Few states in the US are as picturesque as Maine. More than just a vacation destination, it’s the epitome of outdoor beauty in New England. Nature lovers are drawn to its rocky coastline and the many attractions in Acadia National Park, which include miles of scenic hiking trails.
There’s a long list of bucket-list-worthy activities in this great state, from watching the sun rise over the Atlantic to sampling its famous lobster rolls to skiing down powdery slopes. You’ll find charming cities to explore and quiet parks to observe local wildlife, while the sandy beaches in Ogunquit and Orchard Beach offer endless fun in the sun.
Spot a puffin or moose in the wild, then embark on a sea kayaking adventure along the coast. Afterward, savor the mountain views during a scenic road trip or dine at award-winning restaurants in Portland. Water lovers will definitely want to opt for a nautical adventure on an authentic windjammer.
With so many things to see and do in The Pine Tree State, you might need help planning your itinerary. We’ve done the hard work for you, compiling a list of the top things to do in Maine, including the best outdoor adventures and charming cities to explore. Discover the best places to visit using our unique Maine bucket list!
- 25 Cool and Unique Things to do in Maine
- 1. Hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park
- 2. Visit a Historic Lighthouse in the Easternmost Point in the Continental US
- 3. Go Whale Watching in Bar Harbor
- 4. Drive the Scenic Acadia All-American Road
- 5. Learn All About Stephen King in His Former Hometown of Bangor
- 6. Hop Aboard a Historic Windjammer Cruise in Rockland
- 7. Take a Puffin Cruise in Eastern Egg Rock
- 8. Sample One of Maine’s Most Famous Lobster Rolls at Red’s Eats
- 9. Explore the Trails, Galleries, and Eateries on Monhegan Island
- 10. Go Sea Kayaking on the Maine Island Trail
- 11. Sample the Best Portland Has to Offer
- 12. Visit the Old Port and Portland Head Light
- 13. Take a Day Trip to Peaks Island
- 14. Get Up-Close to the Desert of Maine in Freeport
- 15. Stroll the Beachfront Pier at Old Orchard Beach
- 16. Explore the Charming New England Town of Kennebunkport
- 17. Explore Perkins Cove in Ogunquit
- 18. Photograph Nubble Lighthouse on Cape Neddick
- 19. Canoe the Allagash Wilderness Waterway
- 20. Experience Moose Sightings in Baxter State Park
- 21. Climb Maine’s Highest Summit at Mount Katahdin
- 22. Take a Seaplane Ride Over Moosehead Lake
- 23. Drive to the Height of Land Overlook at Rangeley Lake
- 24. Hit the Powdery Slopes at Sugarloaf
- 25. Try Whitewater Rafting on the Kennebec River
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25 Cool and Unique Things to do in Maine
1. Hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park
Offering some of the most spectacular landscapes on the Eastern Seaboard, Acadia National Park is Maine’s crown jewel. This year-round attraction is a hotspot for outdoor adventures and features over 47,000 acres for going winter skiing, spring fishing, and summer hiking. Visit in the fall and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the fall foliage.
Cadillac Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in the park for a reason, as it’s home to the first rays of daylight to touch the United States (from mid-September to mid-March). Not only is it a popular spot to visit for sunrise, but it’s also the highest point on the East Coast of the US.
At 1,530 feet, the summit of Cadillac Mountain boasts incredible 360-degree views of Bar Harbor, the Porcupine Islands, and Frenchman Bay along the way. While it’s one of the longest and most rewarding hikes in Acadia, it’s also accessible by car, which means you’ll often have to share the view at the top with other visitors.
Some of the other highlights in Acadia National Park include Thunder Hole, a natural inlet with immense ocean waves, and the four-mile-long Great Long Pond. Coastal trails and picnics are popular at Sand Beach, while Isle au Haut and Schoodic Peninsula are lesser-known gems.
2. Visit a Historic Lighthouse in the Easternmost Point in the Continental US
Established in 1808, the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse station is located at the easternmost point of the United States. Known for its photogenic red and white horizontal stripes, it’s a popular road trip destination in Maine.
Set in Quoddy Head State Park, it offers views of the Red Cliffs of Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick. There are plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation after you’re finished photographing the historic landmark. Hiking and wildlife watching are both popular activities!
