Southern Maine Coast
Food & Drink
Sunny Days on the Sand
Maine's southern coast is a magnet for beach lovers, with picturesque shorelines in the Yorks, the Kennebunks and at Old Orchard. The pick of the bunch is the pretty coast of Ogunquit.
The Yorks are packed with history. Its colonial architecture attest to its earliest days, when it was founded by the British back in the 1600s. Highlights include the Old Gaol, a former schoolhouse and the decorative-arts-filled Emerson-Wilcox House.
Seafood & Brewpubs
As the gateway to Maine, the southern towns provide a fine introduction to the state's culinary bounty. You can nibble your way through the clam shacks in Kittery, feast on lobster in Ogunquit and catch up on local gossip at an old-fashioned pub in Kennebunkport.
Art & Culture
You could spend weeks eating out in Portland and never exhaust its top-rated dining choices. You'll find gorgeous bakeries, gourmet fast food, chef-driven award-winners, great ethnic fare, and a trove of mouthwateringly fresh seafood.
Microbrews & Cocktails
After sunset, the Old Port becomes the epicenter of Portland's drinking culture, with old-fashioned spots like Ruski's and hipster-loving joints like Maps Bar. Portland has plenty of creative options elsewhere, including Sagamore Hill, for cocktail lovers, and Rising Tide Brewing Company, with its fine beer selection.
Museums & Music
Portland has some great art museums and historical house museums, all set in architecturally striking buildings. You can also catch the state's best lineup of concerts and theater, with year-round events.
The Life Aquatic
One of the best ways to see Maine is from out on the water, and the Midcoast has countless ways to take you there, from ferry trips to Monhegan Island to multiday sailing excursions on a legendary three-masted 'tall ship.'
The Midcoast makes an excellent base for visiting some of Maine's small but photogenic protected areas. You can walk forested trails that take you to pristine stretches of shoreline in places such as La Verna Preserve, the Linekin and Burley Preserves and the small but ecologically diverse Bonyun Preserve.
The seafood is legendary in these parts, particularly the lobster rolls in Wiscasset and the delectably fresh Pemaquid oysters in Damariscotta. The Midcoast has plenty of surprises too – like West African cooking in Searsport.
Hiking, Biking & Kayaking
Acadia National Park has many miles of trails for hikers, plus carriage roads for cyclists, and there are loads of excellent places to head out for a paddle. Castine and Bar Harbor are top spots for arranging trips.
Life out on Down East's islands feels a world removed from the mainland. You can hike barren stretches of national park on Isle au Haut, explore local history on Great Cranberry Island and discover the mix of artists and lobster fishing on Little Cranberry Island.
Down East is a fine place to slow down and get into the rhythms of local life, lingering over coffee and a good book in Castine, sipping rich mochas in Blue Hill and chatting with locals over microbrews in Southwest Harbor.
Art & Architecture
Fragments of the Past
Augusta is home to the state's best history museum, while nearby you can stroll through America's oldest wooden fort. Bangor has plenty of curiosities lurking in its past, which you can discover at the Bangor Historical Society.
Made in Maine
Discover exquisite works by Maine artists throughout the region, including at the Colby College Museum of Art, which also hosts outstanding temporary exhibitions. Architectural intrigue abounds, from the striking granite-domed State House to the spooky timber baron mansion occupied by writer Stephen King.
Around 30 miles north of Portland, the Sabbathday Lake Shaker village feels like it's from another time. Visitors are welcome to join in the Sunday service, and at other times you can tour the old buildings and learn about the last surviving Shaker community.
North Maine Woods
The hiking here is some of the best in Maine, and you could spend weeks exploring the mountain trails in Baxter State Park. The greatest challenge of them all is the climb up Mt Katahdin, the highest peak in the state.
Nature's Finest Panoramas
Head to Greenville to take an old-fashioned cruise out on Moosehead Lake. For even better views, take a seaplane flight and soar above the region's myriad lakes and mountains.
Baxter is great in the summer, but you can also come back for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. This is also a prime region for white-water rafting, while you can sign up for moose-spotting tours and other adventures in Greenville.
The Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway offers some of the best views of any road trip in Maine. Come in early October to see the dazzling autumn hues.
In warm weather, Grafton Notch State Park is not to be missed, with its wide range of hiking trails past streams and waterfalls, and a swath of the Appalachian Trail. In the winter, there's great skiing at Sunday River.
Life on Main(e) Street
You'll find oodles of charm in the small towns dotting Western Maine. At Bethel, Bridgton and Rangeley, the pretty main streets are lined with crafty shops, cafes and other eateries, and there's plenty of summertime entertainment, including a drive-in movie theater in Bridgton.