Maine Travel and Vacation Guide
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Sunset at Long Sands Beach, York Beach, Maine (photo by Eric H.)
Editor's note: VisitingNewEngland.com is comprised of native New England professional travel writers who give
you the "inside scoop" on making the most of your Maine vacations. As lifelong New Englanders, we write about the best Maine travel tourist attractions, well-known and hidden destinations, and some truly amazing restaurants with a regional flair.
Ultimately, we give you perspectives and information on Maine travel that can't be found anywhere else. Because we are paying travelers looking ourselves for the best in Maine vacations, we pass along the best trip planning information to you -- as if we were planning our own New England vacation. Ultimately, we focus more on providing you "pure" Maine travel information rather than marketing hype. Enjoy the travel essays and tips on things to do, en route to your Maine vacation!
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So Much Vacation Fun By the Sea and Beyond in Maine...
By Eric H.
A Maine vacation will have you returning year after year. The rocky coastline, colorful and wholesome coastal towns, and Downeast flavor of lobster and blueberry pie have an undeniable charm that just is the beginning of a treasure trove of things to do in New England's seaside playground.
Of course, much of Maine is inland and with superb vacation destinations and tourist attractions (Sebago Lake, Bethel and the Rangeley and Moosehead Lakes regions, to name a few), but the coast gets much of the press; it's easy to understand once you are there.
There's indeed a 200 mile playground feel to the coastline, starting in charming Kittery Point and extending all the way to stunning Acadia National Park. There are fine beaches, outdoor seaside dining choices, cliff walks dotted with floral gardens (Marginal Way in Ogunquit is a great example), arcades, and places of solitude to bike, hike and forget about everyday stresses unlike any place you've ever visited.
Of course, the Maine coastline goes on a few hundred miles beyond Acadia. This is a different kind of coastal playground for those looking for less commercialism and more solitude.
Our top choice for a great Maine vacation is York, simply because there are things to do for everyone. York, Maine, is also living proof that you don't have to travel far up the Maine coast to get a true feel of the famed Downeast lifestyle.
Lobster dinners, rocky shoreline, expansive ocean beaches, ice cream stands, salt water taffy and refreshing salt air and countless other tourist attractons await you, just minutes north of the New Hampshire-Maine border. York has something fun for everyone: the quiet, antique-friendly York Harbor and York Village, the beaches, carousel and arcades at York Beach, and the rugged, rocky, more secluded environs of Cape Neddick.
When visiting York, you can see the joy and relaxation in peoples' faces as more smiling and "hellos" take place here than you can initially handle. The key is to adapt. When you do, the health benefits are greater than any wellness doctor could ever recommend.
Portland, Maine's largest city at 64,000, An interesting, revitalized city set on beautiful Casco Bay with old Victorian Homes, tree-lined streets and the great Old Port Exchange, an area with terrific restaurants and stores. Some say it is like a mini San Francisco, with its hills, charm and now a growing eclectism, with an art community, more diversity in its people, lots of culture, all residing by the sea. It is a great city for walking, having a big city feel in some neighborhoods, but ultimately a small-town personality in its people, architecture and retained history.
Then there's Acadia National Park, truly one of the most spectacular parks in the United States, with its beyond scenic rocky coast, and forested valleys, lakes and mountains, carved by glacial force. It cannot be fully described, only joyfully visited.Truly a visual treat, this 40,000 acre wonderland offers endless natural delights. Take, for example, the dramatic sunsets at 1,500 foot Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the U.S. Atlantic Coast. From Cadillac, one can see amazing views of Penobscot, Frenchman and Blue Hill Bays. From the top of Gorham Mountain, you get an incredible view of the glacial blue Atlantic Ocean. Then there is Thunder Hole, with its waves creating a sonic boom. For those in touch with more isolated nature, miles and miles of trails and bicycle paths will bring you in touch with beautiful wildflowers, a wonderful variety of trees and some great fresh and salt water swimming. The 27-mile loop at Mt. Desert Island offers endless ocean and mountain scenery, unlike anything you've seen before.Many choose the commercial center of Bar Harbor to launch their Acadia vacation. Bar Harbor is certainly pleasant enough with its tree-lined streets, fine captain's homes, harbor views, and refreshing breeze, but it can also be capable of traffic jams, unctuous souvenir shops, unkempt flower children and flavor-of-the-week restaurants, changing hands every few years. In a way, Bar Harbor is not compatible with the untouched scenic beauty of the region, and can often come across as a bit too hectic.We prefer Northeast Harbor, a splendid little village boasting the prettiest harbor you will ever see. Sunny even when it's cloudy, Northeast Harbor is quietly confident , as it never panders to the tourist. In the little village, you will find an old-time market, a bakery owned by "The Colonel" (a military-looking man with a crew cut), some antique stores and a few restaurants. One of them, the Docksider could be considered your classic Maine restaurant, with charming "Downeast" waitresses, lobster to die for, unbelievable clam chowder, and in the summer, salt air flavored outdoor dining on the doorstep of the Harbor.
