Top 10 Best Things to Do in Maine

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With all its natural wonders and pockets of historic and cultural attractions, Maine offers nearly limitless things to do for families, couples, friends, and ... read more...

  1. This 46,000-acre park is one of the most popular places to visit in Maine, thanks to its wide variety of natural attractions. Acadia National Park is located on Mouth Desert Island, which is also home to Bar Harbor, one of the Maine Coast’s most popular tourist towns. With more than 150 miles of hiking trails, there is a wide variety of terrain fit for every skill level and interest. Climbing Cadillac Mountain is one of the most popular things to do, offering hikers views of Bar Harbor and the bay from its 1,530-foot-tall peak.

    One of the park’s easier but rewarding hikes is the 4.4-mile Ocean Path, a particularly good choice for beginners because the island’s free. Great Head Trail is another good coastal hike, suited for moderate fitness levels. The most challenging trails include Beehive Trail and Beachcroft Path, both of which should only be attempted by skilled hikers with some climbing experience.

    Hikers should always be sure to check on the latest conditions and pay attention to skill ratings, as some trails require the use of ladders and rungs to traverse steep and rocky terrain. Those who want to play it safe or just aren’t sure can always enjoy the motor-free carriage roads that are reserved for walking, running, and cycling. To sum up, going hiking in the Acadia National Park is one of the best things to do in Maine.

    Official site:

    Address: Maine's Mount Desert, Maine, United States

    Phone: 207-288-3338

    Entrance fee: $15

    Google rating: 4.9/5.0

  2. You don’t have to be a Stephen King fan to enjoy Bangor, but if you are, taking the SK Tour is an absolute imperative. Tourists will also learn a great deal about the city’s history, as well as which aspects of its past and present have made it into King’s books time and again as the fictional “Derry” Maine. The typical group tour is about three hours long, featuring a combination of site visits and commentary.

    There are several stops that give tourists the opportunity to get out and explore, taking photos at some of the most significant landmarks. These include many associated with his novel IT, like the Paul Bunyan statue, Thomas Hill Standpipe, and even the sewer grate that King first envisioned Pennywise emerging from. The true highlight of the tour, however, is the personal connection that the guide’s family has with the author and his family.

    Throughout the tour, the guide shares details about the real man behind the pages, lots of little-known facts, and stories about how Stephen and his wife Tabitha have contributed to the community. In the true spirit of Stephen King, be sure to visit The Briar Patch, an independent bookstore on Central Street, as well as take a peek in the display windows of Gerald Winters and Son books, the local King specialty book shop. Tourists should also leave at least an hour to visit Bangor’s Cole Land Transportation Museum, a fascinating and nostalgic collection of historic vehicles.

    Official site:

    Address: 207-947-7193

    Phone: 207-947-7193

    Entrance fee: N/A

    Google rating: 4.9/5.0
  3. Rockland is one of the Maine coast’s loveliest small towns, renowned for its dining and arts scenes. Located on Penobscot Bay, it’s also a major hub for the mid-coast sailing and sightseeing vessels. Penobscot Bay is home to hundreds of islands of all sizes, providing a virtually endless playground for exploration.

    The town of Rockland is also home to the Maine State Ferry Service port which operates daily year-round, serving the islands of North Haven, Vinalhaven, and Matinicus, allowing visitors to explore these islands in private vehicles. For those who would prefer to let others do the navigating, there are several good tour operators out of Rockland who offer a variety of specialty cruises around the islands, including eco-tours, seal-spotting, birding, lighthouse tours, and charters.

    The Old Granite Inn is the ideal place to stay while island-hopping from Rockland, for many reasons. It is conveniently located right across the street from the ferry port, and is within a five-minute walk of shopping and dining downtown. It’s also a family-friendly accommodation where pets are welcome, combining the style and grace of a historic inn with the comfort and welcoming atmosphere of a friend’s home.

    Official site:

    Address: 517A Main St. Rockland, ME 04841

    Phone: 207-596-2202

    Entrance fee: $20 per adult and $10 per child 4-10

    Google rating: 5.0/5.0
  4. Watching the waves from the Atlantic splash ashore is great any time of year, but during the summer, Maine’s beaches are full of locals and tourists alike as they escape the heat and enjoy the fresh sea air. The most popular beaches are located on the southern end of Maine’s shoreline, where they are easier to access, although lovely sandy beaches can be found all the way up the coast.

