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Nuble Light, York, Maine Whitewater Rafting the Penobscot River Precipice Trail, Acadia National Park, Maine
Welcome to the Bigroads ultimate travel guide to Maine! Hopefully this page helps provide some inspiration and tips to help you plan your next trip to Maine.

Take note that I build and maintain this website as both a hobby and public service. I take joy in performing travel research and sharing my experiences and adventures. I currently do not make a profit from this website, and you will see no invasive or annoying ads on it. Your constructive feedback about this site and its content is encouraged. Please email me if you have any suggestions or ideas for improvement.

Author/Contributor: Greg Parsons


Maine bills itself as the "Vacationland" and people generally don't disagree with that. There's a ton to attract travelers to this state, from beaches to remote lakes, to rugged mountains and cliffs. Overall, it's a very wild state with lots of dirt roads and large swaths of forests. The coastline is generally more lively, with several quaint towns, lovely harbors, and great beaches to be enjoyed. Everyone's favorite city in Maine is Portland, and it always ranks among the best mid-sized cities in the U.S. Maine is also home to one of the finest state parks in the nation, Baxter State Park, which offers outstanding hiking, camping, and lodging opportunities. And then there's Acadia National Park, a wonderful rocky coastal park that abuts one of the finest small towns in the country, Bar Harbor.


Are you short on time and struggling to choose something to do or see in Maine? Here are my selections for the top 10 attractions or experiences in Maine, in no particular order:

Explore the great city of Portland, especially the Old Port district
Head to Bar Harbor and explore the rocky coastline of Acadia National Park
Go hiking in Baxter State Park
Explore the southern coastline and its many fine beaches (e.g. Long Sands Beach, Ogunquit Beach, Old Orchard Beach)
Go whitewater rafting on the Kennebec River with Northern Outdoors or another local guide service
Visit some of Maine's 65 lighthouses
Hit the slopes at Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry or Sugarloaf Mountain in Carrabassett Valley
Hike to Moxie Falls, one of the best waterfalls in New England
Ride a snowmobile on some of Maine's 14,000 miles of trails
Sail some of the Maine coastline

If I could select only one place to visit in Maine, I would choose Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.

Interested in discovering great attractions in other U.S. states? My 10 Great Attractions in Each U.S. State guide covers the best attractions from coast-to-coast. And here is a guide to the best One-Week Vacations in the U.S..


Here is my opinionated list of 5-star attractions in Maine. I believe each of these attractions should be on your Maine bucket list since they are all noteworthy from a national perspective:

Northern Maine (including Millinocket and Baxter State Park)
100-Mile Wilderness - the wildest section of the 2,100-plus mile Appalachian Trail; there are no paved roads or towns for over 100-miles
Allagash Wilderness Waterway - arguably the finest canoeing journey you can take in New England
Appalachian Mountain Club lodges - relax in one of the remote lodges run by this outdoors-focused nonprofit organization
Baxter State Park, near Millinocket - remote park with spectacular hiking, camping, and mountain scenery; moose sightings are common
Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area - the highest concentration of remote ponds in New England; good paddling and hiking trails
Gulf Hagas, near Millinocket - a network of excellent hiking trails that visit several waterfalls and swimming holes; "Grand Canyon of Maine"
Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument - a relatively new nature park with an excellent scenic drive and several trails to explore
Nahmakanta Public Reserved Land - a huge nature preserve with excellent fishing, paddling, hiking, and other outdoor activities
Nesowadnehunk Falls off the Golden Road - a wide waterfall where you can watch whitewater rafters if you time it right
Pockwockamus Rock, Millinocket - see the famous mural on a boulder that is en route to the southern entrance of Baxter State Park
Penobscot River Trails, Stacyville - mountain bike or cross-country ski some of the finest trails in Maine; hybrid bikes are probably OK too
Start of US-1 / America's First Mile, Fort Kent - take a photo with a sign that marks the start of the famous US-1 highway
Whitewater rafting on the Penobscot River, near Millinocket - rafting trips are offered daily on this remote and wild river; NEOC currently offers the most lodging facilities

