I’ll preface this by saying outside of a lot of research on the destination and a few must dos (aka Lobstering), we did not set out on this vacation with a full on itinerary. However, our week long journey ended up being pretty awesome and epic, so I figured for those of you wondering about Maine, an itinerary post could be helpful.
A lot of people have asked why Maine? First off, it’s absolutely gorgeous in the summer time and very different from our Florida surroundings. As I travel a good bit for work, when it comes to family travel, we always try to find destinations that are new to all of us. Another factor that played a role is our little wild man. As our first big family vacation, we wanted to stay domestic and East Coast (given this was W’s first flight). And finally, I have to say, domestic travel is severely underrated IMO. Granted globetrotting is awesome and I’ve been to Europe, South America, Canada, Mexico and all over the Caribbean, BUT our own country is absolutely GORGEOUS and so incredibly diverse. So as a family with a young child, our plan is to explore and enjoy the good ole US of A and leave the international travel for when W is older and better able to handle and appreciate it.
We traveled with our 2 and a half-year-old, so everything we did was family friendly and especially toddler friendly 🙂 Here is a breakdown of our aMAINEzing vacation.
I can’t say enough about Capt. Phil and Tina’s getaway. This has been by far my greatest find EVER on AirBnB. I stumbled upon this gem by doing tons of research on apartments and homes available in Southern Maine. Once we landed on visiting Southern Maine, I began my deep dive into the area and even ordered the Visit Maine CVB magazine (old school, I know). Then we narrowed our search to a cute little town called Ogunquit and began looking for places to stay. We definitely did not want to stay in a hotel for 8 nights, so I went straight to AirBnB and started searching for apartments and homes.
After exploring a few likely candidates, Capt. Phil and Tina’s getaway quickly rose to the top. They had 20+ reviews and every single one was five stars. And honestly after staying in their beautiful guesthouse, I would give them 10 stars, if that was possible. Their place is technically in Wells, which is a town right next to Ogunquit and by that I mean, it’s literally on the same main road – practically one in the same.
The two-bedroom, one bath cottage was absolutely perfect and impeccably decorated. You could say Tina is the Joanna Gaines of Southern Maine. No detail was overlooked and everything we could have needed or wanted was provided. Capt. Phil and Tina were born to be hosts and embody hospitality.
When we arrived at our little slice of Maine heaven, we were pleasantly surprised to see the set up. Tina had baked us a fresh fig pie (made from her tree), Westley’s room was a toddler paradise complete with bed rails, giant stuffed Dori and Nemo fish, books and a basket full of toys. There was a beach cart with chairs, an umbrella, towels, sunscreen and a red wagon for W. The house was stocked with toiletries, hair tools (did not need to bring my flat iron and curling iron as Tina provided them), a high chair, beach bags, books, magazines and everything you could need for a successful week long stay. Tina is so fabulous that she even bought us a stroller for Westley as we had forgotten to bring ours. Seriously, they went above and beyond.
And then of course the highlight of our trip was the incredible “Sea to Table” experience – Lobstering with Capt. Phil in the morning and then a four-course meal prepared by Tina at home. More on that below!
This is one of my passions, so needless to say, I had quite the laundry list of food stops researched and saved on my Yelp collection for Maine. I spent a lot of time reading reviews, looking at food pics (#foodporn) and curating a list of food stops that would be fulfilling!
Clearly, lobster was one of our Maine objectives, but we also wanted to try a variety of other food, so we ate everything from tacos to Indian and it was all delicious. Food in Southern Maine is part of the attraction. Here’s a taste of our foodie adventures:
- All the LOBSTA
- We ate lobster every day…sometimes twice a day and it never got old. I mean, Maine lobster is EVERYTHING and it’s prepared in so many ways, and did not disappoint. The Maine Lobster Rolls are as good as everyone says and we tried all kinds of interpretations from hot with drawn butter to cold with light mayo and scallions. And while we did not try this, even McDonald’s had a Lobster Roll offering. LOL.
- Sea to Table with Capt. Phil and Tina
- This was an unforgettable experience all around. Our hosts Capt. Phil and Tina offer a special excursion to guests of Lobstering and a homemade meal with your live catch. This was hands down my favorite part of our vacation.
- We woke up early on Monday and drove to the Wells Marina, boarding Capt. Phil’s boat. It was a beautiful, cool morning – the air was crisp and the water was ice cold. We embarked on our lobstering adventure by going to five different traps and taking home five lobsters including a big mama (that I would end up eating that night). As part of the excursion, we learned all about the lobster industry and the crustacean — from how to identify whether it’s a male or female to a lefty or righty. We also saw porpoises and did some fishing. Overall it was a magical Maine morning.
- We wrapped the adventure with an incredible poolside four-course meal that evening starting with a caprese salad, followed by homemade lobster bisque (Westley loved it), steamed, fresh caught (by us) Maine lobster with drawn butter paired with corn-on-the-cob and new potatoes and a raspberry vanilla cake. And of course, crisp and delicious white wine.
- BeachFire Grill
- This was our first dinner stop in Maine on Sunday night. It’s right on Main Street in Ogunquit and was a tasty kick off to our trip. We shared the signature nachos with buffalo chicken, a lobster roll (our first! in Maine) and Fish n Chips with local Haddock, malt vinegar and tartar sauce.
