside town of Bar Harbor, Maine. The town is quaint, charming and any other positive adjective you want to throw in! In my eyes, it was the quintessential Maine town. There seemed to be plenty of things to do in Bar Harbor Maine, I wish we would have had more time.

We arrived mid-morning and went to straight to lunch at Geddy’s. It is right in the midst of downtown Bar Harbor, so you get to enjoy walking around. Each kid’s meal came with a frisbee, so after our fantastic lunch, we found a nearby park and threw it around.

Vacations to Bar Harbor do not come cheap. It’s pretty pricey to stay in the downtown Bar Harbor area, so we opted to stay at the more budget friendly Wonder View Inn 5 minutes away. The rates were in the low $200’s, we had a balcony and a free breakfast. After lunch, we walked to a local shop and picked up a bottle of wine to relax. Not bad at all… Check out their rates here.

Wonder View Inn Pano

The next morning we woke up and had a full day of 3 hikes planned in Acadia National Park with the kids. Click here if you would like a general overview of some of the best hikes in Acadia for kids.

We did Bubble Rock Trail in the morning, walked to Bar Island around lunchtime, and finished the day walking on the Ocean Path Trail. Click on the links above for a more detailed review of those family friendly hikes in Acadia. If you are looking to visit another city in Maine, check out Bethel and this travel story – Walking Hundreds of Miles in Bethel.

Some of my favorite family pictures came from Acadia National Park. Although our time in Maine was rather short, it has definitely been one of my favorite states after this trip. Our road trip from Portland Maine to Bar Harbor was great, and I am not sure which area I liked more. I cannot wait to go back and explore more cities and return to Acadia on a “non-foggy” day!

From the Maine coastal towns to the road trip from Portland Maine to Acadia National Park, there is so much to do in the part of the country. After our Maine road trip, we stopped at a few cities on the way back down to Baltimore: New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. Here’s an idea of what to do if you have only a day in Boston.

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Portland Maine to Bar Harbor Road trip

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5 thoughts on “Road Trip from Portland Maine to Bar Harbor with Kids”

  1. umiko Silalahi

    Only in the Northeast you can do road trip to 11 states in 11 days. In Texas, you will not get out of the state if you start from the southwest towards the northeast. lol. Road trip to the northeast is in our radar for this summer, so I will pin this article.

  2. This sounds like so much fun! I’m way over in Cali so I don’t know if I would make it over to Maine for a trip but I sure would love to take a road trip soon.

  3. This looks so great! I was so sad we had to cut out the northeast on our road trip. We ended up coming back to Florida earlier than planned, but we definitely plan to make a trek up next chance we get and I can’t wait to see Maine!!

  4. Portland ME is one of my fav cities in the world!! Looks like you guys had the best time!! These are such wonderful tips and ideas for a future trip 🙂

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