Maine is home to a number of iconic images that few other states can match. Fully rigged Windjammers, waves breaking against a rocky coast, fishing harbors filled with colorful boats, lighthouses, and tall pine trees come to mind when you think of that northern New England state. Moose-infested backwoods have their own allure, conjuring images of a lone canoe barely riffling the mirror-like surface of a forest-encircled lake or rainbow trout leaping from crystal waters.
Maine’s remarkable quality is that it never disappoints tourists who come with romantic images in mind. From York to Quoddy Head, lighthouses dot the horizon, with dozens of tucked-away fishing harbors and miles of rocky, wave-battered shore in between. Windjammers scurry between the fir-clad islands just offshore, while lobster boats scurry between them to haul traps.
Maine’s attractions aren’t all in iconic images, and you’ll be spoiled for choice on a Maine vacation with its museums, breathtaking gardens, art heritage, historic attractions, outdoor activities, and natural wonders. Use our list of the best places to visit in Maine as a guide to the best places to go.
1. Acadia National Park
Acadia has numerous lakes and streams, and tree-covered terrain. locals and visitors who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors can enjoy it The popular Park Loop Road follows the main attractions through the park, making it an enjoyable journey by car.
The Island Explorer buses link all of the island’s major attractions, as well as the many unpaved paths for all abilities which total more than 100 miles in length. Trails lead to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, the park’s highest point at 1,530 feet, where visitors can enjoy views of the coast and islands.
The Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse and Thunder Hole, a dramatic chasm, are among the park’s other attractions. More hiking trails, coastal views, and kayaking opportunities can be found on the Schoodic Peninsula, which is further north in Acadia National Park. The park has two large campgrounds as well as a number of picnic areas.
2. The Old Port and Portland Head Lighthouse
Visitors in Maine’s biggest city, Portland, are almost always headed for the seaport, Old Port. Alongside fishing boats, they may also see the taller masts of a cruise ship from Portland. The brick and stone port dockside buildings dominate the historic New York’s narrow city streets, from the time of its establishment until the 19th century.
Expect to see the fishing boats at the waterfront, shop in a chandlery, and dine at the restaurant with the chef. Several of these establishments are located on the Fore. On Casco Bay Road you can embark on a cruise to the Islands.
Portland Head Lighthouse serves as a beacon of the city of the harbor. You can see the harbor, as well as the larger vessels along this coast from the top of the headland.
This is an excellent exhibit at the lighthouses and their keepers. The exhibits include various Fresnel lenses as well as photos that highlight the historic value of the lenses’ construction and design.
Address: 12 Captain Strout Cir, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107, United States
3. Marginal Way and Ogunquit Beaches
Following along the shoreline to Perkins Cove’s rocky coast while walking on the paved path is a beautiful experience. A series of small, sandy beaches adorn the beautiful coastline of Ogunquit. Bikers and dogs should walk the path that is about 1 mile and a half from the village to the scenic wharves of Perkins Cove (April through October).
A narrow peninsula here serves as a harbor for small boats. Over the years, this small port has gradually transformed into a seaside fishing village, but you’ll still see many small fishing boats in the water.
benches conveniently placed along the path and on the overlooks, you can go to town on the Marginal Way, walking on the shady path, or by trolley.
Ogun Beach is much loved by families due to its gentle slope to the warmth of the water near the shore. The stores and restaurants are busier in the summer, while the museum attracts more visitors because of its arts scene.
4. Pemaquid Point Light
Pemaquid Point, the state’s most emblematic lighthouse, stands at the end of the point extending Pemaquid Peninsula. The keeper’s cottage was built in 1835, and the light tower and brick signal house has been preserved. Striped metamorphic rock is abundant in the ledges below.
The museum is located in the keeper’s house, which features old maps, dioramas, photographs, and models as well as information on the many shipwrecks found in the area. It’s a popular picnic spot.
the site of a colonial village and Fort William Henry, a reconstruction of which is located in New Harbor This museum describes how crucial this fort was in conflicts with the English and French settlers. The archaeological site has been placed on the National Register of Historic Districts.
5. Old Orchard Beach
This popular North American family beach town claims to be the only one with a pier and full-scale amusement park still in existence in the state of the United States. Step out of your inhibitions, soak in some retro serendipity, and return to 1960s-era eccentricity.
