A family vacation in Maine brings to mind beautiful coastal views, relaxation, sandy beaches, outdoors exploration, and great seafood — all of which are found at the Inn by the Sea. This classic resort in Cape Elizabeth is the perfect home base to experience all of this and more during your family getaway.
A hideaway for many repeat guests, the award-winning Inn by the Sea is among the “top 500 hotels in the world” selected by Travel + Leisure readers, and is a member of the prestigious Preferred Boutique collection of hotels.
Family-Friendly Luxury Accommodations Suit all Sizes
Located directly on Crescent Beach, 10 minutes from the Portland “Old Port” area, the Inn blends homey, seaside charm with contemporary amenities and excellent service. Small and cozy, there are a total of 61 guest rooms, suites and cottages, perfect for both small families and for larger reunion groups seeking comfortable elegance.
The accommodations feature deluxe bedding, flat screen HDTVs, luxurious bathrooms (many with deep soaking or jetted tubs), roomy showers, and porches or balconies with ocean or garden views. Some accommodations have full kitchens, while others have mini-fridges and microwaves that come in handy when traveling with younger ones. Depending on your sleeping needs, the hotel will supply cribs, cots or a rollaway bed and there are no extra fees for children 12 and under sharing a room with adults. Tweens and teens who may be touring the nearby Bowdoin or Bates Colleges will appreciate that complimentary high speed WiFi access is available throughout the property.
The newest Oceanview Beach Suites have more living space and one or two bedrooms; perfect for the multi-generational group that wants to stay together while maintaining some privacy (and maybe, sanity.) Those cooking in their own facility will appreciate the loaner highchairs and booster seats. The Inn’s facilities are also wheelchair and stroller-friendly making it easy for all ages to enjoy.
Indulge Yourself at the Spa by the Sea
The Spa is an integral part of an adults’ Maine retreat. Offering a full menu of facials, body therapies, massages, romantic retreats and signature treatments lasting from 45 minutes to a half-day, guests are sure to find the perfect road to relaxation.
Sea-inspired products include marine-based extracts, rejuvenating seaweed and pure essential oils, and the spa’s Signature Treatments incorporate the seaside location into your experience. For example, the “Sea Waves Massage,” performed on a surround sound massage table, envelops you in the movement of the ocean. Kid’s massage and beauty treatments are also available at The Spa.
Family Together Fun around this Maine Resort
Beyond pampering, adults and older children can work out in the cardio room, play boules on the lawn, participate in a Beach Ecology Walk with a naturalist, take a yoga class or go on a Garden Tour . At the regular Taste of Maine receptions, guests can meet the local folks that make the area so popular with “foodies.”
A sprawling lawn area with an heated outdoor pool and outdoor fire pit is a great spot for family fun, especially with younger kids, and a short stroll on a private boardwalk brings you to the mile-long, unspoiled beachfront. The Inn is also surrounded by a bird sanctuary and a 125-acre pond where your family can view beaver dams or take a guided kayak or canoe tour to the Audubon Preserve for wildlife sightings.
The Rest of the Family: Kids & Pets Welcome in Maine
The Inn by the Sea is a member of Preferred Hotel Group’s Preferred Boutique brand and the company’s Preferred Family program, so it’s met very stringent criteria for family facilities, amenities and activities. While there is no formal Kid’s Club at Inn by the Sea, there are several thoughtful activities for children with and without their parents.
The weekly schedule includes children’s storytelling by a local storyteller who entertains kids with stories and songs, a children’s arts and crafts class led by a local art teacher, children’s cooking class with lots of goodies to taste and, most charming, the Bug’s Life eco-tour. Lead by the Inn’s Head Gardener whose enthusiasm is contagious, kids will create a “critter costume” and then explore the Inn’s extensive gardens and eco-systems through the eyes of a bug.
Pets, another part of the family, are also most welcome. With the Inn’s “Very Important Pets” program, Fido and Fluffy stay for free and will be treated with special water bowls, beach towels and cozy L.L. Bean blankets, their own “happy hour,” ice cream and fresh treats at bed time. Dog walking, doggie day care and pet massage treatments can be arranged. Pets can even join the family for meals if they are taken on the deck or in the fireplace lounge. While most pet guests are canines, the Inn did once host a pot-bellied pig!
Lobster, Anyone? at Sea Glass Restaurant
Sustainable, locally sourced dining is featured under the direction of Chef Mitchell Kaldrovich who has created memorable meals at restaurants, hotels and resorts in Florida, California, Patagonia and Buenos Aires. Here in Cape Elizabeth, the chef utilizes the resources of neighboring farms and the Gulf of Maine at Sea Glass, the Inn’s cozy restaurant which welcomes hotel and outside guests to enjoy ocean views along with amazing food, accompanied by an extensive choice of wines.
In keeping with the Inn’s focus on eco-friendly practices, Kaldrovich has weekly farm-to-table specials. He also promotes a sustainable seafood initiative by serving local, underutilized seafood on his menus. Yet that doesn’t keep the Inn from offering fun day excursions for guests who can go out lobster fishing with the pro’s at the Portland Lobster Company and bring some home for supper. Those who prefer having the chef handle lobster should order the Lobster Tasting Menu so they can sample this prized catch in a Lobster Roll, or served with fresh gnocchi, accompanying a corn risotto and even as a sugar cookie.
Kids are not forgotten at mealtime, as even little ones are offered organic beef, chicken and pork from local farms, along with fresh vegetables and fruits for balanced, healthy and delicious meals, a far cry from the usual fare on children’s menus. There is also a daily vegetarian menu.
Last, but not least, Chef Mitchell’s gourmet pet menu includes such delicacies as Doggy Gumbo, Meat “ROAFF” and K-9 Ice Cream.
A Luxury Retreat with Eco-Friendly Credentials
The Inn by the Sea prides itself on defining eco-luxury by combining modern and environmentally friendly design features, being both “green” and luxurious. Keeping in mind the protection of the natural beauty of their coastal setting, the Inn was the first hotel in Maine to heat with solar panels and biofuel, and to be carbon neutral in its operations.
Eco-friendly practices and products include the use of recycled rubber for the cardio room floor, solar panels to heat the pool water, bamboo towels, and recycled paper key cards. Additionally, the Inn’s sheet and towel program donates savings to protect the endangered monarch butterfly.
The Inn by the Sea is proud to be a DEP-certified Green Lodging and to have been selected as one of the “Top Ten Green Hotels” worldwide, by Tripadvisor.
Weekend Getaway Planning in Maine
On the Preferred Family site, you can find helpful information in the hotel’s fact sheet as well as see why the Inn by the Sea and its family programs are certified for ages infant through eight. In and around Cape Elizabeth and Portland (the resort is 20 minutes from the Portland Airport), families will also find places to try boating and fishing. Of course, day-long excursions in this beautiful part of Maine are very popular, so plan ahead to take advantage of whatever is available seasonally. Typically, sea-borne adventures and local tours (such as to farms and food markets) are given regularly. Families can work with the Inn’s knowledgeable concierge or contact the LL Bean Flagship Store in Freeport, which offers many classes and group excursions in the outdoors.
For big city thrills, a great weekend farmer’s market and some fine museums, spend a day enjoying the fun family activities in Portland, Maine
Sound like the type of quiet, classy and relaxed family beach vacation you have in mind? Contact the Inn by the Sea for current rates and packages. It’s open all year round, so you can splurge for an unforgettable summer vacation or take advantage of the considerable savings in the off season. Fall, when the ocean water is still warm, is an especially nice time to visit.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.