Northwestern Maine (including Greenville, Jackman, Monson, and West Forks)
100-Mile Wilderness - the wildest section of the 2,100-plus mile Appalachian Trail; there are no paved roads or towns for over 100-miles
Appalachian Mountain Club lodges - relax in one of the remote lodges run by this outdoors-focused nonprofit organization
B-52 Crash Site near Greenville - see the actual remains of a B-52 airplane that crashed deep in the Maine woods
Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary - excellent hiking trails; great views from the summit
Lily Bay State Park - beautiful state park on the shores of Moosehead Lake, New England's largest lake
Moosehead Lake - New England's largest lake; known for excellent boating and year-round fishing; take a ferry to visit Mount Kineo
Mount Kineo State Park - take a ferry on Moosehead Lake to visit Mount Kineo island and hike up dramatic 700-foot tall cliff faces
Moxie Falls, near The Forks - the most impressive waterfall in Maine; an easy, nearly flat hike of 0.6 miles each way to visit the 90ft falls
Snowmobiling in and around The Forks - one of the best areas in New England to go snowmobiling; Maine has 14,000-plus miles of trails
Whitewater rafting on the Dead River, near The Forks - a wild and scenic rafting trip that is only run on select dates per year
Whitewater rafting on the Kennebec River, near The Forks - daily rafting trips in season; Northern Outdoors offers many lodging facilities

Western Maine Mountains (including Bethel, Carrabassett Valley, Newry, and Rangeley)
Bigelow Preserve - excellent hiking trails, including a portion of the Appalachian Trail; outstanding views from several summits
Grafton Notch State Park, near Newry - excellent hiking trails (e.g. Table Rock) and waterfalls (e.g. Screw Auger); Appalachian Trail crossing
Smalls Falls, near Rangeley - excellent swimming holes and waterfalls
Sugarloaf Mountain, Carrabassett Valley - the largest (and my favorite) ski/snowboard resort in Maine
Sunday River Ski Resort, Newry - famous ski/snowboard resort with seven mountains; many would say this is the best ski resort in Maine
White Mountain National Forest - excellent hiking trails and waterfalls within the Evans Notch region within the national forest
World Traveler Signpost, Lynchville - roadside attraction showing distances to Maine places that have international names (e.g. Mexico)

Central Maine (including Bangor and Waterville)
Paul Bunyan statue, Bangor - one of the largest and best Paul Bunyan statues in the U.S.
Cole Land Transportation Museum, Bangor - one of several excellent transportation museums in Maine
Maine Forest and Logging Museum, Bradley - outdoor forestry-type museum with several historic buildings; also has 2.6 miles of hiking trails

Downeast Maine (including Bar Harbor and Lubec)
Acadia National Park - beautiful coastal park with excellent hiking & biking; connects with Bar Harbor (Maine's best small town)
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Bass Harbor - famous lighthouse set on one of Maine's most rugged sections of coastline
Carriage roads of Acadia National Park - ride some or all of the 45 miles of this parks' outstanding crushed stone bike paths
Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land, Machias - enjoy remote hiking & backpacking along a wild and rugged coastline
Downtown Bar Harbor - Maine's best small town and gateway to Acadia National Park; has a tourist district with many shops & restaurants
Puffin bird-watching boat tours - make reservations well in advance to take a boat tour to visit colonies of one of nature's cutest birds
Sailing the Maine coastline - much of the Maine coastline offers phenomenal sailing opportunities
West Quoddy Head Light, Lubec - beautiful lighthouse near the border of Canada and the U.S.

Mid-Coast Maine (including Bath, Boothbay Harbor, Brunswick, Camden, Freeport, and Rockland)
Camden Hills State Park, near Camden - gorgeous coastal views and good hiking trails; drive up to the summit of Mt. Battie
Cellardoor Vineyard, Lincolnville - Napa-level quality vineyard & winery; my favorite winery in Maine
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay Harbor - the most impressive botanical gardens in Maine
Downtown Boothbay Harbor - charming harbor area with several seafood restaurants and shops; several boat tours are offered
Downtown Camden - historic town on Penobscot Bay; gateway to Camden Hills State Park (one of Maine's best state parks)
Downtown Freeport - tons of shopping and restaurants; home of the L.L. Bean flagship store; the popular Maine Beer Company is nearby
Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland - Maine's best art museum
Fawcett's Antique Toy and Art Museum, Waldoboro - one of the best antique toy museums in the country
L.L. Bean Flagship Store, Freeport - huge retail store focused on outdoor activities (camping, hunting, fishing, hiking) and clothing
Maine Maritime Museum, Bath - the finest maritime museum in northern New England
Monhegan Island - small rocky island with several shops/attractions and 12-miles of hiking trails; boat trip required; an "artists destination"
Owls Head State Park, Owls Head - coastal park with a scenic lighthouse and a small rocky beach
Owls Head Transportation Museum, Owls Head - see 50-plus vehicles & aircraft, antique bicycles, carriages, and motorcycles on display
Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, Bristol - one of Maine's most famous lighthouses
Popham Beach State Park - one of Maine's best beaches, although generally considered too cold for swimming
Sailing the Maine coastline - much of the Maine coastline offers phenomenal sailing opportunities
Seal Cove Auto Museum, Seal Cove - features over 100 antique autos and 30 motorcycles

