Maine Office of Tourism

Top Things to See and Do in Maine

Acadia National Park - Acadia National Park delights with an endless variety of sights, attractions and activities. “America’s Favorite” national park according to ABC network’s Good Morning America, Acadia is one of the very few parks in the world that offers its visitors an ocean shoreline, mountains, woodlands, and lakes. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy biking, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking and sailing. When retreating glaciers created the upside-down, claw-like shape of the island that is known as Mt. Desert, they left behind a dramatic landscape, but its shape is hardly the only thing that makes it unique. The third-largest island on the east coast of the United States, Mt. Desert is home to Cadillac Mountain, the highest mountain on the east coast north of Rio de Janeiro. From atop Cadillac Mountain’s 1,532-foot summit, visitors are the first to watch the sun rise each day in the United States.

Lobster - When the words “Maine” and “food” happen to come up in the same sentence, the first thing most people think of is lobster. After all, nearly 90 percent of the lobster that eventually ends up on our nation’s dinner plates is trapped in Maine, and lobster pounds in Maine are as easily found at the shellfish itself. There may be nothing more satisfying than cracking into a freshly steamed lobster pulled from Maine’s waters earlier that day. But Maine’s lobster culture does not stop there. Ride aboard a lobster boat as the captain pulls traps on one of the many tours offered along the coast and learn more about Maine’s iconic crustacean. In addition to hearing the story of the state’s beloved lobster, there are many other options when it comes to eating Maine-style. The Maine oyster harvest is prolific and an oyster boat tour is also offered from the mouth of the Scarborough River. Homegrown produce and fresh seafood are staples on casual and fine dining menus throughout the state. Classic, all-American diners, where home cooking and plates piled high please hearty appetites are found in many Maine cities and towns. In addition, Maine boasts many award-winning chefs preparing gourmet meals in world-class restaurants, charming mountain inns and even at rustic sporting camps.

National Scenic Byways for Fall Foliage - For visitors in search of spectacular scenery, Maine’s three National Scenic Byways and its All-American Road encircling Mount Desert Island offer stunning vistas with a good measure of history and local culture mixed in. All four roadways provide visitors with a unique touring experience and an opportunity to visit some of Maine’s most scenic locations. There may be no better time to experience these byways than in autumn when Maine really shows off its true colors. Visitors come from around the world for leaf-peeping as a combination of warm sunshine during the day and cool, crisp nights provide ideal conditions for leaves to display spectacular hues.

Lighthouses - More than 60 lighthouses dot the scenic coast of Maine. Taking a trip along Maine’s coastal Route 1 and exploring the rocky shores and peninsulas along the way gives visitors a true sense of Maine’s maritime heritage through discovering its lighthouses. Perhaps there is no better way to view a lighthouse than from the water. The Maine Maritime Museum in Bath and the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport offer lighthouse cruises.

Windjammers - A perfect way to see and explore the more than 3,500 miles of Maine’s beautiful coastline is by water. All along Maine’s coast there are opportunities for tour boat excursions, sailing trips, and cruises lasting anywhere from one hour to one week. One of the most unique ways to cruise the coast is aboard one of Maine’s historic windjammers. Maine is the only place in North America with such a large, historic fleet of traditional sailing vessels. Windjammer cruises offer an experience of a lifetime as you visit tiny fishing villages, explore islands and lighthouses, view whales, seals and puffins up close, or relax accompanied by dramatic scenery and salt air. You can even help the crew sail the ship, if you choose.

Festivals - Maine’s best attributes are celebrated year-round at events across the state. Maine’s festivals are an opportunity to mingle with the locals and are also a way to embrace the state’s rich cultural heritage through learning about maritime history and the state’s Acadian, French and Native American heritage. Summer and fall are dotted by agricultural fairs that crop up in Maine’s heartland. Maine’s love affair with food from the sea is celebrated all summer long, with events including the Yarmouth Clam Festival and the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland.

Downhill/Nordic Skiing - With gradual trails for beginners, some of the steepest terrain in New England for experts, world-class super-pipes, exciting terrain parks, glade skiing and state-of-the-art grooming and snowmaking, Maine’s mountains are relatively undiscovered and uncrowded gems. Maine offers downhill enthusiasts 18 ski areas with a wide variety of on-mountain lodging. Maine also has over 600 kilometers of cross- country skiing at dozens of Nordic ski centers offering visitors another way to embrace winter in Maine. These centers provide safe, well-maintained and groomed trails. Many also offer snowshoeing and ice- skating, and most offer equipment rentals and instruction. The state is home to the Maine Winter Sports Center 10th Mountain Center in Fort Kent, a world-class cross country and biathlon center with trails, lodges with kitchen, locker rooms, sauna and waxing rooms, all groomed and free to the public. Of special interest: Many U.S. Olympians have trained at Maine’s Sugarloaf Resort and at the Maine Winter Sports Center in Fort Kent.

Land and Water Trails - To make the most of Maine’s great outdoors, the adventurous can select a “trail” and experience the rugged beauty of Maine up close and personal:

The Maine Island Trail is a 375-mile waterway extending from the New Hampshire border on the west, to Machias Bay on the east. The trail winds its way along the coast, through protected saltwater rivers and quiet bays, and among islands large and small. It includes over 180 islands and mainland sites along the route.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a long-distance paddling trail connecting the major watersheds across the Adirondacks and Northern New England. Of the 740-mile trail, 347 miles are in Maine offering canoeists and kayakers a plethora of paddling adventures.
Maine’s 281 miles of the Appalachian Trail are generally considered the most challenging of all fourteen states. Lakes, streams, and bogs abound, and moose and loon sightings are common.

Maine Art Museum Trail – Maine’s wild natural beauty has inspired generations of visual artists, with renowned colonies in Ogunquit and on Monhegan Island. The eight museums that make up the Maine Art Museum Trail, Bates College Museum of Art, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Colby College Museum of Art, Farnsworth Art Museum, Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Portland Museum of Art, University of Maine Museum of Art, and Monhegan Museum of Art and History, showcase some of the finest works by Maine artists past and present, including a designated Wyler Gallery at the Farnsworth Museum and Winslow Homer studio at the Portland Museum of Art, as well as curated national and international shows. In spring 2015, a Directors Cut exhibit of selections from each member of the museum trail will be shown at the Portland Museum of Art.

Shopping for Maine products - For more than a century, Maine has been a gathering place for the creatively minded. Craftspeople of all kinds have set up shop here, and visitors can easily spend weeks browsing through galleries that specialize in works by Maine artisans. Nationally recognized designers Jill McGowan, Angela Adams, and furniture maker Thos. Moser among others all call Maine home.