If you’re like us, August always gets you feeling a little wistful—nights getting cooler, back to school commercials on TV, and a vague sense of foreboding about the arrival of fall.
We think the best way to combat this feeling is to grab the kids and get out on the water. What could be better than feeling a cool ocean breeze blow through your hair while you ride the Machigonne II to Peaks Island for an end of summer adventure?
Just a 17-minute boat ride from our dock, Peaks Island is one of the most visited, and family-friendly, islands in Casco Bay. In the late 19th century, visitors took to calling the little island “the Coney Island of Maine,” and while you won’t find any carnival rides or Coneys (a classic Coney Island hot dog), you can grab a bite from the hot dog stand just up the hill from the ferry landing before you head off for your adventure.
It’s likely that the kids need to burn off some of energy. Rent bicycles (or bring your own, just don’t forget your bike tickets) and tour the island—it’s full of places to explore.
When you hop on your bikes at Forest City Landing, head up the hill and take a right on Island Avenue toward Seashore Avenue. If you’ve got older kids and are feeling adventurous, you can bike all the way around the island, about four miles. That trek might be too far for little legs, but there’re plenty to do just a short ride away from the dock.
If you and the kids aren’t up for the ride around the island, there are some great beaches closer to town that are perfect for soaking in the summer sun (don’t forget your sunscreen!), splashing around in the water, or building sandcastles.
After spending some time in the sun, we’d recommend scooting over to Battery Steele, where you can explore the grounds of a long-retired military fortification. In its heyday, Battery Steele protected Portland Harbor from invaders during World War II, and was one of the largest batteries in the United States.
From Battery Steele it’s a nice easy cruise back into town with some amazing ocean views.
Biking and adventuring will definitely work up an appetite and there are great kid-friendly places close to the dock where you can grab a bite to eat overlooking Casco Bay—Peaks Island House, Cockeyed Gull, or the Inn on Peaks are our favorites!
No trip to Peaks Island is complete without an ice cream from Down Front. Before you hop on the ferry home, stop in and pick out your favorite flavor to savor on the trip back to Portland.
We know the end of summer brings the blues, but you’ve still got time for a family adventure before the school bell rings.