Camper trip May/June 2023 Acadia New England

Old Jul 22nd, 2022, 10:09 AM
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Camper trip May/June 2023 Acadia New England

Hi, any suggestions on the following itinerary or am I missing anything? I'm starting to plan a 2023 summer trip (early June) to Acadia from Cincinnati, with my wife and 3 daughters ages 12, 10 and 6. We have a pop up camper and would be staying at a hotel for the 1 night stays and camping everywhere else. Hoping to get the Acadia sites soon as I know National Park sites tend to fill up quickly. I was also considering adding one night in Newport after Cape Cod.

As is, it would be: 1 night Buffalo, 3 nights White Mtns, 4 nights Acadia, 1 night Portland, 2 nights Salem, 3 nights Cape Cod, 1 night Buffalo

Day 1 Sat 5/27 - drive from Cincinnati to Buffalo, NY (6:39 433 miles)
Day 2 Sun 5/28 - drive to White Mountains NH (8:28 502 miles)
Day 3 Mon 5/29 - White Mtns
Day 4 Tue 5/30 - White Mtns
Day 5 Wed 5/31 - drive to Acadia (4:45 232 miles)
Day 6 Thu 6/1 - Acadia
Day 7 Fri 6/2 - Acadia
Day 8 Sat 6/3 - Acadia
Day 9 Sun 6/4 - drive to Portland, afternoon in Portland (3:08 178 miles)
Day 10 Mon 6/5 - drive to Salem, day in Salem, stay at Winter Island near Salem (1:37 98 miles)
Day 11 Tue 6/6 - day trip by train to Boston, stay at Winter Island
Day 12 Wed 6/7 - drive to Cape Cod (2:07 110 miles)
Day 13 Thu 6/8 - Cape Cod
Day 14 Fri 6/9 - Cape Cod
Day 15 Sat 6/10 - drive to Buffalo, NY (7:50 514 miles)
Day 16 Sun 6/11 - early morning Maid of the Mist tour, drive to Cincinnati (6:36 432 miles)

Thanks! Scott
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Old Jul 23rd, 2022, 01:21 AM
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I suspect your route from White Mountains to Acadia is one we took years ago. Pleasant and rural but you night want to figure out a lunch spot ahead of time although a roadside picnic since you are camping would be fine. May is black fly season in NH but might be done by the end of the month. I think one of the best NH attractions for your children's age group is Squam Lakes Science Center. Should be an easy drive would be worth the splirge if you are on a budget.

Read YK's trip report on recent visit to Acadia.
Acadia to Portland bypasses our favorite midcoast area of Maine. To tempt you, download info about Harpswell Conservation areas. Great area to explore east of Brunswick.
if you do Newport and a mansion tour the Breakers Family tour looks perfect. I'm disappointed Beneath the Breakers does not seem to be offered anymore. It was very interesting. Servants Life was interesting but maybe not interesting for children.

what are your plans for Cape Cod since it might be too soon for beach swimming. Many years ago my family camped at Nickerson State Park where fresh water swimming was wonderful but we camped in July. Mom and dad didn't care for ocean swimming so we only did short beach visits. More to explore tide pools.

Hope you have something to break up long drive from Buffalo to White Mountains even if it's playing frisbee at a rest area.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2022, 05:25 AM
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Hi Dfrostnh, thank you for all the info! I will read the YK trip report. There are so many cool places in New England that two weeks just aren't enough

I was thinking about doing just 3 nights in Acadia and adding a 2nd night in Portland so that when we drive from Acadia to Portland we could do the scenic drive and have time to stop at some places like Camden. Harpswell looks like it would be amazing, but to add that we'd have to postpone the Cape for another trip. Definitely an option. I know it might be a little cool for swimming, but just thinking we might hang out by the beach for a bit and take in the national seashore and stop in some of the towns (Providence, Chatham, etc). And we'd want to do a whale watch either in Acadia or Cape Cod.

My wife and I did spend a day in Newport once while we were there for a wedding. We did one of the mansion tours, which was fun.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2022, 03:53 PM
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Also, what do you think if we were to spend 2 nights in Portland and drive the coast from Acadia to Portland to spend the day in Harpswell? The next full day in Portland before driving south.

Thanks, Scott
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Old Jul 24th, 2022, 01:09 AM
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It really depends on your interests. We never spent much time on the Cape but you are coming at a less crowded time. Ditto for Acadia but it's a favorite for some Fodorites. Our son has been disappointed in the crowds on Acadia since 1997 late June trip was uncrowded and he could bicycle to top of Cadillac. But Acadia is a favorite camping trip for a friend and her family.

