80 great fun things to do in Maine, indoors and outdoors attractions
Looking for great things to do in Maine? Look below for our suggestions for scenic drives, antique shopping, cruises, children's museums, horse racing, history trails, woods walks, and more great things to do on your vacation adventure. Please call ahead before visiting an attraction listed here to check on current dates and times of operation and other important information.
92 Bourne Lane
Ogunquit, ME, 03907
Make your Maine trip special with dinner at Jonathan's Ogunquit
Make your next trip to Maine's seacoast special with lunch or dinner at Jonathan's Ogunquit. Our menu offers both innovative dishes and long-time local specialties. Love seafood? We have boiled Maine lobster with drawn butter, seafood stuffed haddock, or seafood chowder with fresh scallops, shrimp, and lobster. Looking for something else? How about wild mushroom pappardelle, eggplant napoleon, or a hand-cut Black Angus steak? We strive to serve sustainable, local foods whenever reasonably possible. Check our website for the schedule, and plan for a show in our Listening Room. We've brought top regional and national acts to the area, including comedy great Paula Poundstone, jazz legends Tuck & Patti, and folk favorites Jonathan Edwards and Aztec Two-Step.
Saco, ME, 04072
Lots of fun for all the family, from rides to waterslides
Thrills galore are in store at Funtown Splashtown USA, the largest water and amusement park in Northern New England. Getting soaked has never been more fun for a kid than swooshing down the Amphitrite Challenge or Poseidon Plunge, while families can clamber about in the giant Splash Tube Slide or play together in the Pirates Paradise Aquaplay section. It’s an amusement park as well, with thrills as exciting as the Excalibur roller coaster or the 220-foot free-fall from way up on the Dragon’s Descent tower. Of course, things are safe for the little ones, whether strapped into their seats on the Frog Hopper. Fun for everyone is the name of the game here.
67 Atlantic Highway
Lincolnville, ME, 04849
Great thing happen at this mid coast paradise
Mid-coast Maine is chock full of great things to do. Here’s a great place to settle in for a quick escape, a vacation getaway or longer stay. This 387 natural paradise overlooking Penobscot Bay with hiking trails, a private beach and state of art recreational facilities has everything you need to have fun stay fit and relax in comfort and style. Fully furnished one, two and three bedroom cabins, cottages and vacation rentals offer every amenity from screened in porches, 1-2 baths, kitchenettes and kitchens to wireless internet access. Throughout the year you can enjoy tennis, biking, kayaking, skiing, snowshoeing & ice skating, plus indoor sports and video games at our arcade. Or feel free to browse, shop, dine and take in all the attractions in nearby Camden and Belfast.
Kittery, ME, 03904
An Outdoor Tradition Since 1938
A Maine destination from points north and south, Kittery Trading Post is a specialty store like no other! It’s a well-kept local secret that you'll find brands like The North Face, Patagonia, Woolrich, Carhartt, Kuhl, Marmot, Merrell, Keen, Shimano, Old Town & Browning among the store's extensive offerings of casual/sport-specific apparel, footwear & outdoor gear. We invite you to browse three levels of the latest innovations in camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, water & winter sports gear in addition to treasured old-time favorites such as beaded moccasins, Maine-made souvenirs and coonskin caps for the kids. Kittery Trading Post is open daily 9-9, Sunday 10-6, Exit 3 off I-95.
306 US Route 1
Kittery, ME, 03904
Where Shopping is really a Big Deal
One of New England’s largest shopping areas, with over 120 famous name outlet stores including Coach, J.Crew, PUMA, Under Armour, and Calvin Klein to name just a few, and of course Kittery Trading Post. Open every day of the year except Christmas. For a free brochure, please email us or visit our website for up to date coupons and sale events.
611 York Street
York Harbor, ME, 03911
Lots to see and do with this inn as your launchpad
Although you may never want to leave the cozy, elegant 1880s Inn at Tanglewood Hall, there is plenty to do once you leave your four-poster bed or your rocking chair on the wraparound veranda. Walk along the York Harbor Cliff Walk, watch lobster boats and sloops come in and out of the harbor. Catch a sunset over Nubble Lighthouse. Stroll along the streets of York Harbor village to York Harbor Beach. Or, enjoy the surf at Long Sands or Short Sands beaches. Need more ideas? Go whale watching, kayaking, hiking or biking. Or head farther afield (but not too far) to the Kittery Outlets; dine in foodie-centric Portsmouth, N.H.; visit Stonewall Kitchen; check out the lovely Maine coast towns of Ogunquit and Kennebunkport.
