Maine: A Destination Guide

Maine boasts some of the most dramatic, untamed natural landscapes in the US. As the Pine Tree State, its vast forests spread like a green blanket, juxtaposed beautifully against its rugged, indented coastline.

But Maine isn’t just about scenic views. It’s a green state that invites travelers to explore, adventure, and immerse themselves in its landscapes and rewarding cultural experiences.

Whether you’re looking to wander its trails on foot or pedal through its picturesque roads, Maine is the ideal destination for those who love to get outdoors and explore!

We hope you enjoy reading our guide to the state. If you finish reading feeling inspired, be sure to browse our selection of Guided Bicycle Tours in Maine and Maine Walking Holidays.

The Natural Highlights of Maine

Maine’s coastline, stretching for more than 3,500 miles, is nothing short of breathtaking. Its jagged edges, laced with quaint coastal towns like Bar Harbor, Camden, and Rockland, beckon travelers with their unique blend of natural beauty and local charm.

One can’t discuss Maine’s coast without mentioning the iconic Portland Head Light, a beacon that has watched over the shores of Cape Elizabeth since the 18th century. (Our 5 Lighthouse Bike Tour is perfect for those who wish to see Maine’s iconic lighthouses.)

Likewise along the coast, the majesty of Acadia National Park unfolds. This national gem offers a unique blend of mountains and shorelines, making it the perfect place for those who crave a varied nature experience. Activities like hiking, bird-watching, and scenic drives become transformative experiences against the backdrop of Acadia’s landscapes. We crafted our Maine’s Gold Coast Tour to showcase the beauty of the Acadia National Park. (Read our blog, Cycling in Acadia National Park, to learn more about adventuring in this region.)

But Maine’s natural allure doesn’t end at the coast. Dive deeper into the state, and you’ll find tranquil lakes and dense forests waiting to be explored. Moosehead Lake offers an expansive freshwater panorama surrounded by wilderness, while Baxter State Park boasts the impressive Mount Katahdin, a siren call for avid hikers.

For those seeking a serene communion with nature, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway promises peaceful canoeing experiences, letting travelers drift amidst the untouched beauty of Maine’s hinterlands.

Walking in Maine: A Hikers Paradise

The diversity of Maine’s trails is truly a hiker’s dream. From the rocky shores of its coastline to the dense green of its forests, every path has a tale to tell. One of the most notable trails is the northern end of the Appalachian Trail (a trail included on our The Whites and the Water Walking Tour), a challenge and rite of passage for many hikers, culminating in the awe-inspiring peak of Mount Katahdin.

Acadia National Park, also offers hikers the iconic Jordan Pond Path – a trail that skirts the edges of a crystal-clear pond mirrored by the surrounding mountains. For those looking for shorter yet equally rewarding hikes, the trails in Grafton Notch State Park offer mesmerizing views and glimpses of Maine’s diverse fauna.

The beauty of walking in Maine isn’t just in its natural offerings and the deeper connections that can be forged with its landscape. Guided walking tours can elevate the trekking experience.

Having a local guide means delving deeper into Maine’s tales, legends, and cultural stories, adding layers of meaning to every step. We have designed our History and Harbors Maine Walking Tour to explore some of the state’s best walking trails and its fascinating cultural history.

Cycling in Maine: Pedaling Through Picturesque Landscapes

Maine’s varied terrain, combined with its well-maintained roads and trails, makes it a paradise for cyclists. For those who prefer a flat, scenic ride, the Eastern Trail stretching from Kittery to South Portland offers a glimpse of Maine’s coastal beauty and lush interiors. If you want to head in the other direction from Kittery, our Cycle the Coast is the perfect choice for you.

Meanwhile, history and sport intertwine in Acadia’s Carriage Roads. These pathways, initially designed for horse-drawn carriages, now serve as a testament to history and a smooth journey for cyclists looking for an idyllic setting. Our Exploring Acadia E-Bike Tour lets you explore the Carriage Roads over a weekend.

The Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway presents a mountainous challenge for the more adventurous. As the wheels turn and the elevation rises, the reward is the panoramic view of Maine’s highland waters and forests.

Choosing between guided and self-guided tours is often a matter of personal preference. While some cyclists cherish the freedom of self-exploration, others value the insights and safety a guide can provide. Summer Feet Cycling understands these varied desires, offering its patrons guided and Self-Guided Bicycle Tours in Maine.

Maine’s Gastronomic Delights

Regarding culinary experiences, Maine shines as brightly on the plate as it does on the map. Foremost among its offerings is its renowned seafood legacy. The cold Atlantic waters bless Maine with some of the freshest catches, notably its world-famous lobsters. Lobster shacks dotting the coastline serve these sumptuous crustaceans in various avatars, from traditional boils to creamy bisques (our Best Places to Eat Lobster in Maine is a handy guide for finding delicious lobster). And let’s not forget the tender clams and the sweet flavor of wild blueberries, an iconic Maine summer treat.

But the flavors of Maine aren’t limited to its sea and soil. Over the years, the state has seen a burgeoning scene of breweries and wineries offering a sip of its artisanal spirit. Craft beers, often brewed using local ingredients, provide a refreshing break after a day’s adventure, while local wineries produce bottles that capture the essence of the state’s diverse terroir. (Our 3-day Pedals and Pints Maine Tour offers a heady brew of culture, nature, and irresistible local beers!)

Beyond its natural produce, Maine’s commitment to sustainability has led to an increase in farm-to-table experiences. Restaurants and eateries across the state prioritize organic and locally sourced produce, ensuring that what you eat is as good for the planet as it is for your palate. Want to learn more about the local food scene? Read Where to Eat in Portland, Maine.

Cultural and Historical Highlights

Maine, with its long-standing maritime tradition, has stories of the sea embedded in its very fabric. The Maine Maritime Museum in Bath is a testament to this, offering insights into the state’s rich naval history, shipbuilding heritage, and fishing legacy. For those interested in artistic expressions, towns like Ogunquit and Kennebunkport brim with galleries showcasing local artisans, revealing Maine’s vibrant arts and crafts scene. (The Kennebunks: Beaches and Backroads is a fantastic weekend-long exploration of the magic of this area.)

The state celebrates its unique identity and heritage year-round with various festivals and events. The American Folk Festival brings diverse musical traditions to the forefront. At the same time, the Lobster Festival in Rockland not only celebrates the delicious crustacean but also the hardworking fishermen and community behind it.

Begin Planning Your Maine Adventure

Maine, in its multifaceted splendor, offers more than just picturesque landscapes. Maine promises unforgettable experiences. Whether exploring its natural wonders, savoring its culinary offerings, or soaking in its rich history and culture, the Pine Tree State ensures memories that linger long after the journey.

From Day Trips in Portland, Maine, to Weekend Maine Bicycle Trips and New England Hiking Vacations, Summer Feet has travel options in Maine to suit every type of traveler. Begin planning your adventure today!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.