Maine, with the state motto Vacationland, had been on my New England bucket list for as long as I can remember. Rugged coastlines dotted with lighthouses, quaint beach towns, and fresh-from-the-sea lobster were what attracted me to this northeastern most state. Maine did prove to be a lot of what I imagined, but it threw in a few surprises along the way. So, here are my tips for a visit to Maine.
The Off Season
I knew there was an off season in Maine, but I assumed April, when we visited, would not be considered that. I was wrong. While Maine can be visited any time of the year, we found that even in April the majority of shops, restaurants, and attractions outside of Portland were closed. From what we could see, in season is mid to late May till the end of August/early September.
Car or Train
While you can take the Amtrak Downeaster line from Boston to Wells, Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Portland, Freeport, and Brunswick, Maine (and this is a good option for a day trip), if you want to be able to truly explore the state outside of those immediate areas, you’ll need a car.
The Beer Trail
Maine, and Portland in particular, have had a large number of micro and craft breweries pop up in recent years. The Maine Brewer’s Guide has created a map of all the breweries in the state – and from the looks of it, you’re never too far away from one!
We spent an afternoon in Maine at the Allagash Brewery, just a 15 minute drive outside of Portland’s downtown. Allagash offers their beer flight at no cost, with the hopes that you’ll find something you love and make a purchase. That was certainly not a problem for us!
Don’t Miss Portland
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Portland – but what we found was a historical seaside city chock full of shops, restaurants, museums, galleries, and much more. It’s worth visiting just for a wander around; we popped into a two restaurants and a wine bar for an afternoon of nibbles and drinks.
Pack for all Weather Conditions
In the days before we arrived, the weather in southern Maine was in the high 70s (25°C), however the day we arrived it had dropped back down into the 50s (12°C). Even within the few days we were there, we’d go from clear sun, to cloudy overhead, to rain pouring down within a few hours. As a general rule, I’d go with the lower end of what the forecast predicts and base what you pack on that.
In the end, I was so thankful that I had thrown a sweater in my bag last minute, as I was able to layer that with a shirt and jacket to keep warm.
And of course… Enjoy the natural beauty around you!
Two of our favorite moments in Maine were a walk along Marginal Way, a path in Ogunquit, and driving to nearby York to view the Cape Neddick Lighthouse. There’s so much you can see and do in Maine though, including but not limited to:
- Visit one of Maine’s 65 lighthouses (a detailed map of the lighthouses can be found here)
- Hike in Acadia National Park in northern Maine, a national park that is consistently ranked as one of the top in the country
- View the colorful foliage throughout the state in autumn
- Seek solitude in the North Maine Woods
Have you been to Maine? Would you want to visit?