22 Unmissable Things to Do in Maine | 2023 (with Photos)
Maine is a charming state, known for its rugged coastline, picturesque lighthouses, and abundant natural beauty.
From the quaint fishing villages and historic towns to the stunning national parks and endless outdoor adventures, Maine offers something for everyone.
If you're planning a trip to this state, you won't want to miss out on these 22 unmissable things to do in Maine, including hiking in Acadia National Park, exploring the vibrant city of Portland, and taking a scenic drive along the famous Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.
Read on to discover all the amazing experiences and attractions in Maine you can enjoy.
Most Recommended Thing to Do
Acadia National Park
Top Choice Hotel
Four Points by Sheraton Bangor Airport
Our Top Choice Restaurant
Geaghan's Pub & Craft Brewery
Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife
Best Time to Visit
Summer is the best time to visit Bangor.
The average temperature in Bangor, United States:
Buses, taxis, ride-hailing services, walking, cycling.
Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)
My Top Recommendation
Bangor, United States of America is a charming city that offers a delightful blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences. One of my top recommendations for spending time in this captivating destination is to immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes of Acadia National Park, just a short drive away. From hiking along scenic trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints to exploring the rugged coastline with its picturesque lighthouses, Acadia National Park is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers.
Additionally, take a stroll through the vibrant downtown area of Bangor, where you can experience the city's rich history and enjoy its lively atmosphere. Stop by the quaint local shops and cafes, grab a bite to eat at one of the charming restaurants, and stroll along the waterfront promenade, taking in the breathtaking views of the Penobscot River. With its friendly locals and welcoming ambiance, Bangor offers a unique travel experience that will leave you with unforgettable memories.
What You'll Need to Bring
- Weather-appropriate clothing
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Travel documents and identification
- Money and credit cards
- Electronics and chargers
- Travel-sized toiletries
- Medications and prescriptions
- Snacks and water bottle
- Maps and navigation tools
- Camera or smartphone for capturing memories
Table of Contents
1. Discover the Best of New England in Maine
Maine is located in New England, the six states in the northeast of the US where British settlers first landed and left their mark. This part of the US offers visitors a glimpse into the country's rich history and culture.
New England is known for its quaint towns, picturesque lighthouses, and stunning natural beauty. Stop at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse for a glimpse of the only candy-striped lighthouse in the US.
Visitors to New England can explore historic landmarks like Portland's Old Port district and the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, hike in Acadia National Park, and enjoy fresh seafood along the coast.
Maine is also home to many art galleries, museums, and cultural events, including the Maine Lobster Festival and the Portland Museum of Art.
Maine is the perfect destination for those looking to experience New England's unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.
2. Visit the Ogunquit Museum of American Art
The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is a small but impressive art museum located on the coast of Maine. Founded in 1953, the museum's collection features works by American artists, with a particular emphasis on modern and contemporary art.
Visitors can view paintings, sculptures, and other artwork, as well as enjoy the museum's scenic grounds and outdoor sculpture garden.
The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is a hidden gem for art lovers visiting Maine, and a great destination for those looking for a peaceful and culturally rich experience.
3. Take a Journey Through the Maine Maritime Museum
The Maine Maritime Museum, located in Bath, is a fascinating museum dedicated to the state's maritime history and is a must-visit destination in Western Maine.
The Maine Maritime Museum features a collection of over 20,000 objects, including ship models, marine paintings, and navigational instruments.
Visitors can also explore several historic buildings, including a shipyard and a 19th-century sea captain's home.
The Maine Maritime Museum also offers boat tours along the Kennebec River, where visitors can learn about the history of the river and its role in Maine's maritime industry. You can also go whitewater rafting on the Kennebec if you prefer.
4. Go On a Day Trip to Old Orchard Beach
Old Orchard Beach is a popular coastal town located in southern Maine. Old Orchard Beach is known for its seven-mile-long sandy beach, amusement park, and vibrant boardwalk.
Visitors of Old Orchard Beach can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and surfing on the beach, or visit the amusement park for thrilling rides and games.
The boardwalk offers a variety of dining and shopping options, as well as nightly entertainment during the summer months.
Old Orchard Beach is a must-visit destination for those looking for a classic Maine beach town experience.
5. Discover the Beauty of Mount Desert Island
Mount Desert Island is a breathtaking island located off the coast of Maine, home to Acadia National Park and several charming coastal towns, including Bar Harbor.
The island offers stunning natural beauty, with its rugged coastline, towering granite peaks, and crystal-clear lakes. Moreover, here lies Jordan Pond House, where you can enjoy a delicious traditional Maine lunch.
Visitors can explore the island on foot, bike, or car, and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, kayaking, and sailing. Mount Desert Island also boasts several cultural attractions, including museums, galleries, and historic sites.
6. Visit the Charming Bar Harbor
Bar Harbor is a charming coastal town located on Mount Desert Island in Maine. It is known for its picturesque harbor, antique shops and restaurants, and stunning natural beauty.