Catching the first rays of sunshine in the US is a highlight of visiting this attraction, as is exploring the on-site Visitors Center. Occupying the first floor of the 49-foot-tall structure, it boasts historic and interactive displays as well as unique artwork by local artists.
In nearby Lubec, you can explore the downtown area and visit Water Street Tavern on the waterfront and sample traditional local fare. Cold brews can be found at Lubec Brewing Company while indulging in sweet treats at Monica’s Chocolates is a must!
3. Go Whale Watching in Bar Harbor
There’s no bigger thrill than observing whales break the ocean surface, and Maine is a great state to experience it. This family-friendly educational activity can be seen up and down Maine’s coastline, but Bar Harbor is one of the top destinations to see the whales in the Gulf of Maine.
The best way to view one of the earth’s largest creatures is by booking a whale-watching boat tour. There are plenty of local tour operators to choose from who head offshore for a comfortable ride through Frenchman Bay into the Gulf of Maine. Marvel at the creatures as they breach the surface, spout water, and nurse their young.
If you’re planning to join a whale-watching excursion, the best time to visit is between mid-April to October. It begins when migrating whales arrive in the spring to feed on sand eels, copepods, plankton, and fish. Humpback whales, pilot whales, and minke whales are often spotted.
Along the way, you can enjoy some of Maine’s other scenic landscapes, including views of Acadia, islands, lighthouses, and the Downeast coast. It’s possible you’ll also have the chance to observe other local wildlife such as dolphins, porpoises, seals, and seabirds.
4. Drive the Scenic Acadia All-American Road
Road trippers who want a glimpse of Maine’s spectacular landscapes should follow the Acadia All-American Road. It’s so special that it has been designated an All-American Road, which is considered the gold standard of scenic routes in the US.
Following Route 3, the iconic byway circles Mt. Desert Island and passes through the charming town of Bar Harbor. It’s a bucket list activity in Maine for a reason and features some of the most impressive landscapes in Acadia National Park.
Sit back and enjoy the scenery – from the dramatic shoreline and granite-capped mountains to crystal-clear lakes and lush spruce-fir forests. With easy access to hiking trails in the National Park, it’s the perfect destination for exploring some of the best Maine has to offer.
If you want to avoid seasonal traffic, you can also enjoy the Acadia Byway aboard the free Island Explorer bus network. This network connects the park with inns, campgrounds, and the island’s village centers.
Alternately, Maine has a long list of other scenic routes nearby. The 29-mile Schoodic National Scenic Byway also explores Acadia National Park but follows some of the quieter, less-developed areas through small fishing towns and sheltered harbors.
5. Learn All About Stephen King in His Former Hometown of Bangor
Welcoming you with a 31-foot-tall fiberglass structure of Paul Bunyan over Maine Street, Bangor was a former hub of the lumber trade. The famous author Stephen King was once Bangor’s best-known resident. And one of the best ways to get acquainted with this charming city is by taking a Stephen King tour!
He penned some of his most popular works of horror here, including Carrie, The Shining, It, and Pet Sematary. Fans can make the pilgrimage to King’s hometown and sign up for a specialized tour of the locations featured in his books and their film adaptations.
SK Tours of Maine offers private, expert-led, Stephen King-themed excursions, taking you to where he lived, worked, and places that have inspired his stories. You can get up close to famous filming locations, including the cemetery where Pet Sematary was actually filmed.
After you’ve dived into the literary world of Stephen King, get out and explore what else Bangor has to offer. Browse the shops, boutiques, and restaurants in the historic downtown. After that, be sure to visit the top attractions in Bangor such as the Zillman Art Museum, Maine Discovery Museum, and Bangor Beer Co. brewery.
6. Hop Aboard a Historic Windjammer Cruise in Rockland
Historic windjammer cruises are quintessentially Maine and offer a chance to explore the waterways via a traditionally rigged ship. It’s one of the best things to do in Maine for adventure-seekers, offering you the exhilarating experience of learning the ins and outs of sailing a boat.
From Rockland, you can embark on a vacation of a lifetime and set sail while experiencing Maine’s scenic coast. It’s one of the best ways to get up close to the region’s incredible landscapes, passing whales and puffins, lighthouses and islands, and bays off mid-coast Maine along the way!
