25 Things to Do in Maine

Janet Benoir

By Janet Benoir | Updated 3 Days Ago

Maine is a true sanctuary for those who cherish the outdoors. Its landscape, dominated by forests—including the esteemed Acadia National Park—offers a cool retreat with summers not breaching 85 degrees. In fall, you witness a palette of vivid foliage, and when the snow falls, the cozy charm of cabin life is a joy, and you can partake in winter sports or local festivities.

The splendors of Maine extend beyond its natural beauty too. If you have an appetite for culture, you’ll find an exceptionally vibrant art scene and a plethora of great dining options. From skiing Sugarloaf Mountain, to exploring the arts, or feasting on the state’s signature lobster rolls, this coastal haven extends an invitation to an unforgettable adventure.


In the heart of Maine, the city of Portland is a bustling hub where classic New England charm meets vibrant cultural experiences. Your journey through the city isn’t complete without a visit to the historic Old Port area. Here, charming cobblestone streets guide you through a delightful array of shopping and dining. Treat your taste buds at renowned establishments like Duckfat, Central Provisions, or enjoy the unique experience of dining on the water at DiMillo’s.

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Portland’s lovely Eastern Promenade offers serene waterfront views, while the Portland Museum of Art is a treasure trove for art aficionados. Should you fancy a local draft, Portland’s brewery tours are a must. Whilst exploring, consider the highly regarded Portland Harbor Hotel or The Press Hotel for a restful night’s stay in this most charming of cities.

Casco Bay Islands

Your journey through the Casco Bay Islands, near the bustling city of Portland, offers a plethora of fantastic activities. These coastal gems are perfect for savoring the tranquility of small-town charm. On Peaks Island, the most accessible and amenity-rich of these islands, activities abound, from cycling and sailing to leisurely beach strolls, all complemented by the allure of renowned local seafood.

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As an extension of your coastal exploration, try the esteemed Mailboat Run day cruise. This beautiful three-hour voyage by Casco Bay Lines immerses you in the beauty and history of the bay. Your sail to showcases islands, such as Little Diamond, Great Diamond, Cliff, Long, and Chebeague, offers you an insight into the unique character of each place.

Old Orchard Beach

Experience the charm of coastal Maine at Old Orchard Beach. Situated 20 miles south of Portland, this resort destination offers a generous 7-mile stretch of sandy shores perfect for sunbathing and beach activities. You’ll find a scenic pier bustling with eateries and boutiques, elevating your beach days with their local flair.

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Complementing the seaside allure is the family-friendly Palace Playland. With its iconic Ferris wheel, a selection of thrilling rides, and classic carnival games, it brings joy to visitors of all ages. The nearby Edgewater Motor Inn is a great stopover, with its heated pool and an eco-friendly electric car charging station.


Your experience in Ogunquit can be as leisurely or active as you desire. Enjoy the tranquility of Ogunquit Beach with its expansive sands, perfect for sunbathing and swimming, or seek out Footbridge Beach for a beautiful coastal retreat. Culturally enrich your visit by exploring the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, a seasonal exhibit housing over 3,000 fascinating pieces that narrate the American artistic journey.

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For an elevated stay, Cliff House Maine offers unparalleled rejuvenation just south of Ogunquit. Immerse yourself in the 9,000-square-foot spa with vistas of the cliffs, or indulge in the saunas and steam rooms featuring organic botanical treatments. With its indoor and outdoor pools, complimentary refreshment stations, scenic gardens, and exquisite oceanfront dining options, it’s a spectacular place to visit.

Marginal Way

Your journey takes you along the picturesque Marginal Way, a little over one mile of paved trail that hugs the rugged shoreline. This path connects the lovely sandy stretches of Ogunquit Beach with Perkins Cove, a quaint fishing town known for its unique shops and delectable dining.

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Complete your excursion with a taste of the local cuisine. Consider the celebrated lobster roll at Footbridge Lobster, or savor classic American dishes at That Place in Ogunquit. Both promise to add a delightful culinary endnote to your seaside stroll.


Kennebunkport is a must-visit coastal gem nestled in Maine, acclaimed for its picturesque beaches and maritime activities. Your days here are best spent by the glorious water’s edge, whether you’re casting a line, soaking up the sun, or sailing beneath clear skies.

