Kids Enjoy Maine Family Vacations on the Kennebec River

Sunday, July 31, 2011 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Kids Kennebec River RaftingAs a Maine whitewater rafting guide, there's nothing better than guiding a kid on the river for their first time.  Even from the very beginning of the trip, things like teaching them how to hold our perfect kid sized paddles to how to sit in the raft are moments of excitement.  Some kids are nervous and other are full of anticipation.  One thing is for sure, as the day progresses and we hit the whitewater, the pure thrill of adventure can be seen in their eyes, and the big smiles that follow are priceless!  

Kennebec River rafting is perfect for kids and families.  Kids can raft starting at age 8 by doing the lower portion of the river and by age 10 they are ready to take on the entire trip.  

Here's what our recent guests from Windham, NH had to say about taking their 8 year old rafting with us for his first time:

"My 8 year old son is going to be a river guide like Brent! Northern Outdoors' plan for younger kids to be picked up at the half way point was awesome! My younger kids still felt a part of the trip and they loved hanging out with Jim!" 

Kids enjoy rafting on the Kennebec River just as much as parents, and guides love taking kids on the river.  Sounds like a win-win family vacation and the perfect mix for summertime fun, huh?

Maine Adventure Vacations with Kids

WWR trip

Saturday, July 23, 2011 by Northern Outdoors Trip Reviews
We had a great time on our entire vacation. When asked, my girls 11 and 8.5 yrs old, both instantly say 'WHITE WATER RAFTING" !!! was their favorite part of the trip. We were also in Bar Harbor whale watching and hiking. The lodge with the pool, hot tub and bar were very relaxing.

The staff was extremely warm and welcoming as well as informative during our entire stay. Seeing a live moose is the only thing that would have made the trip better.(Can you all work on that)? LOL. I know the girls will talk for years about how Brandy our guide conspired with them to push my wife and I into the river just when the film was rolling.

Great place for families, or groups of all kinds. Thanks

Eric M
Annapolis, Maryland

Rating: 5 *****

Maine Family Rafting Adventure

Video of the Week: Beat the Heat with Kennebec River Rafting

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 by Northern Outdoors Staff

Maine whitewater rafting is exciting, fun and a great way to connect with the outdoors.  Throw some hot weather into the mix and there's just not a better way to spend a summer day than on a Kennebec River Rafting trip.  Sunshine, refreshingly clean water and a boat load of friends will beat the heat any day, especially when floating on the Kennebec River.

The rafters in this clip of the week have just the right idea - when you're not getting splashed by waves on the upper river, get in the water for a good old fashion "nose up toes up" river float.  Or as we say, be part of the Kennebec River Swim Team and experience the force of the river first hand.  Of course your Maine whitewater rafting guide will let you know the proper Kennebec River rafting swim spots.  

As you meander down stream, don't be surprised if you see one of our video boaters catching you on camera as you float by - just be sure to wave!

Kennebec River Rafting
Maine Family Vacations

Snowmobiling with friends and family

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 by Northern Outdoors Trip Reviews
Awesome vacation to Northern Outdoors!.The snowmobiling was awesome and the atmosphere at Northern Outdoors Lodge was great. I highly recommend this spot for sledding. We are going to try rafting this summer.

Galen W
Ludlow, MA

Rating: 5 *****

Maine Snowmobiling
Northern Outdoors Lodge

Castlebay Music for Maine Family Adventures

Friday, December 24, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Julia Lane and Fred Gosbee of CastlebayMaine’s music derives from several places.  Arcadian French, Scottish and English influences have spread over the Maritimes islands, across the farm lands and through the mountains.  Sea shanties and Celtic reels, folks songs and modern arrangements of old classics are all part of Maine’s musical history.

Julie Lane and Fred Gosbee of Castlebay Music offer up fantastic renditions of traditional music.  Specializing in Celtic harp, guitar, fiddle and tin whistle, this duo has toured New England and the rest of the Eastern United States, as well as though Ireland, England and Scotland playing at festivals and arts centers.  Their vocals are clear and charming and to see them play live is a real treat.

Whether flying solo on the way to Maine rafting or Maine snowmobile adventures or heading north for Maine family vacations, for those interested in getting a taste of Maine music on their Maine adventure vacations, checking to see where Castlebay is playing is always a great idea.  Visitors lucky enough to be in the Kennebec Valley region on January 9, 2010, can find Castlebay playing an afternoon concert in Augusta. 