Visitors can explore Bar Harbor on foot, bike, or trolley, and enjoy the many outdoor activities, such as hiking in Acadia National Park or taking a boat tour of the harbor.
Bar Harbor also offers several cultural attractions, including art galleries, museums, and theaters.
7. Visit the Wadsworth-Longfellow House
If you are making a list of things to do in Maine you should definitely visit Wadsworth-Longfellow House.
It is a historic home located in New England, Maine. It was built in 1785 and is one of the oldest standing structures in the Portland Peninsula.
The house was also the childhood home of renowned American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Today, the house serves as a Maine History Museum and National Historic Landmark, showcasing the life and works of the Longfellow family.
Visitors can take guided tours of the house and explore the historic neighborhood of Portland. The Wadsworth-Longfellow House is a must-visit destination for those interested in American history and literature.
8. Explore the History of Public Transportation at Seashore Trolley Museum
The Seashore Trolley Museum is a unique museum located in Kennebunkport, Maine, dedicated to the history of public transportation.
The Seashore Trolley Museum features a collection of over 250 transit vehicles, including streetcars, buses, and trolleys from around the world.
Visitors can take rides on vintage trolleys, explore historic buildings, and learn about the evolution of public transportation at this fun New England attraction.
The Seashore Trolley Museum is a must-visit destination for those interested in transportation history and the role of public transit in shaping American cities.
9. Explore Casco Bay in Maine
Casco Bay is a picturesque bay located on the coast of Maine. It is a popular destination for boating and fishing, with dozens of islands dotting the bay's waters.
Peaks Island is the most popular island in the area due to its numerous amenities and proximity to Portland.
Visitors can take a ferry or boat tour to explore the islands or go on a lobster fishing tour. Casco Bay is also home to several lighthouses, including the iconic Portland Head Light.
With its stunning natural beauty and abundance of recreational activities, Casco Bay is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Maine.
10. Explore the History and Beauty of Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth
Portland Head Light is a historic lighthouse located in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The lighthouse was built in 1791 and is Maine's oldest lighthouse.
It sits on a rocky bluff overlooking the entrance to Portland Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean. The lighthouse and its surrounding park offer breathtaking views of the ocean and coastline.
Visitors can tour the lighthouse, explore the park's trails, and learn about the history of the area. The Portland Head Lighthouse is a must-visit destination for history buffs and nature enthusiasts.
11. Visit the Portland Museum of Art in Maine
Portland Museum of Art is a renowned art museum located in Portland, Maine. The museum features a collection of over 18,000 works, including American and European art, contemporary art, and decorative arts.
It also has several historic homes, including the Winslow Homer Studio and McLellan House. The Portland Museum of Art offers a variety of exhibitions, programs, and educational resources for visitors of all ages.
The Portland Museum of Art is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts who are looking for cultural things to do in Maine.
12. Explore Bowdoin College Museum of Art
The Bowdoin College Museum of Art, located on the campus of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, is a significant cultural institution that has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The museum's collection includes over 20,000 works of art, ranging from ancient objects to contemporary art.
Bowdoin College Museum of Art is especially known for its American art collection, which includes works by Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, and John Singer Sargent.
Visitors can take a self-guided tour or participate in one of the museum's guided tours or special events. The Bowdoin College Museum of Art is a must-see destination for art lovers visiting Maine.
13. Relax at Ogunquit Beach in Perkins Cove
Ogunquit Beach is a beautiful stretch of sand located in the town of Ogunquit, Maine. The beach is three and a half miles long and offers visitors stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.
It is popular for swimming, sunbathing, and walking along the shoreline.
Ogunquit Beach is also home to several restaurants, shops, and art galleries if you are looking for some fun things to do in Maine.
14. Hike to the Top of Cadillac Mountain
Cadillac Mountain is located on Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park, Maine. It is the highest peak on the Atlantic coast and offers visitors stunning panoramic views of the park and surrounding area.
Cadillac Mountain is a popular destination for hiking and watching the sunrise and sunset. It is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and those looking to experience the beauty of Maine's wilderness.
15. Explore the Wonders of Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is a breathtaking national park located on the coast of Maine. It is known for its rugged coastline, granite peaks, and abundance of wildlife.
Visitors can hike on over 120 miles of trails, bike on historic carriage roads, or drive the famous Park Loop Road for stunning views of Acadia National Park.
Acadia National Park is also home to several lakes, beaches, and islands, offering endless opportunities for outdoor recreation.
With its stunning scenery and diverse activities, Acadia National Park is a must-visit destination when looking for things to do in Maine.
16. Discover the Charms of Boothbay Harbor
Boothbay Harbor is a picturesque town located on the coast of Maine. It is known for its charming downtown area, lined with shops, restaurants, and art galleries.
Visitors can take a boat tour of the harbor, explore the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, or visit the Boothbay Railway Village, which showcases historic trains and railroads.
Boothbay Harbor is also home to several scenic hiking trails, including the Boothbay Region Land Trust. Moreover, you should stop at the Carousel Music Theater and Maine State Aquarium while you are in town.