Sailing from Ports in Rockland, Rockport and
Camden, ME, 04843
Windjammer cruises feature fun at sea for all ages, interests
The private owners and operators of the Maine Windjammer Association’s historic schooners want to provide cruise guests with a full slate of things to do, whether that means helping the crew ready the sails or sitting out on deck with a good book. So you can leap off the deck to go for a bay swim, help the cook with that night’s gourmet appetizers, row a small boat into a fishing village to explore, hike during a visit to Acadia National Park – or just sit by the wood stove and play backgammon with the kids or listen to stories told by lantern-light in the evening. Special cruises for photography buffs, lighthouse enthusiasts, yoga fans, kayakers, wine-lovers – and grandparents and grandkids! – are available.
Mount Agamenticus Offers Wonderful Walks
Mount Agamenticus Conservation Region
on Agamenticus Road in York
contains 10,000 acres of land and is one of the largest expanses of undeveloped forests in coastal New England. The region is known for its vernal pools, rich biodiversity, and unique trail system. The mountain is an ideal location for picnicking, hiking, biking, bird watching, horseback riding, sightseeing, and ATV riding. There is an intermediate trail from the summit, following Witch Hazel to Ring Trail to Horse Trail and another trail from Mountain Road to Ring Trail. Phone: 207-361-1102.
Mount Apatite Park
is a free collecting site where children can search through rock piles scattered through the woods; Lord Hill Quarry within the White Mountain National Forest in Stoneham, another popular collecting site where visitors might find topaz, quartz and aquamarine crystals. Mount Apatite Park is owned and administered by the City of Auburn. It is open to the public, and no special permission to visit is required. The park does not fall short on things to do, offering areas to explore, walking trails and numerous rock formations. Further information, including a detailed map of the park and its trail system, is available from the Auburn Parks & Recreation Department Phone: 207-784-0191.
A Walk Past the Rocks
Marginal Way, just outside of Ogunquit, is a paved public footpath that meanders for a mile along the coastline, dazzling walkers with sweeping views of the Atlantic. Recently, visitors have added to Nature’s artistry with a bit of their own, by building cairns -- small rockpiles -- as tiny enhancements to the landscape all along the Route. The group of people who care for the path have asked visitors to knock it off, fearing disruption of the shoreline and erosion. So take a camera and enjoy what you see there now. The Marginal Way is an easy walk from the center of Ogunquit or you can park at Jackie’s Too Restaurant or at Anchorage by the Sea, at each end of the trail.
Frankly, It's a Winner
Named by Yankee Magazine as the place to find New England’s most worth-the-wait franks, Flo’s Hot Dogs
at 1359 Route 1 in Cape Neddick
is renowned for its family atmosphere and famous relish. Although the exact recipe is secret, you can expect to taste onions, shallots, molasses, relish, vinegar, onion powder, Worcester sauce, ketchup and spices. This family-run store was founded by Nana Flo and kept by her until she passed away in 200 at 92 years old. Her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter have taken over and made sure to keep the business thriving and customers coming from far and wide. 800-255-8401
Maine Diner Is a TV Star, Too
at 2265 Post Road in Wells
started off as a second edition to a Boston original, with the addition of a flourishing garden kept by the owner himself. With an extensive menu featuring fresh seafood from Maine’s coast and homemade items like chili, onion rings, and clam chowder, you will require a full course meal to satisfy your taste desires. Since its humble beginnings, this small abode has been featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” the “Today Show,” and has won countless New England food awards. The diner is open year round and guarantees home-cooked food and a clean and friendly atmosphere. 207-646-4441
Dine in the Company of Penobscot Bay
If you’re looking for dinner with a view, look no further. The fine cuisine of Ocean’s Edge at Fireside Inn
at 159 Searsport Avenue in Belfast
is accompanied by a stunning view of Penobscot Bay. Come for the sights, stay for the excellent food. Guests rave about the decadent stuffed haddock and the delicious dessert selections, and the bacon wrapped scallops are an appetizer favorite. Patrons are never disappointed with the outstanding service from the staff. Outdoor seating is available in the warmer months with a cozy fireplace lit for cool summer nights. 207-338-2090
Cozy Cabins Welcome You After a Day Outdoors
If you want to get outdoors and also want a nearby, warm, and cozy retreat, get in touch with Cochran Camps
on Cochran Lake in New Limerick
, 10 miles east of Houlton
. A rental cabin on the lake sleeps six people. Cochran is a quiet, secluded, lake with easy access to bird watching, hiking, swimming, canoeing, golfing, skiing, mountain climbing, biking, snowmobiling, ATV riding, hunting, fishing and other great outdoor activities. For evenings, it is just a short drive to a movie theater or shopping in Houlton. Cabins operate year-round. Phone: 207-532-7336
Iron, Slate, and High Drama
Katahdin Iron Works State Historic Site
is a mixed bag of industrial history and scenic beauty. On part of the property, the skeletons of a blast furnace and charcoal kiln stand silent as Stonehenge, lone remnants of the Katahdin Iron Works, Maine’s only 19th-century iron maker. Also at this site is Gulf Hagas, a stunning gorge more than three miles long carved through slate bedrock. The site is near two state parks: Peaks-Kenny State Park, on the shore of Sebec Lake, and Lily Bay State Park, on the east shore of Moosehead Lake.