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Winter Wonderland for Maine Snowmobile Adventures

Monday, November 29, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Grand Falls MaineWinter wonderland is a phrase known from song, but there is truth in it — and not just because people spend time wondering just how snowy/long/cold/super-fun an upcoming winter is going to be.  Maine adventure vacations are year round options — with skiing and Maine snowmobile adventures being the primary loves of winter travelers.

Whether the prefered way to spend the winter is sitting in front of a cozy fireplace, zipping down a mountain making perfect turns in fresh powder, stomping through kneehigh snowdrifts on snowshoes or roaring across a frozen lake on a snowmobile, there is something actually wonderful about winter.

It's the magic of the first snowfall of the season, and the way the world gets blanketed with quiet.  It's the smell of warm wool sweaters, and every excuse to drink hot chocolate (sometimes with a little kick added...who me?).  Winter is snowmen and snowflakes and snowball fights and a great time to get sit and chat with friends.

And without winter, how little would we trully appreciate the wonder that is spring? 

Maine Snowmobile EventsThe Maine Snowmobile Association (MSA) maintains a calendar of events of interest to snowmobile enthusiasts.  Contrary to what might be expected, not all these events take place in the winter, or out on a Maine snowmobile trail.  

The MSA posts all kinds of happenings on its website events page.  From business type events like club meetings or safety training sessions, to family friendly pot luck suppers, there is something to interest just about everyone.  Whether it’s going to a craft fair or a trail maintenance gathering, taking a ride with a local club to a local restaurant, or heading out with a group of friends for an Inn to Inn tour, Maine snowmobile riders like to get out and do things.     

Those looking for a way to get together with other snowmobile riders or to just find out what’s going on in the area can check out the calendar at the MSA Website.

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Inn to Inn Maine Snowmobile Adventure Vacations Simply Rock!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
The Herbert Grand Hotel in Kingfield MaineRip-roaring fun meets warm comfort and seriously good eats on a Maine Snowmobile Inn-to-Inn tour through the woods and fields of Maine. 

These snowmobile adventures begin at Northern Outdoors in The Forks with a night in a Cozy Cabin — with full access to the lodge, hottub, bar, game room and dining — and in the morning eveyone gets up and blazes trail for the day.  The trail to the Herbert Grand Hotel runs south towards Bingham and onto North Anson, before heading west to Kingfield — literally over the river and through the woods — though we don't promise any grandmothers will be waiting at the Herbert!  After an evening of classy wine and dine, a soft bed awaits.  The morning means a good breakfast and exploring your way back north to Northern Outdoors with big views of the spectacular Bigelow Range for another night of fun in the lodge or relaxation in your cabin. 

An Inn-to-Inn tour is a sweet and snazzy version of a classic Maine snowmobile adventure.  

Maine Snowmobile EventsThe Maine Snowmobile Association (MSA) maintains a calendar of events of interest to snowmobile enthusiasts.  Contrary to what might be expected, not all these events take place in the winter, or out on a Maine snowmobile trail.  

The MSA posts all kinds of happenings on its website events page.  From business type events like club meetings or safety training sessions, to family friendly pot luck suppers, there is something to interest just about everyone.  Whether it’s going to a craft fair or a trail maintenance gathering, taking a ride with a local club to a local restaurant, or heading out with a group of friends for an Inn to Inn tour, Maine snowmobile riders like to get out and do things.     

Those looking for a way to get together with other snowmobile riders or to just find out what’s going on in the area can check out the calendar at the MSA Website.

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Take Our Survey and You Could Win An L.L. Bean Duffle Bag Set to Tote Your Gear on Maine Adventure Vacations

Thursday, November 18, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
We are planning ahead for next season and we could really use your input to make your next Maine whitewater rafting trip, Maine snowmbile trip or weekend getaway with your friends or family the best it can be.  To help with that, we createL.L. Bean Duffle Bag Setd a benchmark feedback survey to find out what you think about all the stuff we do and offer.   Your survey responses will help us understand what to improve for you in 2011.

Can you spare 10 minutes?  Take the survey here.
We timed the survey and it takes about 10 minutes to complete. Less if you don't answer all the questions.  (But you wouldn't do that, would you?) 

