If you’ve vacationed in Maine before, you’ve probably visited popular tourist towns such as Kennebunkport and Portland. Next time you’re in this New England state, opt for a little adventure or just something new by going somewhere off the beaten path like Sandy Point Beach or Rattlesnake Pool. Make your way from your Maine vacation rental to secluded beaches and islands, as well as remote hiking areas in the mountains. Take a look at the top 10 hidden gems in Maine.

1. Cliff Island

Make sure to plan ahead if you want to take a day trip to Cliff Island since the ferry ride takes one to two hours each way from Portland. Cliff Island is located in Casco Bay and is the smallest island that has year-round residents. You’ll find that Portland has a large number of vacation rentals available, with everything from a downtown hotel with a full-service day spa to a spacious yet charming private cabin in the woods.

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2. Sandy Point Beach

Located in Stockton Springs, Maine, Sandy Point Beach is about a half mile long and is open year round. The beach is at the point where the Penobscot River goes into the Penobscot Bay. It’s one of the few sandy beaches in the Midcoast Maine region. Along with being a great spot to sunbathe and have a picnic, Sandy Point Beach is also known for having a few Osprey nests.

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3. One Big Sustainable Island

Also known as 1BSI, One Big Sustainable Island is one of the few places where you will truly feel that you have gone off the grid. The island is unique in that it is a nonprofit community that’s goal is to have guests truly experience nature and enjoy its’ simplicity. The island is located in Monmouth on Annabessacook Lake. On the island, you can go to the Oaktagon Tree House for educational programs, go hiking, relax in a hammock, enjoy s’mores at a fire pit, or try out the rope swing.

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4. Rattlesnake Pool

If you and your kids are looking to cool off after a hot summer day in Maine, Rattlesnake Pool is a great place to check out. To get to it, you have to hike Blueberry Mountain. However, if the thought of climbing the mountain is too daunting, take the Stone House Trail. The Stone House Trail is a two-mile loop and will take you right to Rattlesnake Pool. The water is relatively clear and is filled by a small waterfall. A nearby town you can stay overnight in is Stoneham, which has a multitude of classic New England cabins that you can stay in, many of which have views of the water and mountains.

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5. Swan’s Island

To visit Swan’s Island, you have to take the ferry over from Bass Harbor, which takes roughly a half hour. For an extra fee, you can bring your bike and/or car over on the ferry with you. There are some accommodation options on the island, such as the Harbor Watch Inn or the Carter House, which is a bed and breakfast. While on the island, you can check out Quarry Pond, try the local lobster, and relax on Fine Sand Beach.

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6. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden

Located in Seal Harbor, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden is a beautiful private garden that only allows a limited number of visitors when it’s open, in order to maintain the high quality of the garden and ensure a peaceful experience. The garden is open from the middle of July until the beginning of September. There are no formal tours, but make sure to register online beforehand to ensure that you will get in on the day you wish to go.

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7. Hothole Pond

Hike or bike along the Hothole Pond Trail in Orland to reach Hothole Pond. Along the way, you’ll see a beaver pond and a meadow. The trail is technically just over a mile long and made of gravel for the most part, but if you include the hike from the nearest parking spots, it’s over four miles long.

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8. Seapoint Beach

Located in Kittery, Maine, Seapoint Beach is awesome because you can bring your dog if you’re coming during the off-season. During the regular season, which is May 15 through September 30, you cannot bring a dog unless you are a town resident. In Kittery, vacation rentals range from large estates perfect for family reunions to quaint cabins with scenic views.

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9. Seawall Beach

Seawall Beach, which is located in Phippsburg, Maine, tends to be less crowded since you have to hike about two miles over Morse Mountain to get to it. The hike is actually relatively easy since it’s paved and wide. While on the hike, you can see mountains such as Mount Washington. It’s important to note that the beach is privately owned, so make sure to leave your bikes and dogs at home.

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10. Vaughan Woods

Choose between five different hiking trails in the Vaughan Woods in Hallowell. Along the trails, you’ll see a waterfall, stone badges, and a variety of trees such as hemlocks and white pines. The trails are rather shady, which is good if you’re hiking during the summer. If you’re visiting Maine in the winter, this is an excellent place for snowshoeing.

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