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Help Maine Qs. --Last Minute Maine Itinerary Help Needed Please :)

Help Maine Qs. --Last Minute Maine Itinerary Help Needed Please :)

Old Jul 17th, 2021, 07:34 AM
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Help Maine Qs. --Last Minute Maine Itinerary Help Needed Please :)

Hello Everyone
My husband just got notice that he can take vacation time, we bought tickets to Maine. We have never been and due to the last minute trip, (Leaving TOMORROW) I didn't have any time to research and having trouble finding hotels that we don't have to move rooms.

Sunday we fly into Bar Harbor, Maine and get there late afternoon
Day 1. Monday Either see Acadia Park or do a boat cruise (whale watching if whales are there now or puffin cruise)? Or Tuesday Acadia and Monday cruise.

Day 2 (either park or cruise)

Day 3 Wednesday - Leave BH and drive towards Portland area stopping at places along the way

Day 4 - 7 Thursday to Saturday in Portland (our hotel is in Cape Elizabeth) not sure what else to do

Sunday fly home...

*****My questions is --- Should I change it and stay an extra day in BH ? Some say there is more to do there then Portland.

We are exhausted healthcare workers we don't want something too busy and know that it's already packed.
My son is obsessed with fishing, so was hoping for a fishing charter or fishing information?
Not interested in any museums this trip, just nature, boat cruising, beaches, animals, great food and any other MUST SEEs.

it is costing us an Arm and a leg last minute. So I would like to see the Must Sees and not make a mistake with the itinerary.

Please Please LMK asap - Esp if I should do 3 full days in BH or 3 full days in Portland... Thanks sooo much.


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Old Jul 17th, 2021, 08:23 AM
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I would not be in a hurry to get to Portland - it's not a quaint little seaside harbor village and it's not the best of what Maine has to offer.

There is a lot of mid-coast Maine between Acadia and Portland you can enjoy, including port towns of Camden, Rockland, Boothbay, & Bath.

Since you are starting at Acadia I recommend that you check into whether any reservations in the park are needed asap, eg to go up Mt. Cadillac or anything else.

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Old Jul 17th, 2021, 08:41 AM
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reservations are needed but I need to finalize my itinerary prior to reserving... are you saying stay one night somewhere in the middle?
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Old Jul 17th, 2021, 08:46 AM
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If you can change your hotel reservations, I would vote for spending an extra day in Bar Harbor. For years now we've spent a week on Mt. Desert Island with friends each September (In Northeast Harbor), and we can never fit in all the things we want to do there. Portland is a nice, interesting town, but I don't think there's as much to do there as in Bar Harbor and area - and the scenery isn't nearly as interesting. We're not into fishing, but I found this web site for deep sea fishing tours out of Southwest Harbor (which is a half hour or less drive from Bar Harbor, and a scenic drive, at that): https://www.acadiafishingtours.com. Bass Harbor Lighthouse, at the tip of the peninsula near Southwest Harbor, is worth a visit.

Be sure to drive to the summit of Cadillac Mountain (timed passes required from the NPS web site) for a spectacular view, and drive the Park Loop Road, which goes along the ocean, for some amazing views. Doing both will take at least 3 - 4 hours or more, especially if you stop to see the sights at various places (Sand Beach, the Thunderhole, Otter Cliffs, etc.). You can park and walk along the ocean at various points - there's a paved sidewalk from Sand Beach to the Otter Cliffs, and a nice trail through the woods beyond that.

There are two lovely gardens worth visiting in Northeast Harbor (about 20 minutes from Bar Harbor), the Thuya Garden and the Asticou Azalea Garden (which has elements of a Japanese garden). Northeast Harbor is worth a visit, too, it's a quaint town with some nice shops along the Main Street, and a scenic harbor, and much quieter and less touristy than Bar Harbor. You can take a boat tour from there that goes out to the Cranberry Isles and up into Somes Sound on the Sea Princess; we've taken this cruise several times and always enjoyed it: https://barharborcruises.com. I know there are sightseeing and sailing cruises you can take from Bar Harbor, as well.

If you want to take some fairly short, easy walks/hikes, the Shore Path in Bar Harbor is quite scenic, and easy. We loved the Great Head Trail hike that starts and ends at Sand Beach - it's about a mile and a half long, and is listed as "moderate", but the most strenuous part is at the beginning when you go uphill, and it's not too hard after that. The trail along Jordan Pond is very nice - if you do the whole loop it's about three and a half miles, but you could just walk a way along the northeastern side of the pond (counterclockwise from the parking lot), which is an easier trail, and head back when you've seen enough if you're short on time. If you can get reservation (especially to sit outside), I recommend lunch at the Jordan Pond House, with its great view of "The Bubbles", or at least go for afternoon tea, and be sure to order their famous popovers with strawberry jam. I could tell you about other easy hikes, but you can learn more if you pick up the book "Best Easy Day Hikes in Acadia National Park", available in the park gift shops, and probably at many stores in Bar Harbor - we've done most of the hikes listed, they're all pretty good.

