Want to travel to Portland, Maine, with kids? Maine holds a special place in our hearts, and I hope you grow to love it as much as I do. Maine is full of unique and interesting facts.
I have an exciting list of kid-friendly attractions in Portland. Keep reading for fun ideas and our recommendations for a trip that will please the whole family!
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🛑🛑If you only have one day to explore Portland, consider an organized tour to maximize your time in a great city. Book HERE quickly as this tour sells out. 🛑🛑
Need to book a hotel quickly? Here are my 2 favorites for families.
15 things to do in Portland, Maine, with kids
1. Visit Portland Head Light
Portland Head Light in Maine is a great place to visit with kids. Please plan to stay and play, as this site offers scenic views, outdoor activities, and a rich history. Located just a short drive from downtown, this site makes for an easy day trip from neighboring towns such as Kennebunkport or a quick visit from the city. It is one of the most photographed lighthouses on the East Coast.
Little ones can explore the walking trails, children’s gardens, and beach areas. The walking trails throughout the property offer many picture-worthy views. Don’t be shy and ask a stranger to snap a family photo with this iconic lighthouse in the background! The Head Light is one of my favorite things in the Portland area.
Enjoy lunch with a view from one of many picnic tables overlooking the rocky coast of the Atlantic. For our history buffs, check out the lighthouse’s long and distinguished career in American history. The fort surrounding was crucial in defending Portland for many decades.
While many of these destinations have limited parking, this lighthouse has ample parking and is tucked behind a beautiful neighborhood. Open year-round from sunrise to sunset, and include this treasure on your must-see list with kids!
Click here for hours.
✔️Love lighthouses? Book a Lighthouse boat tour HERE to see iconic views of Portland
2. Fort Williams Park
If you are visiting the lighthouse, you are a short walk from Fort Williams Park. They recently added an Arboretum and have an abundance of walking trails. For parents of littles, there’s a playground and picnic tables too.
The park would be a perfect mid-day stop. The park usually has three food trucks and a leisurely lunch with kids.
3. Children’s Museum
Looking for a rainy-day activity or want a change of scenery? Check out the Children’s Museum in Portland. Interactive play with sand and water is a must-do if your child is a hands-on learner. My two youngest kids are both tactile learners, so this is right up their alley and is on my family’s list for our next adventure north to Portland, Maine.
The museum has something for the whole family-from an indoor climbing area for your little daredevil, exhibits on light and color, dress-up theater, and an outdoor adventure area to explore!
Here are a couple of helpful tips-
✔️Beware, it is closed on Mondays (unless you are a member) and Tuesdays
✔️You may want a change of clothes as there is water and sand play.
✔️There are areas on each floor for nursing moms, but the museum also has a nursing nook!
✔️The front desk has extra diapers, wipes, and even strollers available!
✔️limited space for large strollers
✔️In need of quieter spaces and time? Check out the museum’s website for special hours and recommendations for quiet spaces
✔️Member of another Children’s museum? This museum participates in the ACM reciprocal network, and more information can be found online regarding discounted tickets!
I’m impressed with the details and services of this museum, especially for parents with tiny ones.
4. Walking downtown Portland
Portland is a charming city on the water. I would check out the downtown area for an activity. Portland offers some quaint and charming local stores if you have older kids.
The Old Port district is one of the most popular areas to visit, so you can park for the afternoon and window shop.
One of my favorite little stores to pop into is Folly 101. They sell beautiful household items, especially kitchen towels, and napkins. So many of the items are nautical blue which will be the best reminder of your time in Portland.
Portland has shops worth visiting, like Sea Bags which makes unique bags out of recycled sail cloth and is a Maine-based company. Check out Commercial Street down by the water. If you have time, check out a walking tour as a great way to see the Portland Harbor.
5. Experience a day as a lobsterman
Learn what it takes to be a Maine lobsterman on this adventurous boat trip. You can help haul up a lobster trap or sit back and enjoy watching others.
During the trip, you will hear about the history of lobstering and today’s industry challenges. Your crew will teach you about the anatomy of a lobster too. Some tours will even allow you to purchase the daily catch at the end of the tour!
Here are some options-
If you enjoy the open waters, then this is the excursion for you and your kids in Portland, Maine. It will be a memory you will never forget. I fondly remember a similar tour while I was in high school during my first trip to Maine, and it was very memorable and a fun day.
6. Whale watching.
Hop on a charter ship to go whale watching. Some charters focus on whales, puffins, and other marine life. You will also have a beautiful view of Portland. This activity is excellent for kids in Portland, Maine, who love the open seas.