Heroes in Brick and Stone: Maine Lighthouses
The Maine Lighthouse Museum
at 1 Park Drive in Rockland
is a first-rate place to indulge your love with and fascination for lighthouses. If you are a shopper, and want to acquire lighthouse gifts and memorabilia (models and miniatures, replicas, clothing, gifts, art, toys, posters) this is your gold mine. The museum, which also includes the collection of the former Museum of Lighthouse History of Wells, has the largest collection of Fresnel lighthouse lenses and the most important landmark collection of lighthouse artifacts and Coast Guard memorabilia in the United States. Open year-round but hours vary by season. Call ahead for hours Phone: 207-594-3301.
Hop On. Eat Well. Drink Local.
Yes, we love the brilliant “Hop On” slogan. And it’s so true! Best Brew Tours
welcomes you to hop on to its flagship bus, BEER-1, from locations in York
, and Ogunquit
for a safe and carefree tasting tour of the establishments making and serving the best beer, spirits, and cider in southern Maine. Visit award winning establishments from Portsmouth to Portland. Tours include transportation, beer tasting, behind-the-scenes tours, tour guide and much more. Private tours available, too! 877-BREWSKI
Bring Your Best Game Here
Revive some old-fashioned entertainment that doesn’t rely on a power source, and has the benefit of bringing people together. Next time you are looking for indoor entertainment -- for people of any age – in South Portland
, Diversions Puzzles & Games
at 415 Philbrook Avenue. The store stocks new and classic games and high-quality puzzles for every age and interest. And,
it has lots and lots of open game days and nights, like family game times on Sundays, weekly board games on Thursdays, and more. Learn games like Wits & Wagers, Dixit or Qwirkle. Try Rush Hour or Scrambled States of America. Or stick with the classics, like chess, backgammon, checkers and cribbage. Staff members can teach you how to play one of our many demo games. Open daily. 207-773-0300
Children’s Fun and Learning Zone
With seven interactive exhibit areas on three floors, Maine Discovery Museum
at 74 Main Street in downtown Bangor
is the largest children's museum north of Boston. Seven permanent exhibits invite children to explore nature, geography, children's literature, music, art, science and anatomy. Among the exhibits are: Nature Trails, to explore Maine's ecosystem along a 20-foot waterway; TradeWinds, a new exhibit about Maine's global connections to Brazil, Japan, and Italy; Booktown, a village where every doorway leads into the pages of a Maine children's literary classic; Sounds Abound, exploring the world of music in a sound studio; Artscape; Mission: Discovery; and Body Journey. Open year-round; closed on Mondays. Phone: 207-262-7200.
Have Fun With Your Food
Night time campfires with marshmallows and chocolate are too few and far between. We want more s’mores! One solution has arrived in Portland
: the Marshamallow Cart
, a food truck operated by two guys who vowed to bring s’mores to the streets. The cart serves basic and enhanced (raspberry, coconut, toasted almond) s’mores, Belgian waffles, cereals and trail mix. Usually, the cart resides at Post Office Park in the Old Port neighborhood on weekdays and at the Hyatt Palace on Fore Street on weekends. But this is a mobile pleasure dispenser; you can find today’s location by
Craft Distilleries of Maine
At seven small-batch, craft distilleries across Maine devoted experts are creating handmade vodka, gin, apple brandy, whiskey and blueberry moonshine are produced right here in Maine. Travel, taste, and savor these unique flavors:
Cold River Distillery
makes vodka, blueberry vodka, and gin from Maine. It is the only “ground-to-glass” distillery in the nation, with complete control over the production process. Tree Spirits
concocts wine and spirits from Maine maple syrup and apples.
on the Schoodic Peninsula, is now creating Fine Apple Brandy, a crystal-clear Pear Eau-de-Vie, and their new Rusticator Rum.
