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Acadia & Maine mountains & oceanfront reveal colorful, fall foliage drives in 2021


All parts of Maine, especially the Western Lakes and Mountains, present a colorful fall foliage showcase. In the Western Lakes region, Sunday River ski area in Newry and Sugarloaf ski area in Carrabassett Valley offer foliage viewing from above on gondolas and luxury chair lifts. The Songo River Queen offers scenic foliage cruises on Long Lake. Foliage will be great at the fabulous Acadia National Park; the nearby town of Bar Harbor is fun to explore. Another way to see Maine foliage is from a windjammer sailing ship cruise.

Fall Foliage in Maine

Getting Ready

Click here for useful information about when to visit, how to find color, and what to wear and pack.

More Resources:

Where to Drive:

Find directions and tips for great views and attractions for at the drive tours described below.

Acadia/Bar Harbor/Down East region


Bold Coast National Scenic Byway – 125 Miles

This adventurous byway travels past wild blueberry patches, marshes and bays, fishing towns and waterways, moving along Maine’s dramatic coast, north and east of Bar Harbor. Crashing waves, lobster in the rough, and views of lighthouses and fishing boats are among the picturesque fare from the byway’s start at the town of Milbridge to the choice of two end points: Lubec or Eastport, both in shouting distance of Canada’s Campobello Island.

Bold Coast National Scenic Byway - Maine Foliage Drives

Points of Interest:

  • West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec – The first place where the dawn’s early light touches down on the United States is here, in Lubec, and it is greeted daily by the candy-striped lighthouse. The lighthouse and a Visitors Center in the lighthouse keeper’s house are open to the public Memorial Day through Labor Day. The center has neat exhibits on lighthouses and local marine life.
  • Gardens and Labyrinths of University of Maine at Machias, 116 Obrien Avenue, Machias. This is a rare treat: a visit to two sophisticated labyrinths, one based on a 2,000-year-old design from Greece and a flower labyrinth based on the 800-year-old labyrinth at Chartres, France.
  • Old Sow tidal whirlpool in Eastport -- Off the southwestern shore of Deer Island, New Brunswick, and off the northeast shore of Moose Island, Eastport. The largest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere and one of five significant tidal whirlpools in the world. Map.
  • Roosevelt Campobello International Park – Campobello, New Brunswick, Canada. Historic cottage, summer home of 32nd President, flower gardens, nature area. Accessible from Lubec via the Roosevelt International Bridge. (Please have correct travel documentation to enter Canada and return).

Castine and Penobscot Bay Loop --- 79 miles

This beautiful drive skims the coastline and passes through a number of small fishing towns. Almost every town, particularly Castine, Brooklin, Blue Hill, and Ellsworth, is worth a stop to stroll the streets and enjoy local architecture, arts, and restaurants.

Castine and Penobscot Bay Loop - Maine Foliage Drives

Points of Interest:

  • Maine Maritime Academy and home of the Training Ship State of Maine, Castine. 800-227-8465
  • Dice (Dyce) Head Light, mouth of the Penobscot River, Castine.
  • Blue Hill Peninsula. Peninsula towns are Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Penobscot and Sedgwick. Blue Hill is the gateway to Deer Isle and Stonington, a landscape of blueberry barrens and the sea. Entertainments range from a day on the water to live music, gallery tours, and shopping.
  • EllsworthWoodlawn Museum, 207-667-8671. This is a historic house museum, with formal gardens, a park and walking trails.

Dining:

  • The Harbor House at 27 Water Street in Blue Hill small breakfast and lunch restaurant in the center of town get good marks for healthy sandwiches and panins, along with good soups and salads. Guests love the grilled cheese sandwiches and Reubens. Small outdoor seating area as well as indoor seating. Open daily except Mondays, 6 a.m.-2 p.m.

