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jrm612 Jun 14th, 2017 02:10 PM

Help with NE (Maine, Boston, Cape Cod) Trip
Hi! I am looking for a little critique on my upcoming itinerary for our New England trip.

We are a family of four (kids - 8, 4) plus our friends (kids - 8, 6, 4) are flying into Boston, MA in July. Here is what we have come up with so far:
F Day 1 - Rent Car Drive to Portsmouth, NH
Sat Day 2 - Drive to Bar Harbor
Sun Day 3 Bar Harbor
Mon Day 4 Bar Harbor

Plans for Boston -
Lobster Boat - either Lucky Catch in Portland or with Bar Harbor Whale Watching
Portland Head Light
Mount Battle (on the way north or down)
Acadia National Park - what trails are good with kids (ones that don't love to work and prefer a stroller, but they won't have it!). Can we drive to any of the park and visit the spots? Sand Beach, Mt Dessert, Cadillac Mountain, Jordan Pond (read about he popovers :)
Mini Golf
Blueberry picking?
Mt Desert Oceanarium

Do I have way too much for a few days - and if so - what should I prioritize?

Tues Day 5 Drive to Cape Cod
Wed Day 6 Cape Cod

Still working on must sees for Cape cod - Suggestions appreciated. We are staying in Hyannis.

Thurs Day 7 Drive to Boston (Stop at Plymouth Rock)
Fri Day 8 Boston
Sat Day 9 Boston

Boston Plans
- Childrens Museum
- Boston Tea Party Museum
- Quincy Market

Sun Day 10 - Fly home

I always receive such great advice! Thank you in advance!

Inakauaidavidababy Jun 14th, 2017 02:45 PM

Scratch Cape Cod of your list.

elberko Jun 14th, 2017 03:06 PM

The official NP site has useful info:

Off-hand, I'd suggest the Ocean Trail and the Jordan Pond Trail might work for young kids, but I suggest you go to the Park visitor center to get good info. They can also suggest ranger programs that will work for the older kids, if not the 4s.

I'd drop Cape Cod from this trip, too. You'll not run out of outdoor stuff to do in Acadia.

Inakauaidavidababy Jun 14th, 2017 05:05 PM

Let me elaborate. There is so much to see north that it would be a waste of precious time going to Hyannis for a day, unless your a Kennedy fan or have a helicopter.

Heading south stop at Cmden, Rockport, Boothbay, Portland, Kennebunkport, Ogunquit, York, Rockport, Gloucester. . .

dfrostnh Jun 15th, 2017 01:28 AM

Agree with scratching the Cape. Too many miles on the road for such a short visit. If you want sandy beaches, look south of Portland ME, NH, and MA. When we did family beach trips, we went to York Beach, ME. There's a grassy area by the shop area, playground, tide pools, etc. Not sure if the amusement park is worth visiting though. It was a big deal 55 years ago when I was young.

Plymouth Rock is boring and will mean nothing to the children. I think 4 years old would be too young for Plimouth Plantation visit.

Quincy Market is frequently too crowded for small children. A walk thru (no shopping) might be ok. A Fodorite with young child has mentioned visiting the Rose Kennedy Parkway. The website looks pretty interesting. I have only seen portions of it. This is general vicinity of Quincy Market. She also takes her 4 yo on swan boats (Boston Common).

Our son and his family just left on a 3 week road trip with two other families. I noticed one of their stops on the way to Niagra was a playground. I would also consider taking young children to a library story time.

Northbound traffic is going to be very heavy on Friday afternoon and Saturday. If you consider spending Saturday in the Portsmouth area, the Seacoast Science Center might be a great introduction for your children. There are also a variety of easy hiking trails in the area. I don't think flying one day and a long drive the next is a good idea with young children. You also have the option of spending the day at a beach. I95 north is pretty boring. We usually opt to get off at Brunswick ME and take Rt 1 from there but on a Saturday there will probably be very heavy traffic in Wiscasset and Camden.

Macross Jun 15th, 2017 02:45 AM

Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum would be good for the kids. You said you are staying in Hyannis. The Turo vineyard is great and they have a huge front yard for picnics and usually a good food truck there. Hyannis has a good musuem for JFK. Dennis has some great beaches.

Freedom trail for sure in Boston and would go to Charlestown and visit the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill. The Warren Tavern is a must eat at spot for history.
I went for the first time when I was very young and my love of history started. New England history is something each child should experience.

SusieQQ Jun 15th, 2017 04:17 AM

Hyannis is not a good place to stay on the Cape. It is the commercial center and has lots of big stores, etc. There are many better places you could pick.

Macross Jun 15th, 2017 05:30 AM

She said they were staying in Hyannis. Maybe they have friends there or a non refundable hotel. It isn't that bad for a base.

