When you travel to Maine, you typically don’t need to pack much in the way of formalwear, unless you consider fresh hiking boots and a good windbreaker formal. This living postcard of lighthouses, tall trees, beaches, blueberry patches and bountiful lobster is rugged without being unruly, charming without being cutesy. Plenty of people visit Maine for the popular Acadia National Park—which neighbors Bar Harbor; the town that helps you practice the distinctive local accent (say it Bah Hahbah). Meanwhile, Maine’s biggest city, Portland, is a magnet for serious foodies and craft beer lovers. And it’s hard to argue with the shopping in Freeport—including the flagship LL bean store, which stays open 24-7 for all of your Gore-Tex-lined needs. Read this Maine travel guide to start your trip there:
Things Not to Miss in Maine
• See the lighthouses along the coastline
• Walking through the cobblestone-lined Old Port section of Portland
• Exploring Acadia National Park
• See the fall leaves in Western Maine
• Tucking in to a local lobster (and by all means, use the bib)
• The Portland Museum of Art
When to Go to Maine
Depending on where you go on the state—coastal Maine or inland Maine— determines the best times to visit Maine. Summer—or more specifically, July 4 through Labor Day— is the peak Maine travel season, especially on the coast. Some restaurants, attractions and museums even close down for the rest of the year, but if you come in the off-season, you’ll be rewarded by distinctly lower hotel rates. Inland Maine has two prime seasons: fall foliage season (September and October) and ski season, which runs from mid-November to as late as May. If you want to fish or canoe (and don’t mind some black flies), spring is a good time to visit Maine.
Being the first to see the sun rise in the U.S. atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.
Learning how to eat a steamed lobster the "propah" way at The Lobsterman’s Wharf in East Boothbay, or at one of dozens of seafood restaurants and waterside shacks along the coast (hint: start with a bib).
Tramping around the same rugged coast that inspired Maine artists Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth, and then seeing their masterworks in person at the Portland Museum of Art.