What if there was a place that had everything? The sea, the sun, snowy slopes, scenic overlooks, shopping. Art museums and five-star restaurants with top chefs. All the makings of a bona fide Vacationland. Sound too good to be true?
Well, we hope to convince you that it’s not. At L.L.Bean, we’re happy to hail from Maine, a state that boasts coastlines and mountain trails, lobster and trout, hiking and biking, and plenty of shopping and good eats. Don’t believe us? We’ll do our best to convince you. Take a peek at a few of the places that make Maine the ideal choice for a weekend (or weeks!) away.
Kittery, Maine’s oldest settlement
This little town is situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Piscataqua River, right on the New Hampshire border – making it a popular destination for vacationers “from away.” In fact, in the 1800s, Kittery was a top spot for traveling artists and writers. Today, it’s home to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, though it’s perhaps best known for its outlet shopping.
The name means “beautiful place by the sea,” and Ogunquit’s three-and-a-half miles of beaches live up to that promise. Relax on the beach or head out for a day of deep-sea fishing or a whale-watching tour. And to mix it up on a rainy day, check out one of the many art galleries.
If you’re looking for a particularly family-friendly area, try visiting York. This picturesque town is composed of four communities: Cape Neddick, York Harbor, York Village and York Beach. Its sights include the famous Nubble Lighthouse (one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world) and Old Goal, America’s oldest jail. It also boasts golf clubs and three sandy beaches.
Of course, a beautiful state needs its beautiful flagship city. Meet Portland, where you can find all the ecofriendly boutique shopping and lobster rolls your heart (and stomach) could ever want. According to this article in the New York Times, Portland “has welcomed a wave of locavore restaurants, urban farms and galleries that feature local artists” in recent years. This array of activities combined with its urban trails system makes Portland a perfect Maine getaway.
Of course, we can’t forget our own town of Freeport. Known for its shopping and our flagship store, Freeport’s Main Street is a destination in itself. Many of our popular Outdoor Discovery Schools activities leave from this location as well.
Moving into the midcoast region of Maine, you’ll find Bath, a picturesque town with recreational activities year-round. Visitors can explore Bath’s shipbuilding history at the Maine Maritime Museum and stroll the historically renowned “Front Street,” which boasts a collection of shops and restaurants.
Commonly known as the “Jewel of the Coast,” Camden is a seaport town with tons of sailboats. Yearly, it hosts the popular Windjammer Weekend, as well as the US Toboggan Championships and has been the setting of many movies. And if you want to get off the shore, Camden Hills State Park has over 100 camping sites to choose from. Looking for other popular midcoastal towns? Try Rockport and Lincolnville.
The Highlands region of Maine has much to offer, from Mount Katahdin (Maine’s tallest mountain) to Moosehead Lake (Maine’s largest lake). Also in the area is Bangor, the historical and cultural hub of the region. Once known as the “Lumber Capital of the World,” Bangor was home to more than 300 sawmills. It’s now home to the Maine Forest and Logging Museum as well as Mount Hope Cemetery, the nation’s second oldest graveyard. Stephen King lives here, and many sites in Bangor appear in his novels and movies.
You won’t want to miss Bar Harbor, the 19th century’s premier summer resort, famous for its bevy of prominent American guests, like the Rockefellers, the Fords, the Vanderbilts and the Carnegies, to name just a few. In addition, the area is home to Acadia National Park, which offers stunning mountain views, lakes and sea cliffs. There are also 125 miles of hiking trails and many ways to put your L.L.Bean gear to good use.
Kennebec & Moose River Valleys
If you’re looking for a combination of outdoor adventure and culture, look no further than the Kennebec & Moose River Valleys. The region is famous for whitewater rafting and snowmobiling, along with being home to Maine’s capital city, Augusta. Other notable spots include the Belgrade Lakes Region and The Forks, which is best known for whitewater rafting.
We can’t forget Aroostock County, known around Maine as “The County.” This is the state’s largest and northernmost county, and it boasts more than 2,000 lakes, streams and ponds. Notable areas include the Allagash Wilderness Waterway and the St. John River. It’s also home to Aroostook State Park, Maine’s first state park. The park offers camping, trout fishing, canoeing and groomed snowmobile trails in the winter.
Caribou is one of the beautiful areas of Aroostook and just so happens to be America’s most northeastern city. This area contains 170 miles of the county’s 1,600-mile snowmobile trail system, as well as the Nylander Museum of Natural History. Visit here for biking, running, cross-country skiing and more on over 85 miles of trailheads.
Looking for an adventure in the woods? Fort Kent, located at the top of Maine in The County, is a gateway to the North Maine Woods. In fact, it’s the last major town explorers can pass through before embarking on a journey through said woods. The area originated as an outpost for the lumber industry and has maintained that history today. It’s also the very end of US Route 1, which begins in Florida. How’s that for a road trip idea – driving the length of Route 1!
These are just a handful of the many places you might choose to spend your vacation in Maine. Every region of this state promises stunning views and relaxing vacation escapes, and each one offers its own reasons for why Maine is known as Vacationland. Have we convinced you to visit yet?