The variety in Maine, from rivers and mountains to ocean cliffs, make it a treasure trove of activities for families with kids, both outdoors and indoors, in every season. Among these wide variety of activities are children’s museums, hiking trails, camping, whale watching cruises, and even moose safaris. Children and adults alike can explore the “Great Outdoors” in the Acadia National Park or Baxter State Park, take a ride aboard the Bar Harbor Ferry, or learn about the daily routine of a Lobsterman with Lucky Catch Cruises among numerous other family-friendly activities in the state of Maine.
1.Children's Museum and Theatre of Maine
© Children's Museum and Theatre of Maine
The Children's Museum and Theatre of Maine in the city of Portland is designed to provide children with a chance to “lead the way.” The many interactive exhibit areas are grounded in the latest research on learning and the science of play, with each exhibit providing opportunities to learn through taking safe risks, navigating immersive environments, hands-on exploration, and dramatic role playing. Exhibit spaces at the Children's Museum and Theatre of Maine include Coco’s Diner, Our Town, Playscape, the Be Well Center, the Farmers Market, Toddler Park, Car Repair Shop, Discovery Woods, Lobster Boat, the Fire Truck, and many more.
142 Free St, Portland, ME, 04101, Phone: 207-828-1234
© Abbe Museum
The Abbe Museum has grown brom being a trailside small museum inside of the Acadia National Park to a contemporary museum located in the middle of downtown Bar Harbor, Maine. The facility became the first, as well as the only, Smithsonian Affiliate within the state. Visitors will find stimulating and dynamic exhibits in the downtown Abbe Museum, along with interspersed activities and area for quiet reflection. The museum highlights the cultures and history of Maine’s native people, the Wabanaki, and is open daily from May through October and on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from November through April.
26 Mt Desert St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, Phone: 207-288-3519
3.Acadia National Park
The Acadia National Park contains some of the Eastern Seaboard’s most diverse wildlife and beautiful landscapes and is open year-round to visitors. Located along the coast, most of the the park spreads across Mount Desert Island, with portions on the Isle au Haut and the Schoodic Peninsula. Acadia National Park can be considered a perfect outdoor playground, with opportunities for skiing in winter, summer hikes, fishing in the spring, and fall foliage. Many visitors start their exploration either at the park’s Hull Cove Visitor Center the park headquarters. There is also an entrance at Rockefeller Hall at the Welcome Center.
20 McFarland Hill Dr, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, Phone: 207-288-3338
4.Bar Harbor Ferry
The Bar Harbor Ferry departs from both the Bar Harbor Inn Pier in Bar Harbor, Maine and the Schoodic Marine Center in Winter Harbor, Maine. From either departing location, passengers aboard the ferry can enjoy a nice ferry ride to either one of the destinations, at which they will find a wide array of restaurants, shops, and activities. The boat ride from Bar Harbor takes passengers to the Schoodic Peninsula/Winter Harbor, which is the quieter part of Acadia National Park. Guests to the park can bring along their bikes, as well as bring them onto the “free” Island Explorer shuttle.
7 Newport Dr, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, Phone: 207-288-4585
5.Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company
© Earl Robbins/stock.adobe.com
The Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company provides a chance for visitors and locals alike of Bar Harbor, Maine to view some of the largest animals found anywhere on Earth. The whale watching tour company has been taking guests to see whales up close within the Gulf of Maine for over 25 years and offers a Puffin and Whale Watch cruise and a Whale Watch cruise. The Puff and Whale Watch is the slightly longer trip of the two, lasting between 3.5 and 5 hours. The Whale Watch trip only includes whale watching and lasts between 3 and 5 hours.
1 West St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, Phone: 207-288-2386
6.Baxter State Park
© Judith Zimmerman Danita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
The Baxter State Park encompasses cascades, backcountry ponds, unique glacial formations, rare alpine flowers, and more, providing a parkscape that’s hard to match. Local residents of the state of Maine consider the park to be the grandest state park in the country’s New England region, an expanse of wilderness measuring approximately 210,000 acres, featuring forty-six ridges and peaks interspersed with 215 miles of trails for hiking just waiting for visitors to explore. This outdoor playground of inland Maine offers opportunities for picnicking by waterfalls, gazing down on fall colors from above the park’s tree line, and being immersed within a technicolor woodland.
