Maine Travel Guide
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.
This dramatic suspension bridge stretches 2,120 feet over the Penobscot River, and there’s a slight Fritz Lang feel to its pointed towers and taught, isosceles cables.
Acadia’s 45-mile carriage road system is the legacy of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who built the broken-stone roadways to allow for car-free transportation around handsome and hilly Mount Desert Island.
One of New England’s more classic covered bridges, this postcard-perfect wooden bridge near Bethel earned its nickname from the hordes of painters and sketchers who’ve set up an easel nearby. Built in 1872, it’s been closed to traffic for more than 50 years, but the artists keep coming.
The bridge connecting Orr’s Island to Bailey Island, far out in Casco Bay, is one of Maine’s more photographed sites. Also known as the Cribstone Bridge, it’s a low and graceful arc of granite slabs stacked in a cribbing pattern, with space in between so the tide can come and out freely.
There’s an elegant swoop to the cables of this suspension bridge across Eggemoggin Reach, connecting the mainland to Deer Isle (home to the famed Haystack Mountain School of Crafts) by way of Little Deer Isle. At low tide, watch for clam diggers on the adjacent flats.
Sardine and clam factories here once had tiny Brooklin booming, but the area today is quiet and pastoral. Sailboats and pleasure boats bob in the protected waters now, along with the old-school wooden boats for which Brooklin is renowned.
A long history of lobstering and boatbuilding give Jonesport an air of authenticity that’s missing from many southern Maine towns. Coastal Cruises offers adventurous boat trips to check out the nearby lighthouse at Moose Point and the seals and seabirds occupying nearby islands.
The charming downtown has a historic vibe that carries over to the harbor, where a fleet of tall-masted windjammers docks in the summer, offering scenic spins around the islands of Penobscot Bay.
South Bristol consists of two villages — forested Walpole, to the north, and tonier Christmas Cove, to the south.
The best vantage point of the handsome harbor in the working fishing village of Stonington is from the Isle au Haut mailboat as it returns to the mainland.
Enjoy this roadside view of distant Mt. Katahdin while heading up into Maine’s northwoods, because southbound passengers don’t get the chance to pull over.
It’s a knockout view in any season, the hilltop vista of Walker Pond, Eggemoggin Reach, and the distant Camden Hills that’s visible from a roadside pull-out on Route 15 near Sedgwick.
It’s a modest roadside overlook near Rangeley on Route 17, but the view of Mooselookmeguntic Lake and western Maine’s mountains is anything but modest. The scenic overlook on the side of Spruce Mountain is a highlight of Maine’s stretch of the Appalachian Trail.
At 1,530 feet, the tallest mountain in Acadia National Park is, at least part of the year (there’s some debate), the first spot in the United States to see the sun.
A short drive up this 800-foot seaside peak in Camden Hills State Park reveals a spectacular view of Penobscot Bay and its many islands, Camden Harbor far below, and the rolling Camden Hills stretching into the distance.