Best Itineraries for 5 Days in Maine Off-the-Beaten-Path

Maine is an amazing destination to visit for any length of time, but with 5 days to explore you can get a great sense of what Maine has to offer. 

If you’re hoping to go off-the-beaten path, this is the article for you!

The spots below make great home bases to explore Maine without the crowds.

I’ll also share top things to do in each Maine destination so you can make the most out of your 5 day trip. 

Sunset Point RV Park, Lubec, Maine

Is 5 Days Enough Time to Visit Maine?

You could spend months in Maine, even years, and not see everything. After 30 years of living in Maine, I’m still discovering new hidden gems and underrated spots I didn’t know about. 

Assuming you don’t have years to visit Maine, 5 days should be an adequate amount of time. 

Plus, once you visit Maine for the first time, you’ll most likely want to visit again. 

With 5 days you’ll have a solid 3 full days to explore and won’t feel rushed. 

To maximize your short visit, I’ve created itineraries below that are focused on one area as a home base so you don’t have to worry about driving far distances. 

Read More: Our Favorite Places in Maine You Need to Know About

Getting to Maine

If you need to fly into Maine, you’ll most likely want to fly into Portland International Jetport. Alternatively you could also fly into Bangor, Maine. This would make more sense if you’re visiting any of the Northern or Downeast Maine destinations below. 

Maine is also a great destination to drive to. If you’re coming from a neighboring New England state, you’ll find plenty of stops along the way. 

You may even want to stop in Maine on your way to eastern Canada’s destinations like Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island. 

When to Visit Maine

Many folks will want to visit Maine in the summer for the nice weather and beautiful landscapes. But I also encourage you to think about visiting during the other seasons as well. 

Below are a few pros and cons for visiting during each season. My husband and I personally love visiting places during the shoulder and off seasons. 

By visiting in the fall, winter, and spring you’re even more likely to these Maine destinations to yourself. 

Read More: 51 Things to Do in Maine in April 

FallLess crowded, fall foliageChilly weather, hard to predict peak foliage, more crowds in October
WinterGreat winter activities like ice fishing, snowshoeing, skiing, and snowmobiling, Less crowds, less expensiveWeather can be cold with unpredictable snow levels
SpringLess crowds, less expensive, great for waterfall viewingOutdoor activities can be muddy and weather can be unpredictable, certain activities and businesses may be closed
SummerPeak weather, whale watching, boating, beaches, lobsterPeak crowds and most expensive time to visit
When to Visit Maine – Pros and cons of each season

Off-the-beaten-path Maine Itineraries

If you’re like us and prefer off-the-beaten-path destinations, check out these itineraries in northern, downeast, and western Maine. 

These itineraries are geared toward outdoor enthusiasts as well.

By design these Maine destinations are a bit further away from the most popular attractions, but offer their own kind of beauty with way less crowds.

Northern Maine Itineraries

Starting in northern Maine, there are three general areas I suggest you consider.

Allagash Wilderness Waterway

For those who love getting outdoors and experiencing an adventure check out the Allagash Waterway for the ultimate canoe trip. Stay in free campsites along the waterway. 

Beware you’ll need to wait until the ice is long gone around mid-May. Maine’s website provides more info here

We haven’t done this itinerary yet, but it’s on our bucket list the next time we’re in Northern Maine!

Baxter State Park

Next up is Baxter State Park located just outside Millinocket, Maine.

We’ve been to Baxter multiple times to climb Mount Katahdin and every time we are taken aback by how beautiful the views are!

Driving to Baxter State Park is an experience in itself. 

You have a great chance to see moose if you head up early in the morning (we’re talking before dawn early!). 

The last time I hiked Mount Katahdin, Baxter’s crown jewel, we saw 6 moose on the road. 

Drive slowly and cautiously. You don’t want to hit one of these animals – it will be like hitting a dump truck!

In addition to hiking Maine’s famous Mount Katahdin, you can also tent camp, canoe/kayak, and go fishing. 

Chimney Pond, Baxter State Park, Maine

Moosehead Lake Region

The Moosehead Lake region is popular with tourists and locals alike.

Located about an hour away from my husband’s family cabin, we’ve often taken a day trip to this region.

