We pretty much regretted stopping here, even if but for a night. This was the first place we stopped upon entering the state, our first Maine experience, and it was thoroughly disappointing. I say this even given the fact that we dropped a couple hundred bucks at the Bean, making me consider what kind of suckers we are. I am sure Freeport has other redeeming qualities outside of the materialism of outlet mall hell, but we didn't take time to discover them (perhaps our loss). Anyway, those that spend a lot of time in the great outdoors would probably agree that the "Bean" is not the "Best" when it comes to backpacking, camping or mountain biking gear.
I would love to return to Maine for another visit, but I probably will not include Freeport in our itinerary.
Acadia National Park has its charms and should not properly be called a tourist trap. At the same time, however, if you are visiting Maine only to go to Acadia and expecting the same National Park experience you get at Yellowstone or Yosemite, you will be disappointed. While Acadia's coast is beautifully craggy and Cadillac Mountain offers great views, there is nothing awe inspiring about the scenary -- most of it can be duplicated elsewhere in Maine. If you are expecting wilderness and wildlife, Baxter State Park is a better choice than this National Park. Furthermore, Acadia can be crowded on summer weekends. Still, Cadillac Mountain is a jewel and the park is worth a stop if you're in the area. Just don't make it the culmination of your trip.
Unique Suggestions: The best way to see Acadia is to get out of your car and take a hike on one of the many short trails. Since you won't get solitude, enjoy the people you meet rather than begrudge their presence -- the Eastern USA just doesn't have enough National Parks for everyone.
This is the ultimate tourist trap but I have to admit that I do love to stop here......it is so funky....and it has all the old fashion gifts I use to love to buy when I was a kid.
The beaded and buckskin indian dolls were my favorite.
Did I mention it actually does have nuts.....all kinds of nuts......!!!!!
Unique Suggestions: Your kids will love it here. It has an old nickle-lodeum. Sp??? It plays wonderful music, and shows dancing dolls and animals.
Fun Alternatives: Oh....just do it and get it over with.
This is definately a tourist trap!! If you go here, there are numerous shops with everything you can possibly think of. Some of the shops sell cheap junk, but the majority of them are very nice. Everything from moose lightswitch covers to jams and jellies.
Most people would assume that Agusta would be chock full of fine restaurants, exciting nightlife, interesting shops and great culture because it is the capital of Maine. Well, that couldn't be farther from the truth. There's really no reason to get off the highway. Augusta is a shrinking old factory town with a lot of vacancy signs along Water Street (the main downtown drag).
Unique Suggestions: Unless you want to spend an hour in the Maine State Museum or 25 minutes at Ft. Western, America's oldest extant wooden fort, you won't find much to do here. If you happent to be hungry driving by, I can recommend the Thai Star restaurant north of town on Rt 11, or one of the chain reaturants in the new Augusta mall area, but none of these are special reasons to stop here. If you've finished your book, they also have a Barnes& Noble (with a Starbucks!!) in that mall area.
Fun Alternatives: Keep driving up the road to Waterville, which is slightly more interesting, and closer to the highway at least.
D is gonna kill me for this but it is the only photo I have of our little tour to ShipYard Brewing in Portland, Maine. She can blame it on the flash but maybe she just had a few too many tasters. ;)
Fun Alternatives: Actually, this is no trap and by all means stop by ShipYard Brewing for a free tour any time at 86 Newbury Street in Portland. The tours are free and pretty interesting with a free taste of all their beers at the end.
As on our later trips, we finished off our Baxter State Park experience with a trip to the coast - including Cadillac Mountain on Mt. Desert Island. Once you get out of the northern woods and hit the coastline, be prepared for much heavier traffic. It is often backed up for long distances on the secondary highways in popular places like Wiscasset. In this case, we wound our way to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point at 470 m (1500 ft) on Mt. Desert Island. The parking lot was full as we headed back to our old van with the red canoe on top!
Unique Suggestions: Enjoy the view of the coast - on a sunny day it is spectacular (and the traffic is not all that bad in this area of Maine compared to some others).
In the month of July it is best to avoid route 302 from ther hours of 4 to 6 PM
Unique Suggestions: drive defensively and beware of the driver passing illegally on the right past a long line of standing traffic
Fun Alternatives: Stop at one of the restaurants for dinner or the seacoast fun Park in Windham
Well inland maine can be interesting , some lakes but saddly you can drive a lot to see a little = Boring. My suggestion is see the coastal areas the locals promote and upkeep these areas and they are worth meeting
The town is nice but is clog with people in the summer months. Really only has tourist traps and resturants. Other then the beach and the Marginal Way there really isnt anything special about it.
Bar Harbor is a MAJOR tourist trap. It's very hard to get through Ellsworth in the Summer time because everyone is heading to Bar Harbor. Tourist season dies down a bit after Labor Day, but in October you will find the sightseeres out and the traffic in this area won't die down until November.
Sunset Criuse on the Margaret Todd - a four masted schooner. It was a beautiful sunset, but the cruise part was way over-rated. The boat just circled the harbor. And it was cold. If you go, definitely take a jacket!
I was a little disappointed in the way the coastal cities have become filled with outlet malls and chain restaurants/motels. I made advance plans (via the internet) to stay in Ogunquit not knowing anything about Maine - as we were driving south along the coast from Portland, I was really disappointed in what I saw along the way - I expected 'quaint coastal villages' but saw tourism overkill. Luckily I picked the right place to be and that was Ogunquit - I was extremely pleased with this little town and my experience there.
Freeport, Maine may not be a tourist trap, but it sure is full of tourists due to the large number of outlet stores and of course, L.L. Bean's flagship store.
Be prepared to 'powershop' if you stop there.
I stopped here to visit the L.L. Bean store.... as it turns out, the entire downtown district is one big factory outlet mall!!!
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Our family has stayed here several times over the past 25 years, usually in the Ocean Front Lodge....more
Only one of 2 campgrounds actually in Acadia National Park, Blackwoods is really in the middle of it...more