Southern Maine (including Ogunquit, Portland, and York)
Downtown Kennebunkport - small but nice tourist area with many shops and restaurants (including an excellent fried clam shack)
Downtown Ogunquit - attractive tourist area with shops and restaurants; nearby access to Ogunquit Beach and Marginal Way coastal walk
Downtown Portland ("Old Port") - the culinary/dining capital of Maine, plus tons of boutique shops; one of the best small cities in the U.S.
Hadlock Field, Portland - a fantastic minor league baseball park
Long Sands Beach, York - one of Maine's best beaches (but make sure you visit at low tide since most of the beach disappears at high tide)
Marginal Way, Ogunquit - a scenic, 1.25 mile family-friendly coastal walk between Ogunquit and Perkins Cove
Nubble Lighthouse (Cape Neddick Light), York - one of the most scenic lighthouses in the U.S.; photographers absolutely love this spot
Ogunquit Beach / Main Beach, Ogunquit - arguably Maine's best beach
Ogunquit Playhouse, Ogunquit - Maine's finest theater/playhouse
Old Orchard Beach - one of Maine's best beaches; has an old-fashioned seaside amusement park with rides and arcades
Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth - one of the most scenic lighthouses in the U.S.
Portland Museum of Art, Portland - one of the best art museums in Maine
Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, Wells - features beautiful trails and excellent bird-watching opportunities
Sailing the Maine coastline - much of the Maine coastline offers phenomenal sailing opportunities
Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport - billed as the "world's first and largest museum of mass transit vehicles"

Are you aware of any other 5-star attractions in Maine? If so, please email me at

Discover 5-star attractions in neighboring states using these state guides:  NH


These towns and cities in Maine are generally regarded as the most interesting to travelers:

Southern & Central Maine Coastline
Boothbay Harbor - a small coastal town that has a lively waterfront area with boutique shops and art galleries; "classic seaside Maine"
Camden - a historic small town with great ocean views and a lively downtown area; gateway to Camden Hills State Park
Freeport - a small town that offers "the best weekend of shopping in New England"; L.L. Bean flagship store is here, plus 100+ other stores
Kennebunkport - a small and charming coastal town with many boutique shops and seafood restaurants; good beaches
Monhegan Island - a small and rocky island accessible by boat; a "car-free and care-free island" with cliffs, ocean views, and hiking trails
Ogunquit - a small beach town with boutique shops and art galleries; it has a vibrant art & theatre scene plus great coastal walks
Old Orchard Beach - a small beach town with seaside amusements, family-fun attractions, and a beach pier; close to Funtown Splashtown
Portland - a medium-sized city with a lively historic district and many innovative restaurants and boutique shops; TONS of breweries
York - a small town with several beaches and seaside amusements; the start of scenic coastal drives; not far from Ogunquit

Down East Maine / Eastern Maine Coastline
Bar Harbor - a beloved small town that serves as the gateway to Acadia National Park; has a very lively downtown area (in season)
Lubec - a very small town that is the easternmost municipality in the contiguous U.S; the town is close to several great nature parks/preserves (some of which have fine coastal hikes); the beautiful West Quoddy Head Lighthouse is also here

Inland Maine / Western Maine Mountains
Bethel - a small town close to the Sunday River Resort ski area and also the hiking trails and waterfalls of Grafton Notch State Park
Farmington - a small town with a historic downtown area that has several boutique shops
Rangeley - a small town close to excellent hiking (e.g. the Bigelows), waterfalls (e.g. Smalls Falls) and skiing/snowboarding (e.g. Saddleback)

My favorite city in Maine is Portland - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 2-3 days there
My favorite small town in Maine is Bar Harbor - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 4-5 days there
My favorite beach town in Maine is Ogunquit - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 2-3 days there
My favorite town for shopping in Maine is Freeport - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 1 day there; Kittery is also good
My favorite ski town in Maine is Bethel/Newry - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 2-3 days there; Rangeley is also good

Portland, Maine has an amazing assortment of breweries, and is a renown dining/culinary destination. It's a wonderful city to walk around (especially in the Old Port area). It's one of America's finest mid-sized cities, on par with cities like Asheville, NC or Bend, OR.

