Maine was originally inhabited by Algonquian-speaking Native Americans. The first European settlement came in 1604 on Saint Croix Island. Maine was part of Massachusetts until it became the 23rd State in 1820.
The State of Maine is the northernmost and easternmost state in New England. In fact, West Quoddy Head Light is the easternmost point in the contiguous United States. Maine is also the largest of the New England states, almost as large as all of the rest of the New England States combined.
As one can imagine, with a state as big as Maine, this “Vacationland” has much to offer anyone who makes Maine their vacation destination.
Take in the Great Outdoors
The “great outdoors” are truly great in New England’s largest state. There are 6,000 lakes, 32,000 miles of rivers, 5,000 miles of coast and 17 million acres of forest land. Maine has over a half a million acres of state and national parks for outdoor activities almost too numerous to list, including: beaches, boating, bicycling, camping, canoeing, fishing, golf, hiking and walking, hunting, kayaking, rafting, and sailing just to name a few.
A Sample of Things to Do in Maine
- Acadia National Park – Acadia National Park was the first National Park east of the Mississippi and is the only National Park in the Northeastern United States. Acadia National Park is a spectacular, not to be missed, attraction.
- Anyone for a Fair? – Maine has over 25 agricultural fairs including the Bangor State Fair, the largest in Maine.
- Blueberries anyone? – Maine is one of the largest blueberry producing states in the United States.
- Drive a Scenic Byway – There are numerous scenic byways in Maine to “introduce” you to different parts of the state.
- Eat a Lobster – There is a reason it is called “Maine Lobster”. Nearly 90% of all American lobster comes from Maine.
- Go Antiquing – There are over 400 antique shops that dot Maine’s highways and byways. The Maine Office of Tourism has defined three antiquing trails to help you in search of that perfect treasure.
- Hike the Appalachian Trail – The Appalachian Trail starts in Georgia, and along the way passes through five of the six New England States (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine) ending at Mount Katahdin, Maine. The 281 miles of the trail in Maine are considered to be the most difficult of the entire Appalachian Trail and most of it is not recommended for novice hikers.
- Learn about Logging – Visit the Maine Forest and Logging Museum at Leonard’s Mills in Bradle to learn about Maine’s forestry and lumbering history.
- Paddling Anyone? – For fans of canoeing and kayaking, a nice long section of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail runs through Maine to the northern terminus of the trail in Fort Kent. If sea Kayaking is more to your liking than you may wish to try your hand paddling the 375 mile Maine Island Trail.
- Take in a Balloon Festival – The Great Falls Balloon Festival and the Crown of Maine Balloon Festival are fun annual summer events.
- Take in the Fall Foliage – Maine, as is all of New England, is world renowned for Mother Nature’s annual fall foliage spectacular. Take a scenic drive through Maine. The Maine Office of Tourism has defined three Fall tours worth exploring – Maples and Mountains, the Franklin Heritage Loop, and Lakes and Leaves.
- Take in a Sled Dog Race – The Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Race consists of 3 races – a 30 mile race, 60 mile race, and a 250 mile race. The races take place every winter.
- Take a Windjammer Cruise – Maine is home to North America’s largest fleet of Windjammer cruise ships. Take in the rugged coast of Maine by sail for a perfect summer vacation.
- Try Your Hand at Fishing – Maine is the only state outside Alaska with landlocked Arctic Charr if you are looking for a unique fishing experience. Other fish that can be found in Maine’s great outdoors include Bass (Smallmouth and Largemouth), Crappie, Landlocked Salmon, Northern Pike, Perch, Sunfish, Trout (Brook, Brown, Lake and Rainbow), and more.
- Visit Earth – Or in this case, visit Eartha, a 3-dimensional rotating and revolving scale model of Earth. Eartha may be found in three-story glass atrium of the headquarters the DeLorme Mapping Company in Yarmouth.
Visit Some Lighthouses – over 60 lighthouses dot the coast of Maine including the well known Nubble Light in York to West Quoddy Head Light, the easternmost lighthouse in the U.S.
- Winter Sports – Maine is a major destination for both Alpine (downhill) and Nordic (cross country) skiing. Maine also has over 13,500 miles of developed snowmobile trails including several thousand miles designated as the “Interconnected Trail System“.
Maine’s Major Cities
Maine is not all great outdoors. Maine’s cities offer numerous cultural and arts attractions. Maine’s major cities include:
Augusta - Augusta is the State Capital
- Bar Harbor – Bar Harbor is home to Acadia National Park
- Bangor - Bangor is Maine’s third largest city is home to many museums, shops, and theaters
- Lewiston - Maine’s second largest city and named a 2007 All-America City by the National Civic League
- Portland - Portland is Maine’s largest city and considered one of New England’s three favorite cities by the readers of Travel+Leisure
To get more of a feel for Maine check out this video, “The Four Seasons of Maine” from the Maine Office of Tourism.