Lobsters and rocky beaches, factory outlet shopping, skiing and some of the best hunting in the country – add them together and you could only be talking about Maine. Beautiful for its mountains, forests and beaches, Maine is a year round natural paradise for sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts, a romantic getaway for couples and a fantastic vacation land for the whole family.
Located in the southernmost part of the state, Maine’s wide beaches feature pure white sand and picturesque New England villages. These are the areas where the Proper Bostonians set up their vacation homes, where the ocean meets the forest and there’s a little something for everyone. Kittery, Wells, Kennebunkport, Ogunquit and Old Orchard Beach – the names roll off the tongue and conjure up the image of white-capped waves lapping at the sandy beaches and the sweet aroma of sizzling fried clams and savory baked lobsters.
Each of the Maine beach towns has its own personality. From the sophisticated galleries of Ogunquit to the amusement parks and fireworks of Old Orchard Beach, there’s something to suit every taste. Activities along the southern coast include swimming, amusement parks and theme parks, whale watches and deep sea fishing.
The old Grande Dame of Maine resort towns, Kennebunkport grew out of a shipbuilding town. By the late 1800s, the town had more than thirty fine hotels and restaurants, and that atmosphere continues to this day. The town is home to the summer estates of some of the most well-heeled families in the nation, and features high end accommodations and the best dining establishments.
Family fun is the keynote of Old Orchard Beach. The Pier extends 500 feet into the Atlantic and is lined with shops, games and other recreational offerings. Palace Playland is New England’s only remaining beachfront amusement park, and features a Ferris wheel, carousel, roller coaster and other rides. Other family amusement parks in the area include York’s Wild Kingdom and FunTown/Splashtown.
Kittery is the oldest settlement in Maine and has been a getaway of choice for artists and writers for generations. Kittery has evolved into a multifaceted city – a family playground on the one hand, a romantic getaway on the other. The cobblestone streets of an old New England Main Street are lined with kitschy shops and artisan restaurants. A few miles away are the dozens of stores at the Kittery Outlets, thoroughly modern and up to date.
Beautiful, picturesque Bar Harbor was one of America’s earliest summer resort towns and is home to Millionaire’s Row, the spectacular mansions built as summer homes for families with names like Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie and Vanderbilt, among others. Today, many of the mansions are now inns, offering unique and beautiful weekend and summer getaways. Bar Harbor is just minutes from Acadia State Park, where visitors can view the first rays of sun in the United States from the peak of Mount Cadillac. Acadia contains over 125 miles of hiking trails, as well as an auto loop and a carriage road for viewing the stunning scenery. In keeping with its standing as a major vacation destination, the Bar Harbor area features many family friendly attractions including an oceanarium and a family nature camp.
Located in Western Maine, Fryeburg is home to the state’s largest state fair each autumn. It’s one of the oldest towns in the region, and features eleven buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Most are within the Main Street Historic Area, making it easy to do a historic walking or biking tour of the area. One of the most notable features of Fryeburg, though, is Mother Nature. Located in the center of the western mountains and forests, Fryeburg affords the lucky visitor one of the most spectacular views of the surrounding mountains anywhere in Maine.
The Maine Midcoast area is another popular vacation spot with picturesque New England villages, rocky beaches and seaside resorts. From Bath to Belfast, the coast is a beautiful patchwork of picturesque country villages, arts colonies and stunning scenic vistas. Belfast was named one of the top ten culturally cool towns in the country by USA Today, and the little town is characteristic of the entire area. Artisan shops and artist galleries share main street space with antique and flea markets. Two lane country roads wind along the coast past ice cream stands and seafood restaurants, farms and lighthouses. You can get to the Midcoast in about an hour from Boston, but you might as well be a whole world away.
Once the lumber capitol of the world, Bangor is now known as the Gateway to the Highlands. The bustling city is presided over by the 31 foot tall statue of Paul Bunyan, who overlooks the Maine Forest and Logging Museum, a reproduction that preserves the area’s rich logging history. Bangor is at the southern edge of the midstate Highlands area, an area renowned for its fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation. This is the land of the hunting lodge and country cabin, where the fish run thick in local streams and lakes and game is plentiful in the thick forests. Bangor offers a delightful blend of historic charm, culture and outdoor living to visitors and residents alike.
Throughout the summer, visitors come to Maine for the beaches, but after the autumn leaves turn, Maine turns into a whole different world. The Maine mountains offer both Alpine and Nordic skiing area in a wide assortment of ski resort areas. From the Camden Snowbowl, close enough to the ocean that you can see it from the slopes, to the slopes of Sugarloaf, Saddleback Mountain and Sunday River on the western border of the state, there are dozens of ski areas to choose from. During the summer, ski country takes to the hills with other events, offering the full advantage of the resort settings to host such happenings and bike races, motocross and golf tournaments.
Luxury and the great outdoors are an unbeatable combination, and Maine has plenty of both to offer. Visit Maine for the food, for the scenery and for the fun, and you’ll find yourself coming back time and time again.
Miles and Miles of Beaches
High Sea fishing