For a getaway that will expose you to some of the best vistas in the Northeast United States and a seemingly endless list of great things to do, set your course for Maine and get ready for a vacation adventure you’ll never forget.
On March 15, 1820, Maine became the 23rd state. The Missouri Compromise allowed Maine to join the country as a free state, while Missouri joined a year later. Soon after the establishment of statehood, people began to flock to the area due to its fertile soil, forests, deep harbors, ample fishing and the opportunity to establish a productive life. Fishing, shipbuilding and mining helped the economic growth continue into the 20th century. The close proximity to multiple sources of water made many cities and towns in Maine perfect for water-powered mills and factories, making it one of the first places in America to implement and utilize hydroelectric power. While the state's economy has changed through the years, Maine established itself as one of the top tourist destinations in all of America.
Not only is Maine the first place that the sun rises in Mainland America each day, it also presents travelers with a spectrum of geological regions and features to enjoy. Maine is the only state in the lower 48 to border only one other state. However, it also claims three Canadian Provinces as neighbors (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Quebec). The geography of the state can be broken down into three major and drastically different categories: The Coastal Lowlands, The White Mountains and The Maine Highlands.
The Coastal Lowlands include everything starting at the Atlantic Ocean and all the flat land that leads up to the ocean with features that include beaches, marshes, tidal pools and much more. The White Mountains cover the Northwest section of the state and contain majestic peaks, high altitude lakes and gravel ridges. The Maine Highlands are home to rivers, lakes, streams and the state's fertile farmland. It stretches from Canada to New Hampshire, serving as a natural buffer between regions.
The coast is broken up into four sections: The Maine Beaches, Portland/Casco Bay, Mid Coast, Downeast Acadia. The Southern Maine Coast contains can't-miss locations like Ogunquit, York, Freeport and Portland. York and Portland are beautiful cities that give you the opportunity to experience the history of Maine, hands-on. Ogunquit and Freeport are centers for commerce and offer the opportunity to visit unique shops and restaurants. The cities also offer the perfect example of the friendly nature of Maine residents.
Mid-Coast Maine contains great locations to visit that include Rockport, Boothbay Harbor and Camden. This region is the maritime heart of the coast, each of these cities is a paradise for boaters and includes such fun things to do like fishing, boat tours, whale watching and miles of scenic coastline to explore.
Finally, Downeast Acadia is home to Bar Harbor and Eastport, most notably. At one point in history, Bar Harbor was the go-to destination for the rich and famous. Many wealthy people still reside in the area, and it's a great place to visit with numerous boutique shops, high-end restaurants and a multitude of fun activities to enjoy.
The Lakes and Mountains Region
The Lakes and Mountains Region of Maine presents you with a very different set of cities and activities in comparison to the coast. This absolutely breathtaking portion of the state contains majestic peaks, large freshwater lakes, lush forests and a diverse selection of wildlife. In fact, you’ll find many bodies of water perfect for salmon fishing, boating, kayaking, water skiing, rafting and so much more. During the winter months the area turns into an oasis for skiers and snowboarders, with major ski resorts all over the area.
Naples, Casco and Sebago are cities located in the Southwest section of the mountain region and are hubs for outdoor activities and shopping. You’ll also find plenty of unique lodging options in the area. North of Naples you’ll find the city of Bridgton, better known as the “Maine Place for All Seasons”. Besides having almost every outdoor activity you can imagine for every season, this friendly city features a budding artisan and creative community that is on display at the local art exhibits, shows and galleries.
About 65 miles Northeast of Bridgton you’ll find the scenic and historic community of Farmington. The city has all the outdoor activities you can imagine, plus, you’ll find numerous colonial and federal revival buildings, museums, and historic locations that paint the picture of how the city changed from its early origins to the present day.
Maine Highlands Region
This region is home to the fertile farmland that helped attract original settlers to the area, as well as fantastic terrain that presents travelers with numerous opportunities for outdoor activities. The Highlands are also home to Baxter State Park. This park covers a sprawling 200,000 acres of lush Maine wilderness and is packed with diverse wildlife and more outdoor activities than you can fit in one vacation. The last leg of the historic Appalachian Trail also sits within the park, and is great to explore while learning about early settlers in the area.
A trip to the Maine Highlands is not complete without a visit to Bangor. Bangor embodies an old world charm, while having all the modern trappings of a major American city. It’s filled with historic sites and landmarks, all of which provide an entertaining educational experience. You’ll encounter a range of entertainment options as well as a wide selection of restaurants and shops, guaranteeing something for every taste.
Just 90 minutes north of Bangor lies one of the top locations for lovers of the outdoors in Maine: Moosehead Lake. Stunning vistas, plentiful wildlife, festivals, events, abundant activities and relaxation, are just a few things you’ll find during a visit to the lake.
No matter the season or the reason, Maine has something for you. From the historic cities on the beautiful coastline to the mountain villages, Maine is a diverse and unique vacation destination. For more information about traveling to Maine please visit the Maine Office of Tourism’s website.