Things to do in Maine
You could hike, bike and paddle for miles and miles in Portland, but those aren’t the only things to do in Maine that let you appreciate its great outdoors. But even if you are not an intrepid outdoorsy type you’ll still find plenty of activities to do in Maine.
If any place typifies Maine’s great rugged outdoors, it’s Acadia, one of the top things to do in Maine. It has 120 miles of pine-fringed trails on which moose-spotting is practically guaranteed; miles of sea cliffs formed from granite; and 1,530-foot Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the Eastern Seaboard—and the place to see the sunrise of a lifetime. (Good news: you can drive to the top, too.)
The farm-to-table movement is strong in Maine, thanks to the state’s ever-growing number of farmers’ markets that fill fields, town greens, and empty parking lots from York to Presque Isle. They sell everything from freshly tapped maple syrup to fiddleheads, quarts of pea-size blueberries, home-smoked mussels, tangy goat’s cheese, and bunches of wild cosmos and lupines. Among the places to sample local products are Saco, Blue Hill, and Crystal Springs Farm in Brunswick.
Maine’s rugged coast inspired the state’s most famous artists, Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth. You can see their masterworks in person at the Portland Art Museum, the I. M. Pei–designed building in the heart of downtown Portland. In addition to work by Maine affiliated artists (also including Edward Hopper), the museums houses early-American furniture and international heavy-hitters such as Picasso, Matisse, and Monet.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Wells Reserve at Laudholm is a National Estuarine Research Reserve that protects 2,250 acres of surrounding wetlands, marshes, beaches, and woodlands.
The brainchild of former NYC music industry execs and born-again Mainers Jessica Jenkins and Andy West, this smart three-story shop on Dock Square stocks eclectic gifts, guides, and gear, and souvenirs devoted to travel and the great outdoors.
Located at the end of a 7/8-mile breakwater (essentially a man-made granite seawall stretching from the shore), this historic lighthouse is open to visitors only on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day weekend to Columbus Day.
Hardy Boat Cruises’ fleet consists of just one boat, the 60-foot-long Hardy III, which serves as both a ferry (running between New Harbor and Monhegan Island) and as a sightseeing cruise boat.
This angular I. M. Pei–designed building in the heart of downtown Portland is not only the city’s shining cultural institution; it also houses the state’s oldest museum (and with 17,000 objects in its collection, the largest).
A mainstay of this small community since 1956, it's hard to miss this family-owned lobster shack and seafood distributor, with its large rooftop "Lobsters" sign and row of wood-fired cookers out front.
Learn about lobsters and other wildlife on a nature windjammer sail.
This family-owned bakery and diner is beloved for its doughnuts, which come in unusual flavors like butter crunch, maple crème, and powdered chocolate, in addition to more traditional choices. Baked goods are displayed inside large, wood-paneled cases behind the takeout counter.
Straight from central casting, this busy fish store on scenic Custom House Wharf, off of Commercial Street in downtown Portland, is the stuff of any seafood-lover’s dreams.
Encompassing over 5,000 acres of salt marshes filled with migratory birds, maritime forests, and coastal dunes, the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge was named in honor of the birder and naturalist who first brought many environmental issues to the forefront in the 1960s.
It’s only fitting that on Portland’s culinary alley—Middle Street—a fine bookstore with every imaginable title on food, wine, and culinary academia should sprout.
Downtown lounge with live music and DJs
The Skidompha Public Library houses a collection of more than 30,000 books, as well as impressive selections of movies, audio books, and CD’s.
A pastoral 14-mile drive south of Bath, this 529-acre park beach is an aberration for one reason: it has sand, and lots of it.