Also depends on what you want to do in Portland. We enjoyed the first morning mailboat cruise. Not a lot of narration but enough. Kids might be bored. Views of Casco Bay from Fort Williams Park make it a great place to picnic. Just north of city the Prom area is also popular picnic spot and we could watch paddle boarders and boat traffic. I like Old Port area shopping.

If Cape Cod lovers don't comment, read some trip reports using search function here.

You are coming at a time when locals tend to do some events before tourist season starts. One year we attended college axe chopping competiton at Leonard’s Mills logging miseum after exploring Cole Transportation Museum in Bangor ME. Owl's Head Classic Car Museum near Rockland starts doing special weekend events. One time we saw antique airplanes flying. Local fundraisers are sometimes lobster dinners or bean suppers. When you decide places to camp check local newspaper websites for events. One top of Mt Battie in Camden visit happened to be same time antitque Model T club was mking a visit.

My husband's family chose York Beach for beach vacations. Very popular ME beach area although I don't know current status of Wild Animal Park amusement area.
We've also never done a New England whale watch. My husband never used to have a problem with seasickness until one deep sea fishing trip but it was smell of fish bait that got him.

Sorry, too many things to do on just one vacation. Most recently we tend to split a week to visit two didferent parts of Maine and we're lucky southern Maine can be just a day trip so for us it is easier to visit Maine than Cape Cod.

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Old Jul 24th, 2022, 06:11 AM
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Thank you so much for all the info!! We were considering moving our dates until the end of June, sounds like it will be better weather and less bugs, but also after our kids dance recital. Also, we are not tied to going to the Cape, so we could focus more time in Maine and save Cape Cod for another trip. My wife loves charming small towns and New England has plenty
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Old Aug 1st, 2022, 05:16 AM
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Thanks again, I've been looking more into the York area and it looks like a lot fun! Some time at the beach, Nubble lighthouse and nearby Kennbunkport. I'm thinking maybe we'll do that instead of Cape Cod and save that for another trip some other time. We can still do a few days in the Boston area to do a day trip to Boston and a whale watching cruise out of Gloucester. So we'd be looking at:
1 night Buffalo
2 nights White Mtns
5 nights Acadia
4 nights York or Kennebunkport
3 nights North Boston/Salem area
1 night Wilmington

Thanks! Scott
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Old Aug 1st, 2022, 12:17 PM
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I would agree that the beaches near York make more sense than Cape Cod for this trip - a lot less driving, the same "refreshing" ocean temperatures, and fewer sharks which is a bonus imo.

In a post above you posit "drive down the coast" from Acadia. There really is no "down the coast" route since most of the Maine coast north of Portland consists of long peninsulas that jut out into the ocean between estuaries and rivers, and you really don't want to be driving that whole distance on Rt1. Bite the bullet and take I95.

As for Buffalo to NH, I recommend you take I90 through MA then head north into NH on either I91 or I93 depending on your destination. Any route that has you going off the interstates from NY to VT to NH could be long and painful. dfrostnh can give you more local specifics.
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Old Aug 1st, 2022, 03:21 PM
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I read somewhere that if you straightened the Maine coast it would stretch from Miami to Seattle! I'm curious as to why it would be better to take I-95 all the way - just to save time? I was thinking if we did the drive on Rt 1 (down to I-95 at Brunswick) we could grab lunch in either Camden or Boothbay and maybe have time for a walk around and do a short hike in the area. We'd have the entire day to leisurely make the trip (Google lists the distance as 196 miles from Acadia to York).

Thanks for the tip on the Buffalo to NH route!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2022, 02:04 AM
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Rt 1 only as far as Brunswick might work. We usually do I95 between Brunswick and Portsmouth NH, quicker and boring. One time we tried to take rt 1 from the Portland area south and gave up. A lot of congestion and not much else. The problem with a lot of rt 1 is it goes thru town where you have stop loghts and pedestrians. From Brunswick north Rt 1 has far fewer stoplights.

I hate I90 but sometimes have to take it. Check on tolls. It moght be transponder only now. I91 is a pleasant drive thru rural western MA up to VT. In Brattleboro you can head east to connect with I93 to mountains. If you go from Brattleboro to Keene to Nashua via rt 101 it's a nice drive but you will hit traffic as you get near Nashua. The. It's Everett Turnpike north to I293. Would not do this going north on a friday starting 1pm. Traffic gets very congested.

From Keene you can opt to head to Concord NH and it will be a rural drive until rt 202 connects with I89 which dead ends in Bow/Concord but before it dead ends you can exit to I93 north. Be careful because speed limit drops. It has caught some drivers unaware. Depending on where you connect with I293/i93 from Manchester north it starts to get scenic and eventually I 93 goes right thru the White Mountains. Concord and Tilton are best choices if you need to stop for supplies.

You can also opt to continue north on I91 for a more northerly east route to White Mountains.
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