For our family vacation in 2012, we loaded up the kids and drove to Maine. We picked Maine after researching and learning interesting facts about Acadia National Park and the Maine Coast. We spent a week there, but easily could have spent more time because there was so much to see and do. Maine is uniquely beautiful and amazing. Here is a look at the top 10 places in Maine to visit.
Parks to Visit in Maine
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park was the first national park established east of the Mississippi River. It is also the only national park in Maine. Most of the park is located on Mount Desert Island, which is about two-thirds of the way up the coast of Maine. It offers stunning views of Maine’s rugged coast. It is very relaxing to sit listen to the waves crash against the rocks. Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the entire Atlantic coast at over 1,500 feet. This is a great place to go to watch sunrises and sunsets. If you like to hike, Acadia is the place for you. It has many different trails to choose from. The Park Loop Road allows you to drive through much of the park and see the main sights in as little as half a day depending on the number of stops that you make. You could easily spend a weekend hiking or biking the carriage roads in the park. Acadia National Park is absolutely beautiful and well worth a visit.
Baxter State Park
Baxter State Park is much larger than Acadia National Park. It is located in northwestern Maine. The Appalachian Trail begins at the top of Mt. Katahdin (5,267 feet), which is the highest peak in Maine. Four different trails lead to the top with varying difficulties. If you plan to climb one of these trails, be ready to start very early in the morning. The parking lots fill up fast. Hiking to the summit is only permitted during the months of June through October due to the weather and altitude of the mountain. Baxter State Park also has many other trails to hike. The park is full of wildlife such as moose, black bears, white-tailed deer, and many smaller land animals. We had a chance to visit the park but did not have time to climb Mt. Katahdin, but have it on our list of things to do for our next trip.
Camden Hills State Park
Camden Hills State Park is located in east central Maine, along the Atlantic coast. It is much quieter than Acadia National Park. It boasts a rocky shoreline, wooded areas, and hills. The best view in the park is found on top of Mt. Battie. You can see across Penobscot Bay to the east and Mt. Katahdin to the northwest on a clear day. Camden Hills State Park has five major trailheads. The park also has 100 campsites with full-service bathrooms and showers.
Top Cities to Visit in Maine
Portland is the largest city in Maine, located on Casco Bay. There are many things to do around Portland. The waterfront offers lobster boat rides, scenic cruises, walking trails, and ferries to take you to the island communities. There are also many wonderful places to eat, from pubs to seafood restaurants along the waterfront. Portland also offers unique shopping opportunities with many different boutiques and galleries.
Freeport offers the best shopping in Maine. It has over 200 upscale outlet stores along with being the home to the L.L. Bean flagship store. There is always something happening in Freeport whether it is concerts in the summer or festivals in the winter. It is also home to the Desert of Maine. Made up of 40 acres of glacial silt, which is a substance like sand, though it is not a true desert. It does receive ample precipitation but the vegetation is non-existent.
Kennebunkport is famous for being the summer home of President George H. W. Bush, who owns an estate at Walker’s Point. It is easy to see from Ocean Avenue and well worth a few pictures. Kennebunkport, also has nice sandy beaches that are a great place to hang out on hot summer days. The downtown area is full of quaint shops and tasty restaurants. There is freshly caught lobster served near the waterfront. It is well worth spending at least half a day here if not a whole day. We spent some time on the beach taking beautiful family pictures.
Kittery is located just inside the Maine border, across from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It is known for the Kittery Outlets, which boasts over 120 stores. The Kittery Trading Post is probably the most famous shop in there; it has three floors of shopping for the outdoor lover. Kittery is also home to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Lighthouses in Maine to Visit
Portland Head Light
The Portland Head Light is the oldest lighthouse in Maine. It was put into service in 1791 at the directive of President George Washington. It is located in Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The lighthouse stands 80 feet tall. The park is free to visit. If you wish to climb to the top of the lighthouse, there is a small fee.
Cape Neddick (Nubble) Lighthouse
Cape Neddick, also called Nubble, Lighthouse is located in York, Maine. It was built in 1879 on an island about a football field off the cape. There is a small park located on the mainland across from the lighthouse that offers free parking and a great place to relax and enjoy the view. We were fortunate enough to catch a sunset here. Absolutely beautiful!
Lakes to Visit in Maine
Maine has many different lakes and rivers. Moosehead Lake is the largest lake in the state. It is located in the Longfellow Mountains in western Maine. The Kennebec River flows out of Moosehead Lake to the Atlantic Ocean. The lake is at an elevation of greater than 1,000 feet, making it the highest lake in the eastern U.S. This area is an outdoor person’s dream. It offers something for everyone from fishing, to moose safaris, to whitewater rafting, to snowmobiling in the winter, and more.
My family and I enjoyed every minute of our vacation in Maine. We only wish we had another week to explore other parts of Maine. It is an extremely beautiful state with many different things to see and do. Now all that is left is to plan your vacation to Maine.
