Looking for summer vacation rentals in a state with scenic coastline, peaceful nature spaces, quaint charm, and a magical ocean breeze? Maine features all of these and more! Tucked away in the far northeast, Maine boasts picturesque harbors with both rocky and sandy beaches. Whales and shorebirds offer much to see for wildlife watchers and nature lovers. Of course, Maine is famous for delicious seafood, especially lobster, which is available in many fine dining establishments. Check out the 10 best places to take a summer vacation in this New England state, and book your Maine vacation rental today!

1. Portland

portland headlight

Portland is a curious mixture of quaint, historic structures and modern vibe. Vacation rentals here mean proximity to the ocean, parks, and fine dining and shopping. One of the most popular attractions in Portland is the Old Port section, where old cobblestone streets take you past pubs and shops housed in 19th-century buildings. This district is also home to fine dining restaurants such as Hugo’s, where food items range from lobster stew to Vermont quail.

Portland Headlight is a worthwhile stop. George Washington commissioned this lighthouse in 1791, making it the oldest lighthouse standing in the state. Boat tours on the water are also available, and make a great way to relax on a summer’s day.

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2. Bar Harbor

bar harbor

Dreaming of a summer vacation rental on an island? Then try Bar Harbor. This charming town sits on Mount Desert Island, and it is home to the famous Arcadia National Park. The park is a scenic place for hikers, bikers, horseback riders, birdwatchers, and canoeist to enjoy nature. You can also take a boat tour around the island. End your day at The Reading Room, where you can enjoy lobster and haddock, live piano music, and delightful views of the water.

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3. Bangor

boardwalk through the bog
Source: Flickr/Justin Henry

Bangor is home to the American Folk Festival. This annual summer event showcases music of various cultures, and is the winner of several awards. Vendors are on hand to provide delicious food and beverages during the event. Your kids will also love to see to the Maine Discovery Museum, which features age-appropriate science and art exhibits.

One of the unusual attractions in Bangor is the 4,200-foot long Orono Bog Boardwalk, which actually takes you over a large bog covered with plants. It is a great way to experience a normally inaccessible ecosystem.

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4. Camden

cappys chowder house camden
Source: Flickr/Doug Kerr

Rich in scenery, Camden is one of Maine’s most gorgeous seaside destinations. Here there is little excuse not to get out on the water, as the city offers enticing opportunities for sailing and boat rides on the water. A favorite stop on one of these boating excursions is Curtis Island Light, a beautiful lighthouse that marks the entry into the harbor from the Atlantic Ocean. Nature also abounds here, giving birdwatchers the chance to add many species of shorebirds to their lists.

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5. Augusta

maine state house augusta
Source: Flickr/David Wilson

One of the highlights of this capitol city of Maine is, of course, a tour of the capitol building. If history and social justice is up your ally, then stop by the Holocaust and Human Rights Center, which contains a variety of educational exhibits. The Blaine House is an impressive mansion that is the home of the Governor of the State of Maine, but it is also open for public use. In downtown Augusta, you will find plenty of gift shops and clothing stores to shop at before heading back to your vacation rental.

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6. Bath

uss zumwalt
Source: Flickr/Paul VanDerWerf

This “City of Ships” offers a small town getaway with a long-time connection to shipbuilding. In addition to taking evening strolls along the water to view the ships, you should also check out the Marine Maritime Museum. This family-friendly museum contains exhibits about maritime history in Maine, lighthouses, and shipbuilding. Hop aboard one of the cruise ships located at the museum to see many beautiful lighthouses. Bath is also home to many parks for kids to play and adults to walk or jog.

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7. Rockport

wind sailing at rockport
Source: Flickr/stephen moody

Another charming coastal town, Rockport is a great place to set sail out into the water. Kayak enthusiasts can bring their own kayaks or rent one from local kayak rentals. Parks offer picnic tables for summer outdoor eating, and a variety of seafood restaurants offer tasty lobster and fish. The nearby Farnsworth Museum is a great place for art aficionados to view beautiful paintings, prints, and sculptures.

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8. Ogunquit

ogunquit boat dock

Ogunquit is the perfect summer destination if you want to beat the heat. Unlike the scenic rocky coasts found in other parts of Maine, Ogunquit includes over 3 miles of sandy beaches, giving your kids room to build sand castles and yourself space to relax by the water. Other popular summertime activities here include swimming, kayaking, and even whale watching. Summertime is also a great time to watch a show at the Ogunquit Playhouse, an exciting stop that also includes a children’s theater for the younger ones.

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9. York

york lighthouse

York is another city with sandy beaches for summer fun. This coastal town is big on history. One of the nation’s oldest British buildings, Old Gaol jail, still stands here. The John Hancock Warehouse goes all the way back to the 18th century. If your ideal summer vacation includes a game of golf, then York offers three different golf courses for you to put and swing.

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10. Old Orchard Beach

old orchard beach

If you are looking for a fun day trip for you and the kids, then Old Orchard Beach’s Palace Playland is the place for you. This theme park features exciting rides for all ages, including a carousel, roller coasters, Ferris wheel, and water flume ride. Restaurants and a gift shop help to round out your day here. Take your family or friends to the popular sandy beach, and be sure to catch the weekly summer fireworks show.

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