64 Balsam Dr, Millinocket, ME 04462, Phone: 207-723-5140
7.Boothbay Railway Village
© Boothbay Railway Village
The Boothbay Railway Village in Boothbay, Maine is an educational non-profit organization and museum. This unique destination is the only place in New England where people of all ages can ride an authentic steam locomotive while surrounded by historic buildings of Maine preserved within a recreated village of vintage and aged buildings from throughout the state. Guests can also experience model trains like never before or view the collection of sixty antique automobiles. Many of the buildings house artifact displays related to the railroad history of Maine and daily life for Mainers during the mid-18th and mid-19th centuries.
586 Wiscasset Rd, Boothbay, ME 04537, Phone: 207-633-4727
8.Cole Land Transportation Museum
© Cole Land Transportation Museum
The Cole Land Transportation Museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and exhibition of a cross section of the land transportation equipment of Maine, providing current and future generations a look into the past. The transportation-focused museum in Bangor, Maine features around two hundred antique vehicles used in the state of land transportation, include the most complete snow removal equipment collection in the United States. Other vehicles on display at the Cole Land Transportation Museum include fire engines, sleds, sleighs, wagons, farm equipment, cars, trains, carriages, and a unique collection of military vehicles and memorabilia.
405 Perry Rd, Bangor, ME 04401, Phone: 207-990-3600
9.Down East Nature Tours and Acadia BIrding Festival
Down East Nature Tours provides personalized nature and bird tours for small groups, families, and individuals around Down East Maine and on Mount Desert Island. The tours are focused on learning and fun while observing many of the most elusive birds, plants, and several other animals within their natural habitats. There is a special emphasis on Seabirds, Shorebirds, Warblers, Bald Eagles, and native birds. Along with birding and nature tours, Down East Nature Tours also offers cross-country skiing, hiking, and biking tours throughout the entire year. The Acadia Birding Festival is also a popular birding activity in the area.
39 Cottage St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, Phone: 207-288-8128
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10.Fort Knox and Penobscot Narrows Observatory
The Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory is considered by many to be the coastal region of Maine’s crown jewel, providing visitors with an amazing 360-degree view of Penobscot Bay and River, as well as views of the western mountains in the distance and the countryside of Maine. The one-of-a-kind campus of the Penobscot Narrows Observatory draws transportation and engineering enthusiasts, travel writers, and tourists, and features the world’s tallest public bridge observatory, the historic Fort Knox, a covered pavilion, plenty of backdrops for photos, and a variety of interpretive panels throughout explaining the area’s natural wildlife, the region’s history, and much more.
740 Ft Knox Rd, Prospect, ME 04981, Phone: 207-469-6553
© Hudson Museum
The Hudson Museum consists of three different galleries: the Maine Indian Gallery, the World Cultures Gallery, and the temporary exhibit gallery. One notable feature of the museum is its collection of around 550 tomb figures that come from Western Mexico’s Nayarit, Jalisco, and Colima cultures. These diverse clay figures dating back thousands of years include depictions of abstract shapes, animals, women, men, and much more, varying in form and size. This collection is the largest institutional collection in the country of such kind of funerary art. The Hudson Museum also contains Native American jewelry, textiles, ceramics, tools, clothing, weapons, and baskets.
5746 Collins Center for the Arts, Orono, ME 04469, Phone: 207-581-1904
12.Lucky Catch Cruises
© Lucky Catch Cruises
Lucky Catch Cruises offers visitors and locals alike in the city of Portland, Maine with an opportunity to go on a Maine lobstering tour. The company provides a memorable and fun excursion for families, both kids and adults alike, through the Casco Bay waters white the crew guides them through the daily routine of a Lobsterman in Maine. Passengers can choose to participate in hauling up the lobster traps or simply relax as the boat cruises by the “Seal Rocks,” historic forts from the Civil War, and picturesque lighthouses. Tours with Lucky Catch Cruises lasts between 80 and 90 minutes.
170 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101, Phone: 207-761-0941
13.Maine Acadian Heritage
© Maine Acadian Heritage Council
The Maine Acadian Heritage Council is supported by the National Park Service and is an association of museums, historical societies, towns, and cultural clubs working together to preserve and support the St. John Valley’s Maine Acadian culture. This Maine Acadian culture is found everywhere within the valley of the St. John River, located in Aroostook County of Northern Maine. A wide variety of outdoor and indoor activities associated with Maine Acadian Heritage offer plenty for families to do during the summer months, and winter brings opportunities for cross-country skiing, ice skating, snow shoeing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling.