- Tulsi North
- Our 6-year wedding anniversary fell during our vacation, so we celebrated with our favorite food, Indian. I was not expecting such a gem in Maine, but this spot was legit and one of the best Indian meals we’ve ever had. We ordered chicken tikki masala, palak paneer and lamb korma. The flavors and sauces were next level and the lamb was the most tender we’ve ever tasted. Finished the meal off with Indian beer. Cheers to six years 🙂
- This was home to our favorite Lobster Roll and you order and pick up from a window. We tried both versions hot with drawn butter (our fave) and traditional, cold with light mayo and spices (only time we say yes to mayo) served with hand cut fries and fresh battered onion rings. YES!
- The Maine Diner
- As avid watchers of Guy Fieri’s Triple D, the Maine Diner was a must visit. It is a traditional diner with incredibly creative food. We tried all of Guy’s favorites including the famous Lobster Pie, seafood chowder (best chowder we had) and a lobster club. Topped off the meal with a homemade chocolate cream pie. A winning combo.
- Feile Irish Pub
- A local treasure, this real deal Irish Pub is located in a historic old structure that housed the Lindsey Tavern from 1799 until the mid-twentieth century. Owned by an Irish couple from Limerick, the Pub had great food and great beer all with live Irish music as the backdrop. Westley of course LOVED the live music. Food wise, we shared the Nachos O’Houlihan (house cut potato crisps with bacon, cheese, and rosemary beef gravy) Bangers n Mash and a Reuben. Nom nom.
- Jameson Tavern in Freeport
- We stumbled upon this historic eatery while spending the day in Freeport. We had some local brews and the lunch special which included a Maine Lobster Roll paired with Clam Chowder.
- Cobblestone Grill in Old Orchard Beach
- Before we hit the arcade and carnival rides, we fueled up at this Italian Café. Great service, atmosphere and food. We noshed on a lobster quesadilla (it was amazing) and chicken parm sub.
- Pizza Napoli
- This was the perfect lunch post walking the Marginal Way. Simple, but tasty we ordered a large specialty pizza (Italian style) and Coca Cola classic.
- Las Olas Taqueria
- If you know me, you know I LOVE Mexican. This local, QSR spot had fresh tacos, burritos and quesadillas and a caliente salsa bar. Perfect lunch spot.
- Scoop Deck
- We all scream for ice cream! This place was sweet on all fronts from the décor to the 70+ flavors. We each ordered a cup of homemade ice cream and topped off the outing with a photo shoot (Instagrammabale moment anyone?) in front of the “Life is Sweet” mural.
Things to Do
A sample of our family fun and Maine adventures!
- Ogunquit Playhouse
- This 85-year-old theater is such a treasure. During the summer they put on spectacular children’s shows with the Junior Players and these kids are truly talented. We were lucky enough to catch a matinee of Lion King, Jr. Westley loved the musical and it was a perfect start to our Sunday.
- Portland Head Light
- A quick hour drive to Portland made for an awesome day trip. We spent part of the day at one of Maine’s iconic lighthouses in Cape Elizabeth. The setting was absolutely magical, hiking down to the rocks and water and took it all in.
- Portland Science Center Real Pirates Exhibit
- We saw this advertised on a bus at the Head Light and decided on a whim to visit the National Geographic exhibit. This was a very rich exhibit with lots of artifacts, authentic pirate treasure and history on one of the most famous pirates and his sunken ship, discovered off the coast of Maine.
- Marginal Way
- This mile-ling scenic walkway ends in Perkins Cove and borders the beautiful cliffs and water. We brought the stroller and took in the beautiful scenery, making stops along the way to sit on the many benches that overlook the water. Not to be missed!
- Ogunquit Beach
- Being a Florida girl, I wasn’t sure if Maine’s beaches would be up to par. Happy to report, while the water was COLD, the beaches were beautiful. Ogunquit Beach was unique because on one side you have a bay and then the beach on the other side. There is a current that takes you from the bay side to the beach and many people brought floats, making it a lazy river type ride. The other part we loved about the beach was how far back the water was set during low tide – probably a half mile. There were tons of small pools, sand bars and waves. Perfect beach for a toddler. Next time, we’ll bring a wetsuit though 🙂
- The Ogunquit Trolley
- While this isn’t necessarily an attraction, the Trolley was a great way to get around town and something W thoroughly enjoyed. It’s a great way to see Ogunquit and enjoy the summer breeze.
- Playland at Old Orchard Beach
- This classic boardwalk amusement park was tons of fun from the giant indoor/outdoor arcade to the rides. There are tons of kid friendly rides and the operators are teens rather than carnies J
- L. Bean HQ + Village in Freeport
- This little port town is a shopper’s paradise. We visited the enormous L.L. Bean headquarters, which is more like its own little city with multiple buildings, an amphitheater and even a children’s village. We then grabbed lunch (lobster roll and chowder of course) at one of Maine’s oldest Taverns.
- Boston Duck Tours
- To maximize our last day, which also included travel back home, we left Maine early and did a 9am Duck Tour in Boston. This was a fun and fast way to see the city by land and water.