Part golf course - part ultimate backyard, this seaside getaway is one of Maine's most beautiful & serene family resorts.
As you enter the lobby of the Samoset, the timber frame seems to envelope you in a warm, familiar feeling. You’re instantly welcomed by friendly staff and a million-dollar view. I swear, as soon as I was handed my room key, every ounce of real life fell away, and I and my family were on vacation! Known for its serene views and general state of luxury across all 230 acres, the Samoset exceeded my family’s expectations and now tops our list for family getaways.
Where to stay?
As a family with two toddlers, ages 2 and 4, the number one thing that my husband and I look for in a resort is comfort. We stayed in a partial-oceanfront room with two queen beds and a private balcony with views of Penobscot Bay and the golf course. The Keurig coffee maker in the room was a homey comfort that we took full advantage of. This seemingly small amenity allowed my husband and I to enjoy a romantic cup of coffee together overlooking the bay, before our active toddlers woke.
Room rates at the Samoset vary based on the time of year and room type. For a weekend in June, rooms start at $279/night and go up to $469 for full-oceanview suites. For those seeking an even larger space or more privacy, consider a one- or two-bedroom cottage that boasts screened-in porches, full kitchens, and perfect coastal decor.
KidTripster Tip: The Samoset is not just a summer destination. Book your stay in the cooler months and enjoy a winter wonderland! During the day, explore the property on snowshoes or cross-country skis. In the evening, warm up by the fire pit. Your kids are sure to love the ice skating rink, overlooking Penobscot Bay; skate rentals available.
What to do?
Rockport is nestled between the quintessential coastal communities of Rockland and Camden. Both offer quaint shops and beaches lined with seashells. Normally, we love to explore the little towns that make up our beautiful state, but we found that there was absolutely no need to leave the resort.
Whether your family has younger kids or older teens, there are activities for everyone. We were blown away by the Ultimate Backyard: a basketball court, tennis courts, shuffleboard, horseshoes, pickleball, a giant cedar playground, an oversized sandbox, and a covered pavilion with picnic tables for snack time! Our 4-year old learned to play croquet, something that I could have never imagined that he’d enjoy. (Then again, mallet and ball? Now I get it!)
For younger guests, the Samoset Kids Club (ages 5 -12) offers the chance to make new friends and get an authentic feel for what Rockport has to offer. Included in the resort fee, little ones can learn about coastal Maine culture and wildlife through buoy painting, live owl and lizard visits, shoreline exploration, and many other fun events. Older kids will likely be drawn to the game room with its many video game consoles. Parents are encouraged to join in the fun during bonfire s’mores-making and ice cream socials. My kids were beyond excited to roast marshmallows with their new friends and show us their newfound love of disc golf. The club is open Monday through Saturday (9 a.m.-12 p.m. and again from 5-8 p.m.).
The highlight of our days was the zero-entry pool. Our kids are water babies; as soon as their eyes opened, they'd ask to go swimming! Sitting atop a hill with phenomenal views, I can’t even explain how amazing this pool is! The kids loved it because of the gradual depth and the cute fountain in the shallow end. I loved it because it kept them giggling and entertained for hours while my husband and I drank fruity drinks and splashed alongside them.
KidTripster Tip: Order food at the Splash Pool Bar. It offers lighter lunches and a kid-friendly menu. There’s plenty of comfortable seating to really take in the panoramic views.
The resort ranked among the “Top 10 Destinations for Family Golf Trips” by Golf Digest last year. Although we don’t golf ourselves, both my husband and I joked that we should pick up the game, just as an excuse to return.
One of the major draws to the area is the walk along the Rockland Breakwater. It’s a ⅞-mile walk down 700,000 tons of granite to a historic lighthouse that stuns with its panoramic views of the harbor and Owls Head! A beautifully-maintained path from the resort takes you right down to the shore where you can experience the magical view and challenging walk. I will say that it’s definitely worth doing, but the walk can be very tricky and somewhat dangerous for smaller kids. This mama bear wouldn’t recommend it to families with toddlers.
Where to eat?
The moment that we left the resort to head home, we regretted not sticking around for just one more meal. It didn’t matter that we had just finished up an amazing breakfast and couldn't have fit one more bite! Bella lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry compote were ordered two days in a row at the authentic Italian restaurant, La Bella Vita… and for that, my husband isn’t sorry. He described them as the best breakfasts that he’s ever had. I couldn’t get enough of the stuffed, thick-cut French toast with whipped mascarpone cheese, fresh berry compote, sliced bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and marsala syrup. Are you hungry yet?!
Naturally, when dinner rolled around, we couldn’t imagine eating anywhere else, so we dined at La Bella Vita again! Dinner dress is resort casual; it was fun to get a little dressier than normal to enjoy the most amazing food! We opted to dine earlier than normal which allowed us to snag a table on the patio with an ocean view. As a vegetarian, I find most coastal restaurants rely heavily on a seafood menu. Although there were several fantastic seafood options, I was elated to find a vegetarian lasagna - layers of hand-stretched pasta along with sliced summer squash, zucchini, and pesto sauce. One word: divine. My 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter were happy with hot dogs and grilled cheese. Kids?!
KidTripster Tip: Make dinner reservations for La Bella Vita before your stay, or at the very latest, when you check in. It's a favorite among locals as well as resort guests, so it books up quickly.
There are other options for dining at The Samoset. If you’re golfers, the Clubhouse Grille will satisfy your hunger and your need to know sports scores. Several 50-inch flat screens can be found around the restaurant, or if you’d rather take in the views, sit on the covered porch and enjoy a “Lob-Shot” roll stuffed with local lobster meat or have a “Birdie,” tender white chicken, golden delicious apples, and candied walnuts blended with herbed mayonnaise, served over fresh greens with cherry tomatoes and red grapes.
The Samoset is located between Portland and Bangor. It’s a little over a 3-1/2-hour drive from Boston.
Sarah Thayer lives in Eastern Maine with her husband and their two children. As a local reporter, she once found herself interviewing presidential candidates. Now her title is domestic engineer and small business owner. When she isn’t blogging about her misadventures in motherhood, she can be found wandering the aisles of Target.
This writer received a complimentary stay for the purpose of this review. However, all opinions expressed are solely her own.