Once aboard, the crew will show you how to raise the sails, yank the anchor off the seafloor, and you might even have the opportunity to steer the ship. Trips can last from several hours to more than a week, with specialty cruises adding fun activities like studying photography or playing music. Most offer traditional lobster feasts at night.
Windjammers are typically schooners, while some are retired cargo or fishing ships. They’re different from large cruise ships in that they typically include bunks and cozy cabins. Sailing vacations generally offer all-inclusive packages, with lodging, homemade meals, and sailing instructions included.
7. Take a Puffin Cruise in Eastern Egg Rock
Adorable puffins love to hang out in Maine! The state’s coastal islands are the only nesting sites for these Atlantic birds. One of the most preferred places on the Maine coast includes Eastern Egg Rock in the Mid-Coast and Islands region.
Local tour operators offer a unique opportunity to see the thriving puffin colony at Eastern Egg Rock. You can sign up for puffin-watching tours, which depart New Harbor and slowly circle the island. Avid bird watchers are in luck, as it’s also possible to spot Roseate Terns, Arctic Terns, Black Guillemots, Laughing Gulls, and many other seabirds.
Plan your puffin adventures accordingly, as the best times to see these rare birds are in June and July. However, May through August is the general season.
During the early morning, you can spot them flying from the island to the water and back to feed their young. Later in the day, you might spot them kicking back and relaxing on the rocks or rafting on the water.
Other popular places to view puffins include Machias Seal Island, Seal Island, and Matinicus Rock. Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland also offers a home base for puffin boat tours from Mt. Desert Island.
8. Sample One of Maine’s Most Famous Lobster Rolls at Red’s Eats
Foodies and seafood lovers can’t leave Maine without sampling the famous specialty lobster rolls at Red’s Eats. It’s a true family-run business in Wiscasset. Expect to find long lines outside of this long-standing red shack – we promise it’s worth the wait!
Many think that the buttery lobster roll here is one of the best in New England. After waiting in line with other hungry patrons on the sidewalk along Wiscasset’s Main Street, you’ll be rewarded with this delectable treat.
Open for over 80 years, Red’s Eats has been a longtime favorite culinary destination in Maine. For good reason too, as each roll has the meat of two claws popping up from below, and a whole, split lobster tail over the top.
Using the freshest lobster meat, your roll will be piled high onto a buttered and grilled New England-style hot dog bun. On the side are butter and mayo, letting you create your own masterpiece just the way you like it!
There are other items on the menu here too, including hot dogs, hamburgers, and seafood favorites like clam cakes, crab cakes, and fish n’ chips. Wash your meal down with Green Bee Honey Sodas or pair it with a slice of homemade blueberry cake or a whoopie pie.
9. Explore the Trails, Galleries, and Eateries on Monhegan Island
A beautiful place to get away from it all, Monhegan Island is a small, rocky island 10 miles from the mainland. The island is only accessible by boat and is known as a summer getaway for art lovers and those seeking rest and relaxation.
Time feels as if it has stopped on Monhegan Island, as there are no cars, streets, or shopping malls. However, there are still plenty of things to do, from hiking to gallery hopping to dining at local eateries.
Hiking is one of the most popular activities on the island, with scenic routes leading you past wilderness areas, towering cliffs, and crashing surf. The Whitehead Trail, Burnthead Trail, and Lobster Cove are all short and easy trails.
Admire local artwork at one of the many galleries around town, such as the Lupine Gallery. Afterward, you can check out the Monhegan Museum of Art & History to learn more about the island’s past through cultural exhibits.
Be sure to grab a lobster or crab roll from the Fish House market, then head to a picnic table at Fish Beach and enjoy the views. If you’re thirsty, add a stop to Monhegan Island Brewing Company to sample beers crafted right on the island.
10. Go Sea Kayaking on the Maine Island Trail
Sea kayaking is one of the coolest things to do in Maine for outdoor enthusiasts. The state boasts 3,500 miles of coastline to explore so you’ll be spoiled for choice! You can paddle past old forts, uninhabited islands, and curious seals and ospreys along the way.
One of the most popular paddling spots is the Maine Island Trail, a 375-mile series of islands and passages that run up the coast. Connecting over 200 wild islands and mainland sites, it’s an adventure lover’s paradise.
