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Whale Watching?

Midwest
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Whale Watching?

I'm newby the New England coast. MANY questions :-)

When is the whale watching season?

Is May a good time to go? Is everything going to be open?

Where will we get good, budget friendly, lobster?

Is it best to fly into Portland?

Do you suggest a day trip to Bar Harbor & maybe taking a cruise on the Lulu Lobster Boat?

THANK YOU for any & all suggestions :-)

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Lulu Lobster Boat
Lulu Lobster Boat
755 Reviews
Mount Desert Island, ME
New England
New England
United States
Bar Harbor, Maine
Destination Expert
for Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park
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1. Re: Whale Watching?

In terms of your general planning, you probably will get more responses, ideas, and advice by putting your questions on the general Maine forum first, then hitting the specific forums as you develop your plans.

A good general source with which to begin is:

http://www.travelinmaine.com

This site, maintained by the State of Maine, has links to the eight regions of Maine.

May is considered the shoulder season in many parts of the state. Here on Mount Desert Island (Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park, etc.) a lot of places aim at opening full-time on Mother's Day weekend. Before that, a number of shops and restaurants may only be open on weekends or on a four or five-day schedule.

Whale-watching season here generally is June through early October; the mid-summer months seem to be the best.

Lobster prices are pretty much the same all over. They are based for the most part on market price although some places offer "early-bird" specials. Other than that, the price differences are based on the amenities and what is provided with the lobster dinner.

Where to fly into depends on where you intend to spend the bulk of your time and how much driving you want to do. If you decide to concentrate on the southern and mid-coast area, then Portland, Manchester NH, or Boston would suit you the best. If you decide to concentrate on downeast Maine or the northern lakes region, then Bangor would the nearest commercial airport. A general rule of thumb is that Boston to this area is about 5.5 hours interstate driving time; Portland to here is about 3 hours; Bangor is about 90 minutes. If you opt to take the more coastal route, i.e., Rtes. 1 and 3, the drive time will be longer by an hour or so, depending on the number of stops you make.

In terms of driving in Maine, generally it is easier to go north-south than east-west.

As for this area, some people make day trips; others find that a week or more isn't enough. It all depends on what interests you. Lulu Lobster Boat is very popular and very well regarded. Unless people are just dead-set on seeing a whale, I recommend Lulu, Diver Ed's, or one of the other boat tours that concentrates more on the inshore area, its scenery, and its wildlife.

There are a lot of knowledgeable, interested, and helpful people who read the Maine forum as well as the specific ones. Don't be hestitant to ask. At one time or another, most of us were first-timers to Maine.

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Mount Desert Island
Mount Desert Island
2,419 Reviews
Mount Desert Island, ME
Lulu Lobster Boat
Lulu Lobster Boat
755 Reviews
Mount Desert Island, ME
Maine
Maine
United States
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park
Mount Desert Island, ME
Manchester
Manchester
New Hampshire
Boston
Boston
Massachusetts
Bangor
Bangor
Maine
Midwest
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2. Re: Whale Watching?

I really appreciate your input. I should have been clearer with my plans. We need to use a timeshare week & TradeWinds On the Bay is open the week of May 14, which is in Rockland. It's only a "hotel" room, so that concerns us. Looks like it is a couple hrs north of Portland & then a couple more hrs to Bar Harbor for a day trip. I'm assuming there are some interesting things to do around Rockland, too. We just enjoy the seascapes & a small boat tour with learning some history from the guide & seeing some beautiful coastline sounds real good to us. Lots of homework to do. We are in the midwest & visit other coasts often (Florida, California, & even Hawaii) but haven't made it to NE, yet. NE or the great northwest & redwoods are a couple of our goals.

Thanks again, for all the information.

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Rockland
Rockland
Mid Coast Maine, ME
Florida
Florida
United States
Bar Harbor, Maine
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3. Re: Whale Watching?

OK, that clarifies some things.

You are right---Rockland is roughly equidistant from Portland and Bar Harbor. Day trips to either are definitely do-able. Portland is a great city---legend has it that it has more restaurants per capita than any other place in this country. The Old Port area is fun to roam around in. You can ride the mailboat/ferry that supplies the islands in Casco Bay. In going to from Portland, I'd use the interstate (I-295) between Portland and Freeport, then 1 the rest of the way to Rockland.

Freeport, of course, has LLBean. There is a great restaurant virtually next door to LLBean---the Azure Cafe. It is our lunch stop when we are in Freeport.

If art interests you, Rockland is home to the Farnsworth Art Museum. Its principal area of concentration is art about Maine or by Maine artists. It also houses the Wyeth Center, dedicated to the works of the three Wyeths.

Camden, just up the road from Rockland, has a classic Maine harbor. Mt. Battie offers great views of Camden and the surrounding area.

On the way to Bar Harbor on 1, you will cross the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. If the observatory (atop one of the bridge piers) is open, it's worth a stop.

I'm not sure if Lulu and the other tour boats will be operating then or not, but a little later on, they probably will have their 2010 schedules on their web sites. Acadia National Park will be open.

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Old Port
Old Port
972 Reviews
Portland, ME
Casco Bay
Casco Bay
214 Reviews
Portland, ME
Farnsworth Art Museum
Farnsworth Art Museum
745 Reviews
Rockland, ME
Penobscot Narrows Bridge
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346 Reviews
Prospect, ME
Rockland
Rockland
Mid Coast Maine, ME
Bar Harbor
Bar Harbor
Mount Desert Island, ME
Maine
Maine
United States
Camden
Camden
Mid Coast Maine, ME
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park
Mount Desert Island, ME
Azure Cafe
Azure Cafe
838 Reviews
Freeport, ME
New York, New York
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218 posts
1 review
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4. Re: Whale Watching?

To help you evaluate the boat tour options, you might want to look at the photographs of the Diver Ed cruise at this blog:

…wordpress.com/2009/…

Like kids? Then it is absolutely great, and it certainly is interesting and comfortable for all ages. Another option to consider is the Downeast Friendship Sloop.

Hope you love the New England coast!

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New England
New England
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Midwest
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5. Re: Whale Watching?

Thanks for the link. Very cute. Our kids are grown & it will just be my husband & I, but sea sickness is a concern for me :-) I'll just have to go on a calm day & heavily medicated! :-)

6. Re: Whale Watching?

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