Maine Travel Tips
Maine is a state where the great outdoors are embraced and celebrated. Here are some highlights for your trip to this idyllic New England state:
The Portland metro area boasts more than one-third of Maine’s population, and this quaint but vibrant city has plenty to do and see:
- Check out Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow’s 1786 home, which has been elegantly restored in the heart of Portland on Congress Street.
- Go shopping on historic Commercial Street.
- If you are interested in the Civil War, come to the Maine Historical Society to see an ever-changing exhibit and learn about the conflict.
- The Portland Head Light is located at Cape Elizabeth Maine and looks like the quintessential, postcard lighthouse.
- The Portland Museum of Art has a large collection of Winslow Homer’s New England-inspired paintings.
- Climb to the top of the Portland Observatory - built in 1807 - to see beautiful bay views.
- Check out Old Port - a downtown neighborhood with cobblestone streets and 19th century brick buildings. Grab a meal at Grace or The Corner Room Italian Kitchen & Bar and hit up eclectic boutiques like Abacus Gallery and Maine Potters Market.
- Visit the Victoria Mansion, an opulent Italian villa-style home with a baroque interior. It was built before the Civil War for a hotel magnate.
Bar Harbor is another popular place for visitors due to its proximity to Acadia National Park. Here are the top things to do in and around Bar Harbor:
- Visit Acadia National Park. You’ll have to choose your activities carefully because there’s too much to do here. If you enjoy hiking, there is a great variety of trails. Check out Ocean Path, which is 4.4 miles long and leads from Sand Beach to the sea cliffs. There’s also the Great Meadows Loop, which begins in Bar Harbor. For more intermediate trails, hike up Cadillac Mountain on the North Ridge Trail.
- Experienced mountain climbers and hikers should consider climbing Penobscot Mountain for stunning panoramic views.
-Take a 20-mile bike ride on Park Loop Road. It provides breathtaking vistas as you ride through the forest and near the ocean.
- For a more relaxing look at Acadia, stroll through the flowery Wild Gardens.
- After a day in the Acadia National Park, let loose at the Atlantic Brewing Company in Bar Harbor for local craft brews and delicious barbecue.
Other Maine Attractions
There’s plenty to do in Maine outside the major tourist areas:
- Check out Old Fort Western, built in 1754, which is the oldest wooden fort in New England. Benedict Arnold used this site before staging his assault on Quebec during the Revolutionary War. It’s located in Augusta.
- Go skiing at one of many resorts in lightly populated northern Maine, including Shawnee Peak, Black Mountain, Sunday River and the ever-popular Sugarloaf Mountain.
- Visit Egg Rock Lighthouse in serene Winter Harbor, which is located just across Frenchman Bay from Bar Harbor.
- Bring the kids to Funtown Splashtown, a combined waterpark and amusement park in Saco.
- Take a seaplane ride from Acadian Seaplanes in Rangeley Lake, or go snowmobiling in Coos Canyon.
The American Folk Festival is held for one weekend at the end of August in Bangor. Despite its name, you can see and take part in both American and international cultural traditions. The festival includes music and dance performances, authentic artisanal crafts and both ethnic and locally grown food.
What better way to celebrate Maine culture than with a seafood feast? Check out the Yarmouth Clam Festival, a weekend event in mid-July that is just a 15-minute drive north of Portland. The Yarmouth Clam Festival is all about competition. Watch a clam-shucking contest or the Clam Classic canoe and kayak races. Don’t miss the diaper derby, a race with unsuspecting babies and toddlers, and end the night with fireworks over the sound. If you haven’t had your fill of shellfish, check out the Maine Lobster Festival, a five-day festival in early August in Rockland. There will be live music, the Smokey’s Greatest Shows Carnival, a 10k run, plenty of lobster dinners and activities for kids like, the cod fish carry.
If you aren’t traveling with kids, head to the classy Harvest on the Harbor event at the end of October in Portland. Sip on some wine, watch cooking demonstrations and sample local cuisine.
Windjammer Bays in Boothbay Harbor is a celebration of Maine’s sailing heritage and the importance of the sea to the locals. Windjammers are large, elegant sailing ships with three to five masts that were used in the 19th and early 20th centuries to ship goods. Aside from the typical festival offerings, watch an antique boat parade and take a cruise on a majestica windjammer.