Stretching from the New Hampshire border to Canada, the trail includes a long list of campsites so you can have a multi-day adventure. However, many paddlers focus on a particular region of America’s oldest recreational water trail, such as Casco Bay or Muscongus Bay, rather than tackling it all at once.
Local companies such as H2Outfitters, Maine Kayak, and Midcoast Kayak offer tours on the Maine Island Trail. Alternately, Coastal Maine Kayak provides tours through the Maine Beaches region and its gentle tidal rivers, while Maine Island Kayak Company explores Casco Bay’s outer islands.
11. Sample the Best Portland Has to Offer
Portland is Maine’s main coastal city, offering visitors a hefty dose of charm. The city is a historical hub and cultural hotspot and beloved for its cobblestone Old Port streets, the cultural attractions in the Arts District, and excellent foodie scene.
The Portland Head Light and Old Port are the city’s most iconic attractions, while day trips to Peaks Island are also included in most itineraries. The historic Victoria Mansion is a must-see for history buffs. The estate features a grand exterior and interior with gilded accents and stained-glass skylights.
Marvel at an Andy Warhol or Claude Monet masterpiece at the Portland Museum of Art, which features more than 18,000 pieces. Afterward, you can stroll Portland’s 68-acre waterfront park or see the country’s last standing maritime signal tower at the Portland Observatory.
They say beer is to Portland is what lobster is to Maine, so it makes sense to join a brewery tour. Get a taste of one of America’s best beer cities at Allagash, Shipyard, and Sebago, or join a lively Maine Brews Cruise!
Start your day with a fresh bagel made in-house at Rose Foods. Date nights are ideal at the award-winning Fore Street restaurant, while Eventide Oyster Co. is a popular seafood joint with tasty lobster rolls.
12. Visit the Old Port and Portland Head Light
As we mentioned earlier, the Portland Head Light and Old Port are two of Portland’s top attractions and are a must when visiting Maine’s biggest city. The Old Port District is an ideal first stop on any visit, as it’s nestled in the heart of Portland.
Start by strolling the salty-aired, cobbled streets to get acquainted with the local boutiques and art galleries that sit between the historic 19th-century brick buildings. You’ll also find some of Portland’s best restaurants and bars in this area, as well as a waterfront area where visitors board the city’s ferries, sightseeing cruises, and charters to the nearby Casco Bay Islands.
Soak up the city’s ambiance, which reflects that of an old seaport town. Afterward, make your way to Portland Head Light, the oldest lighthouse in Maine. Dating back to 1791, it is one of the most photogenic lighthouses in New England and offers stunning views of Casco Bay and Portland Harbor.
Its on-site museum is worthy of a stop and offers insight into the local history. Located in the former Keepers’ Quarters, it boasts exhibits with historic photos, documents, and artifacts. After exploring the museum, visit nearby Fort Williams Park where you’ll find 90 acres of recreational facilities with coastal hiking paths, picnic tables, and a beach.
13. Take a Day Trip to Peaks Island
Day tripping to the Casco Bay Islands is one of the top things to do in Portland. While there are actually over 200 islands in the bay, only a few are reachable by the city’s ferry system.
Only three miles away from the city, Peaks Island is the most populated island of the bunch. Once known as the “Coney Island of Maine,” this year-round getaway is just a 15-minute ferry trip away and drops you off at Jones Landing. The island boasts a small-town feel, perfect for families and visitors of all ages.
From here, you can pick up a cup of coffee and breakfast from a local cafe and enjoy the scenic views overlooking Portland Harbor. Make sure to visit the Umbrella Cover Museum to see its quirky exhibits. After that, explore the island on two wheels with a rental from one of the nearby vendors.
History buffs can make a stop at Battery Steele, an abandoned World War II military fortification to capture beautiful views from the top. However, if you only want to enjoy the view of the Casco Bay Islands and not explore, you can hop aboard the Mailboat Run for a unique sightseeing cruise.
14. Get Up-Close to the Desert of Maine in Freeport
You wouldn’t expect to see desert landscapes in this state, but this weird and wonderful attraction in Freeport is a family favorite and one of the coolest things to do in Maine. Formed in the middle of a lush forest after the last ice age, the natural wonder that is the Desert of Maine is also a historic landmark.