Click to learn more about Maine Craft Distilling
, Northern Maine Distilling Co.
, New England Distilling
, and Sweetgrass Farm Winery and Distillery
. Call ahead of check websites for visiting times.
Dreamy Days on Arrowsic and Georgetown
Catch Route 127 off Route 1 just east of Bath for a delightful day excursion to the islands of Arrowsic and Georgetown. Arrowsic Island is tucked between the Sasanoa, Back, and Kennebec rivers; four lighthouses guard this jagged land mass along the toothy Midcoast coastline. The pretty island of Georgetown, just a bit further down Route 127, is a place to walk and watch wildlife in the Josephine Newman Wildlife Sanctuary
or to jump into the waves at Reid State Park
. The park includes Griffith Head, a rocky headland, where visitor can gaze out over Seguin Island, The Cuckolds, and Hendricks Head and their lighthouses. Pack a lunch or dinner for a day of unspoiled Maine outdoor beauty.
Comfort & Adventure By Maine Huts & Trails
Maine Huts & Trails
, headquartered at 496 Main Street in Kingfield
, offers back country hut-to-hut adventures coupled with comfortable accommodations. All huts at Maine Huts & Trails offer shelter, meals, and activities like hiking, mountain biking, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, skiing, and snowshoeing. Each hut features shuttles to take gear from hut to hut. Maine Huts & Trails opened Stratton Brook Hut, its newest, in December 2012. Stratton Brook is the fourth of 12 planned back country huts and eco-lodges in Maine’s Western Mountains. This planned 180-mile connected hut-to-hut trail will be the longest groomed ski trail in America. Phone: 877-634-8824.
Nibble a Little; Shop a Little
Your itch to find beautiful and unusual antiques can get a good workout at Antique Marketplace & Café
at 65 Main Street in Bangor
, partly because the market’s onsite café can keep you fueled as long as the treasure hunt goes on. From expert collector to casual browser, there is something fun here for everyone, in the categories of furniture, memorabilia, sports gear, rare coins and jewelry, dolls and toys, vintage advertising, kitchen gadgets and more. A new addition is hand-made stoneware for Monroe Salt Works. Phone: 207-941-2111.
Run Along the River
Get out and put those legs to use! The 6.5-mile Kennebec River Rail Trail
is one of Maine’s great outdoor attractions. The trail welcomes locals and visitors alike for walking, running, cycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, and dog walking. The trail parallels the existing rail bed along the Kennebec River, and stretches from Augusta Maine's Waterfront Park, through the towns of Hallowell and Farmingdale, to its conclusion in the city of Gardiner. Bring the entire family and explore the wonderful activities that Maine has to offer along the Kennebec River Rail Trail.
Compliments In Your Future
, at Dock Square and Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport
, is located in a beautiful region that inspires artists of all persuasions. The store sells home decorating pieces, furniture, blow glass, jewelry, and lighting that are original, unique, often hand-made, and destined to become family heirloom pieces. A wonderful place to secure a memento from your Maine seacoast vacation. Open daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Phone: 207-967-2269.
Play for Kids; Pleasure for Parents
Children’s Discovery Museum
at 171 Capitol Street in Augusta
provides hours upon hours of interesting play time for young kids. Exhibits are set up for great, unstructured games of pretend. There’s a grocery store, a bank, a real working theater with costumes and equipment for puppet shows, a tree house and nature areas, a music-making room, and a construction zone. At the Ocean Touch Tank, kids can starfish, watch the crabs eat or try to find the lobster or just watch them in their environment. Parents can relax or join in and play. Phone: 207-622-2209
Walk Into the Minds of Arctic Explorers
The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum
at Hubbard Hall at Bowdoin College, 9500 College Station in Brunswick
is built around historic objects donated by Donald B. MacMillan during his long career as an Arctic explorer. The museum offers insights and artifacts from the expedition of daring men into the forbidding terrain of the Arctic. Exhibits include Robert E. Peary and His Northern World, Through the Lens: Arctic Biodiversity, and art works of native Inuit people. Guests who come for tours can try on Inuit snow goggles, try a bow-drill, feel various furs, and hold a walrus tusk! Tours can be customized to focus on Arctic exploration, the environment, or Native peoples. Open daily except Mondays. Phone: 207-725-3416.