For outdoor adventures, check out Lily Bay State Park nearby or take the ferry to Mount Kineo State Park and hike the 3.4 mile trail that overlooks that town of Rockland. 

Make sure to have cash on hand for both the ferry and the state park entrance fee. 

I love the Moosehead Lake area because you still feel like you’re in the Maine wilderness but there are plenty of things to do and places to eat. 

You may even see moose here as well!

Downeast Maine Itineraries

Another off-the-beaten-path region in Maine is the downeast area. 

Located between the towns of Searsport and Lubec, this region is underrated and my favorite region in Maine! 

You’ve most likely heard of the most popular destinations here Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park but there are other destinations well worth your time. 

Schoodic Peninsula

Known as the “Quiet” side of Acadia National Park, Schoodic Peninsula is a more secluded and relaxing version of New England’s only National park.

If you want to enjoy the beauty of Acadia National Park without the crowds, consider checking out this region which includes towns of Winter Harbor, Gouldsboro, and Birch Harbor.  

You’ll find breathtaking rocky coastline and relaxing campgrounds like Schoodic Woods Campground

Be sure to also check out my favorite place to eat in this area, The Pickled Wrinkle for some delicious pizza! Try their take on a ham and pineapple pizza, the Banzai Pipeline. YUM!

Schoodic Peninsula, Maine in February

Read More: Best Campgrounds for You in Acadia NP & Bar Harbor


Next up is Maine’s easternmost town of Lubec, Maine. Lubec is my favorite town in Maine! 

I love how relaxing and beautiful this area featuring beautiful sunsets, great walking trails, and prime ocean kayaking.

I love the the trails at Cobscook Shore Trails, Quoddy Head State Park, and Roosevelt Campobello International Park (in Canada so bring your passport!)

Just an hour from Lubec is one of the most beautiful hikes in Maine in the Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land. This public land offers a 10 mile loop along Maine’s rugged coastline. I suggest doubling back on the coastal part of the loop instead of doing the inner section of the trail. 

Quoddy Head State Park, Lubec, Maine

Or you can check out Roque Bluffs State Park for easier hiking trails, freshwater pond, and half mile beach. c

And finally, if you’re visiting Downeast Maine during mid-August, consider visiting Machias for the Wild Blueberry Festival. 

Read More: Bar Harbor to Lubec: The Most Beautiful Part of Maine

Western Maine Itineraries

The western region of Maine offers beautiful hikes, freshwater lakes, waterfalls, and scenic drives. 

We love this area so much we moved here! Western Maine is often crowd free and very underrated. 

This area is also quite large, bordering both New Hampshire and Canadian borders. 

Rangeley Lake Region

Next, check out Rangeley, Maine for a small town surrounded by natural beauty. Be sure to drive up Height of the Lands for sweeping views of the Rangeley Lake region. 

And if you love kayaking, fishing, and boating, check out the numerous lakes including Rangeley Lake, Cupsupic Lake, and Mooselookmeguntic Lake. 

For a more challenging hike, there is a 6.5 mile loop on Saddleback Mountain. Or for an easier route, try the 2.3 mile Bald Mountain. 

For a bite to eat after a day exploring, try the Portage Tap House for delicious poutine!

Eustis & Chain of Ponds

Finally, for the ultimate Maine woods getaway, check out the small town of Eustis, Maine. 

Featuring Flaggstaff Lake, a massive freshwater lake near Bigelow Mountain, Eustis, Maine is for visitors who are seeking a quiet trip with no crowds, and lots of nature!

Located only 20 minutes away is a gorgeous series of ponds called, Chain of Pond Lakes. 

For a stunning, secluded campground, look no further than Cathedral Pines, but book quickly as this spot can fill up quickly. The campground is located on beautiful Flagstaff Lake and offers glorious canoeing and fishing opportunities. 

There aren’t a ton of restaurant options in the Eustis area but we’ve stopped at the Backstrap Bar & Grill for burnt ends and hot chicken sandwiches. 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Maine has amazing off-the-beaten-path options for a short 5 day trip. 

Whether you’re visiting the quiet side of Acadia National Park, or finding hidden gems in the off-the-beaten-path towns of Maine, you’re bound to make memories to last you years!