Editors' Picks: 20 of the Best Things to Do in Maine!
Maine is famous for its lobster, lighthouses, maritime history and some of the most diverse topography anywhere: seashore, mountain, forests.
There's a ton of interesting places to explore, from the fishing in Lake Sebago to a moose encounter in Baxter State Park.
The state is known as "Vacationland," and you'll never lack for interesting things to do. Grab a yummy lobster roll from a dockside shack, climb the highest mountain on the East Coast, go whale watching...that's just a small sampling of the many cool things you can do in Maine. Here are 20 of our favorites.
Folks with a sweet tooth wait all year for this annual March event. All over the state, "sugarhouses" serve up free syrup samples, along with games, tours and demonstrations.
Stonington is about as Maine as you can get, leading the state in the amount of lobster that hits their docks. The Lobster Shack is a must-visit place to get your fix. The owner has been working the local waters for over 40 years.
Located in what used to be a giant chicken barn in Ellsworth is this quirky store that sells antiques and used books. With several floors filled with treasures, it's an easy way to lose a few hours on a rainy spring day.
Maine is a prime spot for birdwatching, since the state lies right beneath the Atlantic flyway. The Maine Birding Trail tells you what to look for during the annual spring migration, and the annual Down East Spring Birding Festival connects you with other lovers of winged creatures.
This National Historic Landmark in Portland gives you a taste of 19th century gentility. It was built as a vacation home for the wealthy Morse family. Filled with spectacular furniture and some pretty crazy architectural details, it's considered one of the best examples of pre-Civil War elegance.
Cool off in the pristine forest and waters of this glorious park. Bike along historic roads that once saw carriages rumble through, hike granite peaks or just take in the incredible views from Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on the East Coast!
The Yarmouth Clam Festival has been a "thing" since its inception in 1965. Every July, over 6,000 clams are served (in various forms) in between parades, a carnival, arts and crafts, and music.
The coast of Maine is gorgeous, and there's no better way to see it than via a 19th-century "windjammer" sailing vessel. Numerous firms offer day trips. Ahoy!
About 20 miles off the Maine coast, the waters are home to Humpbacks, Minkes, Finbacks and Right whales. There's no shortage of tours to get you up close and personal (some whales have learned that a "feeding" is at hand when the boats show up).
They're one of the most identifiable features of Maine, so put your walking shoes on and dare to climb. Burnt Island Light Station in Boothbay Harbor offers a tour that gives you a sense of what being a light keeper was like back in the day.
In the 19th century, folks from New York and Philadelphia escaped the city streets to the cooler climes of Maine. They were known as "rusticators," and the 10-mile ride on the Downeast Scenic Railroad in Ellsworth offers a sample of what they experienced. The ride offers amazing views of osprey, beaver, fox and more as it chugs through the woodlands.
From its fisheries to the ironwork companies that made ships, Maine and the sea are strongly intertwined. The Maine Maritime Museum in Bath features displays of this salty past, including original fishing buildings from the 19th century, full-size replicas of sailing vessels and more.
Since 1986, the state has led the micro and craft beer movement. Now there are over 70 great breweries throughout. Download your "passport" from the Maine Brewer's Guild and see how many you can hit over a few days (or weeks).
Maine's autumn foliage is especially breathtaking. Get even more out of it with a guided tour. Many state parks offer them, giving you insight into the trees, the history and more.
The Nubble Lighthouse on Cape Neddick is one of the most recognized lighthouses in Maine - if not, worldwide. Every year, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it's specially-lit for the holiday season. The ceremony is one of the most beloved traditions in the community.
There are over 10,000 miles of excellent trails throughout the state, just perfect for snowmobiling. There's no better way to explore the gorgeous winter scenery.
In the 1940s, a team of trained moose was the highlight of this annual event. Today, wintry highlights include an incredible array of snow sculptures, plus ice skating, sled races and more.
Sure, Vermont and New Hampshire grab most of the New England ski headlines but Maine is home to Sugarloaf and Sunday River, two exceptional ski destinations. The best part? They're far less crowded, giving skiers (and snow boarders) plenty of room to run.
Before freezers, giant hunks of ice were hacked out of the frozen lakes and rivers in the state, loaded onto ships and sent to warmer climates. This annual February ritual lets you sample what those days were like, as ice chunks are harvested and deposited in an "ice house."
Feeling chilly? Visit the Freeport-based flagship store of this iconic brand to pick up some fleece duds. It's open every day, 24 hours a day, and it's kinda hard to miss: a giant rubber boot graces the front. Instagram shot!