Acadia National Park Loop Road --- 27 miles

People have been drawn to the rugged beauty of coastal Maine throughout history. The 27-mile Park Loop Road is the best way to get an overview of Acadia National Park. The road takes you past highlights like Otter Cliffs, Thunder Hole, and Sand Beach. There are many pull-off areas to stop and enjoy the view. The loop road begins near the Hulls Cove Visitor Center on the north side of the island. See below for access points.
Much of the road is one way but there is a two-way section that begins near Wildwood Stables. A fee is required and may be paid at the Entrance Station located about one-half mile north of Sand Beach. Entrance passes may also be purchased at the Visitor Center, Blackwoods and Seawall Campgrounds, the Bar Harbor Village Green, and the Thompson Island Information Center.
- Access points in Bar Harbor: Eagle Lake Road, Route 233; South Main Street, Route 3; Entrance Station; Visitor Center
- Access point in Seal Harbor: Stanley Road

Acadia National Park Loop - Maine Foliage Drives

Points of Interest:

  • Whale-watch cruises from Bar Harbor.
  • Acadia National Park Tours, Bar Harbor. 207-288-0300
  • Oceanarium & Lobster Hatchery, Bar Harbor. 207-288-5005
  • Diver Ed's Dive-In Theater, Bar Harbor (open through Columbus Day) . 207-288-3483.
  • Northeast Harbor on Mount Desert Island is called the quiet side by contrast with bustling Bar Harbor. Enjoy the small boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. The harbor is two blocks off Main Street.
  • Seal Harbor is a secluded harbor with a 19th-century rural village, shoreline, and wildlife viewing opportunities. Two great places to explore here are Long Pond and Stanley Brook.
  • Thunder Hole is a chasm into which ocean waves crash with great booms and splashes. On the southwest corner of the Park Loop Road, about four miles south of Bar Harbor.

  • Brake for Farm Stand! Operated by College of the Atlantic, Beech Farm runs a farm stand at 171 Beech Hill Road Thursdays through Saturdays until October 15. The farm stand offers fresh produce and local goods. Cash and credit cards accepted.

Western Lakes/Mountains


Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway Loop --- 35 miles

Travelers will wind through the mountains and lakes of western Maine. Step back in time and treat yourself to spectacular scenery, outstanding recreational opportunities, abundant wildlife, local museums, and quaint New England villages. This drive follows Routes 17 and 4, wrapping around Rangeley Lake. It follows the ridgeline of the Appalachian Mountains before dropping into rolling hills and valleys. The Height of Land on Route 17 is the centerpiece of this scenic drive, offering breathtaking views of Mooselookmeguntic and Upper Richardson Lakes. Allow 2.5 hours to drive.

Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway - Maine Foliage Drives

Points of Interest:

  • At Height Of Land you can see hundreds of miles of lakes, mountains and forests. You can also see the White Mountain chain in neighboring New Hampshire. Height of Land is often considered to be the most spectacular overlook in northern New England.
  • The town of Oquossoc is surrounded by Mooselookmeguntic Lake. You can get to the lake from the city and rent boating and fishing supplies there.
  • The Maine Forestry Museum, Rangeley. 207-864-3939. This museum displays equipment, artifacts, photos, and historic tape recordings of people in the logging profession. Leaving Oquossoc, take Route 16 east for about 10 miles.

Western Maine Ski Mountain Route --- 152 miles

Begin your drive in Farmington, the entryway to Maine's ski country. This route will take you past some of the major ski resort areas, whose mountains should be aflame in fall colors.

Points of Interest:

Dining:

  • Backstrap Bar & Grill at 133-163 ME-16 in Stratton. Opened in mid-2018, this well-liked eatery serves new American food and lots of it, with great service. Owner is head chef. Enjoy steaks, fish and chips, specialty pizzas, good wine list and full bar. Serves lunch, dinner and drinks, Take-out. Hours, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; open daily except Wednesday and Thursday. 207-246-0102.
  • Orange Cat Café at 329 Main Street in Kingfield serves basic, hearty breakfast and lunches every day. Classic breakfast menu and lunch is filling sops, salads and sandwiches. There is a kids menu. Lots and lots of homemade pastries and cakes (this is a specialty of the café’s catering business). You will feel filled up and healthy when you check out. Open daily, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Southwestern Maine Loop -- 66 miles

This trip will take visitors through the southern corner of Maine, known for its historic sites and apple orchards.

