Maine Travel Guide
Campers, hikers and fishers come to Maine's mountains and lakes, voyagers
take sailing-ship Maine
windjammer cruises and summer
residents soak up sun in beautiful
old coastal beach towns. Acadia National Park is a good reason to go "downeast" to Mount Desert Island.
Bass Harbor Head Light, on Mount Desert Island.
The famous rockbound coast of Maine is over a thousand miles (1,609 km) long, and offers an endless array of beautiful vistas, charming villages and towns. Acadia National Park is one of the few national parks located east of the Mississippi.
Maine's southern beaches are a 1- to 2-hour drive from Boston; Portland is 107 miles (172 km, 2 hours); Boothbay and Midcoast Maine about 3 hours; Penobscot Bay (Camden, Rockland) about 3-1/2 hours; Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, about 5 hours. All the way to the Canadian border at Eastport, 6 hours.
From Boston to Mount Katahdin, northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, is a drive of 400 miles (644 km), close to 9 hours.
Here's a summary of Maine destinations, along the coast from the southwestern border with New Hampshire to the northeastern border with New Brunswick, Canada, and inland to the forests and mountains.
Maine's southwestern beaches offer something for everyone: Kittery, the Yorks, Wells, Ogunquit, the Kennebunks, Biddeford Pool, Old Orchard Beach and Scarborough. Beaches, walks, shopping, dining, theater, lighthouses, history and fun! More...
Fore Street, Portland, Maine.
Maine's largest city has excellent restaurants, fine 18th- and 19th-century architecture, great art museums, and good transportation. More...
North of Portland, the coast of Casco Bay holds Freeport, famous for shops, shops and more shops, especially L L Bean. Then there's Brunswick, a historic town, home of Bowdoin College and northern terminus of Amtrak's Downeaster train, and Bath, Maine's great shipbuilding city.
Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
Penobscot Bay boasts some of Maine's finest coastal towns: Rockland and Camden, two of Maine's most foremost windjammer ports; the islands of Vinalhaven, North Haven and Isle au Haut; Deer Isle and Stonington; and pretty Castine and Blue Hill. More...
Many people think of the Maine coastline as running its ragged way north from Portland, but a quick look at the map shows that this region is much farther east, about the same longitude as San Juan, Puerto Rico (map).
The view of Frenchman Bay & Bar Harbor from Cadillac Mountain.
Acadia National Park shares Mount Desert Island with the famous Gilded Age resort of Bar Harbor, departure point for the international car ferry to Nova Scotia. Bring your passport and you can enjoy a Two-Nation Vacation.
Take ship for Nova Scotia on The Cat! More...
Farther along the coast is the quiet heart of Downeast, all the way to Lubec, Eastport, Calais and the Canadian frontier and Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada—asily accessible with your passport. More...
Inland Maine means mountains, forests, glacial lakes
and outdoor life. Easily accesible Sebago Lake is surrounded by summer camps. Mount Katahdin is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, and Moosehead Lake is bordered by wilderness. Sunday
River and Sugarloaf resorts have
some of the best skiing in
New England. More...
There is something quintessentially American about this rugged and sparsely populated state, the largest in New England (by territory). It's as though the vast forests of the north and the jagged coastline of "downeast" Maine are the last American frontier, rich in natural resources but waiting for people equally rugged to tame them.
Although there are still areas of wilderness in Maine, some of the state's potential was exploited long ago, soon after its discovery by Europeans. When the French and English came to these shores, they found miles and miles of virgin forest. The tremendous white pine trees, harvested for sailing-ship masts, have been replaced by other varieties, and lumber products again yield a good deal of the state's economy.
Besides its forests, Maine has great stores of granite for building, but they're mostly untapped as yet. Although agriculture is difficult because of the rocky soil and the short growing season, Maine potatoes are known and used throughout the eastern United States, and a small number of Maine vineyards and wineries benefit from the moderating effects of the ocean. Maine's fishers yearly pull great quantities of fish, scallops, shrimp, and the famous lobsters from the chill Atlantic waters.
But the largest industry in Maine these days is the vacation trade: campers, hikers, and fishers in the mountains and lakes, Maine windjammer cruises and summer residents in the beautiful old coastal towns, and several of the best ski resorts in the region.
Good food—especially Maine lobster—and clean air draw the crowds from Boston, Montreal, and New York, and life in the southern coastal towns is lively and interesting from mid-June through Labor Day, after which the visitors become those looking for the quiet of Indian Summer and the autumn foliage season. Most warm-weather resorts close up by the last week in October, but the ski resorts open in November and bustle until April.
Meals and rooms in Maine are taxed at a rate of 8%, so look for this tax to be added to your bill each night, and at mealtimes.