It’s been a beloved tourist destination for nearly 100 years, where visitors come and learn about the fascinating natural history of the Desert of Maine. Admission includes access to all of the dunes, self-guided audio tours, and all exhibits, as well as the popular Gemstone Village, hiking trails, and historic barn.
Stroll the area to see over 40 interpretive signs that highlight the history, geology, and ecology of the desert. Guided tours are also available, while kids will love exploring the labyrinth of treasures in Gemstone Village. There’s also a hands-on Fossil Dig experience where little ones can use tools of paleontology and fuel up at the on-site cafe selling snacks and beverages.
You can also make it an overnight adventure by staying at the on-site campground. The secluded setting offers respite from the hustle and bustle of the city and is surrounded by tall pines, sandy dunes, and a picturesque stream. Water, electricity, and strong Wi-Fi are available at most sites.
15. Stroll the Beachfront Pier at Old Orchard Beach
One of the top destinations in Maine for families, Old Orchard Beach has been welcoming sun-seekers for over 170 years. During the warmer months, this seven-mile-long beach comes alive. Visitors flock here for its bustling boardwalk and the only beachfront amusement park in New England!
Along the strip, you’ll find snack shops serving clam cakes and hand-cut fries, an over-the-top mini-golf course, and a 500-foot pier known for its nightly fireworks show. One of the biggest attractions is the Old Orchard Beach Pier, which is located at the center of the beach and features a string of seafood restaurants. At night, it becomes a hotspot for nightlife and live entertainment.
Both the young and the young at heart will love the Palace Playland, which features both big-kid rides and activities for the little ones, as well as arcade games and a Ferris wheel. Kids will love Ocean Park Soda Fountain with its root beer floats, while The Lobster Claw serves up classic Maine lobster.
Active families can enjoy kayaking and paddleboarding, while rented bikes are a popular way to cruise the strip. There are several companies that charter tours for boating and fishing, while lobster tours are a fun way to learn about the daily life of a lobsterman.
16. Explore the Charming New England Town of Kennebunkport
Famous for its beautiful beaches, historic streets, and classic New England charm, Kennebunkport is a top destination in Maine. Water activities like fishing, sailing, and sunbathing top the list of most itineraries, while the local food scene delivers fresh seafood specialties.
Colony, Parson’s, and Mother’s beaches are a few favorites when it comes to beach getaways, while the nearby rivers provide a prime opportunity for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. You can also enjoy a leisurely day of shopping in the quaint boutiques, gift shops, and galleries around Dock Square.
Add a trip to the Goat Island Lighthouse, which can be viewed from the Cape Porpoise Pier. The Seashore Trolley Museum is an indoor/outdoor attraction with trolleys that have been restored to their original glory, while you can also hop aboard the Intown Trolley Tour for more insight into the town’s history.
You can also explore Kennebunkport by water, as sailing, lobster boating, and whale watching tours are popular. Kayaks and canoes can be rented right at the marina for a few hours or a half-day. After your outdoor adventures, a stop at the famous Clam Shack is a must to sample their beloved lobster rolls!
17. Explore Perkins Cove in Ogunquit
Beach lovers should pack their sunscreen and head to Ogunquit, where 3.5 miles of sandy beaches and a craggy coastline offer hours of fun in the sun. In addition to sunbathing and swimming, you can add deep-sea fishing, whale watching, sailing, and sea kayaking to your schedule.
Make sure to squeeze in time for a visit to Perkins Cove. Sitting adjacent to Ogunquit, it offers all the charm you’d expect from a little village. Lined with small boutiques and local seafood restaurants, it’s a delightful area to explore.
Stroll across the town’s manually operated drawbridge for a prime photo op. Afterward, make your way to Barnacle Billy’s for a classic Maine lunch. Sit on the sundeck of this local seafood spot and take in the beauty of the harbor while enjoying delicious platters of lobster and steamed clams.
If you want to walk off your meal, you can follow the three-mile Marginal Way pedestrian walkway that connects Ogunquit Village to Perkins Cove. You’ll find lighthouse views along the way as well as picnic benches for scenic breaks.
18. Photograph Nubble Lighthouse on Cape Neddick
Cape Neddick Lighthouse is located on the “Nubble,” a rocky island located on the eastern end of Cape Neddick. It’s one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world and features a Victorian-style keeper’s house with gingerbread trim and a lantern.