You may not have time, but we enjoy driving to Schoodic Point on the Schoodic Peninsula (Part of Acadia NP), it's about an hour and 15 minute drive from Bar Harbor, it's pretty amazing. You could have lunch (or dinner, if you're there late in the day) in Winter Harbor, which also has some nice shops and galleries.

On your way to Portland, I highly recommend visiting the Maine Botanical Garden in Boothbay, it's wonderful. There's a lot to see in this area as well, if you have time.

Whatever you end up doing I know you'll have a great time, and it will whet your appetite to go back and spend more time in beautiful Maine!


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Old Jul 17th, 2021, 09:06 AM
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Oh, I just saw that you don't actually have hotel reservations yet, good luck! It may be hard to find someplace at the last minute. Since you say you'll have a car, I recommend trying to find a place in either Northeast Harbor or Southwest Harbor, it might be easier than Bar Harbor - Bar Harbor tends to be very crowded and full of tourists, especially on days a cruise ship is there. If you can't find anything on Mount Desert Island, you could try Trenton, just over the bridge on the mainland, or Ellsworth, if you're desperate. Where are you flying into/out of? Unless you're flying out of Portland I don't see any reason to go there, with so much else to see along the Maine coast. You could try to find lodging in or near Camden, Rockland, Damariscotta, Boothbay Harbor, or Bath - all beautiful and quaint, with so much to see and do in all of those places. I hope you're successful finding places to stay!

Last edited by Sara; Jul 17th, 2021 at 09:45 AM.
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Old Jul 17th, 2021, 02:06 PM
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I just booked a last minute trip to Maine last week, but I'm driving there so it didn't cost me anything special. I easily got rooms in some chain hotels, which are fine for me. I actually do not like B&Bs, quaint inns, etc. Give me a nice modern room with conveniences at a cheap price. Anyway, if you have problems, there is a Hampton Inn in both Bath and Rockland, easy to get rooms. I also booked at a more expensive property in Camden, the Camden Riverhouse. But it did have few vacancies, I just didn't want a room for more than one night, so got one.

IN any case, the Hampton in Bath and Rockland are both pretty central locations for mid-coast stuff.

There are plenty of boat/whale watch, ec. cruises in that area. I think this website gives a list of serveral
Camden Maine Day Sail Cruises - Camden Maine Vacation

there are also some out of Boothbay Harbor and Bath
https://www.boothbayboattrips.com/

https://www.mainemaritimemuseum.org/visit/cruises/

I don't fish but thought those were mainly charters, I don't know. This company does have a 2 hr mackerel fishing tour
Balmy Days Cruises- TakeMe2 Camden Maine

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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 02:01 AM
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Bath Maritime Museum has great cruises to see light houses. You should be able to find lodging possibly next door in Brunswick which is a college town. Between the tou can head east to explore the Harpswell area. Lots of good lobster places. i like Cundy Harbor. You can download a guide to conservation areas. An easy short hike along the water is Giant Stairs (or maybe steps).
do a google search of best lobster rolls in Maine to help you find some places. There is lobster every where but some shacks with picnic tables have wonderful views.
We have enjoyed the Portland Mailboat cruise which is a working ferry but does have some narration. A friend claims we would love Peaks Island where you can take a golf cart tour. Also haven't taken a ban tour of Portland, if you want to relax and enjoy the view, visit Fort Williams Park and get lobster rolls from Bite Into Me food truck. We take bag chairs so we can sit any place. Great view looking out onto Casco Bay. There is also nice park for picnicking north of Portland in the Munjoy Hill area. You can do a Portland food tour although it wasn't one of our favorites.
Maybe check out some wineries or breweries. There's also a cheese trail. Farmers Markets can be fun. I agree with spending more time mid coast and less in Portland however.
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 02:26 AM
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Be prepared for sticker shock on lobster rolls. Prices this summer are in the mid to high $30's. Cheapest I found was Mrs Bean's in Freeport in the $20's..... each, that is...

Our group decided that "Lobsterette" imitation crab / lobster meat in the grocer's freezer @ $1/lb, when smothered in mayo & stacked on a store brand hot dog roll was close enough....the kids will never know the difference anyway......
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 03:52 PM
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I would opt for Boothbay Harbor over Portland. Agree the botanical garden in Boothbay is wonderful. Quaint town with access to water, so hopefully fishing in your son's future.
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Old Jul 19th, 2021, 10:42 AM
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Have you secured a rental car yet? They are almost impossible to get at Bar Harbor Airport this summer.

Oops, just realized that you're already there.....so I hope you found something.
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