Top 10 Places in Maine to Visit
For our family vacation in 2012, we loaded up the kids and drove to Maine. We picked Maine after researching and learning interesting facts about Acadia National Park and the Maine Coast. We spent a week there, but easily could have spent more time because there was so much to see and do. Maine is uniquely beautiful and amazing. Here is a look at the top 10 places in Maine to visit.
Parks to Visit in Maine
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park was the first national park established east of the Mississippi River. It is also the only national park in Maine. Most of the park is located on Mount Desert Island, which is about two-thirds of the way up the coast of Maine. It offers stunning views of Maine’s rugged coast. It is very relaxing to sit listen to the waves crash against the rocks. Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the entire Atlantic coast at over 1,500 feet. This is a great place to go to watch sunrises and sunsets. If you like to hike, Acadia is the place for you. It has many different trails to choose from. The Park Loop Road allows you to drive through much of the park and see the main sights in as little as half a day depending on the number of stops that you make. You could easily spend a weekend hiking or biking the carriage roads in the park. Acadia National Park is absolutely beautiful and well worth a visit.
Baxter State Park
Baxter State Park is much larger than Acadia National Park. It is located in northwestern Maine. The Appalachian Trail begins at the top of Mt. Katahdin (5,267 feet), which is the highest peak in Maine. Four different trails lead to the top with varying difficulties. If you plan to climb one of these trails, be ready to start very early in the morning. The parking lots fill up fast. Hiking to the summit is only permitted during the months of June through October due to the weather and altitude of the mountain. Baxter State Park also has many other trails to hike. The park is full of wildlife such as moose, black bears, white-tailed deer, and many smaller land animals. We had a chance to visit the park but did not have time to climb Mt. Katahdin, but have it on our list of things to do for our next trip.
Camden Hills State Park
Camden Hills State Park is located in east central Maine, along the Atlantic coast. It is much quieter than Acadia National Park. It boasts a rocky shoreline, wooded areas, and hills. The best view in the park is found on top of Mt. Battie. You can see across Penobscot Bay to the east and Mt. Katahdin to the northwest on a clear day. Camden Hills State Park has five major trailheads. The park also has 100 campsites with full-service bathrooms and showers.
Top Cities to Visit in Maine
Portland is the largest city in Maine, located on Casco Bay. There are many things to do around Portland. The waterfront offers lobster boat rides, scenic cruises, walking trails, and ferries to take you to the island communities. There are also many wonderful places to eat, from pubs to seafood restaurants along the waterfront. Portland also offers unique shopping opportunities with many different boutiques and galleries.
Freeport offers the best shopping in Maine. It has over 200 upscale outlet stores along with being the home to the L.L. Bean flagship store. There is always something happening in Freeport whether it is concerts in the summer or festivals in the winter. It is also home to the Desert of Maine. Made up of 40 acres of glacial silt, which is a substance like sand, though it is not a true desert. It does receive ample precipitation but the vegetation is non-existent.
Kennebunkport is famous for being the summer home of President George H. W. Bush, who owns an estate at Walker’s Point. It is easy to see from Ocean Avenue and well worth a few pictures. Kennebunkport, also has nice sandy beaches that are a great place to hang out on hot summer days. The downtown area is full of quaint shops and tasty restaurants. There is freshly caught lobster served near the waterfront. It is well worth spending at least half a day here if not a whole day. We spent some time on the beach taking beautiful family pictures.
Kittery is located just inside the Maine border, across from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It is known for the Kittery Outlets, which boasts over 120 stores. The Kittery Trading Post is probably the most famous shop in there; it has three floors of shopping for the outdoor lover. Kittery is also home to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Lighthouses in Maine to Visit
Portland Head Light
The Portland Head Light is the oldest lighthouse in Maine. It was put into service in 1791 at the directive of President George Washington. It is located in Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The lighthouse stands 80 feet tall. The park is free to visit. If you wish to climb to the top of the lighthouse, there is a small fee.
Cape Neddick (Nubble) Lighthouse
Cape Neddick, also called Nubble, Lighthouse is located in York, Maine. It was built in 1879 on an island about a football field off the cape. There is a small park located on the mainland across from the lighthouse that offers free parking and a great place to relax and enjoy the view. We were fortunate enough to catch a sunset here. Absolutely beautiful!
Lakes to Visit in Maine
Maine has many different lakes and rivers. Moosehead Lake is the largest lake in the state. It is located in the Longfellow Mountains in western Maine. The Kennebec River flows out of Moosehead Lake to the Atlantic Ocean. The lake is at an elevation of greater than 1,000 feet, making it the highest lake in the eastern U.S. This area is an outdoor person’s dream. It offers something for everyone from fishing, to moose safaris, to whitewater rafting, to snowmobiling in the winter, and more.
My family and I enjoyed every minute of our vacation in Maine. We only wish we had another week to explore other parts of Maine. It is an extremely beautiful state with many different things to see and do. Now all that is left is to plan your vacation to Maine.
What is your favorite place in Maine?
Map of Maine
© 2012 Eric Cramer