Bath, Bethel, Greenville, Hallowell, and Kittery are also noteworthy places to visit.

If you like hiking, visit Bethel, Bar Harbor, Camden, Millinocket, or Rangeley from July through mid-October.
If you like skiing, visit Bethel or Rangeley from December through April.
If you like beaches, visit Ogunguit, Old Orchard Beach, or York in July or August.
If you like shopping, visit Freeport or Kittery.
If you like upscale dining, visit Portland.
If you like whitewater rafting, visit The Forks or Millinocket.

If you want to visit Acadia National Park, stay in or near Bar Harbor. Ellsworth is another option.
If you want to visit Baxter State Park, stay in or near Millinocket.

Read my Favorite Places in the U.S. Guide to find new and interesting towns and cities across the country.


Here are some things that Maine is famous or well-known for:

black bears
black flies / mosquitos - the "bug season" is generally mid-May until the end of June
blueberries / low-bush blueberries
fishing / fishing harbors / ice-fishing
lakes - e.g. Flagstaff Lake, Moosehead Lake, Rangeley Lake, Sebago Lake
lighthouses - there are more than 60 in Maine!
lobsters / lobster rolls
logging roads / timberlands
L.L. Bean - the flagship store is in Freeport, Maine
puffins / puffin tours
rocky / rugged coastlines
ski/snowboard resorts - Sunday River, Sugarloaf, and Saddleback are the three best ski/snowboard resorts in the state
sporting camps / hunting
tidal falls / reversing falls
whitewater rafting - there are 3 major rivers to raft in Maine: the Kennebec River, Dead River, and Penobscot River
woods / forest

Visit my What is Each U.S. State Famous For? guide to explore the unique characteristics of other states.


There is one national park in Maine, plus several other federally-managed parks and properties in the state, including:

National Parks
Acadia National Park - a coastal park with fantastic hiking, cycling (mountain biking or hybrid), scenic drives, and ocean views

National Monuments
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument - offers a nice scenic driving loop but several hiking and mountain biking trails

National Forests
White Mountain National Forest

National Wildlife Refuges
Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge
Cross Island National Wildlife Refuge
Franklin Island National Wildlife Refuge
Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge
Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge
Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge
Pond Island National Wildlife Refuge
Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge
Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge

Other National Parks
Saint Croix Island International Historic Site - features a historical site, coastal views, bronze sculptures, and good boating opportunities

My favorite national park in Maine is Acadia National Park. It's an absolute gem. It has some of the finest hiking and biking trails of any of the U.S. national parks. Acadia National Park has the first sunrise in the United States for much of the year. And the core part of the national park is located next to one of America's best small towns (Bar Harbor). I would plan a trip to stay in Bar Harbor for 5-7 days if you've never been.

Take note that unlike most national parks, Acadia National Park does allow dogs in most areas and on most trails. Dogs are prohibited on most if not all ladder trails (including Beehive, Precipice, Ladder Trail to Door Mountain, Beech Cliffs Trail, Jordan Cliffs Trail, etc.).

Although most of the White Mountain National Forest is in New Hampshire, the Maine portion is also very nice. Start exploring by hiking some trails in Evans Notch (e.g. Rattlesnake Pool, Baldface Loop, Blueberry Mountain, etc.)

For more information on Maine's national parks, visit the Maine page of the National Park Service. For an overview of all of America's national parks, explore my U.S. National Parks Guide.