145 26th Ave, Madawaska, ME 04756, Phone: 207-728-6826
14.Maine Discovery Museum
© Maine Discovery Museum
The Maine Discovery Museum is situated within the center of Bangor’s downtown area, providing unique educational experiences for families and children in the state of Maine. Kids and their families can check out the many interactive and hands-on exhibits, spending a day of learning through play. These interactive exhibits at the Maine Discovery Museum explore the world of art, music, children’s literature, science, anatomy, geography, and nature. Exhibit areas include Amazing Animals, Dino Dig, Sounds Abound, Booktown, Nature Trails, Body Journey, and Artscape. There is also the Nano exhibit that focuses on nanoscale science and the Sun, Earth, Universe exhibit.
74 Main St, Bangor, ME 04401, Phone: 207-262-7200
15.Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co
© Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co
The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company and Museum is committed to preserving and operating Maine’s two-foot gauge railway equipment for the public’s enjoyment and education. The small museum contains exhibits about the state’s railway history, a gift shop, activities for children, and historic rail cars. Visitors can choose to only explore the museum or also buy a ticket for the train, which includes a waterfront scenic train ride and a self-guided museum tour. Train rides travel approximately 1.5 miles one-way, or three miles round-trip, by the shores of the Eastern Promenade of Casco Bay for about 35 minutes.
49 Thames St, Portland, ME 04101, Phone: 207-828-0814
16.Maine State Aquarium
© Maine State Aquarium
The Maine State Aquarium is located along the shores of West Boothbay Harbor and is owned and operated by the state’s Department of Marine Resources. Tanks recessed within the granite-like cliffs of the main gallery provide a look at the aquarium’s collection of invertebrates and regional fish. The 20-foot touch tank is the main attraction of the Maine State Aquarium, along with the skates and sharks circling their tank waiting for adventurous guests to pat them. The aquarium is also home to lobsters of all colors and shapes, as well as colorful sun stars and sea anemones.
194 McKown Point Rd, West Boothbay Harbor, ME 04575, Phone: 207-633-9559
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17.Maynard F Jordan Planetarium and Observatory
© Maynard F Jordan Planetarium and Observatory
The Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium and Observatory is equipped with a number of both portable and mounted telescopes, but its main attraction is the large PlaneWave CDK 20 optical reflecting telescope. The telescope boasts a 20-inch scope and provides the University of Maine with a research-grade modern telescope for observational astronomy. The close proximity of the Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium and Observatory with the Emera Astronomy Center offers a more integrated experience in astronomy for visitors. This observatory is also the state of Maine’s only public observatory, open to the public on most Friday and Saturday nights and for shows.
167 Rangeley Rd, Orono, ME 04469, Phone: 207-581-1341
18.Moose and Photo Safari
© Moose and Photo Safari
Northeast Whitewater offers Moose and Photography safaris, providing guests with an opportunity to view some of the state’s elusive moose. The popular moose watching tours travel to the Maine moose natural habitats, as well as their secret hiding places, led by registered guides. Whether people choose a the Wildlife Photography Tour, one of the Maine Moose Tours, or even their own private Maine Moose Safari, each tour includes interesting facts about the wildlife of Maine, the area’s great outdoors, and of course, Maine moose. Moose Tours leave either in the morning or the evening and lasts for half a day.
155 Greenville Rd, Shirley Mills, ME 04485, Phone: 207-695-0151
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19.Northern Maine Museum of Science
The Northern Maine Museum of Science originally began with just two large natural history collections and included herbarium materials, local forestry specimens, and fresh-water and marine sea shells. Located in Folsom Hall of the University of Maine, the museum today features exhibits on biology, forestry, agriculture, physics, and chemistry, and also oversees a nature trail on the university campus in Presque Isle. The Northern Maine Museum of Science’s mission is supporting science education throughout northern Maine through educational programs and exhibits, as well as field experience on the nature trails, researching scientific collections, and school programs.
181 Main St, Presque Isle, ME 04769, Phone: 207-768-9482
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20.Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum
© Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum
The Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum, now known as the Maine Forestry Museum, is a non-profit organization founded in 1979, but the museum building itself wasn’t built until 1994. Situated in the middle of Rangeley, where logging took place going back all the way to the 1800’s, the museum is surrounded by beautiful surroundings consisting of rivers, streams, lakes, and waterfalls, as well as wildlife. There is a vast artifact collection from the Northeast showcased at the Maine Forestry Museum, including hundreds of logging operation artifacts. Traditional art hand-crafted by Maine lumbermen is also on display at this unique museum.
