21 Things to Do in Maine

The links go to a blog post with more photos, information and directions.

In no particular order:

  1. Casco Bay – the way to see the bay is on it! Take the mail boat for a 3 hour cruise (Gilligan’s Island notwithstanding) or a lobster boat for 90 minutes of entertainment and education or the Island Romance tour from Bailey Island. (There are so many more ways to get out on the bay it could be a whole category in and of itself.)
  2. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens – one of the largest botanical gardens in New England, CMBG is open year round for your enjoyment of the serene landscape and walks or snowshoeing along the river. (Admission not charged in winter.)
  3. Boothbay Railway Village – fun for all ages! Take a ride on a narrow gauge, coal-fired train tour around the grounds, see the model railroad building, visit the old garage where you can see the distributor cap for that 1969 Mustang you sold in 1976 that you really should have held onto a few more years! They also have the original Freeport train station on the grounds.
  4. Maine Wildlife Park – take a walk on the wild side! Absolutely have to see a moose while in Maine? If you can’t get to Moosehead Lake for the guided moose treks, the Wildlife Park is the place to go.
  5. Popham Beach – it’s not a trip to Maine without a walk on one of our fabulous beaches. With over 3500 miles of coastline (beach, rocky cliffs, tidal basins and island shorelines) there’s a spot for you to find your happy place! Popham Beach, Reid State Park, Old Orchard Beach, Ogunquit, Wells and so many more sandy spots to explore.
  6. Lighthouses – so many lighthouses, so little time! Maine Open Lighthouse Day is a great way to explore Maine’s lighthouses. Many of the light stations are open to the public on that day. We can also give you a driving guide to all of the lighthouses! Just ask. Take some time to look these lighthouses over and pick the ones you want to see!
  7. Birding – Maine is prime migration territory for raptors. Every year thousands of raptors soar over Bradbury Mountain on their way to their nesting grounds. Puffins nest on rock outcroppings in the Gulf of Maine. Osprey and bald eagles nest all over coastal areas. When the alewives head up to Damariscotta Lake the birds are sure to follow. Don’t forget the yearly birding fest – Feathers over Freeport! Check out the Audubon Center at Gilsland Farm and right here in Freeport at Mast Landing.
  8. Lobster, lobster, lobster – it’s tough to leave Maine without trying lobster! Lobster shacks abound along the coast.  Start in Eliot and work your way north. Let us know how it goes! We have a festival for lobster, too. Every year in Rockland.
  9. State Parks – we’ve got a lot of them! Close by are Wolfe’s Neck Woods, Bradbury Mountain, Popham Beach, Reid State Park, Fort Popham. Each has its own special reason to explore! Special mention to Baxter State Park.
  10. Festivals – every year Maine celebrates with some of the oddest festivals (or odd themes at festivals – wife carrying anyone?). We’ve got a Clam Fest, a Lobster Fest, a Quilt Fest, several birding festivals, blueberry festivals, apple fests, the Fryeburg Fair and so many more!
  11. Owl’s Head Transportation Museum – Owl’s Head is a day trip in and of itself. The lighthouse state park and the museum can take an entire day to enjoy! OHTM is one of our favorite spots to go on a rainy day.
  12. Giant Stairs and Bailey Island – a fun, short walk along the ocean. Then a drive to Land’s End with a stop along the way at Mackerel Cove. And a lobster at Cook’s. Perfect day!
  13. LL Bean – you can shop all day and all night, too! Listen to a free concert; take kayaking, archery, snowshoeing and skeet shooting lessons; or just enjoy a cup of coffee watching the world go by.
  14. Reserve Lands – Maine has something called ‘reserve land’ which is not a town, state or national park. Reserve Lands are taken care of mostly by volunteer efforts. There are some spectacular areas of the state to enjoy this way. Cutler Reserve is one of the most striking of the reserve lands. Located on the Bold Coast, the area of steep, granite cliffs, it is a gorgeous 10 mile hike. (You can hike shorter distances!)
  15. Beer, beer and more beer – Check out Maine’s Beer Trail for a yeasty tour around the state.
  16. Bike Maine – There are hundreds of miles of biking trails throughout Maine, including off road, mountainous trails as well as paved biking/hiking trails. Combine kayaking with biking through the Scarborough Marsh.
  17. The Golden Road – seriously off the beaten path, except it’s a truck route for the lumber industry, you’ll find the Golden Rd a teeth-rattling, bone-jarring experience. High clearance, good shocks and 4-wheel drive would not be amiss for this 192 miles round trip adventure. (The road is 96 miles long, but you have to turn back when you get to Canada.)
  18. Museums – we’ve got one for just about anything and everything! Umbrella covers? Yup, we have a museum. Cryptozoology? Yup, we have that, too. Art museums? Everywhere! (Portland, Ogunquit, Rockland, Bowdoin, Bates, and Colby Colleges, too.) There is a toy museum on Rt 1 in Waldoboro. A lighthouse museum in Rockland. The Maine State in Museum in Augusta takes you on a visual tour of the history of Maine. The Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor is devoted to the Native American experience, art, and culture in Maine. And just about every town has their own historical society museum.
  19. Set sail on a windjammer – windjammer cruises are available from 2-3 hour cruises to a whole week adventure. Portland has several cruises that go out daily all summer.
  20. Seaglass scouting – As less trash is thrown into the ocean, seaglass becomes harder to find. Scout some of the best places in the Casco Bay and Acadia areas for special treasures to take home. The hardest color to find anymore? Purple.
  21. Relax. Yup, that’s it. Kick back in one of the Adirondack chairs on the lawn or sit on the porch and do nothing. Maine is really good for relaxing.

Bonus – there is one National Park in Maine and it’s a doozy! Acadia National Park is made up of several distinct areas in the middle of Mt Desert Island and up the coast, across the bay in Schoodic. There is also a National Monument north of Millinocket – Katahdin Woods and Waters. This is a very rustic park with extremely limited facilities.

Hope these things to do in Maine help you with your vacation planning!