Keep in mind this is a seasonal activity from spring to fall and may not be best for those with motion sickness. Consider bringing a light jacket.
Check out these companies-
If you want to head further south to Cape Ann, Massachusetts, read more about the best whale-watching tips and tours.
7. Try a Portland lobster roll.
Maine is known for their lobster rolls; you must check out a lobster roll while visiting Portland. I highly recommend the Highroller Lobster Company in Portland.
First, the roll is delicious. Inside is a cute red and white diner atmosphere. It is casual and an excellent environment for kids. Most importantly, they have an adorable back patio with plenty of tables, benches, and room for kids.
If you have young ones that can be loud or mobile, this place is for you! My husband and I took a 7-year-old, 4-year-old, and 18-month toddler one summer. We ordered at the counter and enjoyed our food at a large picnic table outside. It is also enclosed, so you do not have to worry about little ones getting out on a busy road.
This restaurant is a must-see stop for a family visiting Portland, and I can not wait to go back.
Want to find the best & most delicious lobster rolls in Portland?
8. Spend the afternoon at the beach
Pack a picnic lunch and check out one of the many local beaches around Portland, Maine. The more adventurous souls can jump into the chilly Atlantics in the later summer months. As native Southerners, those Maine waters are too cold for our warm blood, but we love visiting the New England beaches.
However, the beaches are charming, and we love to play in the sand or dip our toes into the water. This stop would be a great afternoon break if you spent the morning sightseeing or in a museum.
Let the kids run and burn off some energy. My favorite memories of my boys are of them running through the sand during a Maine summer. My boys are very active, and these are great destinations for them or any high-energy kid.
Old Orchard Beach is one of the most popular destinations and has a quaint pier. You can shop, eat and play games on the pier. You will also find the only beachside amusement park and wooden roller coaster in Maine.
Crescent Beach is 8 miles south of Portland and an excellent family option. You can visit the beach through a state park with many easy walking paths. It would be perfect for one with little kids and toddlers.
Higgins Beach is another excellent family beach option. The drive out to the beach is idyllic, with gentle waves. The kids can play in the sand while watching local surfers riding the waves.
9. Seashore Trolley Museum
Head south to Kennebunkport to visit the first Electric Museum in the US. In addition, you can see restored trolleys from cities throughout the United States or take a short train ride. The Restoration shop displays trolley cars currently being restored.
This museum is the perfect outing for a train-loving kid visiting Portland, ME.
10. Duck Tour
There is nothing more about New England than a Duck Tour. These tours are a fun blend of land and sea tours that kids adore. The tour would be a unique way for young children to see the highlights of Portland, Maine.
Some quick tips- I would pack a light jacket if touring in the warmer months.
11. Portland Sea Dogs
If your family loves baseball, be sure to check the schedule of the local minor league baseball team, the Portland Sea Dogs.
The team is a Double-A Affiliate for the Red Sox. Tickets are affordable and what’s summer without a family outing at a ball game?
I would add this to your list as a fun family outing in Portland, Maine, with kids.
12. Casco Bay
Take a trip around Casco Bay for the day. Several companies offer many variations of trips to see the picturesque bay. This trip is an excellent way to see Portland, the lighthouse from the water, and different maritime life. If you enjoy being on the water, visit one of the smaller islands.
Casco Bay Lines offers multiple routes throughout the entire year. Peaks Island is a popular destination for visitors interested in swimming and kayaking. In addition, there is a Fifth Marine Regiment museum for history buffs, and the island has a WWII military fortification known as Battery Steele.
✅ ✅ Book a Sea Kayak tour of Casco Bay HERE!
13. Snow Tubing
If visiting in the winter months of January & February, consider a family outing for snow tubing in Maine. It’s a perfect way to enjoy the snow with kids without the stress of sky equipment. Check out Seacoast Adventures, just a short drive from Portland.
Interested in day trips from Portland, Maine, with kids?
Maine is a great destination for a family trip. Outside of Portland, there are so many amazing places to explore that are great day trips the city.
14. Day trip to Kennebunkport and Ogunquit
Kennebunkport and Ogunquit are charming towns south of Portland on the water. These two towns are some of my favorite places to visit in Maine. There are also some great hikes in the area to do with young children.
I would stop in Kennebunkport and walk through the quaint downtown area. It is a perfect outing to grab lunch and shop.
Then I would head south to Ogunquit. One option is to park in Perkins Cove for the afternoon. Stroll through the small shops, grab a lobster roll, and hop on the Marginal Way path. This walking trail goes along the coastline with scenic views. I recommend using a baby carrier instead of a stroller if you have babies.