As a thank you and reward for completing our survey, you will be entered you into a drawing to win this durable L.L. Bean luggage set. It will carry everything you need for your next adventure getaway!
  • Yellow Small: 1,052 cubic inches
  • Red Medium: 2,024
  • Green Large: 5,832
The random drawing for the duffle set will be held at noon on December 1, 2010, so be sure to complete the survey before then.

Thank you for your input and good luck!

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Inspiring - or Just Plain Fun - Stories for Maine Family Vacations

Monday, November 15, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Baxter Bear and Moses MooseMaine is a great place to be a kid, even if it's just for a long weekend.  There are ponds and pools to swim in, loons to spot, moose to watch for, kayaks to paddle, rivers to raft, trails to hike, ATVs and snowmobiles to ride...the list goes on and on.  There are also great books to read, good for a laugh, a gasp and fun for the entire family. 

Here is a great list of books set in Maine and often written by Maine writers that will amuse and inspire youngsters of all ages on Maine family vacations.

Some of our favorites include:
  • Andre by Lew Dietz, the story of the world's most famous seal. 
  • Baxter Bear and Moses Moose by Evariste Bernier  about a bear who collects hats and a moose with cold feet.
  • Counting Our Way to Maine by Maggie Smith the perfect book for a roadtrip to Maine
  • Lost on a Mountain in Maine by Donn Fendler and Joseph Egon is the classic an unforgettable story of a boy's survival after becoming lost in the Maine woods.  Based on a true story - with a happy ending!
There are a lot of great Maine stories out there, and we would love to hear about them. Which is your favorite?
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Edible Education on Maine Family Vacations

Monday, October 18, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
The Great Maine Apple DayAnyone who loves apples and is up here on Maine family vacations, or perhaps up scouting for a future Maine snowmobile adventure, should head to Unity, Maine for the Maine organic Farmers and Gardeners Association's Great Maine Apple Day!

Taking place at the Common Ground Education Center on October 22, 2010 from 12pm - 4pm, this rain or shine event will offer educational programs, contests and of course lots of apples and apple goodies! 

Programs will include classes in fruit tree pruning, cooking with old time apple recipes, and exploration of Maine's rich apple history, how-to adventures in wine and cider making and, of course, organic tree care.

There will also be an 'identify that apple' area for people to bring apples species from their backyard trees to have them identified.  A vendor area will offer local and organic apples, apple products, cheeses and other local handmade goods. And did we mention the homemade pie contest?  This is an event apple lovers will not want to miss!

Admission is $4 dollars per person ($2 for members of MOFGA & Maine Pomological Society)

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Apple Picking a Great Part of Maine Family Vacations

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff

Maine whitewater rafting may be over for the season, but there is still plenty to explore across Maine as the seasons change and we begin to make the transition to winter and a whole new range of outdoor adventures.

Maine Pick Your Own Apple Family AdventureWith fall in full swing, the leaves are turning and falling and the roadside farms and farm stands are bursting with fresh apples, pumpkins and a variety of squash and gourds. Did someone say fresh pressed cider? Yum!

A stop at one of these stands supports local farms and offers a chance to chat with the folks who actually grow the food. Several orchards / farms across the Kennebec Valley region will let visitors pick their own apples right from the trees or choose the perfect Halloween pumpkin from the field. 

For those who are not sure where the nearest farm is, Maine has a great website that can find all the local farms within 25 miles of a given zipcode — Get Real Maine is a great resource for natives and visitors alike.

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Maine Family Vacations - Hoorah for Summer Getaways!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Maine Family VacationsSummer is family time, and there is nothing like getting outdoors with the kids and playing on rivers and trails to give everyone something to talk about for the rest of the year.  Big travel vacations are tough for families in an economy like this, but a 2-3 day getaway packed with fun is possible, only a short drive away from everyday life. 

Kids in the game room, families playing water volleyball in the swimming pool, everybody trekking through the woods with GPS in hand on a Geocaching hunt — there is no end to the fun a Maine family adventure vacation offers.  Throw in half-price Kennebec River rafting or float trips and everyone is cooled off as well as relaxed. 

In honor of adventerous families, we have gathered our great family getaway activities into one list (TADA!) to make planning Maine adventure vacations with kids easier. Yes, we really are that good.  The fact that many of us have kids and love to watch their faces as they experience new things lets us help visitors with their planning.   We encourage everyone to bring the kids or the grandkids and come out to play.