Notable areas for beachgoers include the sandy stretches at Colony and Goose Rocks. Within the quaint realm of Cape Porpoise, a charming fishing hamlet awaits your exploration, as does the bustling hub of Dock Square.

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Savor the ocean’s bounty at The Clam Shack, with its fresh-off-the-boat seafood, or opt for an elegant dining experience at the White Barn Inn Restaurant, celebrated for its exceptional Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond service. Accommodation in Kennebunkport ranges from the opulent Nathaniel Lord Mansion to a myriad number of cozy inns and cottages, all promising a memorable stay in this enchanting place.

Nubble Light

Located in York, Maine, the iconic Nubble Light has stood proudly as a historic beacon since its establishment in 1879. Recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, this lighthouse attracts many, with its dramatic site and history.

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Visitors frequently commend the panoramic views, with the photographic juxtaposition of the lighthouse against the ocean backdrop regarded as exceptionally stunning.

Maine Lobster Festival

Spanning five days, the nationally renowned Maine Lobster Festival attracts gourmands eager to savor over 20,000 pounds of freshly caught lobster. The culinary delights don’t end with lobster alone; there are seafood cooking competitions and an amazing assortment of local treats to sate diverse palates.

Alongside feasting, the festival’s itinerary is packed with entertainment, from live bands to arts and crafts stalls, and even a parade.

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The festivities cater to the energetic and the leisurely alike, with a 5K foot race for sport enthusiasts and a variety of lodging options for those extending their stay. Preferred accommodations such as LimeRock Inn and 250 Main Hotel promise a comfortable rest to ensure you can thoroughly enjoy the vibrant festival atmosphere from start to finish.

Coastal Gardens of Maine

In the heart of Boothbay lies a beautiful verdant oasis that spans over 300 acres, known as the Coastal Gardens of Maine. These gardens offer a medley of flora and fauna, featuring specialized sections such as the Dahlia Garden and Butterfly House. Nature enthusiasts will find this a truly delightful place, with trails winding through a tapestry of blooms, woodlands, and serene spaces like the Meditation Garden, structured for contemplation amidst nature’s splendor.

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For those who find themselves repeatedly drawn to this natural haven, membership options are available, which include benefits like complimentary access and additional exclusives. The gardens serve as a beautiful canvas of nature’s artistry, just a short journey from the calming waters of Boothbay Harbor.

Monhegan Island

Monhegan Island, a small, unblemished community, accessible only via sea passage, awaits you 10 miles from the shoreline. Bearing a modest population—merely 70 residents all year—it boasts truly pristine wildlands. Traverse the rugged cliffs along 9 miles of trails, or explore the quaint village, where artisan shops and local eateries invite you in. Looming over the seascape is the historic lighthouse, paired with an art museum, for a touch of culture amidst the natural beauty.

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For those looking to extend their stay on this serene island, a selection of inns is available. Transportation choices to reach this coastal gem include an hour’s ferry journey from New Harbor, available May through mid-October courtesy of Hardy Boat Cruises. Alternatively, from June to September, Balmy Day Cruises offers a 90-minute sail from Boothbay Harbor. A special and unique place!

Whale Watching

From mid-spring to the onset of autumn, whale enthusiasts can embark on an extraordinary adventure to witness humpback, pilot, minke, and finback whales as they traverse the coastal regions of the state. Engaging with a specialized tour operator, such as Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co., ensures you a front-row seat to these exceptional marine marvels in their natural habitat. Truly, a remarkable chance to see incredible ocean life.

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Early mornings typically offer calm waters, while sunset adventures are known for their picturesque views. While summer promises clear skies and minimal fog, enhancing the probability of spotting these ocean giants, enthusiasts can generally anticipate a successful whale sighting during any tour throughout the season, thanks to the high frequency of whales in the waters of Frenchman Bay.

Farnsworth Art Museum

The Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland stands out as a treasure trove, showcasing over 15,000 artworks that capture Maine’s tremendous contribution to American art. Established in 1948, this 20,000-square-foot venue regularly updates its displays, featuring works by renowned artists, including the sculptures of Louise Nevelson and the modern American realistic creations of Jamie Wyeth.

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As you explore the galleries, the depth and variety of the curated pieces becomes clear, affirming the museum as a must-see destination in Rockland. Upon completing your visit, consider dining at a great local eatery, such as the farm-to-table Primo or the family-run Hill’s Seafood Co.