Maine has more than 30 state parks. Many would agree that these represent Maine's finest state parks:

Flagship / Premier State Parks:
Baxter State Park - hiking, backpacking, mountain climbing/scrambling, camping, canoeing, wildlife viewing
Camden Hills State Park - hiking, camping, scenic drive, scenic views
Grafton Notch State Park - hiking, backpacking, waterfalls, scenic drive, scenic views

Other Notable State Parks:
Mount Blue State Park - hiking, camping, boating, swimming, mountain biking, ATV/ORV-ing, snowmobiling
Quoddy Head State Park - historic lighthouse, hiking, wildlife watching, birdwatching, coastal plateau bog
Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park - hiking, birdwatching, rocky shorelines, salt marsh estuary

My favorite state park in Maine is Baxter State Park. The hiking, backpacking, and scenery is simply world-class. The cabins, lean-tos, and campsites in the park are amazing. Take note that Baxter State Park has strict entrance requirements (including a permit system for popular trailheads and a vehicle height limit).

Find the best state parks across the country using my Top 100 State Parks in the U.S. guide.


Maine contains more than 400 natural waterfalls. Here are some of the best waterfalls in the state:

Angel Falls, Township D
Dunn Falls, Andover North Surplus
Grand Falls, T3R4
Gulf Hagas, Bowdoin College Grant East
Little Wilson Falls-Upper Falls, Elliotsville Township
Moxie Falls, Moxie Gore
Smalls Falls, Township E

My personal favorite waterfall in Maine is Moxie Falls. It looks like something you'd expect to see in the western United States. If you go whitewater rafting on the Kennebec River, make sure to also hike to this waterfall while you are in that area (e.g. West Forks).

For a listing of all known waterfalls in Montana, visit the World Waterfall Database or the Maine waterfalls page of the New England Waterfalls website.

Chase more waterfalls across the country with my Best Waterfalls in the U.S. guide.


Here is a list of the best scenic drives in Maine:

Bold Coast Scenic Byway - a 147-mile paved route from Milbridge to Eastport via Cherryfield, Jonesport, Machias, Culter, Lubec, & Whiting
Grafton Notch Byway - a 21-mile paved route from Newry to Upton using ME 26 through Grafton Notch State Park
Katahdin Woods and Waters Scenic Byway - a 89-mile paved route that connects the southern and northern entrances of Baxter State Park
Moosehead Lake Scenic Byway - a 49-mile paved route from Jackman to Greenville using ME 6 and ME 15
Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway - a 78-mile paved route from Solon to the Canadian border using US-201
Park Loop Road, Acadia National Park - a seasonal 27-mile paved loop (driven clockwise) within Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island
Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway - a 35-mile paved loop from Rumford to Madrid via Rangeley using ME 17, ME 16, and ME 4
Schoodic National Scenic Byway - a 27-mile paved route in the Schoodic Peninsula section of Acadia National Park
US-1A / Shore Road - a 10-mile paved route from York Harbor to Ogunquit via York Beach

Discover great scenic drives across the country with my Best Scenic Drives in the U.S. guide.


Maine has about 3,500 miles of coastline, and there are dozens of ocean beaches. Here are some of the best ocean beaches in Maine:

Southern Coastline (Kittery to Brunswick)
Bayview Beach, Saco
Crescent Beach, Wells
Drakes Island Beach, Wells
Fortunes Rocks Beach, Biddeford
Goose Rocks Beach, Kennebunkport
Long Sands Beach, York
Mother's Beach, Kennebunk
Ogunquit Beach, Ogunquit
Old Orchard Beach, Old Orchard Beach

Northern Coastline (Popham Beach to Lubec)
Birch Point Beach State Park, Owls Head
Pemaquid Beach, New Harbor
Popham Beach State Park, Phippsburg
Sand Beach, Acadia National Park

Old Orchard Beach has the most seaside amusements of any beach in Maine. It's a smaller version of some of the family-friendly beach towns you'd find in the Mid-Atlantic states (e.g. Delaware, Maryland, or New Jersey).

Maine's beaches never get all that warm, but many are quite attractive. Long Sands Beach in York seems to warm up the best, usually hitting its peak water temperature of around 65-70 degrees by early-to-mid August.


Here is a list of some of the best rail trails (or similar cycling paths) in Maine:

Eastern Promenade Trail - a 2.1 mile paved trail in downtown Portland that you can combine with a ride around Back Cove
Eastern Trail - a 24-mile trail in southern Maine that has on and off-road segments; the off-road segments are great
Kennebec River Rail Trail - a 6.5 mile paved trail from Augusta to Gardiner; has one major on-road segment in Hallowell

For detailed information on all known rail trails in Maine, visit the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website.


There are only a few amusement parks in Maine, and they are relatively small in size.