If you stay on it long enough, the trail will eventually take you into the “downtown” part of Ogunquit. If you have little kids, you may want to walk a little and then turn around to drive to the large shops. In the main area of Ogunquit, there’s a candy and chocolate stop that is worth a visit with kids.
15. Day trip to Bath, Maine
Bath is a town about 35-40 minutes north of Portland. If you have several days in Portland, it is worth checking out. Before visiting local attractions, walk around the quaint downtown area and shop.
While in Bath, stop by the Maine Maritime Museum to learn about the shipbuilding industry of Maine. There is a museum portion appealing to older kids and adults. For instance, you can learn all about the lobstering history of Maine.
You can explore an old wooden shipyard outside the museum and experience a real working boat shop. There is also a recently renovated schooner to check out. It is perfect for the active and curious kid in your family.
On the weekends, there may be face painting and other kid-friendly activities. The Maine Maritime Museum is worth the drive and a fantastic outing for kids in Maine.
While in Bath, check out the Doubling Point Lighthouse. It is a little isolated but picturesque and worth exploring. It helped ships navigate the Kennebec River, where the Maine Maritime Museum is.
If your kids enjoy being outside and active, I suggest adding it to your list of things to do, especially if they are already at the museum. We build in time for the kids to be outside and moving around. This is the perfect opportunity.
16. Five Islands Lobster Company
After you visit the lighthouse and maritime museum, hop in the car for a journey to a lobster roll off the beaten path. Five Islands Lobster Company is one of our favorite locations as it sits directly on the water. Grab a roll and sit at a picnic table on the small pier. After lunch, stop by the ice cream treat.
If you have little ones, you can enjoy our lunch while watching the lobstermen bring in their daily catch. It is one of the most authentic experiences.
Behind the grill, you can pop into the lobster room to purchase fresh lobsters and mussels. During our family’s visit, the staff engaged with our kids and showed them all the different sizes of lobsters they had that day.
In addition, the scenery around the restaurant is quite charming, especially off to the right side of the grill. You can snap a family photo on the rocks with a scenic bay view behind you.
Where to stay in Portland, Maine, with kids
Hyatt is an excellent choice with traveling with kids for 2 main reasons- free breakfast and their rooms can sleep a family of 5 comfortably. Many rooms come with two queens and a pullout couch.
Also, this Hyatt is in the heart of Portland. Walk out the door, and there are several ice cream spots, donuts, and restaurants within a few minutes walk.
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When we travel as a family, we gravitate to a few chains. Embassy Suites is another favorite of ours due to the larger rooms that can sleep all 5 of us, free breakfast and cocktail hour every afternoon.
🌟🌟Book the Embassy Suites NOW by clicking HERE!🌟🌟
Questions about traveling to Portland, Maine, with kids?
Curious about the weather in Portland?
It’s chilly in the winter and early spring, so pack a warm jacket! Summer mornings may fool you with cooler temps, but when the sun comes out to play, it makes for a warm day!
I have been to Portland, Maine, with kids in mid-June, with temperatures in the mid-50s. In the haste of packing up for our family trip one summer, I forgot to pack a jacket for myself and was shocked by the cooler temps!
Fall is perhaps the “Maine” attraction with its gorgeous foliage and crisp New England fall days. But be sure to check the weather before you leave and the peak fall foliage for current conditions of fall colors!
Packing supplies for a family
- Adult Sunscreen
- Child Sunscreen
- Travel bookbag
- Apple AirTag for each suitcase
- kids headphones
- Adult Water bottles
- Child water bottles
- Granola bars
- Protein snack
- Applesauce for kids
- Portable fan to attach to stroller
- comfortable shoes
Do I need a rental car?
I recommend renting a car for any excursions outside of Portland. Many attractions above a little bit of driving so you will need a vehicle. You can rent a car from the Portland airport.
You can also use your car to check out some nearby waterfalls.
What is the best way to reach Portland, Maine, with kids?
Portland has an airport in a central location. Many significant cities fly directly to Portland (Atlanta for us) or have connecting flights to Portland. The airport is small, with a handful of selections for food. However, I find it easy to navigate.
Flying into Boston is another option, but it would require a rental car. Boston is a little under a 2-hour drive from Portland, but you could stop in Ogunquit and Kennebunkport on the way. On one trip, we flew into Boston and out of Portland, which is always an option.
In conclusion: 15 Exciting Things to do in Portland, Maine, with kids
We hope our article on visiting Portland, Maine, with kids has been helpful. Add Maine to your family travel bucket list and start planning now! You will not regret it and will wish you could stay longer.
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