Just a short drive north from Westchester are dozens of quaint New England towns, where you’ll find beautiful beaches, fresh seafood and some of the best ice cream cones you and your kids will ever have. But which town should you stay in and explore? This month we’re featuring destination ideas with kid-friendly itineraries.
Maine offers the quintessential New England experience, but a lot of the attractions are fairly spread out. We chose to rent a house in Kennebunkport, a gorgeous, waterside town in southern Maine that’s fairly central to other activities in the area.
What to Do: While making the drive up, stop off for a bite at Fox’s Lobster House in York, with its casual outdoor seating and fantastic views of Nubble Lighthouse. It’s a neat preview of what’s to come.
Kennebunkport features three popular connecting beaches with a laid-back, local vibe: Kennebunk, Mother’s and Gooch’s. If you’re willing to travel about 30 minutes north, Old Orchard Beach offers a more commercial beach setting, with a pier, small amusement park, carousel, and food vendors.
Another way to see the water is by hiking The Marginal Way, a flat, paved footpath in nearby Ogunquit that gives you gorgeous views along the rocky coastline. The whole stretch is less than a mile and a half, and there are exits along the way, in case your kids can’t make it to the end.
What to Eat: Hope you’re hungry for lobster and chowder, because that’s what’s on the menu at just about every restaurant in Maine during the summer. Cape Pier Chowder House offers a no-frills, eat-on-the-dock experience; Nunan’s LobsterHut features a simple, picnic-table setting that’s perfect when you’ve got kids; and Mabel’s Lobster Claw is rumored to be the Bushes’ favorite restaurant in the area.
For a quintessentially Maine dining experience, drive about 45 minutes north to Cape Elizabeth, and eat at The Lobster Shack, a restaurant with picnic tables situated directly on a jetty. The Portland Head Lighthouse is only a few minutes from the restaurant and worth a quick visit.
There’s no shortage of ice cream places here, but our hands-down favorite is Scoop Deck in neighboring Wells, which features about 90 flavors. Ninety! To top things off, they give ridiculously large portions, so a single scoop is more like three scoops. I don’t think any of us were able to finish our cones.
What’s Nearby: If you’re going during blueberry season, it’s totally worth it to make the 45-minute trip west to Blueberry Hill Farm in Acton, a small farm that grows the largest blueberries I’ve ever seen. Seriously, some were the size of quarters! We couldn’t stop picking them and ended up with way too much.
Also about 45 minutes away (north) is Mackworth Island in Falmouth, the place where fairy houses were born. The island, essentially a large state park with some easy hiking, is home to one of the largest permanent fairy villages in the country, and visitors are encouraged to add their own fairy houses while there. It’s truly a charming, magical experience.