221 Stratton Rd, Rangeley, ME 04970, Phone: 207-864-3939
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21.Seashore Trolley Museum
© Seashore Trolley Museum
The Seashore Trolley Museum boasts the title of the oldest and largest museum dedicated to public transportation, as well as the world’s largest electric railway museum. The museum’s collection features vehicles nearly every major city in America that had utilized streetcar systems, along with vehicles from other major cities throughout the world. The goal of the Seashore Trolley Museum is to provide the general public with samples of how past generations moved about for leisure, school, and work, along with showing the craftsmanship put towards constructing the workhorse vehicles. Visitors can even take a ride on the Interpretive Railway.
195 Log Cabin Rd, Kennebunkport, ME 04046, Phone: 207-967-2800
22.The Coastal Children’s Museum
© The Coastal Children’s Museum
The Coastal Children’s Museum is home to more than twenty interactive, hands-on exhibits, including tongue drums, an indoor slide, magnet boards, and much more. The Under the Sea Habitats allow kids to see a variety of tropical and freshwater fish, along with getting up close and personal with marine life at the Gulf of Maine Touch Tank. The Pet Vet Clinic lets children explore their nurturing instincts in a make-believe vet clinic where they can pretend to take care of animals. Imagine That & Build It! provides a chance to build amazing creations out of ordinary materials, or kids can explore The General Store.
75 Mechanic St, Rockland, ME 04841, Phone: 207-596-0300
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23.The Maine Wildlife Park
© The Maine Wildlife Park
The Maine Wildlife Park is a destination where kids can delight in viewing more moose and other animals during a single day than they could spot out in the wild. More than thirty species of native Maine wildlife call the Maine Wildlife Park home. These are animals that can’t return to their natural habitats. Some are human dependent, while other were orphaned or injured. Visitors will find several activities in the park’s visitor center, such as visiting reptiles, weighing moose antlers, or feeling the pelts of bears, moose, and other animals. The Game Trail includes thirteen hidden animals for visitors to find.
284 State St, Augusta, ME 04333, Phone: 207-287-8000
© Viles Arboretum
The Viles Arboretum is open to the public every day of the week, from dawn until dusk. The 224-acre grounds include six miles of nature trails for guests to explore, all signed and marked. The trail leading to Viles Pond is a great introductory trail for visitors, leading them past a rock garden, and through the arboretum’s hosta garden before arriving at a pond alive with frogs, dragonflies, and birds. The Viles Arboretum is also home to the state’s largest permanent outdoor art display. Dogs are permitted on the grounds, however, they must be leashed and picked up after.
153 Hospital St, Augusta, ME 04330, Phone: 207-626-7989
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24 Best Things to Do in Maine with Kids of All Ages
- Children's Museum and Theatre of Maine, Photo: Children's Museum and Theatre of Maine
- Abbe Museum, Photo: Abbe Museum
- Acadia National Park, Photo: avmedved/stock.adobe.com
- Bar Harbor Ferry, Photo: dbvirago/stock.adobe.com
- Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company, Photo: Earl Robbins/stock.adobe.com
- Baxter State Park, Photo: Judith Zimmerman Danita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
- Boothbay Railway Village, Photo: Boothbay Railway Village
- Cole Land Transportation Museum, Photo: Cole Land Transportation Museum
- Down East Nature Tours and Acadia BIrding Festival, Photo: Bart/stock.adobe.com
- Fort Knox and Penobscot Narrows Observatory, Photo: demerzel21/stock.adobe.com
- Hudson Museum, Photo: Hudson Museum
- Lucky Catch Cruises, Photo: Lucky Catch Cruises
- Maine Acadian Heritage, Photo: Maine Acadian Heritage Council
- Maine Discovery Museum, Photo: Maine Discovery Museum
- Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co, Photo: Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co
- Maine State Aquarium, Photo: Maine State Aquarium
- Maynard F Jordan Planetarium and Observatory, Photo: Maynard F Jordan Planetarium and Observatory
- Moose and Photo Safari, Photo: Moose and Photo Safari
- Northern Maine Museum of Science, Photo: venerala/stock.adobe.com
- Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum, Photo: Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum
- Seashore Trolley Museum, Photo: Seashore Trolley Museum
- The Coastal Children’s Museum, Photo: The Coastal Children’s Museum
- The Maine Wildlife Park, Photo: The Maine Wildlife Park
- Viles Arboretum, Photo: Viles Arboretum
- Cover Photo: f11photo/stock.adobe.com