Kids in the Woods

More Info & Ideas Coming Soon!

Maine is jam-packed with fun outings for adventurous families. Here we've compiled some of our favorites from outing we've done with our kids. We are constantly learning about new places to bring the family, and we want to hear about your grand adventures, too. Come on by the store and tell us your stories, or let us know about your favorite places on our Facebook page.

One small disclaimer: We know these trips work with kids because we've tried them. We are, however, very comfortable with our ability to be prepared and make good decisions in the wilderness. Depending on your knowledge and experience, it might be a very good idea for you to take courses in wilderness skills, paddling safety, or wilderness first aid. In addition to valuable information, taking classes may give you the courage to push your family's adventures to the next level. We are happy to make recommendations for local guide services.

Short Paddling Excursions - Mini Adventures

We have some great local paddling spots that are perfect for kids. Here are a few of our favorites.

Runaround Pond, Durham

Our family's local favorite. Easy parking, easy boat launch, great picnic spot. We've seen turtles, birds, snakes, and beavers there. The pond branches all over the place, so you can explore as much or as little as you want. Tip: From the put-in, paddle to the left and go under the bridge. You'll end up in a beautiful, deep ravine that feels like a different world.. 

Royal River (multiple put-ins) 

  • We like to put in next to the Yarmouth Historical Society, paddle up river against a mild current, then paddle back to the same launch. It's an easy-to-reach spot that feels much more remote than it actually is. Check with the town of Yarmouth for their seasonal on-site canoe rentals.

  • Another favorite launch is at the New Gloucester Fairgrounds. Paddle up-river against a barely-there current, then return to the same spot. The town also has canoe rentals available.

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Wolfe's Neck State Park - Mini Adventure

Freeport. Great for all ages. For a short excursion, take a picnic to the rocks along the Casco Bay trail. Then explore the tide pools and watch the ospreys in their nest. With more time, walk the other easy trails through the forest to the cliffs above the Harraseeket River. WNSP is also great for beginner-friendly snowshoeing in the winter.

Maine Huts & Trails - Epic Adventure

We've had excellent trips to both the Flagstaff Lake Hut and the Grand Falls Hut. We prefer to go during caretaker season when prices are lower and the huts are far less crowded. One hint: Aim for a June trip on the last weekend before full-service season. You'll get great weather along with a nearly-empty hut. The kids love having the run of the place, and sleeping in bunk beds is always exciting. The Flagstaff Lake Hut is accessed by a flat 1.8-mile trail and it features a nice swimming area and good paddling. One time we even paddled a couple miles and arrived at the hut by canoe. The Grand Falls hut is a slightly-longer hike in (2+ miles). From the hut you can hike to Grand Falls, which is an exciting waterfall with great places to play in the river. We've done these trips with kids ages 3 to 11.

Mt. Agamenticus - Big Adventure

This little mountain in York features a StoryWalk that leads kids from the parking lot to the summit with a kids' story spread out at stations along the trail. It's 1.3 miles to the top. There is a also an auto road that goes to the summit, so that's a bit anticlimactic, but the stories are fun to read and the view is excellent. 

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Short Paddling Excursions - Big Adventures

There are some really fun point-to-point local trips that require a bit more logistics, patience, and planning. 

Androscoggin River

We like to put in at Durham River Park and take out at the Lisbon Falls boat launch. This trip requires you to spot a car. It's an easy paddle that feels remote. There are some small ripples, depending on water level. Thrilling for the kids.

Harraseeket River

Another point-to-point trip we like is to put in at Mast Landing just after high tide, then ride the outgoing tide out to Porter's Landing. Mast Landing is only accessible near high tide, so check carefully!

*Always tell someone your route and return time, then check in at the end.

*Dress for the water temperature, not the air. Maine waters can be hypothermia-cold even when the air is mild.

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Stephen Phillips Memorial Preserve - Epic Adventure 

If you and your kids are feeling comfortable on the water and ready for a bigger trip, try camping on Students Island on Mooselookmeguntic Lake in Rangeley. It's a totally manageable 15-minute canoe trip to the island. Once there you'll feel like you've traveled deep into the wilderness. There's lots of fun to be had right there on the island, or you could take short trips back to shore to play on the sandy beach.  We did it with kids ages 3 to 11.

Bradbury Mountain State Park - Mini Adventure

Bradbury Mountain in Pownal is a wonderful spot that is treasured by the locals. There's a short hike to the top of a small mountain that has surprisingly good views. It's the perfect place to introduce kids to hiking. You'll find wooded trails that lead up to an exposed peak with great rock-hopping opportunities. Even the toddler crowd can get to the peak with little adult help. This state park also has some good trails to introduce young kids to mountain biking. Great for all ages.

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Giant's Stairs - Mini Adventure

This short trail in Harpswell is great for some epic rock scrambling. It's only a .3 mile trail, but you'll spend most of the walk playing on the rocks. Huge crashing waves are common there.

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Morse Mountain & Seawall Beach - Big Adventure

Seawall Beach, in Phippsburg, is pristine and quiet, because you can only access it by a 2 mile hike in. It's not a difficult hike, but there is some elevation. Once you get there, the beach is spectacular. There are no facilities there, so prepare for a wilderness experience. Kids feel like they've gone on a major outing. Tip: The small parking lot for Morse Mountain fills up quickly in the summer, and they absolutely will not let cars park on the entry road. Get there early!

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Maine Forest Yurts - Big Adventure

This trip is especially good in the winter. The wonderful people at Maine Forest Yurts in Durham will take most of your stuff into the yurt by snowmobile, so you can just focus on moving your crew along the 1 mile path on foot/snowshoe/ski. None of our kids had skied before, so we snowshoed in with the youngest in a backpack. We brought along skis and were amazed at how much everyone enjoyed learning to ski right there beside the yurt. The inside was perfectly comfortable for the six of us, with a warm fire and clean (but very cold) outhouse just outside the door of the yurt. Book early because the yurts fill up fast. We did it with kids ages 3 to 11.

Mt. Kineo - Big Adventure

This one requires some time commitment if you are coming from Southern Maine, but you can find big adventure with minimal effort here. Camp at Lily Bay State Park, then drive to Rockwood where you can catch a small ferry to the island in the middle of Moosehead Lake. The lake is notoriously choppy, so the ferry ride can be a thrill all by itself. Once on the island, the hike to the peak of Mt. Kineo is totally achievable for young hikers, and the views are worth it. We did this with kids 9 to 11, but it's within reach of the younger crowd, too.

Big Falls Preserve - Mini Adventure

This hidden gem in New Gloucester was recently acquired by the Royal River Conservation Trust. There's an easy trail that winds through the hilly woods and along a beautiful brook. The ultimate destination is Big Falls, a surprisingly robust waterfall along this pleasant stream. Our kids have spent many hours playing on the rocks at the falls and along the brook.

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475 US Route 1

Freeport, Maine

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Monday: Closed

Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday: 10am - 5pm

Thursday: 10am - 5pm

Friday: 10am - 5pm

Saturday: 10am - 4pm

Sunday: Closed

Always a good idea to check our Facebook page for the most up-to-date summer hours. 

*Closing at 3:00 on Friday, August 21st. Closed Saturday, August 22nd.