A beautiful place that offers an almost perfect slice of life, the northeasternmost state of Maine is one of North America’s wonderful gems. It’s a place known for its gorgeous rocky coastline, maritime history, and laid back lifestyle, but explore this area a little further afield and you’ll also find pristine lakes, thick forests, pretty islands, and attractive seaside enclaves. From majestic historic lighthouses to sublime sandy beaches here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Maine…
1. Casco Bay Islands – some of the most stunning places to explore in Maine
Based in the southern coast of Maine, stretching from Cape Small to Cape Elizabeth, Casco Bay is an inlet in the Gulf of Maine that offers the most relaxing and fun getaway destinations.
The Casco Bay Islands are popularly called the “The Calendar Islands” because of the variety of distinct islands and activities they offer. These include kayaking, boating, schooner rides, biking, hiking, and more. Casco Bay is a thriving hub of art, entertainment, and gourmet food. The food scene is exemplary with an impressive range of ethnic cuisine, truly fresh seafood, and Michelin-star kitchens.
Hotels and Airbnbs in Casco Bay Islands
2. Portland Head Light, Portland – a beautiful historic gem in Maine
Awarded “America’s Foodiest Small Town”, Portland is home to the most marvelous gourmet restaurants and culinary experiences. Besides its artistic glamour, Portland also has a rich history and is home to the oldest lighthouse in Maine. Portland Head Light is an iconic lighthouse located on a piece of land at the entrance of the shipping channel into the famous Portland Harbor.
This prestigious light station is automated, and the tower and beacon are managed by the US Coast Guard. There is also a maritime museum that was formerly the lighthouse keepers’ home and a beach and lawn for picnics and to enjoy the spectacular views.
The lovely town of Portland is unique in that it effortlessly binds its special past with the stylish present and fast-changing future.
Hotels and Airbnbs in Portland Head Light, Portland
3. Bar Harbour, Frenchman Bay – a tranquil beauty spot to explore in Maine
Named in honor of the famous French Explorer Samuel de Champlain, who first sailed in and discovered this region for France in 1604, the Frenchman Bay is a large water body of ocean between the northeastern shoreline of Mount Desert Island and the southern coast of Maine.
The bay consists of numerous gorgeous islands such as Bar Island, Bald Porcupine, Sheep Porcupine, and Long Porcupine. Bar Island is the most popular and famous of these, known for its natural coastal beauty. Views of luxurious yachts and boats in the thick morning mist, glistening afternoon sunlight, and against evening seaside sunsets make a visit to Bar Harbour truly worth it. The island also offers incredible nature activities like biking, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and even whale and seal watching.
Hotels and Airbnbs in Bar Harbour, Frenchman Bay
4. Augusta – the attractive historic city which has grown to be the beautiful capital of Maine
Formerly an English trading post on the Kennebec River, Augusta now is the capital city of Maine. This amazing city offers visitors a chance to explore and enjoy its state’s significant history.
From the remarkable Maine State House and elaborate State Museum to the 18-century Old Fort Western that is the oldest surviving wooden fort in the country, and the city is home to many must-see sights. It also houses the 224-acre pine tree park and botanical gardens of Viles Arboretum, which offer hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing trails, all year round.
Hotels and Airbnbs in Augusta
5. Acadia National Park – protects the natural beauty of the highest rocky headlands along the Atlantic coastline
A jewel in the crown, Acadia National Park along the Atlantic coastline in Maine is a national treasure that protects the natural beauty of the high rocky coastlands and preserves the rich local cultural heritage of the region.
The Acadia region has over 150 miles of hiking trails, where you can enjoy plenty of adventure activities. Major attractions include the Cadillac Mountains for hikes, Sand Beach for relaxing, Park Loop Road for drives, Jordan Pond for picnics, and the awe-striking Otter Cliff and Thunder Hole. With unrivaled views and an abundance of activities and wildlife, it is no surprise that this park with over 3.5millions visits a year is one of the most visited national parks in the United States and in all of North America.
6. Old Orchard Beach – one of the most beautiful places to visit in Maine
‘Something for everyone’ – that is the motto at Old Orchard Beach! This warm and welcoming coastal town with a small population of around 9000 residents is a staple Maine getaway spot. The town’s charm can be vouched for by the over 70,000 visitors that come to stay here every summer.
