One of the great road trips on the East Coast is taking a road trip to Acadia National Park, located right next to Bar Harbor, ME. I think it is one of the most beautiful national parks in the system and from Boston it can either be a fast or leisurely scenic drive, depending on how much time you have.
If you are short of time, you can always just get on Rte 95 North and take that all the way to Portland, ME. From there, hop on ME-3 Eastbound for a three hour drive up to the Park. Of course, if you are really short on time or hate to drive, you can always fly into Bangor, ME and then drive or take a bus from there, but then you would be missing out on all the fun of a road trip. Not to mention the fact that a road trip is one of the more kid friendly vacation options. It saves money on airfare and there are lots of fun car games to play and pass the time.
For a more leisurely, and far more scenic plan, I recommend taking Rte 1 or 1A most of the way. If you are starting from Boston, skip the Massachusetts section of Rte 1 and take 95 North to the Maine border. By picking up Rte 1 up there, you skip some drab towns near Boston and allow yourself plenty of time to wander around places like Kennebunkport and Ogunquit and the LL Bean Store in Freeport, which is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Be sure to also stop someplace for a delicious lobster roll so your Maine adventure will be complete.
The road trip doesn’t end when you get to the park though. Acadia National Park has a great driving loop, known as Park Loop Road. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to the park and has many stunning vistas which will invite you to get out of the car and stretch your legs.
If you are making a summer visit to Acadia, just keep in mind that some of the beach towns along Rte 1/1A can get very busy, especially on the weekends. So bring an Atlas so you can seek out some alternative paths around any heavy traffic. Usually all you need to do is leave 1A for the mile or so it runs through town. Then again, you can just go with the flow and hop out of the car and go put your feet in the ocean. That’s the way I prefer to handle traffic delays!