11 Reasons to Visit Maine This Year: According to a Local

Looking for a reason to visit Maine? Maine is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. A perfect destination for someone wanting to relax near charming coastal towns, rocky beaches, stunning lakes, and delicious food. You can enjoy all four seasons in Maine with fun activities, exciting wildlife, and compelling nature.

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I’ve lived in Maine my whole life and love it more every year. When I visit other states or countries, I always return home feeling more grateful for the nature and peace Maine has to offer. 

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

Mount Blue State Park

Reasons to Visit and Why People Love Maine

As a local Mainer who has lived in Maine for over 30 years, these are my top reasons why Maine should be your next vacation Destination.

#1 Maine is a Playground for Outdoor Enthusiasts

One of our most famous hikes, Mount Katahdin is Maine’s highest mountain for those wanting an extra challenge.

On the way to Mount Katahdin, you’ll most likely drive along the Golden Road, a logging road that takes you into Baxter State Park, where you are bound to see moose. Be careful driving on those early mornings, I we saw six moose on our recent trip to Mount Katahdin.

Chimney Pond on Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park, Maine

Do you love kayaking or canoeing? You can find completely empty lakes to explore. There is nothing quite like being the only movement on a lake.

The more north you go in Maine the more likely you’ll get to experience the water all to yourself. Check out a few smaller lakes like that are less likely to have crowds. If you’re trying to avoid crowds, I would steer clear of Sebago and Moosehead lakes in the summer. 

Maine also has wonderful winter activities like downhill skiing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Pineland Farms in New Gloucester offers groomed trails and rentals. And they even have a market for lunch after you’ve burned some calories!

The best part of snowshoeing is being able to experience nature right after a fresh snowfall. The trees are covered in a dusting of snow and the air smells crisp and refreshing.

Try Sebago Lake State Park in the winter for an easy snowshoe, perfect for beginners.

#2 Maine is the Perfect Destination for a Relaxing Vacation

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good city. But our cities are not why you come to Maine, sorry Portland.

The real reason you come to Maine is to reconnect with yourself and the nature surrounding you.

Kendra Wheeler, Reconnect with Travel

You come to Maine to be able to take a deep breath, perfectly timed with the ocean tide. You come to Maine to watch a sunrise in complete silence, be the only person to hike to the top of a mountain, and watch a coastal town wake up for the day. 

If you are truly looking to relax in Maine, start by finding a relaxing place to stay. I recommend finding a tiny Airbnb or Inn to stay at to avoid the crowds.

Or better yet, go camping or RVing during your visit. There are plenty of campgrounds to choose from!

Read More: 3 Amazing Maine Oceanfront Campgrounds: Reviewed for You!

Pick Your Time to Visit Maine Wisely

Summer in Maine can be quite crowded, especially along the typical tourist route of Kennebunk – Portland – Bar Harbor.

Generally, waking up early during the summer months, or visiting lesser-known destinations can be a way to avoid the crowds.

I tend to think September, or the Fall is the best time to visit Maine. Activities (besides leaf peeping) tend to be less crowded, and the scenery is beautiful!

Read More: Stunning Photo Diary of Maine’s Beautiful Coastline

Visit Inland Maine

The minute you drive inland you lose 99% of the crowds (not a real statistic – just my personal opinion). Our coastline is beautiful, but Maine has so much more to offer once you’re willing to drive even 1 hour from the coast.

Check out towns like Norway, Hallowell, Lubec, and Bethel for off-the-beaten path exploring. Although Lubec is still on the coast, it’s so far north that most tourists don’t typical make the trek. 

Sunset Point RV Park, Lubec, Maine
Portland Head Lighthouse, Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

#3 Maine Has Four Seasons of Activities

Another reason why Maine should be your next vacation spot: we have four beautiful seasons. Most Mainers will say winter is the hardest month to live in Maine. However, even winter has amazing things to offer both locals and visitors. 

Things to do in Maine During the Winter

  • Skiing at Sugarloaf and Sunday River Skiing resorts in western Maine.  
  • Sledding and snow tubing with Seacoast Adventure in Windham. 
  • Ice Skating at LL Bean’s outdoor rink in Freeport.
  • Ice fishing on Chain of Ponds in northern Maine.

Read More: A Local’s Advice for Visiting Maine in the Winter

Consider visiting Kennebunkport, Maine during in winter
Precipice Trail, Acadia National Park, Maine

Things to do in Maine During the Spring

  • Visit the Botanical Gardens in Boothbay.
  • Check out the beaches without the crowds at Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg, Scarborough Beach, Wells Beach. 
  • Visit Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor without the traffic!
  • The weather is perfect for biking the Eastern trail in Portland, Carriage Road in Acadia National Park, and the Downeast Sunrise Trail near Bangor. 

Read More: How to Spend a Weekend RVing in Scarborough, Maine

Things to do in Maine During the Summer

  • Road trip through the lesser-known coastal towns like Gouldsboro, Machias, and Lubec.
  • Explore Maine State Parks like Mount Blue State Park, Camden Hills State Park, and Cobscook Bay State Park near Lubec
  • Visit local farmer’s markets like the ones in Portland, Brunswick, and Belfast.
  • Whale watching in Bar Harbor, Portland, and Kennebunk.
  • Go camping! There are countless camping options for both tenting and RVing.

