Maine may be a quaint New England state, but it offers a plethora of activities throughout the year. Hit up one of the beach towns and sunbathe during the summer months, or drive through the back roads in the fall to see the leaves changing colors. You can stay at a Maine vacation rental with easy access to state parks where you can go cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. With so many small towns and bustling cities in Maine, choosing the best place for a weekend getaway can be a slight challenge. Use this guide of the eight best weekend getaway spots in Maine to find your perfect destination.
1. Old Orchard Beach
In the summer, pick a cottage vacation rental close to the beach. In July and August, the ocean warms up a little, making a day at the beach exciting and comfortable. In the evenings, take a walk on the Old Orchard Beach Pier, or visit Palace Playland to enjoy the rides and carnival food. Take a tour of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge during your stay, or rent kayaks from Fun and Sun Rentals to explore the waterways in the refuge. You can also rent bikes from Fun and Sun Rentals pedal around town. Seafood is the center of most of the dishes made at the local restaurants, and one of the best places to go for a bite in town is the Big Daddy’s Bar and Grill.
2. Bay of Fundy
Along the border of Canada and Maine sits the Bay of Fundy, where you can relax, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the great outdoors. This area is known for its tidal range, and depending on the time of year, the tide can go out up to 55 feet from the normal shoreline. Fresh Air Adventure offers half and full-day tours of the bay and surrounding area. If you’re traveling with younger kids, consider their tour that combines kayaking and walking. Board the Mariner Cruises Whale and Seabird Tours boat to see these massive mammals during migration.
Walk along the quaint cobblestone streets of the Old Port district in Portland, and check out the eclectic blends of shops, such as Bliss Boutiques and DiMillo’s Old Port Marina and Gift Shop. Or, pick up a sweet treat to eat back at your vacation rental from Old Port Candy Co., which offers bulk candies and freshly made fudge. The Portland Museum of Art has an extensive collection of 20th-Century American artwork from greats such as Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper. Learn more about the area’s transportation history at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. and Museum, and take a train ride. If you’re visiting during the holidays, enjoy the Polar Express train experience.
Fiction lovers might recognize this town as the home of horror writer Stephen King, but the city sits on the Penobscot River and has so much to offer. Children can enjoy an afternoon at the Maine Discovery Museum, with its hands-on exhibits and activities geared for young ones. Don’t forget to take your kids to see the Paul Bunyan statue before leaving. Acadia National Park offers miles of hiking trails for walking and biking during the warmer months and cross-country skiing in the winter. At this park, you might catch sight of moose, bears, deer, and many birds species. Grab a bite to eat in downtown at the Antique Market Place and Cafe, or sit down for a family meal at the Fork and Spoon.
Choose Augusta if you want to visit the beautiful capital of the state and learn all about its history. The Blaine House is the governor’s home and offers guided tours so you can see the grandeur of this mansion. Take small kids and those of school age to the Children’s Discovery Museum, featuring multiple hands-on exhibits. This museum also offers a variety of special events, so check the calendar before deciding which day to visit. Let the state’s history and cultural experiences unfold before you at the Maine State Museum. Visit New England’s oldest wood fort at Fort Western that dates back to 1754, and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the grounds.
Enjoy life in a small New England town with a weekend away in Bath. This town is a bustling hub of ship-building activity and takes pride in this fact. The Maine Maritime Museum offers a look into that history and provides demonstrations of shipbuilding and the art of catching lobster. Grab your binoculars and put on a pair of sturdy walking shoes for a day of bird watching at the Hamilton Audubon Sanctuary. Front Street is a great place to stretch your legs and get in a little retail therapy at such shops as Lisa Marie’s Made In Maine and Bohemian Rose.
7. Bar Harbor
Located on the Northern Tier Bicycle Route, Bar Harbor is a great weekend spot for people who love the outdoors. It sits within easy driving distance of Acadia National Park. Acadia Photo Safari takes your group out on the water to see all the best spots for photographing the natural beauty of the area, while the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company takes visitors out onto the water to see the yearly migration. In Bar Harbor, you find lobster in almost every eatery. The Travelin Lobster offers a low-key, no fuss experience and some of the best lobster rolls you’ll ever try. If you want a sit-down dinner, visit The Looking Glass Restaurant.
Combine your love for the beach with your love of golf when you select a vacation rental in York. Nestled along the Bay of Maine, York has three 18-hole golf courses: The Ledges Golf Club, York Golf and Tennis Club, and Old Marsh Country Club. The Museums of Old York offer you a glimpse into the town’s history, and the Old York Gaol is one of the oldest prison buildings still standing in the country.
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