Love Vintage? Scratch That Itch
The Portland Flea-for-All
at 585 Congress Street in the Bayside neighborhood of Portland
is a marketplace offering vintage, antique and artisan goods ranging from classic jewelry to old records and much more in between. Whether or not you have a special item in mind, chances are you’ll find something at the Flea. The Flea has reaped lots of admiring chatter in collection and decorating circles for its broad scope and welcoming attitude. Got something to sell? Drop in! Open Fridays through Sundays. 207-370-7570.
Maine’s BEST Berry Pies
DownEast magazine has done us all a service by listing some of the best places to buy expertly make berry pies (blueberry, of course, and many others. The love of pie is so strong we will leap immediately into the list with tiny descriptions: Abbot Village Bakery
(sourtop blueberries from a local farm); Dysart’s Diner
(available at 3 a.m.); Helen’s Restaurant
(big heaps of whipped cream); Hello, Good Pie Co.
(savory chicken, steak, and potato-leek pot pies); Lincoln’s Country Store
(Jessie’s pies named for the lady who sold her recipe to the store; Sadie’s Bakery
(this place also famous for its donuts); Puzzle Mountain Bakery
(pay by the honor system at a roadside stand); Tandem Coffee + Bakery
(perfect combo of sweet and tart blueberries).
Antique Store Could Double as a Museum
You are more than welcome to make a purchase at Indian Trail Antiques
at 23 Indian Trail Road in Newcastle
and you probably will, but some people will get deep inside any of its four buildings and feel the pleasure of simply browsing through a museum of interesting Americana. The owner has been picking up small treasures from flea markets since he was young, and his interest in the artifacts of Maine life over generations makes this place feel like the attic of an interesting, multi-generational Maine family. See furniture, toys, automobile paraphernalia, and much, much more, including a Maine black bear, immortalized by taxidermy. You will be entranced. 207-586-5000.
Biking and Walking Activities in Presque Isle
In Aroostook County, the Presque Isle Bike and Walking Path
in the city of Presque Isle
follows a former rail bed for 4.5 miles through the city and through the grounds of the University of Maine, offering beautiful views of Presque Isle Stream. The path offers easy access to a picnic area, river, playground, playfields, schools, and tennis courts. Access is at Riverside Park on Riverside Drive. Take a lunch or pack your tennis racket and make a day of it. Phone: 207-764-2545
Explore the Island, Then Explore the Park
There is much beauty to see at Acadia Nation Park. A good way to start is to get an overview of the whole landscape by jumping aboard the Island Explorer
bus. This is not a tour – it is public transportation for the park and neighboring villages that runs from late May to Columbus Day. Take a bit of time to ride the bus with others going about their daily lives or on vacation. You’ll get a glimpse of what you may want to see more deeply, and know exactly how to get back there later. "A wonderful service. Best way to get around. Fun to ride," said a visitor from Texas. 207-667-5796
Carson Name Still Defends the Earth
The author whose seminal work, “Silent Spring,” launched the American environmental movement is the namesake for the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
, consisting of a patchwork of properties along 50 miles of coastline from Kittery
to Cape Elizabeth
, with a headquarters on Route 9 in Wells
. The refuge serves as protected region of valuable salt marshes and estuaries for migratory birds. Visitors are welcome to hike on the developed trails of the Refuge. is permitted in several rivers and creeks in the Refuge. Phone: 207-646-9226.
Comedy, Music, Gravity Defiance: 15-Year-Old Johnson Hall's Got It
Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center
presents a wide range of artist programs -- live music series, children’s events, outdoor performances in the park and more -- in the historic Johnson Hall Performing Arts building (1864) at 280 Water Street in downtown Gardiner
. The Hall – Maine’s oldest opera hall -- celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016, a sign that it knows and serves its audience. Coming in 2016 are shows of comedy, improve, blues, jazz, folk, rock ‘n’ roll, and the intriguingly named Avner the Eccentric…Exceptions to Gravity act. Phone: 207-582-7144.
Everyone Loves the Nubble Lighthouse
Even visitors with only the vaguest notion of Maine’s lighthouse history and culture can probably identify the Cape Neddick -- or the Nubble
-- Light on a spit of land just north of the curving York Beach in York
. Friends of the Nubble Light occasionally conduct tours of the lighthouse, but for the most part people must view it from Sohier Park in York Beach. The Lighting of the Nubble for the Christmas season happens the first Saturday after Thanksgiving every year. It is a beloved tradition.