Aquaboggan Water Park, Saco - a medium-sized water park
Funtown Splashtown USA, Saco - the largest amusement park in Maine; includes both an amusement park and a sizable water park
Palace Playground, Old Orchard Beach - the largest beach-front amusement park in New England; several small roller coasters and rides, plus arcades

I think most people would agree that Funtown is the biggest and best amusement park in Maine.


Maine has many excellent museums, although they are generally small or medium-sized on a national scale. The best museums in Maine include:

Downeast Maine (including Bar Harbor and Lubec)
Fort Knox Historic Site, Prospect - historic fort

Mid-Coast (including Bath, Boothbay Harbor, Brunswick, Camden, Freeport, and Rockland)
Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick - art museum
Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland - art museum
Maine Lighthouse Museum, Rockland - lighthouse museum
Maine Maritime Museum, Bath - maritime museum
Owls Head Transportation Museum, Owls Head

Central Maine (including Bangor and Waterville)
Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville - art museum
Cole Land Transportation Museum, Bangor - transportation museum

Southern Maine (including Ogunquit, Portland, and York)
Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Ogunquit - art museum
Portland Museum of Art, Portland - art museum
Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport - transportation museum
Victoria Mansion, Portland - historic home


Maine has more than one thousand miles of hiking trails, and there is good hiking to be found all over the state. Here are some of the very best day hikes in the state:

Northern Maine (including Millinocket and Baxter State Park)
Big & Little Niagara Falls
Doubletop Mountain
Gulf Hagas
Haystack Mountain, Castle Hill
Katahdin - the #1 hiking destination in Baxter State Park; generally opens for the season in mid-June; parking reservations are required
North & South Brother
Owl, The - parking permits/reservations are required and are difficult to obtain
Sandy Stream Pond - parking permits/reservations are required and are difficult to obtain
South Turner - parking permits/reservations are required and are difficult to obtain
Traveler Mountain - a hike in Baxter State Park that is as hard as Katahdin, but no permits/parking reservations are required

Northwestern Maine (including Greenville, Jackman, Monson, and West Forks)
Borestone Mountain, Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary, Northeast Piscataquis
Mount Kineo, Mount Kineo State Park, Greenville
Moxie Falls, Moxie Falls Scenic Area, Moxie Gore

Western Maine Mountains (including Bethel, Carrabassett Valley, Newry, and Rangeley)
Angel Falls
Baldplate Mountain, Grafton Notch State Park
Bigelow Mountain, Bigelow Preserve & Flagstaff Lake Public Lands
Dunn Falls, Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Mount Abraham, Mount Abraham Ecological Reserve
Mount Blue, Mount Blue State Park
Pleasant Mountain, Pleasant Mountain Preserve
Puzzle Mountain, Mahoosuc Public Reserved Land
Rumford Whitecap, Rumford Whitecap Mountain Preserve
Table Rock Loop, Grafton Notch State Park - do this counter-clockwise! very steep with some moderate rock scrambling
Tumbledown Mountain, Tumbledown Public Lands

Acadia National Park
Beehive Trail - very steep with some iron rungs and lots of exposure!
Cadillac Mountain
Dorr Mountain
Great Head Trail
Ocean Path
Precipice Trail Loop - generally opens for the season in mid-August (nesting birds); very steep with iron rungs/ladders and lots of exposure!
South Bubble Mountain / Jordan Pond Loop
Sargent and Penobscot Mountains

Downeast Maine (excluding Acadia National Park)
Bold Coast, Culter Coast Public Reserved Land, Cutler

Mid-Coast Maine
Bald Mountain, Barnes-Pendleton Preserve, Camden
Bradbury Mountain State Park trails
Camden Hills State Park trails (e.g. Bald Rock Mountain, Mount Battie, etc.)

Southern Maine
Marginal Way, Ogunquit
Mount Agamenticus, Mount Agamenticus Conservation Region
Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge trails

The highpoint of Maine is Katahdin (5,269'). Reaching the summit requires careful planning (you need a parking permit) and a very challenging day hike. The warm-weather hiking season is typically late June through mid-October. You can climb Katahdin in the winter, but there are many rules and special permits are needed from the Baxter State Park Authority.

The Maine Trail Finder website has amazing information on hundreds of hiking trails in Maine

To find more hikes in Maine or to learn more about the hikes I've listed above, I recommend purchasing hiking guidebooks on Amazon (or from your local retailer). Another option is using AllTrails, but you have to be very careful when using that website as its information is sometimes wrong or incomplete. Published hiking guidebooks will likely always be significantly better than the information you find online.