There are 12 rides including the Ferris wheel on the beach and a carousel on Palace Playland’s premises. Fries, soft ice cream, and saltwater taffy, and fried dough are both available in the stands.
The main attraction of all this area is public access to a full seven miles of golden sand. You will find no other beaches cleaner than this, and you mustn’t visit any of the seven-mile stretches of them, because it’s covered with grass dunes.
Trains can arrive directly at Old Orchard Beach Station, which is also next to the amusement park.
6. Farnsworth Art Museum
It is the only museum in the United States that has such a comprehensive representation of three generations of artists connected to Maine: Wyeth, and Wyeth and Wyeth Center.
The museum boasts of some of America’s best landscape painters from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The earliest-known work by Thomas Cole, Rockwell Kent, and George La Farge can be found here, as Lane, childe Hass as well, who was a muralist.
A former church on Union Street showcases the artist James Wyeth and his father, both James N.Wyeth. Farnsworth University also offers tours of the Wyeth Museum, most notable of which is Wyeth’s famous painting of Christina’s World.
and brick buildings, located in the heart of Rockland’s historical downtown. Additionally, there are several other interesting sites to see in this seaport, such as the Owl’s Head Lighthouse and the Rockland Windjammer Fleet’s museum.
7. Nubble Lighthouse (Cape Neddick Light)
Perhaps the most photographed lighthouse in New England, and certainly one of the easiest to get to, Nubble Lighthouse is posing on its own island just off the rocky point of Cape Neddick. Particularly on the rising tide, surfing usually obliges photographers with a few waves to the fray against the rocks.
At the end of November, the lighthouse and the keeper cottage are shown in the lights for the holiday season, and the annual lighting is celebrated with music, hot chocolate and a visit from Santa. You can take a trip from Ogunquit to see the lighthouse from the water.
8. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and Boothbay Harbor
it’s difficult to believe that this 270-acre garden was built only several years ago The profusion of blooms and the thoroughly groomed and aesthetically styled gardens point to generations of dedicated landscapers.
The paths wind among the various garden areas, including water and wooded environments, showcase native and exotic plants that exist in the woodland. There is a kitchen garden and one with plants for the spotlights with a wide variety of tastes, scents, and various textures, as well as a special bed dedicated to the disabled where they may be seen, all at once. The huge children’s play area will entice young and old alike, as will the rustic community house village.
Walking along the grounds covers various environments that slope down to the shore. daily tours identify important points of interest and follow themes like rare and indigenous plants an expansive collection of regionally-sourced sculptures draws attention to the landscaping, and art shows are presented throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
Boothbay was once a trading port, but today its primary function is as a boating and pleasure resort, being larger than any port south of Boston. To more than 200 artists and craftspeople, the waterfront area is brimming with seafood restaurants and boutiques. It has been a major artists’ retreat since the early 1800s, along with studios and galleries, it also has an opera house and a bandstand, as well as a community concert hall. You will also discover the Boothbay Village and Booth State Aquarium here.
9. Maine Maritime Museum
in a 19th-century shipyard, the Maine Maritime Museum preserves and interprets Maine’s maritime tradition, while exhibiting and preserving historic lobster boats and yard facilities. With everything from the ships and lighthouses to maritime artifacts and materials, there is extensive blacksmithing and a lobster hands-on area, and about 140 other states’ owned boats on display, the 50-vehicle campus also includes an area where visitors can use the skills to build or repair models of anything in Maine and state tradition. These birches have collected an entire birch bark canoe.
10. West Quoddy Head
West Quoddy Head is one of the most popular places to visit on Maine’s northeast coast, thanks to its dramatic red-and-white lighthouse and the thrill of standing at the country’s easternmost point. The brick lighthouse was built in 1858 to guide ships through the Quoddy Narrows, but there had been one here since 1808 when President Thomas Jefferson ordered it built. The current lighthouse stands 49 feet tall, with an 83-foot-high lantern.
On Saturday afternoons in July and August, visit the Quoddy Head State Park Visitor Center in the former Keeper’s Cottage to learn more about the lighthouse and its history, and take a tour of the light tower itself. On the National Register of Historic Places, the lighthouse is listed.