Stephen King’s House

While Stephen King’s striking home in Bangor, Maine, is not open for public tours, it remains a staple for fans of his work. The residence, a red Victorian-style dwelling, is easily recognizable by its distinct fence embellished with spider and dragon motifs. You’re welcome to view the property from the outside and capture photographs of its unique characteristics.

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Adjacent to the main house, you’ll find a captivating wooden sculpture reaching 15 feet tall, skillfully chiseled from a deceased tree. This sculpture showcases a fantastical array of creatures encircling a bookcase. For a more in-depth experience, consider joining one of the SK Tours excursions, which offer a comprehensive three-hour journey through King’s significant local spots, including places that inspired his writing or settings featured in film adaptations of his renowned novels.

Cape Elizabeth

Your journey through Cape Elizabeth will lead you to an iconic beacon, the Portland Head Light, Maine’s oldest lighthouse. Erected in the 18th century and soaring to a height of 80 feet, this lighthouse is nestled within the picturesque Fort Williams Park. Explore the keeper’s house, which now operates as a museum, providing a fascinating narrative of the region’s maritime sagas.

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Venture further into Cape Elizabeth’s charm by visiting the serene Crescent Beach State Park or by discovering the rugged coastline at Two Lights State Park. As the day winds down, consider a restful night at the local favorite, Inn by the Sea, or make your way back to the bustling scene of Portland.

Bar Harbor

Your escape to Bar Harbor offers a serene ambiance coupled with the allure of nature. Here, the proximity to Acadia National Park invites you to embrace some excellent outdoor excursions. Stroll along Frenchman Bay’s shoreline, or indulge in bird-watching at the local parks and preserves, immersing yourself in the tranquility of Mount Desert Island’s landscapes.

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Bar Harbor’s culinary scene will satisfy your taste for fresh, succulent seafood, while artisan ice cream parlors and craft breweries add a delightful twist to your gastronomic journey. During late July to mid-September, seize the opportunity to pick fresh wild blueberries at area farms or markets. For lodging that merges comfort with charm, consider the Balance Rock Inn, the seasonal Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina, or select from various cozy local rentals.

Acadia National Park

Stretched across 47,000 stunning acres, the vast Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island entices you with its natural mosaic of oceanic coastline, forest canopies, and incredible granite peaks. Cadillac Mountain rises as a hallmark peak, providing panoramic views from its summit. To truly experience Acadia’s diverse landscapes, traverse its extensive network of trails, totaling nearly 160 miles.

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Your adventure might lead you to conquer the Beehive Loop or to explore the ridges of Cadillac Mountain. For a change of pace, the smooth gravel of the carriage roads is perfect for biking, while the rocky shores offer unique opportunities for bird-watching and climbing. After a day of invigorating outdoor pursuits, you can savor the historic flavors of popovers and tea at the park’s exclusive eatery, Jordan Pond House Restaurant, a charming tradition upheld since the 1890s.

Terramor Outdoor Resort

Just a short journey from Acadia National Park, this delightful resort blends the serenity of nature with the comforts of modern amenities. It’s a setting where you can immerse yourself in various outdoor pursuits, including hiking and fishing, or simply relax and indulge in celestial observation.

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Your stay will be in one of the elegantly furnished tents, complete with power, temperature control, and internet connectivity. Outdoor enhancements like screened living areas, personal bathroom facilities and wood-burning fireplaces, elevate your camping experience, all complemented by the warmth of the staff and the enchanting vistas around you.

Baxter State Park

In the heart of Maine, nestled near Millinocket and approximately 70 miles north of Bangor, lies the expansive Baxter State Park. This untouched expanse covers over 200,000 acres and is the custodian of Mount Katahdin, the state’s highest peak, which rises imposingly to a majestic 5,270 feet. While ascending this peak requires physical fitness and mountaineering knowledge, reaching its summit rewards you with breathtaking panoramas.

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The park offers an array of outdoor activities, whether you’re an avid adventurer seeking to navigate the Penobscot and Kennebec rivers by kayak or canoe, or you prefer the tranquility of biking through nature. With over 215 miles of hiking trails, the park is also a part of the legendary Appalachian Trail. As you traverse this diverse landscape, look out for its majestic moose and other wonderful regional wildlife.