Kennebec River Float Trips on Maine Family Vacations

Thursday, June 3, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Maine Kennebec River Float Trips with Northern OutdoorsKids love the water - and the idea of whitewater rafting New England rivers thrills many of them.  But what if the kids are too young for a full-on Kennebec River rafting trip?  Float trips are the answer! 

Available for kids as young as 8 years of age, a float trip on a Maine river is both exciting and relaxing.  With splashy ripples, great views, an the posibility of sighting moose, herons, eagles and opsreys in the wild, a self-guided Kennebec River float trip is a great way to get the entire family on the water.  Float trips take place on a calmer section of river than Kennebec River rafting trips, and offer a more relaxed option for a day on the river.

Most of the time, float trips offer the opportunity for each person to raft with a small one-person or two-person inflatable kayak - allowing each child the option of being captain of his or her own ship!  A taste of independence, cool water and fun - what more could anyone want on their Maine family vacation?

Prime Picnicing on Maine Family Vacations

Friday, May 28, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Wyamn Lake as seen from Wyman Lake Overlook Picnic AreaA huge part of great Maine family vacations is enjoying the incredible beauty that surrounds Maine's roads and trails.  Route 201 on the way to some of the best Maine whitewater rafting is so beautiful and historic, it's been listed as a National Scenic Byway

There are several great pullouts along Route 201 north of Bingham - and the picnic area at the Wyman Lake Overlook is worth stopping at even for those who have not packed a feast.  The view down the length of Wyman Lake is stunning as you take in the islands, mountains and forest around you.

Picnic Area US Route 201 MaineFor those who plan ahead and pack a lunch or snack, the covered picnic tables at this location make for comfortable roadside dining.   There are also primative toilet facilities provided and informative interpretive boards telling about the history of the area.  A great place to spend a few minutes or an hour before getting back on the road to The Forks and more great things to do on your Maine adventure vacation.

(Coordinates to the picnic area in Google Maps are: 45.15583,-69.956498)

Maine's "Moose Alley" - US Route 201 to Adventure

Monday, May 24, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
US Rte 201 Maine Moose AlleyIn order to get to the best Maine whitewater rafting (Dead River rafting & Kennebec River rafting), visitors drive up US Route 201.   This scenic road is runs from Fairfield to the Canadian border and is known by a couple of other names - The Old Canada Road Scenic Byway and "Moose Alley."  Anyone traveling along this stunning road will see instantly why it is listed as a Scenic Byway and once the road begins to parallel the Kennebec River, the fact that this is moose country makes the reason for the second nickname obvious as well.

Moose (Alces alces) are the largest members of the deer family.  They are are usually dark brown in color, though they can appear tan or even patchwork when they are transitioning to and from their winter coats.  They have long legs, large bulbous noses and short powerful necks.  Females are known as cows, babies as calves and males as bulls.  Bulls drop their antlers in the winter, but begin growing them again in the spring and are often spotted with enormous, flat-spanning racks in summer and into fall.

Because of their short necks, moose cannot lower their heads to graze in a traditional fashion, so they are often seen standing chest deep in water and marshes, feeding on underwater weeds or shore grasses.   This habit makes US Route 201 ideal of moose spotting as the road is bordered by miles of rivers, lakes, ponds and marshes.

Keeping an eye out for these 1000+ pound giants is a wise idea, not only because it is a thrill to spot one, but because having an automotive encounter with one is not recommended.  Making moose spotting part of Maine family vacations is always a great idea and those travel "Moose Alley" to The Forks amd north towards Jackman and the Canadian border have a head start on the fun.

Dads Raft for Free on Fathers Day

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Father's Day is coming right up and we're looking forward to seeing a lot of dads on the river enjoying Maine whitewater rafting.   There's nothing like getting out on the river to make a day special - especially when dads get to go rafting for free!  (Which they do at Northern Outdoors, with one other full paying guest.)

Northern Outdoors is dad's favorite type of place - lots of fun, great food, fresh beer on tap, and a great cabin to go back to at the end of an adventure-packed day.  Make a weekend of it  - heck if a day of appreciation is good, then two days are even better.  Grab a cabin and no one has to mow the lawn, take out the trash or do the dishes. 

Kennebec River rafting is an awesome experience that people return to again and again.  If Dad gets hooked on it, this can become an annual family adventure vacation.  Not bad when you consider the hearty eats and great adventures available to the whole crew.

