With a dramatic rocky coastline broken by scenic beaches, a rich seafood tradition, lots of history and ski resorts and state parks rising into the hills, Maine is known as Vacationland for good reason.

Summer and early fall are great times of year to enjoy the state's natural beauty, but if you can handle the cold, winter offers a whole different view and set of activities. This guide will help you choose the best time for your visit to Maine. 

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Person taking a lobster from a plate in Camden, Maine
As the warmer weather arrives in Maine, so does the seafood © Daniel Grill / Getty Images

For fresh seafood and outdoor adventures, come from June to September

Maine comes alive in the summer months, as holidaymakers gather across the state. From the sandy beaches of southern Maine to the forested hiking trails in the north and the seafood shacks all along the coast, there’s plenty to enjoy – and plenty of people will be enjoying the experience alongside you. 

The crowds bring high prices, so you'll need to book well in advance at hotels and campgrounds. Summer is fairly short and sweet in Maine: the weather is generally hot and humid from late June through August. Make sure to bring an appetite, because the summertime seafood bonanza makes for delicious mealtimes.

October and May are the best months for seasonal color and avoiding crowds

Maine's shoulder season is one of the best times to visit Maine if you prefer a quieter experience and lower prices. Early October brings colorful foliage, apple picking and cooler weather, while May is a great time to enjoy Maine without the summer crowds.

Keep in mind that many seasonal businesses open their doors for the season around Memorial Day. Bring a warm coat, though, and layers, as some parts of the state can still see snow in spring or fall, especially in the north and at higher elevations.

A skiier in a bright orange jacket heads down the snowy slopes
Ski resorts generally open in Maine in November © Justin Cash / Getty Images

November to April is chilly in Maine, but great for snow sports

Winter is the low season for coastal and southern Maine, but the high season in western and northern areas, where outdoor recreation in the snow is the main draw. Maine is home to some of the best ski resorts on the East Coast, and northern Maine is popular for snowmobiling. Many hiking trails are groomed for the snow season and can be traversed using snowshoes or cross-country skis.

March in Maine still feels very much like winter across most of the state. You’ll start to see a peek of spring in the south, but skiing and snowmobiling are still popular activities in northern parts of Maine. Portland and surrounding towns celebrate Maine Restaurant Week in early March, and many of the state's best restaurants have special menus and deals. The fourth weekend of the month is reserved for another Maine tradition – Maine Maple Sunday, where sugar shacks open across the state selling sweet treats.

April is Maine’s unofficial fifth season – mud season

The snow is melting in the mountains, and ski resorts throw massive parties to celebrate the end of the season. The weather is unpredictable – one day it might snow, and the next it’ll be 70°F (21°C). Whatever the weather is doing, April is when Mainers come out of hibernation and enjoy the early signs of spring, putting on their shorts as soon as the mercury hits 50°F (10°C).

This article was first published September 2021 and updated May 2023

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