Leslie Taylor / Stocksy United

Down East

Without question, this is quintessential Maine: as you head further up the coast toward Canada, the peninsulas seem to narrow, jutting further into the sea. The fishing villages get smaller; the lobster pounds are closer to the water. If you make time to drive to the edge of the shore, south off US 1, let it be here.

The star of the midcoast is Mount Desert Island, home to the spectacular Acadia National Park, where the mountains meet the sea. It offers some of the best hiking in coastal Maine. Island destinations worth visiting include the vibrant summer resort town of Bar Harbor, the elegant village of Northeast Harbor and heart-of-gold Southwest Harbor.

For quiet walks and traditional coastal villages away from the tourist throngs, continue further up the coast from Bar Harbor all the way to the rugged sea cliffs near Lubec, the last town before the Canadian border.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Down East.