- For other places with the same name, see Maine (disambiguation).
Maine is the northernmost and easternmost state in New England. Its rugged, indented coastline and glacier-carved, forested interior give this state its unique character and have shaped the character of its people.
|Down East |
|Greater Portland |
|Kennebec and Moose River Valleys |
|Lakes and Mountains |
|Mid Coast |
|Southern Coast |
Some of Maine's major cities are:
- 1 Augusta – the state capital
- 2 Auburn – one of Maine's "Twin Cities"
- 3 Bangor – the Queen City, home of Stephen King
- 4 Bar Harbor – adjacent to Acadia National Park
- 5 Biddeford
- 6 Brunswick – home of Bowdoin College
- 7 Ellsworth – Downeast Gateway
- 8 Lewiston – a large industrial town in central Maine, home of Bates College, the other of Maine's "Twin Cities"
- 9 Portland – largest city
- 1 Acadia National Park
- 2 Baxter State Park
- 3 Mackworth Island
- 4 Rangeley Lakes
- 5 Rockland – Home of the Lobster Festival
- 6 Roosevelt Campobello International Park, Lubec — Franklin D. Roosevelt's summer island home, on an island administered by both the U.S. and Canada.
- 7 Sebago Lake — Second largest lake in Maine
- 8 Saint Croix Island International Historic Site, Calais — A small uninhabited island on the U.S.-Canada border that is shared by the two nations.
Maine owes its statehood to the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which admitted Missouri as a slave state and split off Maine from Massachusetts to admit it as a free state, to maintain the balance of pro- and anti-slavery factions in the US Senate. Maine is a northeastern state, but one of the more sparsely populated states in the USA. Its northern reaches, the Great North Woods, are largely pristine wilderness. The coastal regions benefit from fishing, lobstering and tourism are more heavily populated, especially in the southern, more temperate part of the state. Although the water is decidedly cool, Maine's mostly rocky coastline and more than 60 lighthouses make for some beautiful scenery. That, a comfortable place to stay, and a Maine lobster may be all you need.
Maine is the northernmost and easternmost state in New England. As such, Maine experiences seasonal variation in weather and daylight, and weather can change rapidly. Nor'easters and the occasional tropical system can bring heavy precipitation and gusty winds. Temperatures usually hover below freezing in the winter and is around 70 °F (20 °C) in the summer. Snow and Nor'easters can persist from November until the end of March. Rainfall is plentiful throughout the year. In the winter, the sun is up from as late as 7:05AM to as early as 3:40PM. In the summer, the sun is up from as early as 4:35AM to as late as 8:15PM.
Maine's unique accent and dialect lend to its one-of-a-kind charm. Many natives will jokingly say a few words or expressions in "Yankee" as the dialect is sometimes called. Several humorists and story tellers have built a reputation telling jokes and stories using the classic "Yankee" dialect combined with a well-known regional dry wit. These are not to be missed for the real Maine experience.
Native French speakers populate the St. John Valley of Aroostook County, Maine, and Québécois immigrants brought a tradition to central Maine that is especially prominent in Lewiston-Auburn today. Eastern Maine is referred to as "Down East" because the area is down wind from the rest of the east coast on the prevailing westerly breezes.
Boston is the major gateway to Maine for visitors from overseas or from elsewhere in the United States.
A car is generally required for exploring Maine. Many visitors rent a car in Boston and take Interstate 95 northward to Maine. It takes about two hours to drive from Boston to Portland and another two hours to drive from Portland to Bangor.
Several airlines provide direct flights to Portland and Bangor from most major cities in the northeastern United States. Bay Ferries plans to resume high-speed ferry service from Yarmouth (Nova Scotia) to Bar Harbor in spring 2021.
Public roads are rare in the area north and west of Bangor. Private land owners maintain the few roads available in these north woods, and permits are required for access through each of ten checkpoints. Hours vary. Bicycles, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and horses are banned in the North Maine Woods to reduce hazards involving logging trucks and forest fires in hard-to-reach places.
- Amtrak Downeaster, ☏ . The Amtrak Downeaster is the only Amtrak route through Maine connecting Boston North Station and Brunswick, serving Wells, Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Portland and Freeport in Maine. Only train route serving the Boston North Station. Passengers must use local transportation in Boston to get from the North Station to the South station to transfer to other Amtrak routes. Same station as the Maine Eastern Railroad in Brunswick. See below.
Information on Maine Transit can be found here.
- Concord Coach Lines (formerly Concord Trailways), ☏ . has both an express between Boston South Station or Logan Airport and Bangor that stops in Portland and a local coastal service whose stops include Portland, Brunswick, Bath, Wiscasset, Waldoboro, Rockland, Camden, Belfast and University of Maine in Orono. They also have another route to Orono with stops Augusta, Bangor and Colby College in Waterville along the I-95 corridor.
