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Down East Maine Travel- New England for you

Essential Place to Stay in Maine
Cliff House Resort and Spa, Cape Neddick, Maine

Your Visiting Maine Travel and Vacation Guide

Our favorite New England state - authentically-felt details below

Click here to find Maine travel story links if you want to bypass long-winded but interesting intro!

Goose Rocks Beach, Kennebunkport, MaineGoose Rocks Beach, Kennebunkport.

Article, photos by Eric Hurwitz -- updated for on 12/2/2022. @newenglandinfo

Welcome to Maine, affectionately known as "The Pine Tree State" and "Vacationland." At VisitingNewEngland, we just call it the "Wicked Awesome State" (pardon the Boston vernacular!)." So, are you an experienced Maine traveler or a future first-time visitor? Either way, we have many helpful suggestions and a boatload of detailed, local online storytelling for you starting right now...

Visiting Maine is my favorite thing to do in New England, generally speaking. The rocky coastline, colorful and wholesome coastal towns and Down East flavor of lobster, lobster rolls 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 perfect for family vacations.

Lobster stew from DiMillo's in Portland, Maine.
Lobster stew from DiMillo's On the Water in Portland.

Much of Maine is inland and with a superb vacation destinations and tourist attractions (Sebago Lake, 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 200-miles of 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) 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.
Sunrise at Nubbel Lighthouse, York, ME.
Nubble Lighthouse.

Our top choice for visiting Maine 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 Down East lifestyle. In the summer, York is an ideal place for family vacations with its most famous attractions: the beaches, arcades, amusement park, zoo and Nubble Lighthouse. Nubble Lighthouse, York, Maine. Make sure to include Nubble Lighthouse in York Beach as part of your Maine vacation!

Lobster roll from Fox's Lobster House in York, Maine
Lobster roll from Fox's Lobster House in York.

Lobster dinners, lobster rolls and lobster stew, rocky shoreline, expansive ocean beaches, ice cream stands, salt water taffy and refreshing salt air and countless other tourist attractions 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, gift shops 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.
Sunrise, bird at Long Sands Beach in York, Maine.
Sunrise at Long Sands Beach.

Portland, Maine's largest city at 64,000, stands as a Maine vacation destination that we highly recommend. It's 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.

Port Exchange neighborhood of Portland, ME.
Port Exchange neighborhood in Portland. Photo credit: Maine Office of Tourism

Some say it is like a mini San Francisco, with its hills, charm and now a growing eclecticism, 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. The Old Port possesses a charming, thriving vibe.

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. It is a must-see region when visiting Maine.

Mountain, Acadia National Park.Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park.

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 saltwater swimming. The 27-mile loop at Mt. Desert Island offers endless ocean and mountain scenery stands as one of the great attractions of the Northeast United States, 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 some antique stores, an old-time market, a bakery and a few restaurants. One of them, The Docksider could be considered your classic Maine restaurant, with charming "Down East" 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 a Maine vacation so special.

Perkins Cove, Ogunquit ME.Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, Maine.

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 (lively in the summer, beautifully isolated off season) and Wells -- the latter two especially popular for oceanside family vacations with plenty of attractions, sand and waves.

Perkins Cove, Ogunquit ME.Splendid isolation at Old Orchard Beach in March.

Oh, and one more thing: Don't forget Maine is also a great place to enjoy autumn foliage, including leaf peeping at Acadia National Park!

Fall colors in Maine
Autumn in Kitttery.

That's about it for now -- more Maine travel info on the way soon!

Best regards,
Eric at VisitingNewEngland

The Best of Maine Travel and Dining Out

Stories written from personal experience, valuable tips for your Maine trip planning!
Maine seafood pasta from Jonathan's Restaurant in Ogunquit, Maine.
Maine seafood pasta from Jonathan's in Ogunquit.

Best diners in Maine
Kennebunkport shops, beaches, restaurants, bed and breakfasts
L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport
Lobster and salad bar at Warren's Lobster House, Kittery
York Beach Guide - travel suggestions
Len Libby Candies - history, homemade candies, chocolate moose

Visiting a legendary Maine salt water taffy destination
Finding an inspirational September sunrise in York
Seeking the perfect day in York
Acadia National Park - where the ocean meets the mountains
Waking up to a Long Sands Beach sunrise
Review of Jonathan's Restaurant in Ogunquit
Watching the ocean waves in Maine
When Pigs Fly, Kittery - homemade breads, wood-fired pizza, restaurant
How to identify a true Maine lobster roll
Wicked Whoopies, Freeport - whoopie pie shop across from L.L. Bean
Visiting Nubble Lighthouse
DiMillo's - waterfront dining, fresh local seafood in Portland
Northeast Harbor - Our top pick for staying near Acadia National Park
The beauty of Jordan Pond ad Bubble Rock at Acadia National Park
Visiting a spectacular rocky yet sandy ocean beach at Acadia National Park
An amazing view from Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park
The historic Old Port Exchange District, Portland
Downtown Bath - an underrated gem
Where to find a classic seafood shack with views of a famous lighthouse
Best beaches in Maine for families
Summer at Short Sands Beach in York
When The Pine Tree State Meets Gettysburg
Our favorite Maine lighthouse - Nubble Light
Traveling the Southern Maine Coast
Autumn travel tips for Acadia National Park
Visiting a classic Maine lobster shack
Where to find homemade Maine lobster stew
Joyous annual visits to Joan's Beach and Gift in York Beach
Summer, honky tonk fun at Old Orchard Beach
Christmas time at Nubble Lighthouse
Maine puns and humor
Where and when to see nesting bald eagles
Strolling scenic Marginal Way --a classic Maine coastal walk
Portland Head Light, Fort Williams Park - Cape Elizabeth
Where to enjoy a picnic in Maine
York Harbor Path offers commanding ocean views
About the Maine whoopie pie
A Maine diner to love

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