Cheap Family Vacations in Mid-Coast Maine

Are cheap family vacations possible here? The mid-coast region of Maine is stunningly beautiful with it's rocky coastline, windjammers and picturesque harbor villages. Certainly, there is much to do in the great outdoors in the region. While there are many exciting things to do on the water, much of it is pricey like boat tours, whale watching trips, windjammer cruises and so on. Can a family have an affordable vacation in mid-coast Maine?

If hiking, biking or kayaking are among your family's favorite things to do (and you have your own equipment), you can spend your days inexpensively. Just launch the kayak onto the ocean or one of the pristine lakes, find some great hiking spots or take a trip through the area on bike. There are also many opportunities for sightseeing with the many lighthouses in the area.

Cheap family vacations take some planning and research, no doubt, but I've done a lot of the work for you. Let's look at accomodations.

Best Affordable Hotels for Families

The major tourist area towns in the mid-coast region are Boothbay Harbor, Rockland and Camden but there are many quaint small towns that are wonderful to visit. Some of the most affordable accomodations are in Rockport Maine, which is so close to Camden and Rockland, that it makes for a wonderful home base on vacation in the area. Any of the hotels below will help make cheap family vacations a reality.

If you have a small family, you might want to try the 7 Mountains Motel in Rockport Maine. This very reasonably priced motel ($50-$90 per night) has rooms with 2 double beds and they also have a heated pool, which the kids will love. Enjoy coffee, homemade muffins and banana bread in the morning.

Also for families up to 4, the Ledges by the Bay in Rockport is a very clean and affordable motel. Set high up above Penobscot Bay, this motel offers up some of the most beautiful views I've ever seen! I had the pleasure of staying here for a night while working in the area and it was very comfortable. They serve a satisfying deluxe continental breakfast in the morning and have a heated pool. Kids under 13 stay free.

If you have a larger family, try the Claddagh Motel and Suites also in Rockport. This is a great place where you'll be wrapped in warm Irish hospitality. With 1 and 2 bedroom suites, you'll be able to find a very comfortable room for up to six people. They have a pool and serve a deluxe continental breakfast which saves money on the first meal of the day. The prices are very reasonable and I think you'll enjoy your stay here.

In Boothbay Harbor, the Flagship Inn has suites that sleep up to six people for $198 per night in the summer. It is a nice motel with a heated pool and jacuzzi and a good continental breakfast.

Just north of Camden in Lincolnville is the Ducktrap Motel. For around $100 per night you can get a room with 2 queen beds. There's no pool here but it is a clean, comfortable and affordable motel for the area.

Further up the road in Searsport, try the Yardarm Motel if you have a large family. They have a 3 bedroom unit with 1 king and 2 doubles. While there is no pool, they do have a good continental breakfast. For $75 - $125 a night, you really can't beat it. Belfast is a nice little town nearby where you'll find some things to do.

Cheap Family Vacations - Free or Cheap Things To Do

Unlike the beaches of the Southern Maine area, the Mid-Coast doesn't have a lot of wide, sandy beaches for spending the day playing on. The rocky coastline of the area makes for beautiful scenery, many lighthouses and lots of boating of all types. How is a family on a budget going to fill their vacation days in Mid-Coast Maine? Let's see...

If you are here in the summer, staying in a budget hotel without a pool, you may need to find swimming areas for the kids and you to cool off. This is an activity that kids love and an important part of cheap family vacations in the summer. Let's take a look at saltwater beaches first.

If you are in the southern part of the mid-coast region, there are two beaches you can choose from - Reid State Park in Georgetown and Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg. These are both beautiful sandy beaches that will keep the whole family happily busy for hours sunning, swimming, surfing the waves and exploring tide pools for the wonders of the sea. There is a fee at Reid State Park for each car, and Popham Beach State Park charges $6 per person for non-residents which can get a little steep with a big family. But on a perfect weather day, you just might feel it's worth it!

Other saltwater beaches:

Laite Memorial Beach, Camden - This very small beach has restrooms, a playground and charcoal grills. It is a pretty area to have a picnic and get your toes wet.

Crescent Beach, Owls Head - A large picturesque beach, Crescent is considered on of the best in mid-coast Maine.

Lincolnville Beach, Lincolnville - 7 miles north of Camden right off Rt. 1, there are several area restaurants and shops.

Pemaquid Beach Park, Snowball Hill Road in Pemaquid - This beautiful beach, one of the cleanest in Maine, has changing facilities and rest rooms, a snack bar and rentals of chairs and umbrellas. Entrance fees are $4 per person with kids 11 and under free.

Freshwater Beaches in Mid-Coast Maine

Barrett's Cove, Camden - A classic lake beach area on Megunticook Lake (take Beaucaire Lane off Rt. 52), you'll find outdoor grills, a playground, public restrooms, and free parking. Launch a kayak here too, if you have one!

Damariscotta Lake State Park - State Park Road in Jefferson Maine will take you to this beach area which also has a small playground, picnic tables, changing rooms and a lifeguard.

A trip to mid-coast Maine would not be complete without a visit to Camden Hills State Park. Miles of hiking trails and an auto road lead to a glorious summit with unbelievable views of Camden Harbor and the Penobscot Bay. Whether you hike or not, spending the day here makes for awesome cheap family vacations. Entry fees to the park are very low, so don't let budget hold you back on this one. There is also a 112 site campground here. When in Camden, you can't miss the signs for the park. Don't miss this one!

Visiting one of the many lighthouses in mid-coast Maine is also one of the most popular low-cost family activities. Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park can be visited for $2 per person, kids under 11 free. Owls Head Light State Park is a favorite. Marshall Point Lighthouse (the one in the movie Forrest Gump) and Museum in Port Clyde offers much for a family to see. Bring a picnic to any of these lighthouses in Maine and enjoy a wonderful day with the family. There is usually plenty of room for the kids to run around and the photo opportunities are endless!

Another nice place to go on cheap family vacations in mid-coast Maine is the Merry Spring Nature Center (30 Conway Rd., Camden). A 66 acre park and nature center located in Camden and Rockport, visit to enjoy nature, the beautiful flower gardens and the fresh Maine air. They offer a variety of talks on nature related subjects and there might be something the whole family would be interested in learning - especially if you have older children ($5 for non-members). The park is free, but you can become a member to help support their cause.

Cheap family vacations are definitely within your grasp in mid=coast Maine. With the natural beauty of the area, you'll want to spend much of your time just soaking in the sights, but there is much to do even on a budget. Plan ahead and make a list of all the free and cheap things to do in mid-coast Maine, make your reservations at an inexpensive hotel or campground, pack for adventure and have cheap family vacations the whole family will never forget!

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