Labor Day weekend is a great time to explore the gorgeous New England fall foliage in Maine. This quaint state boasts picturesque big cities, small towns, and beach communities. From the historic lighthouses in Bar Harbor to the fresh seafood in Portland, there’s something incredible for everyone in this New England state. Book a stay at a Maine vacation rental to easily access the beach or embark on a hike in a state or national forest. When you’re ready to start planning your holiday weekend, check out the top Labor Day weekend getaway spots in Maine.

1. Portland

old port portland
Source: Flickr/Roman Boed

Extending into Casco Bay, Portland is a vibrant city with working harbor, where boats frequently arrive and leave for fishing and transporting goods. Stroll around Old Port to see the historic buildings, do a little shopping, and stop for dinner at Eventide Oyster Co. Head out to explore the Casco Bay Islands by booking a tour through Fogg’s Boatworks. Starting at the heart of Old Port, the walking trail of the Eastern Promenade offers stunning sights of the bay, benches for a rest, and beaches to dip your feet in the water.

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2. Old Orchard Beach

old orchard beach pier
Source: Flickr/Paul VanDerWerf

Soak up the sun with one last beach vacation of the summer in Old Orchard Beach. Play in the surf, fly kites, and take turns burying each other in the sand. Pack up your fishing gear and try your luck on the iconic Old Orchard Beach Pier. In the early evening, take the kids to the Palace Playland for rides on the coaster, Ferris wheel, and carousel before munching on your favorite carnival foods, including funnel cakes, cheese fries, and nachos. Crown a winner at the Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, where you play among caves and waterfalls to celebrate the official end of summer.

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3. Bangor

penobscot narrows bridge
Source: Flickr/Patrick Kinney

Learn more about Maine’s roots in the timber industry in Bangor. In town, stop by the giant sculpture of Paul Bunyan. Kids love the Maine Discovery Museum with its hands-on exhibits designed to teach kids through play. Stop by the Bangor Farmer’s Market for fresh ingredients to make a farm-to-table meal at your vacation rental. Soak up the sun when taking a walk along the Penobscot River Walkway. This walkway meanders along the Penobscot River banks and runs a mere half mile, making it ideal for a family with small children.

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4. Cape Elizabeth

cape elizabeth lighthouse purple sunset
Source: Flickr/Mark Tegethoff

Just a short drive south of Portland, Cape Elizabeth offers a low-key vacation destination and sweeping, stunning scenery of the coast perfect for a Labor Day weekend getaway. Take a tour of the lovely Portland Head Light and attached museum to learn more about the area’s maritime history and the dangers that lurk off the shores for sailors. Go hiking through the coastal meadows and tidal salt marshes of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. You might catch sight of the New England cottontail, the salt marsh sparrow, and the piping plover.

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5. Bar Harbor

bar harbor
Source: Flickr/Georgios Michalogiorgakis

It’s your choice between lying on the beach or hitting the hiking trails in Bar Harbor. Wind your way through the Wild Gardens of Acadia on the Jesup Trail to see some of the most beautiful native plants, trees, and flowers in all their fall colors. On Mount Desert Island, Cadillac Mountain offers hiking trails and rock climbing opportunities for the outdoor lover. Another popular garden area is the College of the Atlantic Gardens with its blend of native and non-native plants, trees, and flowers.

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6. Kittery

kittery maine harbor
Source: Flickr/Doug Kerr

Kittery is home to the naval shipyard and offers excitement at every turn. Learn more about life in the past at Strawbery Banke, a living history music with buildings and gardens from the past and staff members performing chores the old way. Check the schedule for concerts at Prescott Park or just take a walk on the trails past the sculptures and water fountains. Fort Foster features three beach areas, walking trails, and restroom facilities for a day of outdoor fun.

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7. Ogunquit

ogunquit maine coast
Source: Flickr/Jay Woodworth

Ogunquit is a charming coastal community with a lighthouse, quaint shopping area, and outdoor activities. If you can’t find a vacation rental within walking distance of Long Sands Beach, don’t worry, there’s plenty of parking. Catch one of the last performances of the summer at the Ogunquit Playhouse. From clam chowder to lobster rolls, Barnacle Billy’s has all the seafood dishes you travel to a Maine coastal town to dine on.

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8. Augusta

church in downtown augusta maine
Source: Flickr/Doug Kerr

Tour the Maine Capitol Building in Augusta to see where lawmakers do their work. Afterward, make the most of the beautiful sunny weather walking around Capitol Park. Make an appointment for a tour of The Blaine House, the governor’s mansion and gardens that dates back to the early 1800s. As the oldest wood fort still standing, Fort Western is a popular place for an afternoon visit. This British colonial outpost dates back to the 1750s. Wander the paths and see the fall colors surrounding small ponds at the Viles Arboretum.

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9. Lewiston

forest trail in auburn
Source: Flickr/Sean Goggins

As the second largest city in the state, Lewiston sits on the Gulf of Maine making it is to find a vacation rental with a water view. From a family picnic to an afternoon of hiking Androscoggin Riverlands State Park is the place to go with its towering trees and bubbling waterways. Take a guided tour of the Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary and bring your binoculars from your vacation rental for a closer view at the nests that dot the refuge.

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10. Saco

sand beach in arcadia national park
Source: Flickr/Jeff Gunn

Get all wet in Saco, a small coastal town with easy access to the beach. Enjoy the last weekend of summer at Funtown Splashtown USA. This charming waterpark has slides and wave pools along with a kiddie area for the little ones. Ferry Beach State Park offers white sand beaches and nature trails to explore when you need to stretch your legs. Book a day out on the water with HatTrick Fishing Charters to catch your own dinner.

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