10 best things to do in Maine

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Maine Vacation Experiences

Maine’s license plates proudly proclaim it as “Vacationland,” a suitable name for this northern New England state that boasts a 3,500-mile rocky coastline, countless historical lighthouses, and wildlife-infused natural parks. It’s no wonder this beautiful location attracts around 15 million visitors annually. Here are ten must-see activities and attractions to make your visit memorable.

Experience Moosehead Lake on Foot

Maine’s biggest and most spectacular lake, Moosehead Lake, extends for 40 miles in the state’s remote highlands. Located seventy miles north of Bangor within the serene Longfellow Mountains, the tree-enclosed lake takes the shape of a moose’s antlered head when viewed from above. Discover the lake’s grandeur by taking a float plane from Greenville or embarking on a hike up Mount Kineo. At the summit, you’ll be treated to stunning vistas surrounded by water on three sides.

Guests staying overnight at Moosehead Lake often spot moose meandering around the lake’s shallows, as they outnumber people three-to-one here. Accommodation options range from the luxurious Blair Hill Inn to the rustic cabins at Birches Resort and the tent campsites at Lily Bay State Park.

Immerse Yourself in Farm Life

Being the top producer of wild blueberries in the U.S, Maine features numerous family-run farm stands scattered across the state. Many farms provide interactive experiences, from apple picking and cranberry harvesting to overnight farm stays. Such experiences allow visitors to appreciate farming realities more profoundly, says Ellen Sabina of Maine Farmland Trust. To plan a farm stay, look up Real Maine or the Maine Organic Gardens and Farmers Association.

Explore the Wonders of Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park, Maine’s only national park, covers nearly 50,000 acres of diverse landscapes. The park lures hikers, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts to its main section on Mount Desert Island and a less crowded area on the Schoodic Peninsula. Enjoy an overview by driving or biking the 27-mile scenic Park Loop Road, which includes an ascent to the top of Cadillac Mountain.

Discover Art in Rockland

Rockland, a small fishing port in midcoast Maine, is known for its vibrant art scene. The downtown Farnsworth Art Museum houses iconic Maine works by the Wyeth family and abstract, monochrome sculptures by Louise Nevelson. Not far from here, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art showcases innovative exhibitions by artists like photographer Rodrigo Valenzuela and multimedia artist Shinique Smith.

Taste Damariscotta River Oysters

Known as the “Napa Valley of Oysters,” the Damariscotta River region is famous for its meaty, briny oysters served fresh and cold. To sample these prized oysters, check out the Maine Oyster Trail for options like tasting flights at Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland or boat tours of oyster farms.

Venture on a Bold Coast Road Trip

For a road trip with minimal traffic and maximum scenery, head to the Bold Coast. This 147-mile picturesque route passes through blueberry fields and pine forests, offering stunning Atlantic views and charming stops like Wild Blueberry Land and the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse.

Relax in Ogunquit’s Beach Life

Enjoy a traditional beach vacation in Ogunquit with its souvenir shops, lively restaurant terraces, and historic hotels like The Trellis House and The Cliff House. In addition to its sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, and breathtaking sunsets, Ogunquit boasts a vibrant LGBTQ+ scene with piano bars and craft breweries.

Paddle Along the Maine Island Trail

Experience the Maine Island Trail, a collection of interconnected nature reserves spanning all 3,500 miles of Maine’s Atlantic coast. For the best experience, rent a kayak or sailboat with the help of the Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guides and Instructors, and use the Maine Island Trail Association’s MITA mapping app to plan your journey.

Enjoy Craft Beers in Portland

Portland, Maine’s largest city, houses an impressive number of craft breweries. Enjoy locally brewed beers in refurbished industrial buildings or shipping-container bars. Amid unique establishments like Bellflower Brewing Company and Rising Tide, you can also find meaderies, kombucha brewhouses, and the unique Urban Farm Fermentory offering distinct brews.

Stay in a Yurt

Experience the simplicity of living in a yurt, an invention from Central Asia that became popular in the U.S. in the 60s and 70s, thanks to Maine’s William Coperthwaite. He taught the art of building Mongolian-style yurts across the country and lived in his own wooden yurts in Dickinsons Reach for 55 years. Today, you can stay in a yurt at places like Acadia Yurts on Mount Desert Island or Maine Forest Yurts in the southern green mountains of Durham.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Maine Vacation Experiences

What are some of the best things to do in Maine?

Some of the best experiences in Maine include hiking at Moosehead Lake, staying on a farm, exploring Acadia National Park, viewing art in Rockland, sampling Damariscotta River oysters, taking a Bold Coast road trip, enjoying beach life in Ogunquit, kayaking the Maine Island Trail, sampling craft beers in Portland, and sleeping in a yurt.

Where can I find art exhibits in Maine?

Rockland, a small fishing port on Maine’s midcoast, is known for its vibrant art scene. The Farnsworth Art Museum and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art are two notable institutions worth visiting in the area.

What are the popular beer spots in Portland, Maine?

Portland, Maine, is home to many craft breweries. Bellflower Brewing Company and Rising Tide are some of the notable names. The city also hosts unconventional brewhouses like Urban Farm Fermentory, known for their unusual ciders and kombuchas.

Where can I have an authentic farm experience in Maine?

There are several family-run farms across Maine that offer visitors a chance to partake in farming activities and even provide overnight stays. Check out the Real Maine or the Maine Organic Gardens and Farmers Association websites for more information.

What can I expect from the Maine Island Trail?

The Maine Island Trail is a collection of over 250 sites spanning 3,500 miles of Maine’s Atlantic coast. This water trail offers a unique chance to explore nature preserves, some of which are on privately-owned islands. You would need a kayak, canoe, or sailboat to navigate the trail.

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5 comments

Jenny_M_Travels June 9, 2023 - 2:39 pm

Absolutely love this guide! Ive been to Maine once and this makes me wanna go back. All these experiences sound just awesome!

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OutdoorAddict76 June 9, 2023 - 2:39 pm

Man, I’ve hiked Moosehead Lake and the views are insane! This brings back memories. Gotta plan another trip up there soon.

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CraftBeerJoe June 9, 2023 - 2:39 pm

I can vouch for Portland’s craft beer scene, some of the best brews I’ve ever tasted! And the city’s got a real chill vibe, too.

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FarmFreshLiz June 9, 2023 - 2:39 pm

Staying on a farm in Maine sounds so idyllic. Thats going on my bucket list! Love the idea of picking my own blueberries.

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ArtLover2023 June 9, 2023 - 2:39 pm

Rockland’s art scene is pretty underrated. The Farnsworth Museum is a must-visit for any art enthusiast, such a great collection!

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