Maine - Land of No Billboards

Monday, April 19, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Old Canada Road Scenic ByWay Maine Route 201 - PLCPhotoAnyone who has ever travelled I-90 through South Dakota knows all they will ever need to about billboards, large and small.  Coming and going, I-90 sprouts billboards like weird rectangular shrubbery, and it can be a disconcerting journey for someone from Maine where billboards simply do not exist.

That's right, Maine has no billboards.  Not one.  Not since 1979 when they were banned in the state!

Traveling on I-95, informational signs are small and unobtrusive, leaving roadsides free for moose-looking instead of ad-gazing.  This means visitors have a different experience traveling in Maine from the instant they cross the state line.

For instance, traveling to The Forks for Maine whitewater rafting or Maine family vacations or simply driving for pleasure alongside Wyman Lake on the Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway, takes travelers along I-95 and north on Route 201, aka "Moose Alley," offering unbroken wooded vistas, backroad glimpses of fishing holes and lake views that are not dotted with, or blocked by, giant advertisements.  Small signs in blues, greens or browns point the way to interesting attractions, locations and businesses.  Driving in Maine is an experience in paying attention in new ways, one a visitor won't soon forget.

Who Needs California When You Can Dream of Maine

Friday, April 16, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Birch Trees at Wyman Lake Maine - Credit PLCPhotoCalifornia dreaming?  Who needs it!  Maine is a state where visitors regularly state in awe "I had no idea this state is so beautiful!"  Often they turn to natives and say, "Do you realize how beautiful your state is?"  To which we reply, "Every day." 

The beauty of coming to Maine, whether it's for Maine family vacations, maine whitewater rafting,  a wedding, a romantic weekend getaway or to explore some of the best fishing and hiking in the north east, is that visitors get to experience the joy and awe that those of us who live here get to appreciate year round. 

We're more than quaint coastal villages and lobster.  We're mountain vistas, cold deep lakes, winding backroads, moose and birds and wildflowers.  We're great camp sites with loons crying in the night and we're luxury cabins in cool woods.  Not everyone gets to live here and say, "Every day."  But everyone deserves the opportunity to ask "Do you realize...?"

Maine Rafting Company Announces Spring Whitewater Special for New England Ski Pass Holders to Benefit Maine Handicapped Skiing Programs

Monday, March 1, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Spring Raftinf on the Dead River, MaineAs spring turns to summer and snow turns to runoff it's time to put away your skis and boards and get out on Maine's whitewater rivers and benefit a good cause.
Northern Outdoors, based in The Forks, Maine is offering all New England skiers and riders a chance to directly support disabled veterans and active service personnel via spring rafting vacations. New England Ski Area season pass holders will save $15 off all Northern Outdoors May & June rafting trips with their current Season Pass. For every season pass rafter, Northern Outdoors will donate $5 to the Maine Handicapped Skiing's Veterans / No Boundaries Program.
Maine Handicapped Skiing's Veterans/No Boundaries, provides veterans and active duty personnel with disabilities summer and winter adaptive sports activities, free of charge.  Veterans/No Boundaries is funded by Bath Iron Works, Disabled Sports USA, veterans groups, local businesses and individuals who are passionate about supporting Maine’s service men and women.
Spring white water rafting typically has higher water flows thanks to winter snow melt and offers exciting early season adventure. The Ski Pass Special is valid on all three of Maine’s whitewater rivers- the Kennebec, the Penobscot, and the Dead River. Each unique river offers a vacation experience of thrilling fun and adventure for first-time rafters, families, and high adventure enthusiasts.
For more information on the New England Ski Resort Season Pass Holders Special call 800-765-7238 or visit

Snowy Trails to Maine Adventures

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Maine SnowmobileSnowmobile adventures make for great Maine family vacations, and for folks who don't have their own sled, we rent them. We even have guides available to show you all the best trails and most spectacular winter, northwoods views. 

At the end of a long day on the trail, there's nothing like a great meal and a steaming hot tub.  The only thing to make it better is good friends to share the evening with.  So we're looking forward to a super snowy winter, with lots of roaring fires in the lodge and fresh beer in the bar taps to welcome all our winter buddies back for the season.  And in anticipation of a great snowmobling season, our new Northern Outdoors Maine snowmobile information is ready to download or if you'd prefer you can follow the link to request a copy in the mail.