OBB has a stunning 7-mile-long, family-friendly beach. Its soft, sandy beach is perfect for relaxing, tanning, throwing a frisbee, swimming, surfing, and more. The beautiful Old Orchard Beach Pier, built-in 1898, hosts restaurants, shops, and once upon a time, even a casino. The Palace Playland is one of the last remaining oceanfront amusement parks in the country and hosts a carousel, rides, arcade games, and food fair stalls on the pier. The local shopping is trendy and accommodations comfortable. Enjoy a walk on the lively boardwalk or some tranquil time at the woodsy Ocean Park. Either way, a visit to Old Orchard Beach guarantees an unforgettable experience that will leave you wanting to return.
7. Rockport – one of the pretty hidden gems of Maine
Titled by Forbes Magazine as one of America’s Prettiest Towns, Rockport is a laid-back little town that is ideal for a relaxing getaway. Rockport derives its name from its rocky terrain and its prominent limestone industry. Besides being known for supplying limestone, Rockport is also the home of the famous Andre the Seal – a childhood book based on a true story and turned into a blockbuster movie.
There is a flourishing artist and events community with numerous art exhibitions at local galleries or at the renowned Farnsworth Museum as well as occasional concerts, events, and festivals. The town’s Children’s Chapel is an extraordinary outdoor chapel with a magical garden. A must-see attraction is the Belted Galloway Cows (commonly called Oreo Cows) which reside on a scenic farm managed by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust. This exquisite 136-acre farm made up of lush green pastures, unspoiled coasts, woods, and wetlands and runs farm tours and art shows that are definitely a sight to see. Rockport also offers a plethora of fun water activities such as kayaking, sailing, boat tours, schooners excursions, and sunset dinner cruises with outstanding views of Penobscot Bay.
The convenient location of this mid-coast Maine town between Kennebunkport and Bar Harbor makes it easily accessible and thus popularly visited.
8. Camden Hills State Park – a great place to visit to take in the midcoast’s magic
Camden Hills State Park is an outstanding park, known for its scenic views of the Camden Hills, Penobscot Bay and its islands, and the Cadillac Mountain from the top of Mt. Battie. This lovely park comprises of an extensive network of trails for avid and beginner hikers, alike. Mt. Megunticook, the highest peak of Camden Hills, is a beautiful trek by foot with incredible views.
The drive to Mt. Battie Auto Road in the fall offers stunning views of the hillside in fall foliage colors. In the summer, Camden Hills State Park attracts expert campers and adventurous families for fun activities like cycling, camping, and sleeping under the stars and.
9. Kennebunkport – a pretty Maine coastal known for its lovely beaches
The beautiful town of Kennebunkport is a popular destination because of the vast variety of unique attractions. From the relaxing beaches to the scenic boat tours, the local restaurants to the amazing shopping, the impressive lighthouses and heritage history, and art museums, Kennebunkport truly has a lot to offer. Famous sites include the well-preserved Sea Captain Mansions, the local museum with the First Family Exhibit on Bush Family, the historical artifacts at Brick Store Museum, and the world-famous Seashore Trolley Museum.
Dock Square, the center of town in Kennebunkport, is known for its local boutiques and craft shops. The nearby lower village is located along the river and ocean and offers boating, surfing, canoeing, kayaking, and whale watching activities. You can also rent bicycles and scooters, go golfing, play tennis, visit a wellness spa or take a day trip to the lovely Cape Porpoise and its harbor or Goat Island Light. Kennebunkport is definitely the ‘place to be all year-round’ with so many incredible sights and activities.
10. Two Lights State Park – a protected area in a quaint and picturesque part of Maine
Two Lights State Park, located in the rocky coastal region of Maine, is a very popular getaway spot because of its picturesque views of the shoreline, the lighthouses on it, and the stretched waters of Casco Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The park gets its name from the twin lighthouse situated nearby that were the first twin lighthouses on the coast of Maine. The eastern light is an active and automated light station while the western one has ceased operation and is now a private home.