Bar Harbor Offers Vacation Fun for Kids, Parents, Grandparents
has enough fun and enchantment for every generation of your family. Start with walking and hiking: Bar Harbor Shore Path is an easy, one-mile walk with views of the harbor. Similarly, Jordan Pond Nature Trail in Acadia National Park is another easy loop through forests. Ocean Trail begins near Sand Beach, past Thunder Hole and all the way to Otter Cliff. Views are glorious. Want to rest your feet? Take a boat tour of Frenchmen’s Bay with Captain John on Lulu. Another choice is Diver Ed's Dive-In Theater aboard the Starfish Enterprise. Who’s hungry? Get the lowdown on dining by clicking here
Hug a Goat; Eat Some Cheese
Midcoast Maine – that magical region of farms and fields and views – has a number cheese makers tucked among the towns of Appleton, Waldoboro, Whitefield, Union,
and Owls Head.
. The Midcoast Maine Cheese Trail
(with some wineries and vineyards added) guides you from one cheese producer to the next. Taste the handmade cheeses; enjoy the farming spirit. Check with farms on your itinerary for open days and hours. Makers include Appleton Creamery, East Forty Farm, Fuzzy Udder Creamery, ME Water Buffalo Co., Copper Tail Farm, Sweetgrass Vineyard and Farm, Breakwater Vineyards and Farm, and Savage Oakes Vineyard and Winery.
The Key to Success
Maine Escape Games
in South Portland
offers four rooms of interactive entertainment where you and your group must solve puzzles and games in the room in order to get out. Discover clues, build teamwork, and have fun as you spend one hour or less playing detective. This Maine location has three rooms with different themes: “The Maine” room, where the lighthouse keeper has gone missing and you must learn to run the light; “The Estate” room, where the mansion has been robbed and you must find a piece of valuable artwork and the thieves; and the “Escape Your Fears” room, with the highest difficulty level, where a madman has locked your team in his basement. Recommended for adults; kids under 18 must have a waiver. Phone: 207-274-6007
Driving You to Drink in Portland
Some observers of American life declare that the existence of a lot of craft breweries is a sign of a city’s soulfulness and creativity. Or maybe it just means you can find a lot of places to whet your beer-tasting curiosity. In any case, the Maine Brew Bus
based at 111 Commercial Street in Portland
scheduled and private tours of breweries in Portland and southern Maine. The tours give you a behind-the-scenes look at Maine's craft breweries, distilleries, wineries, and more. Tours are led by knowledgeable guides and a non-drinking driver. All tours include a snack or meal and trivia games. Sign up for alluring experiences like: Casco Fiasco, Beast of the yEast, Southern Crawl, Suds and Spirits or Beerunch! 207-200-9111.
Botanical Garden of Many Surprises -- Open All Year!
People who love botanical gardens: we challenge you to a rival anywhere
to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
in Boothbay Harbor
for its beauty, variety, and many cunning surprises. Open year round (!!), the gardens are awash with exceptional natural beauty, waterfalls, and incomparable stonework and sculpture. Miles of trails pass through woodlands and down to the waterfront. The Lerner Garden of the Five Senses features plants that appeal to the senses of taste, touch and smell as well as sight. A special children’s garden features themes derived from beloved children’s literature by Maine authors. Open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., year-round. Phone: 207-633-4333.
Meet a Wolf! Meet a Bear!!
is a home for wild animals. A basic visit involves a tour of about one hour with a knowledgeable guide. The preserve also offer special opportunities for personal animal encounters, private behind the scenes tours, group visits, photography, camping and more. You may be about to meet a wolf during daily socializing or exercising routines. (Reservations required.) Or, come and meet a black bear and make his or her day by bringing a favorite treat. 207-667-3244
Fine and Tasty Gifts At 136
Gifts at 136
, on Main Street in Damariscotta
has been described very aptly as a gift store with a gallery feeling. This is reasonable, since the store’s many beautiful offerings, including divine chocolates, are the work of 50 Maine artists and craftsmen. Prices range from $4 to $4,000. Step inside during your stroll in this small, beautiful crossroads of a town and find furniture and folk art, glassware and jewelry, pottery and paintings and garden statuary. The store has received readers’ choice awards from Down East Magazine in the past two years. Phone: 207-563-1011
Bird Watching Is Glorious in Maine
Bird watching is plentiful in Maine’s primitive forests, quiet offshore islands, and many wetlands. You can begin planning your bird watching with the excellent Maine Birding Trail website
. Bird watching is abundant in all seasons in Maine. In winter, seabirds can be spotted along rocky capes and protected bays. Since Maine is right under the Atlantic flyway, spring and fall bring opportunities to see birds migrating to and from their seasonal homes. In the summer, the choice of birds to see is much broader. Try visiting the state’s inland lakes and rivers to see the majestic common loon. Maine also is a prime location in the continental United States to see Atlantic puffins (pictured at right) near the coast. One particular location for Maine bird watching is at the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center
Center in Scarborough, in Maine’s South Coast region.