Maine offers many outstanding backpacking opportunities. Some of the premier backpacking routes in Maine include:

100-Mile Wilderness (of the Appalachian Trail)
Appalachian Trail
Baxter State Park
Bigelow Mountain
Camden Hills State Park
Cutler Coast
Deboullie Public Reserved Land
Grafton Notch Loop
International Appalachian Trail
Maine Huts & Trails lodges
Maine Public Reserved Lands

For more information on backpacking in Maine, visit the New England Waterfalls website.


Maine offers an endless selection of adventures, including these classics:

Appalachian Mountain Club remote lodges
Canoeing the Allagash Wilderness Waterway - a 92-mile canoe trip that normally takes 5-8 days; one of the best canoe trips in the U.S.
Canoeing the Saco River
Canoeing the St. Croix River
Backpacking the 100-Mile Wilderness - takes most backpackers 8-10 days to complete this famous section of the Appalachian Trail
Backpacking the Appalachian Trail
Backpacking in Baxter State Park - stay in one of dozens of remote lean-tos
Backpacking the Grafton Notch Loop
Backpacking on Maine Public Reserved Lands
Day hiking Bigelow Mountain
Day hiking Katahdin in Baxter State Park
Day hiking the Beehive in Acadia National Park
Day hiking the Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park - generally opens for the season in mid-August
Day hiking Traveler Mountain in Baxter State Park
Day hiking Tumbledown Mountain
Float plane into a remote sporting camp
Ice fishing on any one of Maine's hundreds of lakes (e.g. Moosehead Lake)
Mountain biking the Blackstrap Hill Preserve in Falmouth
Mountain biking the Bond Brook Recreation Area in Augusta
Mountain biking the Carrabassett Valley Trail network
Mountain biking the 45-plus miles of carriage roads of Acadia National Park
Mountain biking the Nordic Heritage Sports Center in Presque Isle
Mountaineering up Katahdin in Baxter State Park in winter
Rock climbing in Camden Hills State Park
Rock climbing the Clifton Crags
Rock climbing on Mt. Desert Island
Sea-kayaking the Maine coastline
Sailing the Maine coastline
Skiing at Sunday River Resort
Skiing at Sugarloaf
Skydiving in Lebanon
Snowmobiling on some of Maine's 14,000-plus miles of trails
Stay at one or several of the AMC Maine Wilderness Lodges
Stay at one or several of the Maine Huts & Trails Lodges - closed as of 2022 due to COVID and organizational financial challenges
Whitewater rafting the Dead River
Whitewater rafting the Kennebec River
Whitewater rafting the Penobscot River


Maine has more than a dozen ski resorts. Here are some ski resorts that are generally considered the best:

Premier Ski/Snowboard Resorts:
Saddleback Mountain - 68 trails; 2,000ft vertical drop; 4,120ft summit
Sugarloaf - 162 trails; 2,820ft vertical drop; 4,234ft summit
Sunday River Resort - 135 trails; 2,340ft vertical drop; 3,140ft summit

Other Notable Ski/Snowboard Resorts:
Camden Snow Bowl
Mt. Abram
Shawnee Peak

My favorite ski resort in Maine (or New England for that matter) is Sugarloaf. However, lots of people prefer Sunday River over Sugarloaf. Both are excellent. I like Sugarloaf because it feels way out there, and all trails ultimately lead back to one central base area.

The prime NH ski season is generally December through March. Some NH resorts may also be open in Oct/Nov and some stay open until April/May.


For offbeat and unique Maine attractions, visit one or both of these amazing websites: Atlas Obscura and Roadside America

I would encourage you to avoid the woodsy/mountain areas of Maine from mid-May through the end of June; that's black fly season, and they can be intolerable. Mosquitoes can also be bad, but tend to mostly die down by 7/1 or 7/15.

In general, the further north you go in Maine, the more likely it is that you will see a moose. The North Maine Woods is very wild and offers outstanding camping and off-the-beaten-path lots of moose!

Peak fall foliage in Maine is typically between 9/25 and 10/25, depending upon where you are in the state The earliest snowfall in the mountainous areas of Maine is typically around 10/15-10/30.