Map of Maine
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Eric Cramer
Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on June 25, 2018:
I really want to make a trip to Maine soon. :)
Geri McClymont on January 01, 2016:
A very informative article for someone like me who has never been to Maine but would like to. The lighthouses have always appealed to me but it is nice to know there is so much more to see. Baxter State Park looks stunning. Beautiful photography too.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on May 11, 2015:
Great travelogue, Eric. I would love to visit in any of these places in Maine someday. Lovely descriptions with awesome photos. Voted up!
Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on November 28, 2014:
Maine is a great place for hunting and fishing, including for landlocked salmon in Moosehead Lake (the largest fresh water lake contained solely within any one state in the U.S.A.) Whitetail deer are one prize with Maine's largest going close to 300 pounds, unlike the west's smaller Mule Deer. Maine has "ponds" that in Texas would be lakes, and lots and lots of lakes, too.
Take the biting insects seriously or you will wish you had used adequate amounts of insect repellent. President Eisenhower didn't and spent some wasted time laid up instead of all his planned fly fishing there.
Be prepared for ocean temperatures that can be far less than toasty. When I was a "beach boy" for one of the hotels there, the ocean temperature on one 4th of July was 42 degrees (about what you want your ice water to dip to in your refrigerator.) When it gets to 58 or 60 on a rare day in summer, every "Maineiac" calls their neighbors with the news so they can hit the beach at mid-tide. (Canadian tourists, however, love Maine's "warm" water.)
If you like lobster and clams, you'll be in heaven. Thanks to wise conservation efforts, the lobsters are plentiful now and most Maine vacations are incomplete without several feasts of boiled lobster and lobster rolls, fried or steamed clams, and seafood chowders.
Enjoy the Pine Tree State's "Vacationland."
Kenneth Avery on June 14, 2014:
Hi. And you are very welcome. You are a terrific writer and that is the truth. I would love for you to follow me--sharing hub ideas and helping me with more-creative ways to improve the looks of my hubs, etc.
Eric Cramer (author) from Chicagoland on June 14, 2014:
Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on June 13, 2014:
This is an excellent piece of writing. Amazing, to be honest.
I loved every word. Voted up and all the choices because you deserve it.
"Hawkeye Pierce," from MASH was right. Maine, his home state, is gorgeous. Loved the photos. And I really want to visit your hometown: Chicago. Always have had the desire to be there. But never had the travelin' dough and now hitch-hiking is illegal.
You have such a gift for writing. Just keep writing and good things are bound to happen to you.
I cordially invite you to read one or two of my hubs, and be one of my followers.
That would make my day.
I am so honored to meet you.
Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama
Eric Cramer (author) from Chicagoland on March 06, 2013:
Thanks Keelymahaffey! I agree that Maine is amazing.
Keely Mahaffey from Maine on March 06, 2013:
I went to Maine on my honeymoon and ended up moving there four months later from Texas. It's definitely a place that digs out a little place in your heart and stays put. The people are the kindest I've ever known, and the scenery is breathtaking.
Bar Harbor and Boothbay Harbor are also beautiful to visit :)
Eric Cramer (author) from Chicagoland on September 15, 2012:
Maine is truly a beautiful place. I am just glad that I can share my pictures and experience there.
prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on September 10, 2012:
A wonderful hub about top 10 places in Maine. I had never heard about this before. I hope I can go there one day. My friend, I really enjoy this hub. Voted up!
Graham Gifford from New Hamphire on September 10, 2012:
We live New Hampshire, so we visit Maine often. It is a wonderful state and you have highlighted some of the most wonderful places there. Camden is fabulous....York holds such special memories for me.....Portland have so many amazing places to eat! I could never choose just one to be my favorite. Enjoyed your hub, thank you.
newusedcarssacram from Sacramento, CA, U.S.A on September 09, 2012:
I have visited Maine once and find that place really nice and beautiful. The best is Acadia National Park and Moosehead Lake.
LaThing from From a World Within, USA on September 09, 2012:
Great hub! I had the opportunity to see all those places that you mentioned, and they are beautiful. I lived in Eastport, Maine, for couple of years, and they have 5 days, 4th of July festival.... It was wonderful. That small 'city' fills up with visitors for the festival. It's kind of out of the way, but worth the visit.
Enjoyed your hub, and congrats on the award!
Jenn from Pennsylvania on September 09, 2012:
Informative and interesting hub, and the pictures are beautiful. Voted up!
Marc3 on September 09, 2012:
Good Hub, Being born a raised in Maine it is interesting to hear an outside point of view. All the places you mention as sites to see is second nature to me. I have always enjoyed my life in Maine but there are plenty of places outside of Maine I would like to visit however Maine will always remain the place I call home.
And for all those who have visited Maine you can see why it is called "Vacation Land" .. ^^
Roxanne Lewis from Washington on September 09, 2012:
Don Simkovich from Pasadena, CA on September 09, 2012:
Nicely written and well organized. I was in Maine as a little one and we visited Bar Harbor. My grandparents had an Airstream trailer and someone bumped into it. I think I was 5 at the time. The things we remember.
