Moose, lobsters, blueberries, and lighthouses are frequently used to paint Maine as an idyllic natural wonderland waiting for you to enjoy. The state’s postcard-perfect scenes are actually quite accurate. Moose are indeed a driving hazard, you can eat steamed lobsters for a few dollars, and no other state in America produces equally as juicy blueberries.
The sightseeing options are limited to an incredibly rugged, scenic coast and a wooded interior packed with more lakes than can be named. Outdoor activities like boating, fishing, hiking, and biking are enjoyed by locals as much as visitors. Maine’s national parks like Acadia and Desert Island are absolute gems of the American park system, blending the sea with the forest in perfect harmony.
But there is plenty of culture to go with these landscapes. The coast is where most of it resides, in the hamlets of Bar Harbor, the Kennebunks, Camden, and other quaint rocky harbor towns. The main city, Portland, is a pleasure to explore, particularly its charming, historic Old Port waterfront district. Tourism is a traditional mainstay of the economy here, so people are friendly and welcoming to visitors. You’ll pay a king’s ransom to stay in some of the coastal villages at the height of summer, but overall Maine offers great value for dining, drinks, and lodging.
Located next to both New England and at the northern tip of the US, Maine travelers can easily visit Vermont, New Hampshire, or even Canada for the day. The entire state can be crossed in just a few hours, meaning you could be skiing at Sugarloaf in the morning and sleeping in your cottage by the sea at night. You can just as easily embark on a two-week canoe trip into the North Woods or lounge on the deck of your seafront cottage and contemplate life on the coast.
If you have any desire to venture beyond the boundaries of your village, you will need a car. There simply is no public transportation to work with in Maine, and much of the state is rural at best. This remoteness is the area’s greatest attribute and a car will take you to some incredibly pristine places, especially along U.S. Route 1, an idyllic drive up the coast.
- Stroll the winding lanes of Portland’s Old Port district, indulging your appetite for fresh seafood and cool maritime scenery
- Rent a bike and pedal along the historic carriage paths that run all over Desert Island National Park
- Spend a few days at Bar Harbor, hopping over into Acadia National Park for daytime excursions in this magnificent coastal area
- Take a night or two to soak in the timeless atmosphere of Camden, the epitome of Maine’s historic village life
- Hit the Kennebunks for a taste of how wealthy American bluebloods like to spend their summer holidays
- Drop into a lobster shack and enjoy a red steamed beauty with drawn butter for the price of a fast food cheeseburger
- Enjoy the pretty beaches at Ferry Beach State Park or Long’s Sand Beach