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9 days for Boston and surrounding area in late July-itinerary suggestions?

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My husband and I are traveling to Boston in July. We have 9 days and are trying to determine the best routes. Do we drive up to bar harbor and explore Maine? Or should we stick to cape cod/Martha's vineyard? We also think Newport would be fun. We love the outdoors and beaches, breweries/wineries, and historical sights as well. Any suggestions? Thanks

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    The drive from Boston (Logan) to Bar Harbor is more than 6 hrs. and will be longer in July on a weekend due to traffic. So if you want to go there, you'll have to leave out some other shorter destinations. But it's spectacular and memorable (don't exclude Schoodic) and IMHO worth it. Book soon though, and plan on a great popover and lobster bisque at Jordan Lake.

    You could also "do" some of the lovely coast between Portland and there, but you'll have trouble seeing the rocky cliffs unless you use lighthouses as destinations -- a lot of the coast is privately owned and the towns are usually set inland. Boothbay Harbor is touristy but gives a nice view with some decent lobster. The further north you go, the more sparse the population and the more you probably need to do some checking to find B&Bs you'd like.

    Portsmouth NH is getting a reputation as artisal brewery mecca. It's not all that scenic though.

    Cape Cod and Islands are lovely, of course, but traffic from Boston to there is unbelievable on weekends so factor that in. Also, you're pushing it re: booking ahead for M's V, and even the Cape -- a lot gets booked ca. Jan. The ferries to M'sV get booked and are expensive, as are accommodations out there. We've made it a day trip, although that's pushing it. With apologies to the vineyard's winery, one of the worst bottles of wine we've tasted came from theirs.

    Newport is a one-day (or 1 day/1 night) destination but worth doing if the mansions appeal to you. The food is outstanding if you get the right restaurants.

    You can see a fair amount just driving around outside Boston (north to Cape Ann, etc. and out to Concord/Lexington).

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    9 days including some days in Boston, or 9 days just to venture about?

    You're definitely not asking too early, Bar Harbor will soon be full-up for the month of July, and Cape Cod I imagine is just as busy. Cape Cod will offer more in the way of beaches, Maine/esp Bar Harbor is more rocky coastline. There are some beaches in southern Maine, but mobbed in July.

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    We love mid-coast Maine but as Clarkgrisold points out, the sandy beaches are south of Portland, rocky beaches are north. Funny, I think of Portsmouth NH as picturesque but HKP is correct that it doesn't have the views like Newport RI because it's a working harbor with Navy base view, too. But check out brewery tours and drive coastal Rt 1 thru nearby Rye for the views and (private) mansions.

    Portland ME is a foodie mecca. Get a list of wineries from the state. Google best lobster roll for a list of must places to visit for lunch along the coast. Take a boat ride and picnic lunch out to Monhegan Island from some great easy hiking on rocky trails. I don't think you need to go as far north as Bar Harbor.

    We actually like to visit the Bath ME area for their 4th of July parade and Heritage Days festival. Again, it's not picturesque and is home to Bath Iron Works but good maritime museum and you should be able to get a lighthouse cruise if you didn't do one in Portland. The big secret is there are plenty of uncrowded places in Maine even in July but first thing is to cross the popular tourist spots off your list. Camden is wonderful for a day trip but we don't like to stay in that area. I think you can hit 3 or 4 wineries in the Rockland/Camden area. Schedule yourselves for lobster lunch at Waterman's Beach near Rockland.

    There are several choices for lobster in the Harpswells area PLUS get a map of their conservation areas that are open to public hiking. Giant Stairs is not as spectacular as the Marginal Way in Oguinquit but you might see only a couple of people not dozens on your walk.

    I think Cape Cod beaches are more beautiful but mid-coast Maine is far less crowded in July unless you go to places like Boothbay and Camden.

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    there are some nice beaches near Newport too, so if that was in your plan, you could do the cliff walk,see the mansions and also go to the beach.

    If your plans include a stay in Boston, you could daytrip to Provincetown by ferry, or even do an overnight, renting a car in Ptown to see some of the cape. That might be nicer than trying to drive the long way, where traffic can be brutal.

    I love Martha's Vineyard, but I don't find it all that appealing as a daytrip. its a great place to go spend a week...that makes the trouble and expense of getting their worthwhile. But that's my opinion...perhaps not generally shared.

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