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on September 09, 2012:
First, congratulations on HOTD!! Very nicely done!
I've only been very briefly through a small corner of Maine, when I was a child. We were visiting relatives in MA, and my dad had rented a car to show us where he was born in NH. On the way back to MA, he detoured through a corner of VT and then ME, just to say we'd been in those states... LOL
My great-aunt and her husband, however, were among those we were visiting in MA, and they enjoyed frequent camping trips to Moosehead Lake, and I still have the watercolor painting she did of Mt. Katahdin. I also recall them mentioning Freeport and Kennebunkport.
Too bad I am confined to armchair travel these days..I'd love to visit. Voted up, interesting, beautiful and shared.
Rev Bruce S Noll HMN from Asheville NC on September 09, 2012:
I echo the sentiments congratulating you on this well presented Hub. My wife and mother-in-law lived in Brunswick-Topsham for many years. My father-in-law was a lobsterman for 40 years. My wife and I would love to visit the many inlets that were only known to the locals and no one, and I mean no one, makes better Fish Chowder and Blueberry muffins than the Dolphin Marina restaurant in Harpswell. See the link. MmmmmMmmm!
I always told my wife we could live in Maine...6 months out of the years. Nice place to visit but the winters are long and rough! (at least to me)
Well done on this hub. Thanks for the memories!
JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on September 09, 2012:
These places look great. They'll surely give wonderful memories to who ever visits them.
HubTub on September 09, 2012:
Maine has always intrigued me, and I hope to visit one day. Your hub has inspired me all the more to do so. This hub is absolutely beautiful, and the photographs are stunning. Congratulations on Hub of the Day!
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on September 09, 2012:
A very well deserved Hub of the Day! I have never been to Maine, so I enjoyed the photos. I am a light house nut. I like painting them. I love your photo of the Portland light.
BlissfulWriter on September 09, 2012:
This is such a good list of places to visit in Maine, that I linked to your article from one of my writings about Maine...
Gina Lynn W on September 09, 2012:
I love going to Maine. As I child I spent the majority of my summers there with my Grandma. It's been nearly ten years since I have been out East. Looking at your beautiful pictures, brought back awesome memories (I could even smell the ocean). Thanks so much for this Hub. It really has given me the motivation to plan a trip to get back out there!
Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on September 09, 2012:
Congrats on your well deserved hub of the day. I used to spend two weeks every summer in Old Orchard Beach when I lived in Montreal. There were about five different families and we would all meet there every year and have a great time.
Enjoyed your hub and I really must visit the beautiful state of Maine again soon.
Margaret Perrottet from San Antonio, FL on September 09, 2012:
I love Maine, especially Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. I'd like to camp at the state parks you've mentioned. Nice hub!
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on September 09, 2012:
ercramer46....My plan for next year is to travel to Maine. My cousin, one of my favorite cousins, lives in Bangor. I have always always wanted to visit there. And while I am there will try to see some of the spots you have suggested. Thank you for sharing this with us. And congrats on HOTD.
Getting Along from Maine on September 09, 2012:
We Mainers are very proud of our beautiful state :) I've lived here for almost 25 years, and am still finding new places to explore. Welcome, and please come back! There's something for everyone, in every season!
Anne from United Kingdom on September 09, 2012:
I have always thought that should I ever visit America. Maine is one of the places I would love to see. Your hub and the beautiful photo´s on it have me hooked, and should I ever get to America, I will make this my destination. It looks fantastic.
Kathy Sima from Ontario, Canada on September 07, 2012:
I enjoyed reading this hub and learning more about the beautiful places to visit. I would love to visit there one day.
Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on July 24, 2012:
I've never been to Maine but have always had very romantic notions of what it's like. Your Hub only reinforces those thoughts and feelings! I MUST go there someday.
Leah Lefler from Western New York on July 19, 2012:
I have never been to Maine but I definitely want to take a trip there next summer. We're not too far away (about 8 hours by car) and the scenery is spectacular! Plus, I'd love to see a moose!
Russ Moran - The Write Stuff from Long Island, New York on July 18, 2012:
Nice Hub about a beautiful place, especially in the summer because it's cool. Another great spot is Deer Isle.
Mark Shulkosky from Pennsylvania on July 18, 2012:
I love visiting Maine. We have a camp there and I just spent about 10 days there. Acadia National Park in one of my favorite places to visit. That is a fantastic picture of the Bubbles and Jordan Pond. Next time you are in Maine try to get out to an island by boat. There are mail boats or shuttles out of the harbors in the ANP area. The State of Maine also runs ferries that your can take your car on. We spent a nice day out on Vinalhaven last weekend.
Cholee Clay from Wisconsin on July 17, 2012:
My fiancé and I are hoping to vacation in Maine very soon. I found this hub extremely useful and your photos are absolutely stunning!:) Voted up and bookmarked!