to Maine, affectionately known as "The Pine Tree State" and
"Vacationland." At VisitingNewEngland, we just call it the "Wicked
Awesome State" (pardon the Boston vernacular!)."
So, are you an experienced Maine traveler or a future first-time
Either way, we have many helpful suggestions and a boatload of
detailed, local online storytelling for you starting right now...
Travel and Food Feature Stories
Travel and Food Blog Posts
More ideas on what to see,
do and taste in this beautiful state
Visiting Maine Reveals The True
Essence of New England Travel
A few personal thoughts of Maine from
the publisher of VisitingNewEngland
Near Marginal Way in Ogunquit, Maine
by Eric Hurwitz
A Maine vacation will have you returning year
after year. The rocky coastline, colorful and wholesome coastal towns
and Downeast flavor of lobster
and blueberry pie have an undeniable
charm that just is the beginning of a treasure trove of things to do in
New England's seaside playground perfect for family vacations.
Of course, much of Maine is inland and with a superb vacation
destinations and tourist attractions (Sebago Lake, and the Rangeley and
Moosehead Lakes regions, to name a few), but the coast gets much of the
press; it's easy to understand once you are there.
There's indeed a 200-miles of coastline, starting in charming Kittery
Point and extending all the way to stunning Acadia National Park. There
are fine beaches, outdoor seaside dining choices, cliff walks dotted
with floral gardens (Marginal Way in Ogunquit is a great example) and
places of solitude to bike, hike and forget
about everyday stresses
unlike any place you've ever visited.
Of course, the Maine coastline goes on a few hundred miles beyond
Acadia. This is a different kind of coastal playground for those
looking for less commercialism and more solitude.
Our top choice for a great Maine vacation destination is York, simply
because there are things to do for everyone. York, Maine, is also
living proof that you don't have to travel far up the Maine coast to
get a true feel of the famed Downeast lifestyle. In the summer, York is
an ideal place for family vacations with its most famous attractions:
the beaches, arcades, amusement park, zoo and Nubble
Lobster dinners, rocky shoreline, expansive ocean beaches,
ice cream stands, salt
water taffy and refreshing salt air and
countless other tourist attractions await you, just minutes north of
the New Hampshire-Maine border. York has something fun for everyone:
the quiet, antique-friendly York Harbor and York Village, the beaches,
carousel, gift shops and arcades at York
Beach, and the rugged, rocky, more
secluded environs of Cape Neddick.
Make sure to incude Nubble Lighthouse in York Beach as part of your Maine vacation!
When visiting York, you can see the joy and relaxation in peoples'
faces as more smiling and "hellos" take place here than you can
initially handle. The key is to adapt. When you do, the health benefits
are greater than any wellness doctor could ever recommend
at Long Sands Beach, York Beach, Maine.
Portland, Maine's largest city at 64,000,stands as a Maine
vacation destination that we highly recommend. It's an interesting,
city set on beautiful Casco Bay with old Victorian Homes, tree-lined
streets and the great Old
Port Exchange, an area with terrific
restaurants and stores. Some say it is like a mini San Francisco, with
its hills, charm and now a growing eclecticism, with an art community,
more diversity in its people, lots of culture, all residing by the sea.
It is a great city for walking, having a big city feel in some
neighborhoods, but ultimately a small-town personality in its people,
architecture and retained history.
Old Port possesses a charming, thriving vibe. Photo credit: Maine
Office of Tourism.
Then there's Acadia National Park, truly one of the most
parks in the United States, with its beyond scenic rocky coast, and
forested valleys, lakes and mountains, carved by glacial force. It
cannot be fully described, only joyfully visited. Truly a visual treat,
this 40,000-acre wonderland offers endless natural delights. Take, for
example, the dramatic sunsets at 1,500 foot Cadillac
highest point on the U.S. Atlantic Coast. From Cadillac, one can see
amazing views of Penobscot, Frenchman and Blue Hill Bays.
From the top
of Gorham Mountain, you get an incredible view of the glacial blue
Atlantic Ocean. Then there is Thunder Hole, with its waves creating a
sonic boom. For those in touch with more isolated nature, miles and
miles of trails and bicycle paths will bring you in touch with
beautiful wildflowers, a wonderful variety of trees and some great
fresh and saltwater swimming.
The 27-mile loop at Mt. Desert Island
offers endless ocean and mountain scenery stands as one of the great
attractions of the Northeast United States, unlike anything you've seen
before. Many choose the commercial center of Bar Harbor to launch their
Bar Harbor is certainly pleasant enough with its
tree-lined streets, fine captain's homes, harbor views, and refreshing
breeze, but it can also be capable of traffic jams, unctuous souvenir
shops, unkempt flower children and flavor-of-the-week restaurants,
changing hands every few years. In a way, Bar Harbor is not compatible
with the untouched scenic beauty of the region, and can often come
across as a bit too hectic.
We prefer Northeast
Harbor, a splendid
little village boasting the prettiest harbor you will ever see. Sunny
even when it's cloudy, Northeast Harbor is quietly confident, as it
never panders to the tourist. In the little village, you will find some
antique stores, an old-time market, a bakery and a few restaurants. One
of them, The
Docksider could be considered your classic Maine
restaurant, with charming "Downeast" waitresses, lobster to die for,
unbelievable clam chowder, and in the summer, salt air flavored outdoor
dining on the doorstep of the Harbor.
The unexpected treasures are what make a Maine vacation so special.
Everyone who has been to Maine has their own special discovery. There
does, however, seem to be a pattern of people making special
discoveries in small, unassuming picturesque seacoast communities like
Camden (looks ready made for a postcard), Wiscassett (what people might
envision a small Maine town to look like), Rockport (a great walking
town) and more popular destinations like Kennebunkport,
Orchard Beach (lively in the summer, beautifully isolated
offseason) and Wells -- the latter two especially popular for
oceanside family vacations with plenty of attractions, sand and waves.
Old Orchard Beach, offseason, in March.
We encourage you to explore through our Maine Vacation,
Travel and Food Feature Stories library for your future trip planning
Eric at VisitingNewEngland
List of Maine
Vacation, Travel and Food Stories
Lobster Bisque from DiMillo's On the Water in
Find great destinations, attractions in The
Pine Tree State at our Best of New England Travel Lists section
Vacationland's southern coast when the weather gets warmer
no longer has a long way to go
travel ideas for Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park
one of New England's best diners in Wells
Whoopie Pie: an emerging state legend
family attractions visit in York Beach
Hill Farm Offers a Wonderful Dining Experience in Cape Neddick
the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport
classic lobster shack: the Docksider in Northeast Harbor
fun at Old Orchard Beach and Palace Playland
at the fjords near Acadia National Park
and when to view nesting bald eagles
something so special about Joan's Beach and Gift Shop in York Beach
lighthouse picnic is sure to please everyone
Harbor Path Cliff lends commanding ocean views
Pine Tree State meets Gettysburg 150 years later
views from Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park
Enjoying summer at Short Sands Beach
Sand Beach at Acadia National Park is a gem
Peace and quiet at Jordan Pond at Acadia
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