Most of us will be taking domestic trips this summer. Many of us will be sticking to road trips until the airlines figure out the best practices for flying among the COVID-19 pandemic. So, where should you go on your domestic road trip this summer? How about a Maine summer vacation for the quintessential New England experience?
Craggy coastlines, adorable lighthouses, and lobster rolls are just a few reasons to add Maine to your summer travel plans. Maine has it all, from coasts to mountains and lakes to rivers. It is a nature lover’s paradise. Spotting humpbacks, fin, minke and even endangered right whales is all possible. Hiking and biking opportunities abound, but there is also some culture to be had as well.
So, what must a tourist do during their Maine summer vacation? Read on to find out!
1. Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park has to be number one because you could honestly only visit this one place and still understand the essence of Maine. It is basically Maine in a nutshell. The park has all the types of Maine geography in one place; lakes, mountains, forests, geologic formations, rocky coastlines, wetlands, and beaches. So, if you only make one stop during your Maine summer vacation, make it Acadia.
Acadia National Park protects the natural beauty of the highest rocky headlands along the Atlantic coastline of the United States. The park is one of the most visited national parks in the United States. It receives 3.5 million visits each year. There are 27 miles of roads, 158 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of carriage roads.
What is a carriage road? Good question! They are unique to Acadia and were gifted to the area by John D. Rockefeller Jr. who wanted to travel on motor-free byways via horse and carriage into the heart of Mount Desert Island. These carriages roads are the best example of broken-stone roads in the United States.
2. Bar Harbor
Bar Harbor is the gateway to Acadia National Park. They have a symbiotic relationship, yet Bar Harbor is worthy of mention on this list because it is truly a special place, even without nearby Acadia.
While Acadia is Maine in a nutshell, Bar Harbor provides the culture to really complete the picture of Maine. This quaint town really gives you the local feel of Maine with very little commercial influence.
3. Lobster Shacks
Lobster is a sit down affair almost everywhere else in the world, but not in Maine! When the Lobster Shacks start dotting the coastal roads, Mainers know that summer has arrived! Nobody does Lobster like Maine, and it must be experienced here!
4. Island Hopping on Casco Bay
Grab the ferry from Portland and spend the day island hopping while viewing forts, foliage, lighthouses, historical landmarks, and Victorian cottages. Bike rentals are available on the islands to go exploring upon arrival.
5. Whale Watching
The world’s largest living creatures can be found feeding and frolicking just 20 miles off the Maine coast. Humpback whales, pilot whales, minke whales, and the massive finback whale, which can grow up to 80 feet in length are the regulars in these parts. Take a whale watching cruise to get a close up look. Many whale watching cruise companies are so sure you’ll see a whale that they offer a money back guarantee if you do not!
Portland is Maine’s biggest city, but that does not mean it is big. It is a quaint town with cobblestone streets along the water. Mainers are a friendly folk, even in the big city of Portland. The city appreciates a slower pace of life.
While visiting the city, make sure to visit the Old Port, an arts district of charming streets just up from the water, and walk the Eastern Promenade to the Back Bay for spectacular views of Casco Bay.
7. The Maine Beer Trail
Maine was a pioneer in the craft beer movement. The Maine Beer Trail connects more than 100 craft breweries, both inland and on the coast. You can find locally crafted brews in just about every corner of the state. Before embarking on the Maine Beer Trail, make sure to grab a Maine Beer Trail Passport. You may even be treated to a prize if you get enough stamps.
8. Ice Cream Shacks
Lobster shacks are not the only sign that summer is on its way. The other tell tale sign is when the ice cream shacks start appearing. The most famous ice cream shacks are Shain’s, Gifford’s and Beal’s, but there are even a few farms that skip the middleman and make their own ice cream.
Maine’s 65 lighthouses have protected boats from the craggy coastline for over 200 years. Whether witnessed aglow in the evening or during daylight when visitors can get up close and personal, these picture worthy structures must be visited while in Maine.
10. Moose Spotting
Outside of Alaska, Maine has more moose than any other state. It is estimated that they have about 75,000 moose. So, you definitely have to try and spot one when you are there. These massive animals typically weigh over 1,000 pounds with antlers spanning six feet. Impressive!
The best times to spot moose are at dusk and dawn from mid-May through July and again in the fall during their breeding season. If you are visiting after summer, you’ll be treated to the impressive antlers of the bull moose being fully formed.
There are way more than these ten reasons to visit The Pine Tree State, including pine trees! But this list definitely gives you a sense of what to anticipate when you visit The United States most north-easterly state! This picturesque state will not disappoint during your Maine summer vacation. Contact Explore More Family Travel today to have your Maine Summer Vacation crafted for you.
Photo credits: pixabay.com and unsplash.com