Trek From a Cozy Base Lodge in Northern Maine
Four Seasons Lodge and Trails
at 425 Spring Street in Madawaska
is the home plate for people who love year-round outdoor recreation in the stunning heights of Maine. Guests can enjoy cross country skiing, mountain biking, snowshoeing and nature hikes. There’s a modern lodge, 8 km of Nordic ski trails, a Kid’s Terrain Park, a sliding hill with a ski-through tunnel. Snowshoe trails weave among the ski system. Ski and snowshoe rentals are available. All trails start from the lodge.
From Wines to Watches, All the Prices Are Fine
Stop, shop, and save before visiting Canada. At Duty Free Americas
at 4 Airport Road at I-95 in Houlton
, you can buy gifts for yourself and friends wide selection of fragrances, watches, gifts, jewelry and travel-related merchandise from the highest quality brand names, as well as items that typically incur significant duties and taxes, such as liquor and tobacco.
Sound of Wind Bells Is Condensed from the Sea
The story of North Country Wind Bells
, home-based in the town of Round Pond
, begins when the owner, Jim Davidson, worked years ago as a lobsterman. Part of the aural fabric of his days on the water was the sound of pounding surf and bell buoys. He began recording the sounds, and, later, started crafting pieces of steel to match the tones. Among the company’s collection also is the The Island Pasture Bell, is based on the tones of sheep and cattle bells common on several Maine islands. The company’s shop, at 544 State Route 32, is open weekdays, and by appointment on weekends. Take home a piece of the true sound of Maine. 207-677-2224.
Dinosaurs Rumble at Portland Science Center
Location on the Maine Wharf at 68 Commercial Street in Portland
, with 15,000 square feet of exhibition space, the Portland Science Center
is a place of wonder and discovery in the natural world for kids and adults. In winter 2016-17, visitors can gets their pants scared off of them at the exhibit Dinosaurs Unearthed, with more than a dozen animatronic dinosaurs that roar and rumble. The exhibition features full-sized skeletons, fossils, an excavation site, and activities to unleash every visitor’s inner paleontologist. It's like shark week, but bigger. 207-812-3850
What’s a Plutopalooza? Funny you should ask. That’s the name of just one of the kid-oriented programs held at the Emera Astronomy Center
at the University of Maine, 167 Rangeley Road in Orono
. Programs, which run year-round, are fun and educational (don’t mention that to the young ones). Shows are held Fridays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 11 a.m. Sky watchers of all ages can come explore the universe in Maine’s most advanced planetarium. Besides Plutopalooza, other upcoming shows are “Astronaut” and “Magic Tree House: Space Mission.” Shows are rated by age of the child guest. Phone: 207-581-1341.
Saturn Is Our Favorite
Ok, it’s not big compared to the solar system, but it is
big for a model of the solar system. The three-dimensional Maine Solar System Model
stretches for 40 miles along U.S. Route 1 from Houlton
to the University of Maine at Presque Isle
. The model includes the Sun and nine planets, and all but Pluto are visible from Route 1. Keep kids busy in the car the old-fashioned way: Make them compete to find and name our space neighbors. Btw, the scale is 1 to 93,000,000.
Boating to Dreamy Monhegan Island
sits on the tip of a St. George peninsula, jutting into Muscongus Bay, and it is the home of the Monhegan Boat Line
, making daily trips to enchanting, natural (and vehicle-free) Monhegan Island. The boat steams out of Port Clyde harbor, past Marshall Point lighthouse, porpoises, seabirds, and lobstermen at work and Seal Rock. The company also offers puffin and nature cruises
, a lighthouse cruise
, and sunset cruises
. Boats operate year-round, but schedules are seasonal. 207-372-8848.
