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Visiting Maine in the summer should be on everyone’s bucket list. The state is one of my favorites and a hidden gem in the US. Everyone gravitates to the West, big cities, and beaches, but Maine is 100% worth the trip. Follow along as I show you how to have the best summer vacation in Maine.
I love Maine in the summer, and I’m constantly scheming how to get back there to explore new areas and visit my favorite spots. Maine is a fascinating state.
A Maine Summer
Maine offers a wide range of activities for every type of visitor. So whether you love the outdoors, dining, water activities, or shopping, there’s something for everyone.
You will want at least 3-4 days for planning purposes, but I recommend a week at minimum. Maine also has many trails and hotels that are pet-friendly.
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is one of four National Parks in Maine and the most popular. In addition, Acadia is one of the top 10 most visited parks in the US!
I suggest at least 2-3 days in Acadia. Cadillac Mountain is a must-see, as you’ll witness some of the most beautiful views of the park and Bar Harbor. Since covid, NPS requires reservations to drive to the top of the mountain if you want to avoid hiking.
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As for hiking, Acadia offers trails that vary in difficulty. For a lighter walk, take the 3.3-mile round trip path around Jordan Pond and then stop at Jordan Pond House for a strawberry popover and scenic views of Jordan Pond.
If you are interested in a more strenuous hike, there are Beehive and Precipice trails, but they are intense and provide gorgeous views.
Schedule a stop at Thunder Hole, and if you have time, hop on the Ocean View path for an easy but scenic walk along the coast. It is a gravel path, so that you could bring kids or a stroller.
Finally, carve out time to visit Bass Harbor Head Light Station- the iconic lighthouse in Acadia. While you are there, grab a lobster roll at our favorite place- Thurston’s Lobster Pound. There are plenty of excellent dining options in Acadia.
If visiting Maine during the summer, you must schedule a visit to Acadia. Trust me- you won’t regret it. It must be on your list of how to spend a fabulous summer in Maine.
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While you are visiting Acadia, spend some time exploring Bar Harbor, the cute town adjoined the National Park. There are numerous dining options, ice cream, shopping, and luxury hotels here. Check out my Bar Harbor restaurant recommendations.
In Bar Harbor, you can take in scenic views, schedule a whale-watching tour, or shop in the local stores. You can also schedule tours such as Ghost Tour, kayak, and bike rentals.
I recommend spending ½ day exploring the town or visiting at the end of each day in Acadia. Then, grab dinner and drinks here for an excellent way to unwind after Acadia’s adventures. Afterward, pick up some ice cream for a sweet treat!
For travelers who prefer luxurious accommodations, Bar Harbor has many beautiful options like the Bar Harbor Inn and Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina.
Mount Katahdin is part of one of the four National Parks in Maine. As the highest point in Maine, hiking in this park grants you beautiful views.
Adjacent to Baxter State Park, Mount Katahdin is perfect for the active traveler.
Besides hiking, you can camp, picnic, canoe, or kayak. If you have extra time, Baxter State Park is in Millinocket, Maine, where you’ll find numerous outdoor activities. You can also head south Bangor and check out their growing food scene.
Portland is one of the largest cities in Maine and has so much to offer. Traveling with kids? Visit the Children’s Museum or book a whale-watching tour. The Children’s Museum is a fantastic activity with interactive play, dress-up activities, and an outdoor play area.
Kennebunkport is one of my favorite towns in Maine. Charming and quaint, Kennebunkport offers a glimpse into small-town New England.
While in Kennebunkport, walk through the local stores and dine in one of their many excellent restaurants like Mabel’s and Boathouse. Rent bikes to explore or visit one of their beaches.
Book lodging in Kennebunkport as your base if you’d like to explore Southern Maine. Add this to your list of places to visit!
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Ogunquit is another quaint town in southern Maine. You could easily spend one day exploring both Ogunquit and Kennebunkport.
Marginal Way is a must-stop while visiting Ogunquit. Park your car in Perkins Cove, grab brunch or a meal at Lobster Shack, and hop on Marginal Way, a walking trail along the coast. If you enjoy shopping, poke your head into some of the local shops in Perkins Cove.
The trail borders the coastline offering magnificent scenic views. Walking this trail as a teenager made me fall in love with Maine.
In addition, beachgoers will enjoy the large flat beach Ogunquit offers. Downtown Ogunquit has excellent shopping and dining options and a trolley to help quickly move through town.
If planning a Maine summer trip, I would stop in Ogunquit.
If going north to Acadia from Portland, carve out ½ day to stop here. Or, if traveling with a significant other, spend a few days here for a romantic getaway.
Camden is an adorable town north of Portland, tucked away off I-95. Browse local shops, dine, and visit Camden’s harbor for an idyllic Maine experience.
Mount Battie is part of Camden Hills State Park just north of Camden.You can drive to the top or hike. Either Way, it is worth the stop as it grants beautiful views of Camden and the Harbor. Lastly, Camden Hills state park offers a public beach with easy access for little ones.
