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.
Paddle or take a fly-fishing trip on the 178-mile-long Androscoggin River. Watch for hawks, which circle above in search of rainbow trout and bass.
Local captain Joel Rowland will take you on a half- or full-day sail aboard the Tammy Norie, a 42-foot wooden sloop that was originally built in 1964.
Guests can experience a beloved New England tradition aboard Nick's Chance, a state-of-the-art whale-watching vessel that sails the Gulf of Maine daily. Finbacks, humpbacks, and minkes are just a few of the whale breeds that passengers may hope to glimpse.
It’s easy to miss this nondescript gift and home and garden goods store on one of the busiest stretches of U.S. Route 1; inside, however, is a different story.
Antique planes, trains, and automobiles are showcased at this family-friendly museum, located near the Knox County Airport. All of the 100-plus vehicles on permanent display are in working condition—even though some date back as far as the 1800s.
Just half a mile north of the Nubble Lighthouse, Brown’s Ice Cream is a popular spot to cool off after a day of sightseeing.
Opposite Portland’s ferry terminal in a historic brick warehouse, Alison Pray and Matt James make the best baked goods around, and there’s almost always a line for their famous breads—country boules, focaccias, anadama, cinnamon raisin, pain de mie, baguettes.
One of the most enjoyable—and traffic-free—ways of taking in Maine’s mid-coast is by train.
This green cabin in the small, western Maine town of Rangeley is just a short walk from Greenvale Cove on Rangeley Lake.
Until 2002, when it moved inland, Maine’s largest and oldest prison (where in the 1800s inmates were fed the cheapest eats around: lobster) sat just a quarter of a mile from busy, tourist-filled Route 1.
Complete with an 1856 Fresnel lens, this lighthouse is available for weekly rentals for up to four people.
Finestkind Cruises has three diesel-engine vessels making as many as 15 trips a day along the Ogunquit shore of Coastal Maine. The boats—named Finestkind I, II, and III—provide both covered and open-air seating, with on-board capacity ranging from 44 to 66 people.
Hosted by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association since 1977, this annual three-day fair celebrates rural living with hundreds of eco-friendly events and performances that attract roughly 15,000 visitors each year.
Follow the Grafton Notch Loop Trail to the top of this 2,566-foot mountain (located 3.2 miles from Eddy Rd., Rte. 26). It’s especially lovely during the fall foliage is in full force (September–October).
Al Sherman and wife Phyllis started their farm in New Hampshire’s Saco River Valley in 1964, and their daughters continue the family tradition. It's grown to about 60 acres of vegetables with extra room to produce beef and pork.