Read More: The Best State Parks in Maine: A Locals Opinion

Camden Marina, Camden, Maine

Things to do in Maine During the Fall

  • Hike anywhere and everywhere. Check out Tumbledown Mountain in Weld, Cutler Coast, Whitecap Mountain in Rumford
  • Maine Fairs and Festivals are a great way to meet local vendors, play with cuddle farm animals, and check out local eats. The most famous are Fryeburg Fair and the Common Ground Fair in Unity
  • Pick your own apples and pumpkins at Wallingford’s Orchard in Turner, Thompson’s Orchard in New Gloucester, and Rocky Ridge Orchard in Bowdoin.
  • Pack a picnic and enjoy Bradbury State Park in Pownal, Eastern Promenade in Portland, and Belgrade Lake.
Quoddy Head State Park, Lubec, Maine

#4 Maine Has Delicious Food

You don’t have to stick within Portland, ME for great food. Here are just a few of our favorites outside of Portland.

Holy Donut – the most famous donuts in Maine! Multiple locations throughout the state

#5 Maine Has Something for Everyone

What most visitors don’t realize is that while Maine isn’t the biggest state, there are distinct differences between the regions.

  • Downeast Maine (Searsport to Lubec) – Best for visiting Maine’s coastline away from the crowds.
  • Western Maine (towns west of Augusta and Lewiston/Auburn) – Best for visiting Maine’s lakes and mountains.
  • Northern Maine (towns north of Bangor) – Best for secluded, true Maine experiences and wildlife like moose.
  • Southern Maine & Portland (Kittery to Bath area) – Best for Maine beaches, shopping, entertainment.
  • Midcoast Maine & Acadia National Park (Wiscasset to Bar Harbor) – Best for fishing villages, Acadia National Park, and sea kayaking.
  • Central Maine – Best for local, small, inland towns
Shackford Head State Park, Eastport, Maine

#6 Maine Has Amazing Stargazing

In fact, according to DarkSky International,

“North Maine Woods, a region of over 14,000 square kilometers of largely uninhabited forest land bordered by Canada to the west and north, that sees what may be the last remaining truly pristine night skies in the United States east of the Great Plains.”

DarkSky International

It’s not just the northern regions of Maine that have amazing stargazing. Most areas outside of the cities (Portland, Bangor, Lewiston, Waterville) host amazing viewing options at night.

Not long ago, we even saw glimpses of the Northern Lights in Western, Maine. Typically, you’d need to travel to far northern Maine to experience the northern lights.

#7 You can visit Maine’s Mountains and Oceans in One Day

This has to be one of my favorite things about Maine. If you’re staying in Southern Maine, you could take a day trip to the White Mountains or Grafton Notch State Park and be back to the beaches by the evenings.

Portland, Maine to Grafton Notch State Park – 2 hours

Portland, Maine to White Mountains – 1 hour 45 minutes

Mount Katahdin (Baxter State Park) to Acadia National Park – 2 hours

#8 Lobster, Lobster, Lobster

So I have a confession. I’ve lived in Maine all my life and I don’t like Lobster. I know! I should be ashamed. But I promise everyone else in both of our families adore Lobster.

Our families love to have lobster one of two ways.

  1. Boiling Lobsters and serving with corn on the cob and pasta salad. Doesn’t that scream a summer in Maine? Just keep in mind your house will smell like lobster for a while with this method.
  2. Lobster and seafood chowder. This is a tradition for my husband’s family on Christmas!

#9 Maine has over 6000 Lakes and Pond and 5,100 Rivers and Streams

According to Maine.gov, we have a lot of water sources!

Ben and I love to take advantage of the crazy number of lakes and rivers in a few ways.

Kayaking and Canoeing in maine

We traded in our boat a few years back and opted for a kayak for me and canoe for him. We find kayaking and canoeing way more relaxing than boating and it’s better for our fitness!

Fishing in Maine’s Lakes and Rivers

Ben and I both grew up with our dad’s being avid fisherman. Ben loves to fish for Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, landlocked Salmon, Pike, and more.

Ice fishing in Maine

Ice fishing is another one of our favorite pastimes in Maine. We specifically love going up to Chain of Ponds near the Canadian border.

If you don’t have your own gear, you can rent everything you need with a retailer like Maine Ice Fishing.

Ben’s Catch of the Day!
Icefishing at Chain of Ponds, Maine

#10 Maine Has Incredible Wildlife

Maine is the home to amazing wildlife both in our vast woods but also our coastline. We have whales, puffins, moose, black bears, eagles, and more!

For whale watching, look no further than a trip with New England Eco Adventures based in Kennebunk, Maine.

For Bald Eagles, try your luck kayaking or boating along the Kennebec River. We use the boat launch in Bath, Maine and always see tons of Bald eagles.

Black bears are more elusive and harder to spot. You’ll want to venture far into Northern Woods.

For Moose, we’ve had luck venturing into Baxter State Park on our way to hike Mount Katahdin. The trick is to go early in the morning while Moose are on the move. You can also hire a guide or go on a Moose safari.

Moose near Long Pond in Katahdin Iron Works Historic Region

#11 Maine has Breathtaking Camping Opportunities

Whether you love tenting or prefer an RV, Maine is a great destination for camping.

Check out our favorite campground, Sunset Point RV Park, the easternmost campground in the US.

For those wanting to be close to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, we recommend Bar Harbor / Oceanside KOA for oceanfront sites.

For a tranquil experience, venture to Western Maine’s Flagstaff Lake and stay at Cathedral Pines Campground.

Sunset Point RV Park

Final Thoughts

Maine is a must-see destination and should be your next vacation. You will find amazing nature, serene coastline, and activities for every season.

I hope by now you feel that Maine is absolutely worth visiting, anytime of the year!

Every year I am reminded how much this state has to offer and I hope you’ll come check it out for yourself!