With its scenic beauty, charming atmosphere, and variety of Maine attractions, Boothbay Harbor is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Maine.
17. The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is a stunning botanical garden located in Boothbay, Maine. It is situated on 270 acres of land, overlooking the Sheepscot River estuary.
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens feature a wide variety of plant species, including native Maine plants and plants from around the world.
Visitors can explore Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens on foot or by tram, and there are several trails that offer scenic views of the water and surrounding landscape.
In addition to the gardens, there are also several art installations, a butterfly house, and a visitors' center with a gift shop and cafe.
18. Visit the Farnsworth Art Museum in Maine
The Farnsworth Art Museum is a renowned museum located in Rockland, Maine, dedicated to American art. The museum has a collection of over 15,000 works, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.
Notably, the museum houses work by renowned American artists such as Gilbert Stuart, John Singleton Copley, and Maurice Prendergast, among others.
It also has several historic buildings, including the childhood home of artist Andrew Wyeth. The Farnsworth Art Museum offers a variety of exhibitions and programs throughout the year, as well as guided tours and workshops.
19. Explore the Elegance of Victoria Mansion
Victoria Mansion, located in Portland, Maine, is a historic landmark and museum that showcases the luxurious lifestyle of the Victorian era.
Built in 1860, Victoria Mansion features ornate interiors, exquisite furnishings, and stunning artwork. Visitors can take a guided tour to learn about the mansion's history and see its unique architectural and design features.
The museum also hosts special events, lectures, and workshops throughout the year. Victoria Mansion is a must-see attraction for anyone looking for architectural things to do in Maine.
20. Explore the Beauty and Adventure of Baxter State Park
Baxter State Park is a stunning wilderness area located in north-central Maine. The park covers over 200,000 acres and features breathtaking mountains, lakes, and forests.
Baxter State Park is home to Mount Katahdin, the highest peak in Maine and the endpoint of the Appalachian Trail. Visitors can enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing in Baxter State Park.
Baxter State Park is a must-visit destination for those looking to explore the natural beauty and serenity of Maine's wilderness.
21. Indulge in Seafood Delights at the Maine Lobster Festival
Maine Lobster Festival is an annual festival held in Rockland, Maine, celebrating the state's most famous seafood.
The festival features a variety of events, including lobster crate races, live music, and a seafood cook-off. Visitors can also enjoy a traditional lobster roll, carnival rides, and artisanal craft vendors.
The Maine Lobster Festival is a must-visit destination for those looking for the best things to do in Maine.
22. Enjoy Nubble Lighthouse in York
Nubble Lighthouse, also known as Cape Neddick Light Station, is a picturesque lighthouse located on a small island off the coast of York, Maine.
Nubble Light was built in 1879 and has been guiding sailors through the treacherous waters of the Atlantic Ocean ever since.
Nubble Lighthouse is situated on a rocky outcrop, making it a popular spot for photography and sightseeing.
Visitors can take a short walk to the mainland for stunning views of the lighthouse or take a boat tour for an up-close look at this iconic Maine landmark.
Nubble Lighthouse is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to York or the surrounding area.
FAQs About Things to Do in Maine
Let's answer some frequently asked questions about places to visit and things to do in Maine.
What is Maine's #1 attraction?
Maine's #1 attraction is its natural beauty, encompassing attractions like Old Orchard Beach, the Maine coast, and the Maine woods. Visitors can enjoy outdoor activities such as deep-sea fishing, a whale-watching cruise, and exploring the Kennebec River. Known as the Pine Tree State, Maine offers endless opportunities.
What is the best month to visit Maine?
The best time to visit Maine is during the fall season. This season also offers cooler weather, fewer crowds, and lower accommodation rates. Visitors can enjoy hiking trails, explore the Maine beer trail, take a scenic drive along Penobscot Bay, or enjoy whale watching.
What is Maine famous for?
Maine is famous for its stunning rocky coast, and stunning Maine beaches. Visitors come to Maine to enjoy a variety of activities, such as hiking along the Appalachian Trail, exploring Camden Hills State Park, and taking a Maine windjammer cruise. Maine is also renowned for its fine and decorative art scene.
What are 3 things Maine is famous for?
This Pine Tree State is famous for Maine’s natural beauty, including the Maine coast, and its many attractions like Northeast Harbor, Fort Williams Park, and whale watching tours. Visitors can also enjoy outdoor activities like mountain biking and exploring the quaint Dock Square. Visitors can find unique gifts in Maine's gift shop.
Summing Up: Unmissable Things to Do in Maine
In sum, there is no shortage of Maine attractions to enjoy in this northern part of the US. Nature lovers and history buffs alike will find plenty of attractions in Maine that blow their minds.
Remember to bring this comprehensive list of 22 unmissable things to do with you on your Maine vacation. That way, you can plan the ultimate New England experience.
From delicious seafood to stunning views and fascinating old structures, Maine truly is the US state that has it all. Have a great trip.