This 41-acre ocean-facing park stands above the rocky coast and contains spacious ground, with picnic tables for strollers and hikers to enjoy the refreshing sea breeze as the watch ships sailing in and out of the Portland Harbor. Two Lights State Park and its lighthouses are truly gorgeous and their beauty is even depicted in the famous painting “Lighthouse at Two Lights” by Edward Hopper.
11. Baxter State Park – a beautiful large wilderness area permanently preserved as a state park
Based in Piscataquis County, Baxter State Park is a one-of-a-kind permanently reserved state park. This extensive area of wilderness is undisturbed, tranquil, and a paradise of nature-lovers. The park is full of ponds for boating and paddling. You can rent kayaks and canoes at pondside campgrounds. Rock climbing is popular around the Chimney Pond area, which is a 2-hour scenic hike from the roadside. There are numerous other strenuous hiking trails or relaxing treks available.
You can find old-school camping with basic rustic facilities, no electricity, no showers, and only outhouses. Anything that is not naturally available such as drinking water, food, clothing, sleeping, cooking, and other gears must be brought with you. The idea is that campers can truly immerse themselves and become one with nature. Not for the faint-hearted but truly a once in a lifetime wilderness experience, camping in the park means sleeping under the stars, amongst the trees with the sounds of the wind, water, and birds.
Besides the serene beauty of the natural vegetation, visitors can also spot many animals like moose, black bear, white-tailed deer, and lynx that reside within the park.
12. The Maine Statehouse – one of the most beautiful building to visit in Maine
The Maine State House was built using popular Maine granite, one year after Augusta became the Capital of Maine. Based on the design of the Capitol building for Massachusetts, this State House was constructed to accommodate the State Library and to provide office space for departments.
Though the building was remodeled and enlarged, the original front was preserved. A dome, surmounted by a statue, “Lady of Wisdom”, rising over a hundred feet, was built to replace the original cupola. The iconic statue is made of copper and overlaid with gold and stands 15 ft. tall. This beautiful building is known not only for its incredible architecture but also for its rich heritage history. The Maine State House and its 34-acres State grounds represent grace and classicism, elegance.
13. Ogunquit – named the “beautiful place by the sea”
Rightly named by the Abenaki tribe, Ogunquit means ‘beautiful place by the sea’. This lovely fishing village is an attractive tourist spot because of its rugged natural beauty and thriving local art. Popular for hosting art exhibitions and galleries, Ogunquit has a vibrant art, culture, and theatre scene. There is plenty of dining, shopping, and lodging options and a welcoming community in Perkins Cove, Ogunquit. The boutique stores display unique works by local fashion designers as well as handcrafted jewelry. While shopping, it’s an absolute must to stop by the local candy shop and try the fresh salt-water taffy.
This coastal town has miles of lovely sandy beaches that are popular for families and couples and are perfect for building sandcastles, collecting seashells, splashing waves or simply relaxing. You can experience a unique hands-on experience on boats that offer tours or even charter party cruises. Apart from the popular outdoor activities, Ogunquit also has a happening nightlife.
14. Moosehead Lake – a stunning area to explore in Maine
As the name suggests, Moosehead Lake is home of the moose, where the moose actually outnumber people. This pristine lake region is known for its solitude and serenity. You can enjoy a peaceful break a walk around the lake, trek the forest trails, and witness the beautiful wildlife.
Moosehead Lake effortlessly combines quiet tranquility with exciting adventure. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy numerous activities in these wild woodlands while free-spirits can take in the mesmerizing lake views. Moosehead is a truly special holiday destination!
15. West Quoddy Head Light – a popular attraction to explore in Maine
Set on the eastern-most point of the United States, West Quoddy Head Lighthouse is an extraordinary location that gives you the chance to see the first rays of the sun that light the country. Originally built in 1806 and then re-built in 1858, this ancient light station lies within the Quoddy Head State Park and includes a tower with beautiful stone carvings at the base, a keeper’s quarters, a service building, and oil house.
The grounds also have hiking trails, green picnic areas, and nearby cliffs, all with spectacular views. West Quoddy Head Light makes this list because of the most mesmerizing views of the first sunrise of the nation and the amazing opportunity to sight whales.