The best place to view this iconic landmark is from York’s seaside Sohier Park, while lighthouse cruises are also available. Enjoy the beautiful photo opportunities and keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife such as harbor seals, sunfish, and double-crested cormorants.
Finestkind Scenic Cruises offers a Nubble Lighthouse Cruise that includes plenty of photo opportunities of the lighthouse and the rocky coast. Afterward, you can cool off at nearby Cape Neddick Beach, where visitors of all ages will enjoy exploring the small rocky beach and tide pools. If you’re craving a sweet treat, opt for a scoop of homemade ice cream at Dunne’s.
With extra time, you can explore some of the other local activities. Follow the easy trails up Mount Agamenticus, paddle the Salmon Falls River, or explore the charming shops in York and York Village.
19. Canoe the Allagash Wilderness Waterway
Immerse yourself in some of Maine’s most spectacular landscapes with a canoe trip along Allagash Wilderness Waterway. Not only is it the state’s most stunning waterway, but it’s also preserved in a natural state.
Once a destination where lumbermen cut and floated countless logs down the river’s waters, it’s now a spot for paddle enthusiasts. It’s an ideal destination if you’re seeking solitude and adventure. You’ll have the chance to travel to the farthest reaches of the North Maine woods.
Part of the National Wild and Scenic River System, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway is 92 miles long. It’s the perfect spot for a day trip, while serious paddlers and boaters can plan epic multi-day trips.
Along the way, you’ll traverse beautiful lakes and river sections as well as some prime Maine fishing habitats. If you’re a keen fisherman, you can throw out a line from the boat or shore and hook wild native brook trout, lake trout, and lake whitefish.
You might spot old logging and lumber equipment scattered among the trees, while campgrounds can also be found along the waterway. It’s one of the largest untouched regions remaining in the northeast, making it a bucket list destination in Maine for paddle lovers.
20. Experience Moose Sightings in Baxter State Park
Spotting moose in Baxter State Park is one of the coolest things to do in Maine. With many moose tipping the scales at 1,000 pounds or more and antlers that stretch up to six feet, seeing these animals in the wild is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Dusk and dawn are the best times to see moose in the park – typically from mid-May through July and again in the fall during the breeding season. The most common moose sightings are at waterways like Russell Pond and Sandy Stream Pond.
Maine is one of the only states in the US with a sizable moose population, with roughly 75,000 roaming its rugged landscapes. If you want to see the impressive antlers fully formed, you’ll have to visit Maine in the fall, as November and December are when they shed their antlers.
Located about 90 miles north of Bangor, Baxter State Park offers more than 200,000 acres of Acadian forest, over 220 miles of trails, and over 40 mountain peaks. Adventurous travelers visiting Baxter State Park can also add a hike to the summit of Mount Katahdin to their list. It’s the state’s highest peak at over 5,000 feet!
21. Climb Maine’s Highest Summit at Mount Katahdin
Deserving of its own spot on the list, following one of the hikes up Mount Katahdin is a must for avid hikers. With an elevation gain of around 4,000 feet, the entire hike requires commitment, as the average round-trip time is about 8-12 hours!
Located in the 235,000-acre Baxter State Park, the moderately trafficked loop trail draws adventurous hikers from all over the country. Standing tall for over 400 million years, it was shaped by glaciers and is considered one of the best hiking destinations in New England.
There are multiple trailheads where you can park and start the hike, all of which require online reservations. The Abol Trail is one of the most popular, ascending through the wooded spruce forest, while Chimney Pond Trail passes Lower Basin Pond, which was carved by an ancient glacier.
Hunt Trail is strenuous with a steep hike past huge boulders, Cathedral Trail rises through evergreen forest to massive rock formations, and the one-mile Knife Edge Trail leads to the iconic Pamola Peak. Plan your hike accordingly and book a stay at one of the campgrounds in Baxter State Park to get closest to the trails on the day of your hike.
22. Take a Seaplane Ride Over Moosehead Lake
Soaring over Moosehead Lake is a must on your Maine bucket list. Located in the heart of The Maine Highlands region – just three hours north of Portland – it actually looks like a moose’s head with antlers. It’s the largest body of water in the state, spanning 40 miles and 75,000 acres.