Driving US-1 the entire way up the coastline is very slow but offers tons of great scenery, restaurants, and shops

There are many remote islands in Maine that you can explore (you just need to boat or kayak to them)

Here is an awesome list of 101 things to do in Maine:


Here are some unique / specialty foods to try while you are in Maine:

blueberry pies
fried clams
lobster rolls
Moxie (soda)
popovers - e.g. Jordan Pond House in Acadia National Park
red snapper hot dogs
whoopie pies

For a list of unique foods and mom-and-pop type eateries and restaurants in Maine (or any other U.S. state), visit the website.
For a list of unique foods to try in each U.S. state, explore my Road Trip Food guide.
For a list of the top-rated beers to try in Maine (or any other U.S. state), visit the Beer Advocate website.


Here is some helpful key information about Maine:

State Capital:

Major Airports:
Portland International Jetport (PWN), and to a far lesser extent, Bangor International Airport (BGR)

Largest Cities:
Portland (66,706), Lewiston (36,158), Bangor (32,029), South Portland (26,798), Auburn (24,263), Biddeford (22,808)

Primary U.S. Interstates:

State Highpoint:
Katahdin (5,269') in Baxter State Park in northern Maine; a parking permit (which is usually tough to obtain if you aren't a Maine resident) and an extremely difficult day hike is required to reach the top

Professional Sports Teams:

Funny or Unique Town/City Names:
None, although many towns in Maine are named like this: T8, R6

Take note that in general this travel guide intentionally excluded restaurants, lodging/hotels, breweries, wineries/vineyards, and certain other types of attractions (like arcades, ax-throwing, bowling alleys, and escape rooms). These types of places tend to come and go, and keeping up with that would be too challenging. I encourage you to use Google Maps, Tripadvisor, Yelp, and other travel sites that have reader reviews to find the latest and greatest places that I haven't covered here.

Screw Auger Falls, Gulf Hagas, Maine
Screw Auger Falls, Gulf Hagas, Maine

view from Mt. Battie in Camden Hills State Park, Maine
view from Mt. Battie in Camden Hills State Park, Maine

Sand Beach in Acadia National Park, Maine
Sand Beach in Acadia National Park, Maine

hiking along the Knife Edge, Katahdin, Baxter State Park
hiking along the Knife Edge, Katahdin, Baxter State Park

Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument
view of Katahdin from Barnard Mountain
(Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument

Pockwockamus Rock in Millinocket, Maine
Pockwockamus Rock in Millinocket, Maine
(near the southern entrance of Baxter State Park)

Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville, Maine
Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville, Maine

Giant Loon in Lincoln, Maine
Giant Loon in Lincoln, Maine

West Quoddy Head Light, Quoddy Head State Park, Lubec, Maine
West Quoddy Head Light, Quoddy Head State Park, Lubec, Maine
(easternmost lighthouse in the USA)

International Sign in Lynchville, Maine
International Sign in Lynchville, Maine
(junction of ME 5 and ME 35)

Steven King's House in Bangor, Maine
Steven King's House in Bangor, Maine

Whitewater Rafting the Penobscot River (near Millinocket, Maine)
Whitewater Rafting the Penobscot River
(near Millinocket, Maine)


In addition to the information found on my website, I personally recommend purchasing these road trip/travel-related guidebooks. Click on any link to read reviews and/or purchase these books on (affiliate).

Fodor's Bucket List USA (1st edition; 2021)
Moon USA State by State (1st edition; 2021)
Your Guide to the National Parks (3rd edition; 2022)
Road Trip USA (9th edition; 2021)


Did you enjoy this state travel guide? If so, here are links to more of my comprehensive U.S. state travel guides:

Alabama Maryland Oregon
Arizona Massachusetts Pennsylvania
Arkansas Michigan Rhode Island
California Minnesota South Carolina
Colorado Mississippi South Dakota
Connecticut Missouri Tennessee
Delaware Montana Texas
Florida Nebraska Utah
Georgia Nevada Vermont
Idaho New Hampshire Virginia
Illinois New Jersey Washington
Indiana New Mexico Washington DC
Iowa New York West Virginia
Kansas North Carolina Wisconsin
Kentucky North Dakota Wyoming
Louisiana Ohio  
Maine Oklahoma  

As an Amazon Associates affiliate, this website contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any products after clicking any link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I only endorse products that I have personally used or those that come highly recommended by trusted peers.

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