Sugarloaf Mountain

Nestled in the heart of Carrabassett Valley, western Maine, the famous Sugarloaf Mountain serves as a hub for vigorous outdoor pursuits throughout the year. Come summer, the landscape transforms into a playground where you can engage in hiking, mountain biking, golfing, kayaking, and even zip-lining.

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Winter casts a snowy blanket over Sugarloaf, turning it into a frosty paradise that boasts a unique feature in the eastern United States: the only lift-accessible, above-treeline skiing. As the largest ski area this side of the Rockies, it provides more than 30 miles of fantastic trails for cross-country skiing, along with brilliant opportunities for snowshoeing and ice skating.

Maine Maritime Museum

The Maine Maritime Museum offers a wealth of knowledge on Maine’s rich maritime heritage, set against the picturesque backdrop of the Kennebec River. Your exploration of the museum’s 20 acres in Bath brings you face-to-face with both indoor and outdoor exhibitions. Among highlights is a walk through the expansive shipyard, where sea breezes carry stories of yesteryear.

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While traversing the grounds, you have the opportunity to engage with historical films, marvel at an extensive collection of nautical machinery, and browse an array of maritime relics and artwork. If you choose, cap off your experience with a delightful river cruise, giving you a glance at the operational shipyard and the striking coastal lighthouses.

Wadsworth-Longfellow House

The Wadsworth-Longfellow House, preserved by the Maine Historical Society, stands as a testament to America’s rich cultural history, originating in 1785. This landmark was home to the distinguished Wadsworth and Longfellow families, with the acclaimed poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as its notable resident.

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When you visit this historic location between June and October, you’re able to wander through the elegantly maintained interiors, housing a collection of authentic household items. The property also boasts the tranquil Longfellow Garden, offering a serene retreat at the heart of Portland, near the Portland Museum of Art.

Victoria Mansion

Constructed from 1858 to 1860, Victoria Mansion serves as a truly historic emblem in Portland. This structure, which opened to the public as a museum in 1941, is also known as the Morse-Libby House. Its uniqueness lies in being the only extant structure in America that showcases the decorative craft of Gustave Herter, a renowned interior designer of the time.

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When you visit, you are presented with the option of either a guided or self-guided tour, allowing you to explore an array of exquisite artifacts and unparalleled decor. The Italian villa-style architecture is extraordinarily well maintained, making it among the finest in the nation. It’s a must-see for all who love architecture and design.

L.L. Bean Flagship Store

In the heart of Freeport, less than 20 miles northeast of Portland, you will find the prominent L.L.Bean flagship store. Since its establishment in 1917, this multi-level retail haven has become a beacon for over 3 million visitors each year. Capture a memorable moment with the 16-foot-tall boot sculpture outside, before diving inside and browsing its mighty collections.

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Expect to be drawn into a world where quality and variety meet, with the assurance of finding something that suits your adventurous spirit. The store is not just a place to shop; it’s a destination that offers a glimpse into outdoor traditions and innovation.

Funtown Splashtown USA

In Saco, a short drive from Portland, lies a destination replete with excitement and aquatic adventures. Funtown Splashtown USA attracts thrill-seekers and families alike. Test your courage on Maine’s only wooden rollercoaster or experience the highest log flume in all of New England. For an adrenaline rush, the drop tower plummets you from a truly dizzying height of 220 feet.

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For those with younger companions, gentler amusement choices are plentiful. Enjoy the pleasure of a kiddie train, navigate through the water in bumper boats, or enjoy the timeless experience of a classic carousel. Your aquatic entertainment extends to Poseidon’s Plunge, an exhilarating waterslide, and a family-friendly raft slide, while the lagoon area provides a perfect spot for swimming.

Allagash Brewing Company

In Portland, you’ll find an acclaimed independent brewery known for its expertise in crafting Belgian-inspired beers. Allagash Brewing Company is celebrated for its Allagash White, a Belgian-style wheat beer, among others. With a diverse selection that includes sours, barrel-aged, wild, and beers brewed through spontaneous fermentation, there is something to suit every taste.

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The brewery welcomes you with a family-friendly tasting room where you can savor their unique brews. For an elevated experience, consider the guided tasting in The Cellars, offering a sample of five distinct beers. Alongside top-notch beverages, an on-site food truck offers local gourmet treats like the famous lobster rolls, further enhancing your visit to this unique place.