Points of Interest:

  • Doles Orchard, 187 Doles Ridge Road, Limington. 207-793-4409. The farm has pick-your-own fruits from strawberries in spring through apples in the fall. There is a bakery, and you can buy gifts at the Doles Orchard Box Shop, a wood shop focusing on gift boxes and totes enhanced with laser-carved designs.
  • Cornish Trading Company in Cornish. This 19th-century Masonic building is filled with antiques: country and decorative furniture and accessories, garden and architectural elements; folk art, textiles, jewelry, furnishings for camp and cottage. Open April through November. 207-625-8387.
  • Limerick is a delightful small town of good dining and antique shopping. Greenwood Herbals is a healing and teaching center, natural apothecary, labyrinth and gardens. Come learn about plant medicine and harvesting from nature and to shop for medicinal teas, extracts, dry herbs, salves, and creams. 207-793-3553.

Dining:

  • Runway Restaurant at 13 Airport Drive in Limington. This small gem is located at the Limington Harmon Airport and it’s a very popular place. Early breakfast? You bet. Watch for a sign for "airport." The atmosphere is described as hipster but without pretension. Excellent breakfast with lots of gluten-free choices (along with homemade biscuits). Lunch is pizza with a perfect crust and hearty sandwiches. Open daily 5 a.m.-2 p.m.

Western Maine Fyeburg-Bethel Loop -- 120 miles

The town of Fryeburg is known for its huge fall country fair. It has 11 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places and 12 public parks. Visitors love to canoe or kayak on the Saco River or walk the short hike up Jockey Cap Trail to see views of dozens of distant peaks.

Western Maine Fryeburg Bethel Loop - Maine Foliage Drives

Points of Interest:

Dining:

The Oxford House Inn in Fryeburg offers a charming break for the stomach and the senses during your tour of the region, its gourmet restaurant, and a granite-walled pub offer sunset mountain views and exceptional food directed by the owner and chef, trained at the Culinary Institute of America.

Mid Coast Region


Coastal Route --- 141 miles

This trip passes along scenic shoreline, through quaint fishing villages, and to the top of Mount Battie and through the postcard-perfect village of Rockport and Camden.

Coastal Route - Maine Foliage Drives

Points of Interest:

Dining:

  • Claws, at 743 Main Street in Rockland is a traditional lobster shack – all waterside outdoor seating and no table service. Seafood is fresh, fresh, fresh. Lobster roll is served either cold with a touch of mayo or hot with butter. Beer and wine are on the menu. It is a short drive to Rockland's artsy downtown. Open daily, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. 207-596-5600.

Northern Maine Region


Belgrade Drive --- 120 miles

Beginning in Augusta, Maine's capital, this trip winds through the Winthrop Lakes region and the Belgrade Lakes region of the state, where outdoor and wild natural beauty is on display among many busy small towns.

Belgrade Drive Augusta - Maine Foliage Drives

Points of Interest:

  • Augusta. The state capital and gateway to the region, Augusta has an impressive State House (1829) with a 180-foot dome, designed by architect Charles Bullfinch. The Maine State Museum describes 12,000 years of Maine life through exhibits and 2,000 artifacts. A nice farmers market operated on Tuesdays, May through November.
  • Old Fort Western. This is a 1754 National Historic Landmark fort, store and house on the Kennebec River in Augusta. Interesting for anyone curious about the early settlements of Europeans and especially fun for kids. 207-626-2385.

Katahdin Loop-- 210 miles

This trip takes travelers north from Skowhegan up toward Jackman, and down past Moosehead Lake. On the way, you will pass Moosehead Lake, Moxie Falls and Mount Kineo. Particularly scenic segments of the trip are Route 201 between Solon and West Forks, and Route 6 and 15 between Jackman and Rockwood.

Katahdin Loop - Maine Foliage Drives

Points of Interest:

Brake for Farm Stand!. Stutzman’s Farm Stand and Bakery at 891 Douty Hill Road in Sangerville is just outside Dover-Foxcroft and a worthy stop for hungry travelers. Fresh produce from the farm, home backed breads and chicken pies, nice Friday lunch buffet, and Sunday morning brunch with live music.


The Northern Tour --- 214 miles

This scenic trip features long stretches of unpopulated territory between towns. The route begins north of Bangor and ventures into the region known for growing Maine potatoes.

Northern Maine Tour - Maine Foliage Drives

Points of Interest:

  • Bangor – Hollywood Slots at Bangor, 500 Main Street, 877-779-7771. Slot machines, silmulcast racing, dining, entertainment.
  • Houlton, Duty Free Americas, 4 Airport Road and 1-95, 207-532-6540. Discounted consumer goods of all kinds: liquor, watches, and more.
  • Map Link