If we had to choose two summer icons in Maine, they would be a lighthouse and a lobster. The Atlantic coast of this area of New England gives us cliffs, endless beaches, remote islands where cars do not ply and postcard towns where you can get lost and enjoy this area in northern Massachusetts.
Portland, the most populous city in the U.S. state of Maine is known for its gastronomic offer and for the production of beer, and is two hours north of Boston.
|If you have seen Maine only in summer, a winter surprise awaits.|
Through food and water activities, along with the plethora of natural spaces, Maine has a lot of natural opportunities for visitors to enjoy the State.
1. Acadia National Park
Maine’s most promising attractions are its green spaces, with Acadia shining bright as one of the best. This national park covers 48,000 acres across three large islands and many smaller ones. Acadia is filled with things to do for the interested visitor.
Do you like hiking?
There are many trails for you to wander, covering over 120 miles. Some of these trails are also historic, like the Park Loop Road, which leads into the interior of the forests on the main island.
Do you enjoy fresh foods?
There are wonderful places to pick blueberries fresh from plants, and the seafood comes fresh from the nearby ocean.
Are you an early morning person and enjoy the sunrise?
At the top of Cadillac Mountain you can look out to the ocean to see the first sunrise in the entire continental United States. Those activities only scratch the surface of everything there is to do there. There are two campgrounds in Maine, a series of gravel trails and stone bridges, and natural attractions.
2. Bar Island
Ferries depart from Boothbay Harbor, Port Clyde and New Harbor. Bar Harbor is located on the island of Mount Desert – about five hours drive from Boston – and surrounded by the famous Acadia National Park. A good way to explore the city is by bicycle. Go up Mount Cadillac, which is said to receive the first rays of sunlight in the United States every morning.
Although this is only true in winter and autumn, in summer there are many who decide to climb at dawn to see the day break from this magnificent place.
Bar Harbor is a town on Mount Desert Island (pronounced like dessert, to the bafflement of visitors), the same island that holds most of Acadia National Park. It is a sweet little town, filled with places to eat and stay. There are many great ways to tour the town, from bicycling to cruises on tall, wooden ships around the harbor.
3. US Route 1
If you will be travelling by car, there are two main ways to get around Maine. You can take the back roads through the middle of the state, or you can drive down Coastal Highway no. 1. The advantage of the latter choice is the scenery. If you enjoy the journey down this two-lane highway, there are many sights to see and small towns to stop at.
Some of the attractions are in the style of other American highway attractions, such as the World’s Largest Rotating Globe. As this highway passes through a few small towns, it is populated with many varied places to eat. Should you need suggestions, they follow.
4. Mé Lon Togo in Camden
This place serves delicious West African Cuisine, along with vegetarian options. A delicatessen with places to sit, Bell the Cat in Belfast has a large selection of breakfast foods, soups, and lunchtime sandwiches. Maine is known for Seafood, and Muddy rudder serves fresh seafood up to Maine’s standards.
5. Moxie Falls
Outside the town of Moxie Gore sits one of Maine’s highest Waterfalls, hiding a 90 foot drop among its other, smaller drops and pools of water. A short 2 mile trail loops around the waterfall, and it is an easy hike up to the waterfall and back down. If fishing suits you better, there are a few fishing holes to catch trout. Very nearby are swimming holes for your entertainment.
6. Casco Bay
From downtown Portland you can take a ferry to an island in Casco Bay, such as Peaks Island.
7. Portland Head Light
Visit the oldest lighthouse in the state, Portland Head Light.
Without cars and with a population that does not reach a hundred people, the small island of Monhegan Island, shaped like a whale and 19 kilometers from the coast, gives us a natural and rustic passage where time seems to have stopped.
8. Ogunquit Beach
South of Portland, and only an hour and a half from Boston by car, the Ogunquit city, which in the language of the Algonquin Indians means pretty place by the sea, is a popular holiday destination, especially among Canadians in Quebec.
Known as The Kennenbunks, and famous throughout the country because the Bush family lives here, Kennebunkport is a town north of Ogunquit that offers good beaches to spend the day with, such as Goose Rocks and Gooch’s Beach.
9. Marginal Way
With good gastronomic offer, hotels and Bed & Breakfasts to spend the night, one of its main attractions is the coastal road Marginal Way, perfect for a walking tour by the ocean that will take us to Perkins Cove, a picturesque village of fishermen where we can eat delicious lobsters and take a boat trip.
Looking for the best fall foliage home base in Maine around the mountainous areas of New England? The western Maine town of Bethel is perfectly situated for leaf-viewing getaways as the fall colors change. Bethel is best known as a ski town, but the same peaks that attract skiers when covered in winter white are even more spectacular when dressed in vivid autumn hues. The leaves are reflected in sparkling mountain lakes, adding to the autumn beauty of this region. Its proximity to the New Hampshire border makes Bethel an excellent destination for those who also want to see foliage in the White Mountains. A fall visit to Bethel puts peepers in the heart of a region known for scenic driving, hiking, biking, elk watching and more. During the fall foliage season, you’d be hard pressed to find a better base for scenic driving than Bethel. Make your way through Grafton Notch State Park along Route 26, and don’t miss the drive north to Rangeley, Maine, along Route 17 – The Height of Earth Lookout is spectacular. The start of New Hampshire’s Kancamagus Highway, one of New England’s best fall drives, is just over an hour away. Visit the Shaker Village a short drive away on Lake Sabbathday. And don’t miss the annual Harvestfest and the “Chowdah” Cook-off in September.
11. Maine State Museum
Another important place to visit in Maine would be Augusta. The State capital has much to offer in its beautiful area. Sitting on a bank of the Kennebec river, the city looks picturesque. Inside the city you can find many attractions, such as the Maine State Museum, Fort Western, and Viles Arboretum. This broad range of attractions leaves something for everybody.
The Maine State Museum houses a locomotive, a working mill, reproductions of former stores in Augusta, and exhibits on the conflicts between Native Americans and the British and French. It has been open in its current form since 1971, but it has been opened and closed six times since its grand opening in 1836.
Fort Western was built in 1754 during the middle of the French and Indian War as a British colonial outpost. Through specific repairs the authenticity of this structure has been maintained, and it still represents accuracy to the original structure. As it is a living museum, it gives a picture as to what life was like in the second half of the 1800s, and offers guided tours to give more information.
The Viles Arboretum is 220 acres of plants, hiding 300 different species of tree, shrub and other plants. There are numerous trails to walk, to be able to experience the Arboretum in full, and biking and horse riding are allowed, if another method of transport is preferred. Dogs may come along to also enjoy nature.
Text BY: Jakob Schreiber