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Old Orchard Beach
Looking for some quiet time at the beach? Located just south of Portland, Old Orchard Beach is one of Maine’s most popular beach destinations.
Also, families may be interested in Palace Playland, the only amusement park on the beach in New England. It is reminiscent of older fairs and carnivals and would be a blast for kids.
Like Camden, If you are headed to Acadia from Portland, carve out ½ day to stop here. There’s Fort Knox and the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory to see.
For the history buff, pop into Fort Knox, a well-preserved military base. You can explore independently and take in the beautiful views of Penobscot Bay. It is also a great way to stretch your legs, let littles run around for a break from the car, and have a picnic lunch.
Then walk over to the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory. Penobscot Narrows is an astonishing bridge across the bay. The Observatory is the tallest public Observatory in the world. Once you are at the top, you’ll have 360 views of inland Maine and the coast. Gorgeous views!
I’d choose the Penobscot Observatory if you only have time for one activity. Add this to your list on how to spend a summer in Maine.
Whale watching in New England is a treat. Portland and Acadia provide the best offerings. If visiting Portland, Odyssey Whale Watch is a great choice. In Bar Harbor? Check out Bar Harbor Whale Watch & Co.
If you are staying in Southern Maine, consider driving to nearby Massachusetts for whale watching in Cape Ann– one of New England’s most active whale communities.
Besides Acadia and Mount Katahdin, there are numerous state parks to choose hiking trails from. In addition, you’ll find an excellent variety of difficulties and courses for kids.
Moose State Park, Gulf Hagas, Camden Hills State Park, and Bigelow Preserve are excellent options for hiking tourists.
Maine’s natural landscape is one of a kind. As you move further inland, there are abundant waterfalls and swimming pools.
Check out Maine’s most picturesque waterfalls scattered throughout the state.
If visiting Maine, be ready to try their state delicacies- lobster, whoopie pies, and anything blueberry themed. In addition, you’ll be able to find blueberry pie, muffins, and ice cream throughout the state- especially in the summer.
When we visit Maine, we are 100% focused on finding the best lobster rolls. In Portland, Highrollover is the best. Outside of Portland, we love 5 Islands, Red’s, Thurston’s, and Beal’s.
FAQ: Visiting Maine
🦞What is summer like in Maine?
Summertime in Maine is glorious. I’ve spent my entire life in the Deep South and love New England summer. Cool at night and warm during the day are the ideal temps for this Southerner. My husband loves sleeping with the windows open when we visit.
Summer is also busy, so expect crowds!
🦞What is the hottest month in Summer?
🦞Is it humid in Maine?
There’s some humidity in Maine during the summer.
🦞Is Maine crowded in the summer?
The busy season for Maine travel is in the summer. Expect larger crowds compared to the shoulder season.
If you want to travel in the summer, consider early to mid-June when New England schools are still in session.
🦞Is Maine expensive?
Maine is one of those states that offers something for every budget. Due to the abundance of state and national parks, the budget traveler can save money by camping. In addition, budget inns and quaint motels are scattered throughout Maine.
For the mid-tier traveler, you’ll find chain hotels like Hyatt, Hilton, etc., and affordable rentals. Beautiful luxury options like the White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport and The Claremont in Acadia exist.
If you plan to eat a lot of seafood but are on a tight budget, consider eating breakfast at the hotel or campground and packing picnic lunches. As much as I love lobster, it is NOT cheap.
🦞Where should I go for lobster?
If you are in Southern Maine, check out Mabel’s, Clam Shack, and Lobster Shack. Portland offers many great selections, such as Highroller, Luke’s Lobster, and Becky’s Diner.
North of Portland, go to Red’s 5 Islands Lobster, Thurston’s, or Beal’s.
🦞Can you swim in the ocean during the summer?
Beaches are abundant off Maine’s coast that are accessible to the public. The water is warm, but it is still a bit cool.
Like me, you would probably find it chilly if you were from the South.
🦞Does Maine have sandy beaches?
Old Orchard Beach is one of the most popular beach communities. New England beaches are sandy, like the Gulf of Mexico, with soft white sand.
🦞What are the best vacation spots for families?
I’d focus on Portland and Acadia if I were visiting with kids. You can also go glamping in Acadia, which would be fun for kids.
🦞What Maine destinations for couples?
Maine offers some quaint B & B’s and luxurious hotels. If I were traveling with my husband, I would choose a long weekend in Camden or Kennebunkport and stay in a charming B&B.
For the adventurous couple, Acadia is your answer!
In conclusion: How to Spend a Summer in Maine, 2023
Maine is a fantastic summer destination for families, couples, older travelers, and young singles. It is one of the most underrated states in the US. So start planning your next getaway now!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about how to spend a summer in Maine. I’m already planning my next trip.