For the ultimate sightseeing experience, take in the scenery from multiple vantage points on an epic seaplane excursion. Get a bird’s-eye view of the incredible woods, lakes, mountains, and ponds that surround this picturesque landscape. Fall is one of the most popular times for a seaplane ride, offering fall foliage vistas and views of wildlife roaming the natural setting.
Fishing is another popular activity at this scenic destination, with plenty of landlocked salmon, brook trout, and togue available. You can rent a boat and fish on your own or book a local guide for more insight and expertise. If you’ve got the kids in tow, head to the shallow waters of Lily and Spencer bays.
In the winter, ice fishing is popular, while the warmer months offer a chance to explore miles of the lake on a jet ski! You can also follow one of the nearby hiking trails or enjoy wildlife photography. The moose outnumber people three to one in this stunning region!
23. Drive to the Height of Land Overlook at Rangeley Lake
If you’re an outdoor lover, chances are you’ll have the Rangeley Lakes region at the top of your list of things to do in Maine. Surrounded by high mountains and miles of accessible shoreline, this area is known for fishing, boating, and kayaking excursions.
One activity that should be included in your itinerary is a drive to the Height of Land Overlook. It’s one of Maine’s most scenic road trip routes and is home to a stunning overlook that gives you miles of sprawling lake views with a gorgeous mountain backdrop.
Perched beside Route 17 in western Maine, this route is arguably the most beautiful in all of New England. It’s photo-worthy during all seasons. You’ll have a chance to admire lupines in the spring, greenery in the summer, fall foliage in autumn, and snowscapes in the winter.
If you want to combine your visit to this overlook with an epic hike, follow the nearby Long Pond (1.5 miles) or Sabbath Day Pond (3 miles) trails. You can experience part of the Appalachian Trail while capturing beautiful views along the way!
You can also add a stop at Noyes Overlook to your trip. Located about six miles north of Height of Land on Route 17, it boasts panoramic eastward views of Rangeley Lake and the Bald and Saddleback mountains.
24. Hit the Powdery Slopes at Sugarloaf
Winter sports enthusiasts can enjoy the fresh powder at Sugarloaf Resort, the largest ski area east of the Rocky Mountains. You’ll find a long list of winter activities to partake in here, including skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and Nordic skiing.
Nestled in the Carrabassett Valley, the beautiful resort is in the middle of Maine’s Western Mountains. Sugarloaf’s ski season is longer than Breckenridge (typically from mid-November to early May) and sees an average of 200 inches of snowfall per year.
With an elevation of 4,237 feet, Sugarloaf Mountain’s summit is the second-highest in Maine. From the top, it’s possible to capture views of Vermont, New Hampshire, Canada, and Mount Katahdin.
You’ll find 13 lifts at the resort, offering access to 1,240 skiable acres and 160 trails that vary in difficulty. If you’re looking for a challenge, Sugarloaf is home to Maine’s most expansive Nordic skiing trails.
If you’re visiting in warmer months, you can hop on the scenic lift rides or enjoy zip-lining, mountain biking, or hiking. There are also accommodation options for all types of budgets here, from the luxurious Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel to the more affordable Sugarloaf Inn.
25. Try Whitewater Rafting on the Kennebec River
Thrill-seekers looking for the ultimate Maine adventure can add a visit to the scenic Kennebec River to their itinerary. Ideal for both first-time rafters and whitewater junkies, this 12-mile natural wonder is the state’s most popular destination for whitewater rafting trips.
Located in The Forks, this river offers consistent class 2-4 whitewater rafting thrills in the spring, summer, and fall. You’ll get to experience a mix of adrenaline-pumping action and relaxing floats as local tours guide you to some of the most beautiful sections of the river.
After you’ve gone through your safety orientation and paddling instructions, tours will take you to the starting point just below Harrison Station, the state’s largest hydroelectric dam. Next, your crew will be led by expert guides into the granite walls of the upper Kennebec River gorge to find an exciting sequence of class 3 and 4 rapids.
Adrenaline junkies will have a blast at this popular whitewater destination, where you can surge over and around holes and rapids with names like Big Mama and Magic Hole. Eventually, the river will mellow out, offering time for a picturesque riverside lunch as well as swimming and floating.
There you have it! 25 of the best things to do in Maine. What’s your favorite thing to do in The Pine Tree State?
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