SusieQQ Jun 15th, 2017 06:35 AM

Macross, if that is not the case then I find it appropriate to point out that Hyannis is not the best place to stay.

emalloy Jun 15th, 2017 08:17 AM

In Boston, take the kids to the Museum of Science, it is great and don't miss the static electricity show. See if there is a performance in the park by the Boston Pops when you are there.

If you decide not to go to the cape, the Maine beaches south of Portland are nice, as has been mentioned, York, Ocean Park, Old Orchard, etc. Also look at the northern Massachusetts beaches, Wingaersheik and Crane's are nice. If your kids are used to Florida type water temperatures they'll find all of these too cold, but if you're used to California beaches then they will be fine.

Inakauaidavidababy Jun 15th, 2017 08:44 AM

Plymouth Rock is a hoax. The pilgrims landed in Provincetown.

NewbE Jun 15th, 2017 09:21 AM

Not a hoax, but a legend, shall we say. And perhaps not a very excitig stop on your trip, though YMMV.

I've always wanted to go to Plimoth Plantation, myself, but haven't been.

NewbE Jun 15th, 2017 09:54 AM

Would like to add that Quincy Market is kinda meh--sort of a congested mall/food court, albeit with local tourist-y shops. Not a bad place to grab lunch or a snack or an ice cream, but it will be crowded. Faneuil Hall gave us goosebumps, but small kids probably wouldn't appreciate it. Still, it's steps away from the market, so you;ve got to at least stop in.

We really loved Cape Cod, driving from town to town, but if you're hauling all the way to Acadia, something's got to give. Agree that Hyannis is perhaps the least charming of the towns on the Cape anyway, so if you decide to go ahead and do it, I hope you can change your lodging.

DebbieDoesDulles Jun 15th, 2017 01:07 PM

Blueberry Season isn't til August but you might find a farm with some early pickin' going on I suppose.

I'm not really understanding your're staying the night in Portsmouth, then planning activities next day all around Portland, and then ending the day with a four hour drive to Bar Harbor?

dfrostnh Jun 16th, 2017 02:31 AM

Our visit to Plimoth Plantation was years ago. We had our son about 10 years old and our niece about 6 or 7. They weren't interested in it at all. The costumed residents make an attempt to converse with you as if it were the 1600s. The kids didn't get it at all. They preferred a go-cart place we found later on. Our grandson just turned 5. I think that age is too young to appreciate historic villages. He very much enjoyed a science museum this year but it had a lot of activities geared for young children and the SEE Science Center in Manchester NH is not crowded on a weekday when bigger kids are still in school.

NewbE Jun 16th, 2017 06:15 AM

Hm, maybe I should strike it from my list. Thanks for the review, dforstnh.

jrm612 Jun 24th, 2017 04:12 PM

Thank you all so much for your suggestions. The only reason we chose Hyannis was it was not too far and close to the Martha vineyard ferry. Based on the feedback we decided to eliminate cape cod this trip. Maybe another year �� However now we are going to stay in Maine for two more nights. We were thinking about staying south of bar harbor - maybe Portland for two nights before making the trip back to Boston. Any thoughts about Portland as a central place or other recommendations? Thank you all!

Inakauaidavidababy Jun 24th, 2017 04:23 PM

It would be a bit urban for me, but is wonderful and a great food town with an eclectic downtown. We visit off season. Have never taken a mail boat. Could be fun.

SambaChula Jun 24th, 2017 04:35 PM

IMO the Children's Museum is for the youngest kids, maybe. Older ones will get bored. The MOS or the Aquarium might be more interesting for all. If you have a car, the Discovery Museum in Acton (about 20-30 minutes from Boston) is interesting for kids those ages; mostly hands on exhibits, clearly explained. Ride the Swan Boats; read the younger ones the Make Way for Ducklings book first. The lifelike Glass Flowers exhibit at Harvard is unique and some kids like it; there are animals (stuffed) in the adjoining building, and dioramas.

Plimouth Plantation and the Native American village would be great for the older ones if they've done any Indian/Pilgrim activities in school around Thanksgiving. Just try to get their imaginations working beforehand so they think about what they would feel like living there in that time period.

DebbieDoesDulles Jun 24th, 2017 10:32 PM

Portland would be fine & would put you in good position for heading to Boston.
You'll probably want more than just the two full days in Bar Harbor so spend the next morning there and get to Portland for dinner time. That will give you just one full day for Portland though. Enjoy the Old Port in the morning and for dinner, during the day head out to Crescent Beach which will be nice since the rest of your Maine trip is more rocky coastline than beach time. Two Lights Park is nearby, or Wolfe's Neck State Park if you don't want beach and just haven't had enough rock time.

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