    Kennebunk Beach (also known as Mother’s Beach) is well-loved for its superfine sand, and Wells Beach offers a mile and a half of beachfront, as well as an arcade, snack bar, and other amenities. Nature lovers will appreciate Sand Beach in Acadia National Park, while those who want plenty of space to roam will love the 3.5-mile-long stretch of Ogunquit Beach. The best beaches near Portland are often crowded in hot weather, but offer plentiful amenities and are close to other southern Maine attractions.

    Old Orchard Beach is a family favorite for its festive seaside resort vibe; picturesque pier; and the excitement of New England’s only beachfront amusement park, Palace Playland Park. Another popular beach in the area is Crescent Beach on Cape Elizabeth, which offers a variety of terrain, with plenty of sandy beach, as well as wooded spots for shade, picturesque dunes, and craggy rocks. Therefore, this is one of the best things to do in Maine.

    Official site: ps://

    Address: Willard Beach. end of Willard Street South Portland, ME, 04106

    Phone: 207-646-2451

    Entrance fee: the park entrance fee is $25 for cars, $20 for motorcycles and $12 for bicyclists or walkers (youths age 15 and younger, walkers, and bicyclists are admitted free)

    Google rating: 5.0/5.0
  5. With over 60 lighthouses dotting the Atlantic-facing shores of Maine, visitors to any coastal town will find at least a few nearby to admire. A good place to start is at the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland. Here, you can find exhibits on the history of lighthouses and Maine’s maritime heritage, as well as plenty of information about individual lighthouses.

    Owl’s Head Lighthouse and the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse can be visited nearby, and Indian Head Lighthouse can be viewed from the shore. Portland Head Lighthouse on Cape Elizabeth is one of the most photogenic of Maine’s many lighthouses. Adjacent to the lovely 90-acre Fort Williams Park, it is home to a lighthouse museum and a gift shop. One of the state’s most recognizable lighthouses is the Pemaquid Point Light in Bristol.

    Visitors can climb the lighthouse tower and explore the Fishermen’s Museum, Learning Center, and Art Gallery on-site. If you want to see Maine’s lighthouses from a mariner’s perspective, there are several cruise operators that offer lighthouse boat tours. The Maine Maritime Museum in Bath is also a great place to learn more about lighthouses.

    Official site:

    Address: 12 Captain Strout Cir, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107, USA

    Phone: 207-799-2661

    Entrance fee: N/A

    Google rating: 4.5/5.0
  6. Portland is a beautiful city filled with historic buildings and plenty of things to see and do, from sightseeing cruises to shopping and dining in the Old Port district. It is also home to a diverse selection of museums, from traditional art and history exhibits to some truly unique encounters. The Victoria Mansion is an excellent place to start; the building was built in the mid-19th century and has been open to the public as a museum since 1941, displaying its elaborate accoutrements and contents.

    The Wadsworth-Longfellow House is another historic home worth touring, located downtown next to the Maine Historical Society, which also offers a series of fascinating exhibits about the state’s past. The Portland Museum of Art is another top destination, featuring decorative and fine arts with an emphasis on the works of Winslow Homer. It also displays works by Monet, Renoir, Picasso, and other famous artists, and hosts changing exhibits of Maine artists’ work.

    Families visiting Portland will want to set aside time for a visit to the Children’s Museum and Theater of Maine, which has three floors of interactive exhibits that get kids to learn while playing. Exhibits include a dress-up theater, kid-scale settings like a farmer’s market and a doctor’s office, and even a lighthouse.

    Official site:

    Address: 1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR

    Phone: 503-222-1741

    Entrance fee: $17–20

    Google rating: 4.5/5.0
  7. Home to a staggering array of stupendous ski slopes and snow-coated landscapes, Sugarloaf is one of the best places to go skiing in the whole of New England. The second-largest ski resort east of the Mississippi, it is located on Sugarloaf Mountain in the west of Maine. Maine offers a vast landscape with plenty of room for cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails, and is also home to several good ski and snowboard resorts. Among its downhill skiing resorts, Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley is an excellent choice for skiers who want plenty of variety in terrain. And going skiing in Sugarloaf is one of the best things to do in Maine.

    The second-largest ski area in the East, it boasts 1,240 acres of skiable trails, including many that start above the timberline. In Newry, Sunday River Resort encompasses eight peaks serviced by 18 lifts, with a total of 135 trails. There’s even more opportunity for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, with many state and local parks’ hiking trails open for winter use. Among the established cross-country ski areas, Carter's X-C Ski Center in Bethel offers some of the most extensive groomed trails, 55 kilometers total, as well as rentals, lessons, and dog-friendly areas for skijoring.

