There is no doubt about it—summer is here! This is a great time of the year to spend time with friends and family exploring Maine’s amazing landscape. We should consider ourselves lucky to live in a state with so much to do! It doesn’t matter where you live—there are endless activities and opportunities for every member of your family. With such abundance, we have put together just a small sampling of 14 places, events and activities, sorted by region, from all over the state. Enjoy!
The first thing you might consider doing during your state exploration is taking a drive down one of Maine’s scenic routes. In the US, there are only 95 roads which have this official designation and Maine has four of them! The majority of the routes are in the northern portion of the state. Getting there may take a little extra planning, but the effort will certainly be worth your while.
When you’re up at the top of the state looking at the scenery, you should check out Ft. Kent. Originally founded as an outpost for the lumber industry, the area boasts a diverse history due to the farmer immigrants that settled in the area. You can do anything from bird watching to antiquing!
Kennebec & Moose River Valley
If traveling that far north isn’t for you, but outdoor adventures are, then we recommend The Forks. There’s whitewater rafting, rock climbing, hiking trails, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, mountain biking, and on and on and on. And those are just the summer suggestions! Reserve a camp site or a room in a lodge and pack all your gear because this is guaranteed to be a non-stop adventure!
The Maine Highlands
The Maine Forest and Logging Museum at Leonard Mills Historical Site is a place where you have the opportunity to step back in time and experience firsthand what it was like to be part of the logging community of the 1790s. The reenactment of community life is designed to educate visitors about the forest and logging history of Maine. Among other things, there are hiking trails, a picnic area and various activities throughout the year. The best part is that AARP members can now enjoy this experience at a discounted rate!
Downeast & Acadia
The Downeast and Acadia region have a seemingly endless supply of things to do because of Acadia National Park, but if you are looking for an experience in the region that is a little more off the beaten path, stop by the town of Stonington, Maine. This town has more than 300 working lobster boats and a granite quarry that was the supplier of granite to the John F. Kennedy memorial in Washington, DC. Various establishments offer a selection of weekend tours and specials at different times of the year.
With more than 60 lighthouses along Maine’s coast, visiting one is almost a necessity. If you’re going to pick one, why not check out the West Quoddy Head Light in Lubec, Maine? The West Quoddy lighthouse can make the claim to fame as the lighthouse that stands on the eastern most point of the US mainland. The short walk from the parking lot is sure to be worth it!
Maine Lakes & Mountains
The McLaughlin Garden & Homestead in South Paris is called Maine’s Favorite Public Garden. Since the garden is over two acres, it’s easy to see why! Stop by and enjoy a stunning collection of hostas, daylilies, astilbes, iris, phlox, sedum, cimicifuga, sempervivums, and over 200 lilacs beneath a canopy of mature deciduous and coniferous trees.
Mark your calendars for the 66th Annual Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland! This year it will be held Wednesday July 31st-Sunday August 4th. There’s a wide variety of activities, entertainment and contests. The best part, besides all the LOBSTER, is that adult admission is only $5 Thursday through Saturday and only $8 for Sunday! If you prefer, you can ride the Maine Eastern Railroad from Brunswick up to Rockland for the festival. Parking for the train is located right after the I-295 exit in Brunswick.
Greater Portland & Casco Bay
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a famous American writer and poet who was born in Portland, Maine in 1807. The Wadsworth-Longfellow House has been under the care of the Maine Historical Society’s care since 1895 when Longfellow’s youngest sister deeded it to the society after her death. Behind the house, The Longfellow Garden Club has maintained the beautifully landscaped garden since 1926. Visiting the home of this amazing writer will truly be a special treat!
The Portland Trails is a nonprofit land trust that was founded in 1991 and currently maintains 50 miles of trails in the Portland area. The mission is to create a network of trails in the Portland area that anyone can use for free. The website has links and descriptions of the more than 30 trails that are maintained by the organization. Portland Trails sponsors special events throughout the year so make sure you check out the site before heading out!
Southern Maine Coast
Maine’s coastline is known for its lighthouses and rocky shores, but the first 30 miles of Maine’s coast offers 90% of the beaches you’ll find in the state. Our beaches vary from soft and sandy family beaches to picturesque ones that are farther north. The amenities at each beach vary. Some of the beaches just offer benches while others have showers, picnic areas, playgrounds and snack bars. A few even have amusement parks and campgrounds.
The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells was created in 1966 in cooperation with the State of Maine to protect valuable salt marshes and estuaries for migratory birds. Rachel Carson was a marine biologist, author and environmentalist. The Fish and Wildlife Service in 1969 named the refuge after Carson because of all the extraordinary work she did during her lifetime. Visitors of the refuge have opportunities for hiking, hunting, fishing, shell fishing, and wild life viewing.
The wealth of outdoor activities Maine has to offer is virtually endless. What we have highlighted here is by no means an exhaustive list! In fact, we hope you will help us learn more about things to do in our beautiful state. Do you have a favorite summer activity you would like to share? ‘LIKE’ us on Facebook and tell us about it! We would love to hear from you!
Photo: Jane Margesson