It’s officially spring, and the arrival of warm weather marks the beginning of Maine’s most beautiful season. From fruit trees in bloom to the blue skies and crashing surf, there’s so much to look at, and even more to do. If you’re traveling to Portland, Maine with kids, you’ll find no shortage of activities that offer fun for the whole family, and countless photo ops for your next family picture. Whether your family likes outdoor adventures, indoor activities, or some of both, these 5 ideas deserve a place on your to-do list.

No Sun, No Problem!
Spring in Maine can be gorgeous, but the weather can change on a whim. If you find yourself faced with a rainy morning, don’t worry! For the little ones under 10, the Portland Children’s Museum is an opportunity to explore and learn in the interactive museums ever-changing exhibits and activities. With several cafes in the surrounding block, you can sip a latte while you watch your kids have a blast. For families with teens, the Portland Museum of art is right next door to the children’s museum, and Coast City Comics just one block away offers pinball and video games. Bad weather doesn’t have to spoil a day of your vacation in Maine, and you won’t have to go far to find fun for kids of all ages.

 A Day at the Beach
Whether you have young kids, teens, toddlers, or all of the above; a day at the beach is always fun. When you’re visiting the Portland, Maine area with your family, the hardest decision you’ll have to make is which beaches to visit. The chilly Atlantic coast plays host to dozens of beaches, each of which has its own charm. For fewer crowds, scenic views in every direction, and a very sandy beach, visit Scarborough Beach. This is a great beach for boogie boarding and picnic lunches. For the classic beach experience with a small size that lets you keep a close eye on all the kids, try Crescent Beach. For long walks and a chance to give the family dog some play time, try Higgins Beach. For the boardwalk experience with rides, an arcade, and classic fried snacks, visit Old Orchard Beach. To get the best directions to each, ask a local!

Shop ‘Til You Drop in the Old Port
Portland’s Old Port has more than 200 shops, which means everyone in the family can find one that they love, and maybe even some souvenirs to take home! For the kids, TreeHouse Toys has everything from stuffed animals to games and everything in between. For the teens, Mexicali Blues has the trendies “boho” clothes and jewelry, and Portland Candy Company has freshly made fudge and candy to suit every taste. As you wander down Exchange, Commercial, or Fore Street, you’ll be tempted to check out every boutique you see, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t! If you want to find Portland tee shirts for the family, look for shops with nautical decor and sidewalk displays - these stores will have the most options and the best deals.

 Visit Peak’s Island
A ride on the historic Peak’s Island Ferry is fun at any age. Grown ups can enjoy the view, while kids can watch Portland’s most famous island get closer as harbor porpoises and seals play in the ship’s wake. The ride takes about a half hour, and once you arrive, the island is easy to navigate. Bikes are available for rental, and you can ride around as a family feeling much safer on the minimally trafficked streets. There are a few shops, small beaches, and unique houses to look at, and island residents are very friendly. Your visit to Peak’s Island will be a great opportunity for those family photo ops, so don’t be afraid to ask a local to take your picture.

Enjoy a Meal that Everyone Loves
Traveling as a family brings the challenge of satisfying the specific tastes of parents and children of different ages. For many, this particular struggle can add a whole new level of stress and make a family vacation less enjoyable. Luckily, when you visit the Portland, Maine area with your family, you can rely on Elsmere BBQ to make you feel at home with a family-friendly atmosphere and a big menu that has options for everyone. Elsmere’s kind and knowledgeable servers know just what to recommend for even the pickiest eaters in your party, and they’ll even show you how to play our classic games while you wait for your meal.

 No matter how you spend the days of your family trip to Portland, Maine, you can make sure each day ends on a high note with dinner at Elsmere. Our extensive menu lets you try new things, stick to your favorites, or order a bunch of different things and share them all. No matter how you choose to eat it, we’ll make sure you enjoy it. Here at Elsmere, we’re a family, and we can’t wait to meet yours.

Photo Credit: Douglas Merriam Food Photography