The unexpected treasures are what make Maine so special. Everyone who has been to Maine has their own special discovery. There does, however, seem to be a pattern of people making special discoveries in small, unassuming picturesque seacoast communities like Camden (looks ready made for a postcard), Wiscassett (what people might envision a small Maine town to look like), Rockport (a great walking town) and more popular destinations like Kennebunkport, Ogunquit, Old Orchard Beach and Wells.
We encourage you to "travel Maine" through our Maine vacation and travel ideas library--at Visiting New England.com, native New Englanders bring you the best in New England vacation trip planning planning and travel information with detailed essays, reviews, tips and resources. We hope you enjoy browsing our Maine vacation and travel ideas library and hope to see you travel New England soon. Please feel free to e-mail us with any questions, or sign our guest book.
Maine Destinations - Great Towns and Cities
essay of a
relaxing Acadia National Park, Maine, vacation. Also, view a
spectacular 60-minute video
on Acadia National Park.
Instant vacation memories abound at the southern Maine seacoast.
Ogunquit is a classic Maine vacation destination.
Northeast Harbor is one of the most lovely areas in an already lovely Acadia National Park.
York, Maine: proves you don't have to travel too far northern Maine to get a true taste of the Downeast flavor.
One hour of shopping at the Kittery Trading Post, Kittery, Maine
Stonewall Kitchen in York, Maine, is a tour de force of gourmet foods, gifts, kitchen and cookware, home decor and garden accessories.
The Kennebunk Inn evokes old-world charm in a delightful New England setting.
Find hundreds of Maine Hotels at discount rates -- book online through VisitingNewEngland.com.
Come experience four-star lodging at the Lodge at Moosehead Lake in Greenville, Maine.
The Inn at Long Sands offers top-notch lodging and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. (Now 123 Ocean Ave.)
The quaint, 19th century Victorian Katahdin Inn provides the perfect launching pad for your York Beach, Maine, vacation.
Maine on a Budget at The Thrifty New England Traveler
Tours, tastings at Maine microbreweries, wineries, vineyards
Sweet experience at The Candyman, Kennebunkport, Maine
How to dine in Kennebunk, Maine, for under $10
Affordable seasonal gift shopping at Joan's Beach and Gift, York Beach, Maine
Bowling in Rangeley, Maine
Staying in Kennebunkport, Maine, without going broke
Affordable fun and fried seafood in York Beach, Maine
The Palace Playland and beach at Old Orchard Beach
Maine Trip Planning Support
Have a question about visiting Maine? Ask the experts for all your Maine trip planning needs!
Maine Travel Archives/Past Press Releases
Maine camp specializes in fun for the whole family.
Maine is a great place to live and work
Fazio's Restaurant in York rivals the best urban Italian restaurants. (Closed)
Autumn In Maine is ablaze with color and character.
Trip planning abound in the Maine 2006 winter calendar of events section.
Information from VisitingNewEngland.com comes from our editorial staff. Advertisements do not influence the articles and points-of-view on VisitingNewEngland.com, unless otherwise specified. Rates and event dates are subject to change. We recommend calling your New England destination first before setting out on the planned itinerary.
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