The point has five miles of hiking trails and is a great place to see sea birds, especially during the spring and fall migrations. In the narrows, which are bordered on one side by the tall red cliffs of Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick, you might see humpback, minke, and finback whales. A one-mile park trail leads to a coastal plateau bog, where subarctic and arctic plants rarely seen this far south can be found.
11. Portland Museum of Art
The Portland Museum of Art’s outstanding collections goes far beyond the expected works of local artists like Winslow Homer, Rockwell Kent, and the Wyeths, who lived and painted here. Monet, Degas, Picasso, Warhol, Sargent, Whistler, Mary Cassatt, Gilbert Stuart, Joshua Reynolds, Alexander Calder, George Bellows, and Edward Hopper are among the more than 18,000 pieces of fine and decorative art dating from the 1700s.
Throughout the year, the museum hosts traveling and temporary exhibits. A historic house, formerly the home of a prominent Portland family, is attached to the museum and contains outstanding examples of period furniture, art, and decorative details.
The studio of artist Winslow Homer, located on Prouts Neck, a point of land in nearby Scarborough, Maine, is separate from the Portland facility and only accessible by tours that begin here.
12. Cruising the Maine Coast
Get your foot wet and watch the craggy, rocky islands off the coast of Maine before heading inland. You’ll get a new view of the Maine coast lighthouses and granite cliffs, but you will also have a hand in the town’s active port activities. There are numerous choices. You can board a whale-watching vessel from Bar Harbor, go deep-sea fishing from Eastport, or join a seal tour in Machias or take a lobster boat out to the Seal Islands.
A wide variety of recreational opportunities are available in Boothbay, whether you prefer to fish the deep-sea or go cruising the seashore, or watch whales, or whether you want to join a boat drag lobster traps. Visiting Ogunquit will allow you to see the York Nubble Lighthouse either by water or on a tour of the water in the morning hours prior to breakfast time.
In terms of how long it takes to travel, the ferry from Rockland to Vinalhaven, and the Windjammer sail trip from Rockland to Maine can both be brief or long. The passenger accommodations are informal with the schedule determined by the weather and the tides; if they wish, they may assist with the operation of the sails. A theme cruise may take in such attractions as lighthouses, music, stargazing, or boat races.
13. Victoria Mansion, Portland
The villa was built in the latter half of the 19th century in an Italianate style. It is a lavishly decorated and extravagant mansion in the middle-Victorian style, with painted walls and ceiling and intricate woodwork. Many of the furnishings remain original, together with the house, providing a glimpse into the well-to-do period before the Civil War.
14. Monhegan Island
Although it is one of many islands that border the coast of Maine, it has achieved iconic status in the minds of many people over the years. Most of this originates from the long history as an artists’ colony, added to the many stories of this well-endowed outpost’s persevering inhabitants and those who have survived harsh conditions.
The island’s residents are exclusively involved in fishing and lobstering, with the exception of summer vacationers. During the summer, visitors can embark on day trips from Boothbay Harbor and New Harbor for three or fewer hours.
Monhe is known for its majestic granite cliffs and waves which have attracted artists since the middle of the 1800s. Because of the long-term colony and the artist colony, you’ll find a number of studios and galleries.
Monhegan also is popular among birdwatchers, who will walk for days on remote paths and cliffs to follow its 12 miles of footpaths. Rogue waves and strong rip currents occur along the southern and/backward island shore.
Kenebport, the small seaside town 12.5 miles south of Portland, is a popular summer getaway for many people. Formal bed-and-breakfast residences line the residential neighborhoods; to learn about these on a self-guided tour, visit or join, one should first visit the Historical Society’s First Families Kennebunkport Museum.
The area around Dock Square is dedicated to shopping and eating and browsing; it has stores, boutiques, and restaurants lining the restored historic docks. Parsons Road, a scenic drive, begins from the town square and takes you to Walker’s Cove. to the other side of the Kennebec River, the coastline has a long series of seashore cliffs
Two miles east of Dock Square is the working fishing village of Cape Porpoise, which has more shops and galleries and fishing boats operating than anywhere else in the community. For another thing, the seashore trolley museum is important. There are several extraordinary buildings in Kennebunk; pay attention to the Brick Storehouse Museum, then travel by car to the Wedding Cake on Summer Street.