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Cheap Family Vacations in Downeast Maine


Cheap family vacations in Downeast Maine are not only possible, they just might be some of the best vacations you'll ever take. With the abundance of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, kayaking, rock climbing and so much more, your family will be happily busy exploring the great outdoors.

There are some wonderful places to go camping in Downeast Maine which is always a great family activity that keeps lodging expenses down, but if you're not the camping type there are some very reasonable places for a family to stay while in the area. Eating, always a big expense on vacation, can be done cheaply if you plan well and choose wisely. And the free and cheap activities are plentiful in Downeast Maine too.

Let's take a closer look at how to create cheap family vacations in this beautiful part of Maine....




Cheap Family Vacations - Hotels in Downeast Maine

A good choice for families on a budget is the Eden Village Motel and Cottages on Rt. 3 in Bar Harbor, only about 5 minutes from the entrance to Acadia National Park. With both a motel and cottages, there is a good amount of choice for your accomodations and there are cottages that sleep up to 6, so a large family can be comfortable here.

With a duck pond and paddle boats, lots of grass to run around on and a new play set, the kids will be quite content at the Eden Village. Relax on the porch of your cottage and let the kids have fun! Rates are very reasonable since this place is simple and not at all posh, but it is very clean, so no worries there. Be aware that during the high season, they do require a four night minimum stay.




The High Seas Motel in Bar Harbor is also an affordable motel for families looking to create cheap family vacations. The rooms are large and many have 2 double beds, so it's best for small families. There is a heated pool, which the kids always love, they have a playground and it is located close to the Pirate's Cove mini-golf. For $70 - $145 per night in the peak season, this is a clean, affordable option for a small family.




Outside of Bar Harbor, the Twilight Motel in Ellsworth Maine offers a good, affordable location from which to explore the Downeast Maine area. With lots of room to run around and play, the kids will be happy here. They offer rooms with 2 doubles and 2 queens and also have some adjoining rooms which are great for larger families. They offer a continental breakfast which helps keep food costs down and the larger rooms have small refrigerators so you could keep some supplies on hand for breakfasts and snacks, maybe even lunches.




We chose the Bar Harbor Motel for our family vacation this past summer because of its price and amenities. We loved the motel set up, allowing our kids to play outside our door in the small grassy areas, and the kids loved the pool and playground. The extremely clean, two bedroom family units were perfect for our family of six. With the Island Explorer free shuttle stopping right at the property, it was convenient for getting into town without having to deal with parking.

Any of these hotel and motel suggestions will help make cheap family vacations in Downeast Maine a reality.




Cheap Family Vacations - Things to Do in Downeast Maine

There are so many things to do in the Downeast Maine area that you could literally spend weeks or months there and never get bored, if you are the outdoorsy type. Check out these fun free and cheap activities...

  • Visiting Fort Knox and the Penobscot Narrows Observatory - $7 for adults and $3 for kids gets you into both, where you can spend several hours, even the whole day exploring the area. The fort is a lot of fun for kids - lots of passage ways (bring a flash light) and things to see. Being up so high in the observatory is a thrill for everyone. Pack a picnic and spend the day!

  • In Acadia National Park, bike the carriage trails. This is such a great family activity, and a cheap one too if you bring your bikes along on vacation.

  • Also in Acadia, drive the Park Loop Road, stopping at many of the attractions like the top of Cadillac Mountain, Thunder Hole, Sand Beach or the Sieur de Monts Spring and many more

  • If you're into hiking, many days could be spent hiking the trails of Acadia. Pack your lunch and spend a wonderful day with the family. Good hikes for kids include the Gorham Mountain Trail and the Great Head Trail

  • Walk the Shore Path in Bar Harbor

  • Have a picnic in Agamont Park in Bar Harbor

  • Hang out at the Village Green in Bar Harbor and people watch, or catch a free concert by the Bar Harbor Town Band, Mondays and Thursdays from 8 to 9 PM during the summer - they have several art shows here too

  • Drive to the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse on Mount Desert Island - stunning views there and along the way

  • Spend the day at Echo Lake Beach, a bit north of Southwest Harbor, off Rt. 102 - a great place for swimming in the summer

  • Tour Atlantic Brewing Company for free and get free tastings of beer and soda too - a good rainy day activity

This is just the beginning of the things you can do on cheap family vacations in Downeast Maine. Don't let a tight budget hold you back from visiting this area - the stunning beauty of this part of Maine is truly priceless!




Cheap Family Vacations - Affordable Eating in Downeast Maine

Eating out is always pretty pricey when on vacation. But if you're willing to make a few concessions, you can save some money here and there and still get to taste the local flavor.

Make a short list of things you just have to have while on vacation in Maine - maybe it's Maine lobster, clams or some other type of seafood, Maine blueberry pie, whoopie pies or maybe some of the local beers. Then figure out how you're going to experience these delights without breaking the bank.

In almost any town, you can find the spots that the locals go to for the reliable and reasonably priced food - usually it is some kind of diner or similar small, family run restaurant. Just ask a local business owner and you'll usually get a good recommendation. This information is valuable for creating cheap family vacations. Maybe you have breakfast in your room at the hotel - it's pretty easy to keep cereal, pastries and fresh fruit on hand. Lunches in Downeast Maine should include lots of picnics - not only are they an inexpensive way to go, the scenery can't be beat!

If you try to make the first two meals of the day inexpensive and minimal, you have more room to splurge on dinner. In Bar Harbor, Side Street Cafe is a good, middle of the road place for dinner for the whole family. The menu has a good range of prices and options and they have a kids menu that is sure to please. Their lobster roll is one of the best in town.

Poor Boy's Gourmet in Bar Harbor has an $10.99 early bird menu from 4:30 to 6 PM which includes pasta meals where you can get seconds on the house. For large eaters, this would be a bargain!

For an inexpensive lunch or dinner, you could try Rosalie's Pizza in Bar Harbor. The pizza is really good and the sizes are big. The place is generally very busy so if you have little ones, you might want to get there early.

For lunch in Bar Harbor, you could stop by the West End Drug Store. They have an inexpensive lunch counter and an old fashioned soda fountain - you don't see that much anymore!

If you are in Acadia National Park and want to do the Jordan Pond House for the experience of it (which I highly recommend), just go between typical meal times and get the popovers and maybe tea or lemonade instead of a whole meal. The popovers are definitely worth the price, the view and the experience.




In my opinion, it's a tie between Downeast and Southern Maine for the best places for cheap family vacations. With so many outdoor activities in both places, you can vacation there on a budget. Southern Maine may have a bit more in the way of affordable accomodations, but with Acadia National Park as the main attraction in Downeast Maine, you can spend your days cheaply in one of the most beautiful locals in the world. I hope you take some of these suggestions and create a vacation you will never forget!




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