    While most people go skiing and snowboarding, Sugarloaf also has superb golfing, hiking, and mountain biking in the summer months with phenomenal views to be enjoyed from up high. In addition, the resort also has countless cosy cabins and restaurants for visitors to choose from with lots of excellent amenities and a snow sports school.

    Official site:

    Address: 5092 Sugarloaf Access Rd., Carrabassett Valley, ME 04947

    Phone: 207-237-6830

    Entrance fee: $ 89-349/person

    Google rating:4.8/5.0
  8. Boat rides and cruises are fun, but there is nothing like sailing in style on a windjammer — a ship propelled only by the wind catching in its iconic white sails. A cruise on a traditional windjammer is an iconic experience in Maine. Some of the old schooner-type sailing vessels have been restored and converted to carry passengers on cruises along the coast.

    The Maine Windjammer Association is a group of cruise operators who offer multi-night all-inclusive cruises, with an entire fleet of windjammers to choose from. Tourists will find that the majority of schooners depart from Rockland or Camden, both lovely small towns worth a visit as well. If you want to get out on the water but don’t have time for a multi-night cruise, there are plenty of boat sightseeing day tours that depart from various ports along the entire coast, from Portland to Bar Harbor.

    There's a variety of cruise options from several hours to weeklong journeys, with the slow-paced travel a great way to appreciate the beautiful coastline. Some of the cruises offer whale watching, lobster hauling, or lighthouse sightseeing as part of the itinerary. Depending on what you want to see, popular windjammer cruise departure towns are Boothbay Harbor, Ogunquit and Rockland.

    Official site:

    Address: 6 Public Landing, Camden, ME 04843

    Phone: 800-736-7981

    Entrance fee: $ 205+

    Google rating: 4.5/5.0
  9. The Moose Mountain Inn is a small, locally owned Inn near Moosehead Lake and surrounded by over 15,000 acres of protected Maine Public Lands.. Any tourist driving in Maine will notice the “Moose Crossing” signs on the highways, but this is by far the ideal way to spot these large, fascinating creatures. Although it’s possible you may spot one wandering about, the best way to ensure you will get a good photo-op is to take a Moose Safari led by a local guide who knows the best spots.

    The nighttime Moose Safari introduces you to the off-the-grid places where moose, reindeer, owls, and hares are often seen. You’ll travel in the warmth by minivan as your guide scouts out the wildlife, and enjoy frequent stops to use binoculars or take photos through the night. In general, the best moose spotting in Maine is in Aroostook County, the Maine Highlands, and the Western Lakes and Mountains regions.

    The best time of year to see them is from mid-May through July or in the autumn during mating season. Among the top moose tour operators in Maine are Northwoods Outfitters in Greenville and Northeast Whitewater in Shirley Mills. If you do encounter a moose while exploring or hiking on your own, do not approach them, especially if there is a mother with a calf.

    Official site:

    Address: 155 Greenville Rd, Shirley Mills, ME 04485

    Phone: 207-695-0151

    Entrance fee: $64.00 for adults and $44.00 for youth (8-17 years of age), children under the age of 8 years are free

    Google rating: 4.5/5.0
  10. Located near Boothbay Harbor on Maine’s mid-coast, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens cover more than 300 acres of carefully-tended flora. The manicured plants are beautifully designed and landscaped with greenhouses, lakes, native and exotic plants and walking trails. Its many gardens include a rhododendron garden, a dahlia garden, a meditation garden, a kitchen garden, and a sensory garden, among many more.

    It can be said that visiting the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is one of the best things to do in Maine. This isn’t just a place for adults, either — a large children’s garden features adorable fairy houses that will delight kids and get them interested in the little sprites’ gardens. You can enjoy the gardens by taking a stroll along the paths and admiring the scattered sculptures by local artists.

    There are also educational workshops and events on throughout the year for all ages. If you time your visit for winter, you’ll be able to enjoy the so-called Gardens Aglow, with the annual holiday lights display throughout the park. Kids will also love visiting the Native Butterfly and Moth House and learning about the busy pollinators at the Bee Exhibit.

    Official site:

    Address: 132 Botanical Gardens Dr, Boothbay, ME 04537, USA

    Phone: 207-633-8000

    Entrance fee: $9 for children ages 3 to 17, $16 for seniors, and $18 for adults

    Google rating: 4.8/5.0

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