Naturalist’s Notebook Takes Us Back
Who could possibly improve on this shop’s description of itself: “An Exploratorium and interactive shop for everyone who’s even a little curious about the last 13.8 billion years (give or take).” The Naturalist’s Notebook
at 115 Main Street in Northeast Harbor
is a melding of science, art, and nature learning and activities zone (not to mention its fantastic
gift shop). The Notebook offers 13.8-billion-year art workshops, book signings, talks and other special events. Fun for science lovers and all the rest of us, too. Phone: 207-276-4120.
Discover the Secrets of an Estuary
The Wells Reserve at Laudholm
at 342 Laudholm Farm Road in Wells
is a National Estuarine Research Reserve. Vistors can walk seven miles of easy-to-moderate trails to experience the beauty of south coastal Maine. Trails are available year round for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. You can walk the Salt Marsh Loop, the Forest Interpretive Trail, or Laudholm Beach to stand at the Little River mouth, or take a guided tour
with a trained naturalist. Some tour themes are Dragonflies and Butterflies of Southern Maine, Poisonous Plants, and Owls: Silent Hunters of the Night. You may kayak the quiet waters of the Reserve’s estuary while watching for wildlife. Discovery Program Trail Guides
are self-paced trail guides paired with activity backpacks that hold everything you need for a half-day of investigation. Especially fun for kids from 6 to 12 years old. Open daily from Memorial Day to Columbus Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Phone: 207-646-1555
Antiques of Maine Life in an Antique Building
Steam Mill Antiques
at 155 West Bethel Road (US Route 2) in Bethel
is a country antique shop located in a large, 1820 farmhouse and barn. Come and find a wide range of antiques, collectibles, books, pictures, signs, toys, and other stuff. Anything that you could find in an antique shop you may find here! Our stock is always changing so it's always worth the time to browse the shop. DownEast Magazine has declared that Steam Mill Antiques is one of the 5 reasons to love Bethel. An honor! Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends, year-round, and by chance or appointment on all other days and seasons. Send email to SteamMillAntiques@gmail.com to make an appointment or if you are traveling from a distance and want to check the hours of operation.
A Maine Gift, With Staying Power
Do you want a gift for yourself or a friend that hollers “Maine!”? A&E Stoneworks
, a member of the “Maine Made" quality assurance program, is a wife-and-husband team that makes cool housewares from ROCK: black Maine slate, freshwater pearl granite & Maine beach stones. Items include cutting boards, ornaments, clocks, some other kitchen wares. The artworks are real Maine stuff: tough, natural, understated, beautiful. Find A&E Stoneworks at The Rock and Art Shop in Bangor, Bar Harbor and Ellsworth; Maine Gathering in Camden; Monkitree in Gardiner; Minka in Kennebunkport; and Lisa Marie's Made in Maine in Bath and Portland.
An Extraordinary Experience for an Ordinary Day
has the cure for weary senses, starting with the feet. Not kidding. Soakology
at 511 Congress Street is a mixture of spa, teahouse, and bubble to relaxation. The foot sanctuary spa, where an astonishingly comforting foot rub is the central feature, is a communal environment frequented by people alone or with friends. Herbs, florals, and essential oils come together for a rejuvenating foot soak. Before of after, visit the teahouse to tea and light fare like salads, crostini, cheeses, fruit, smoothies, and chocolate, Tea and food can be served to you in the foot sanctuary spa. Come in frazzled or just in need of a bit of pampering; leave on a cloud of good feelings from top to toe. Open daily. 207-879-7625
If We Ain’t Got it, You Don’t Need It
Hussey’s General Store
at 510 Ridge Road in Windsor
claims “If We Ain’t Got it, You Don’t Need It.” With 30,000 square feet of retail space, this family-owned business has been selling essentials to Augusta-Kennebec communities since 1923. Essentials? By that, Hussey’s means groceries, clothing, new and used guns, fishing equipment, hardware, furniture, appliances, gifts, collectibles, wedding dresses, used books, tools, feed and grain, and so much more. This has to be one of the standards of the general store business, anywhere. You need anything? Come and challenge the Hussey’s tradition. Open daily. Phone: 207-445-2511.
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
In August 2016, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the national park system, President Obama created a new park, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
, in northern Maine, near Millinocket
. The park is in the shadow of Mount Katahdin, and it occupies a wild landscape with spectacular views the mountain. Back-country adventurers can explore the rivers, woods, plant and animal life, and dark night skies. This is a monument with limited services; services will be added in coming years. The park has no welcome center at present. Find visitor information at the park’s website or by phone: 207-456-6001.