- Greyhound Lines, toll-free: . Greyhound travels primarily on Interstate 95 between Boston South Station and Bangor (via Portsmouth, Wells, Portland, Lewiston, Augusta and Waterville) and a divergence from Portland to Brunswick on I-295 and than over to Lewiston and then northwards towards Bangor on I-95. Passengers can transfer in Boston, Bangor, or Portsmouth to get to other cities & towns
- Cyr Bus Lines, (office/depot) 153 Gilman Falls Ave, Old Town, ☏ , toll-free: . connects Bangor with Caribou, stopping in Old Town, Orono, Houlton, Oakfield, Sherman, Medway, Mars Hill and Presque Isle in northern Maine.
- See the "Indian Summer," the colorful foliage of the New England fall.
- Acadia National Park exemplifies Maine's beautiful coastal landscape.
- The North Maine Woods are a remote, sparsely populated boreal forest. Noted for their quiet natural beauty are Chesuncook Lake, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, and Baxter State Park's almost mile-high Mount Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
- Maine Lobster Festival (usually runs from late July until early August).
- The Western Maine Lakes and Mountains region bordering New Hampshire and the White Mountain National Forest. Less rural than the North Maine Woods, high mountains and crystal clear lakes astound with plenty of hiking trails, waterfalls and off-the-beaten track driving available. Grafton Notch State Park (3,000 acres) covers most of the area on Route 26 between Newry and Upton. Sunday River, close to Bethel, is one of the largest ski resorts in Maine.
- Midcoast Maine artisanal touring - Travel the roads of midcoast Maine and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the depth and quality of the goods created by local craftspeople.
- A total solar eclipse on Monday 8 April 2024 crosses the north of the State (missing Bangor and the coast) from about 3:30PM local time. The track of totality is northeast from Mexico and Texas to Ohio and straddling the Canada–New England border, then across Maine to New Brunswick and Newfoundland.
- Lake and ocean swimming - ocean temperature hovers around 60 °F (16 °C) in the Summer months.
- Sea kayaking. Paddle the entire coast along the Maine Island Trail.
- River kayaking or canoeing. Paddle the entire Allagash Wilderness Waterway
- Whitewater canoeing
- Historical site seeing
- Fishing (a fishing license is required for fishing in fresh water)
- Black Mountain. In Rumford
- Eaton Mountain, ☏ . Skowhegan,
- Lost Valley. In Auburn
- Mt. Abram, ☏ . Locke Mills,
- Sugarloaf, 5092 Access Rd, ☏ . Carrabassett Valley. And golf in the summer.
- Sunday River. In Bethel
- Saddleback, ☏ . Rangely.
- [formerly dead link] Squaw Mountain Resort, ☏ . Greenville.
- Shawnee Peak, Bridgton.
- Kittery and Freeport have high concentrations of factory outlet stores.
- Portland's Old Port has lots of high-end boutiques and artisan shops, while the Congress Street corridor is a great place to shop for funkier wares and to browse consignment shops. Angela Adams' designer showroom, featuring unique handbags and rugs, is on Congress Street in the city's East End, which has seen its share of new shops spring up over the past few years.
- Camden. This quintessential Maine village located along Penobscot Bay offers an eclectic mix of shops, cafes, and galleries. Windsor Chairmakers on Route 1, six miles north of Camden offers custom made chairs, beds, dining tables, buffets, highboys, and more. Tour the workshop, feed the Scottish Highland cows, and see the showroom.
- Maine lobster. Lobsters are ubiquitous in Maine and are served a variety of ways. The basic preparation (served nearly everywhere from basic lobster pound restaurants that serve nothing else to high-end restaurants) is steamed with drawn butter. Bibs and claw crackers are provided. Uniquely Maine preparations include lobster stew, lobster casserole, and lobster pie. A few ice cream companies even make lobster ice cream!
- Lobster rolls consist of lobster meat in a hot dog bun, usually mixed with mayonnaise or butter, lemon, and salt and pepper.
- The more traditional clam bake layers steamer clams, mussels, lobsters, potatoes, onions and corn over seaweed; all are steamed together with saltwater.
- Fresh seafood of all kinds, crab, scallops, shrimp, clams. Small but flavorful boreal red shrimp (more commonly known as Maine shrimp) are available from November to March. Like New England's only shrimp variety, New England's most extensive type of crab (rock crab) goes by the name Maine crab and although not as celebrated as lobster, is excellent steamed or served any other way. Local oyster varieties include Pemaquids and Sheepscots. Fishermen catch North Atlantic fish of all kinds.
- The best blueberries in the country... pancakes, muffins, bagels... These sweet morsels grow freely in the cool, wet, mountainsides and hills of rural Maine. Wild blueberries are generally smaller but much more flavorful than the blueberries you'll find in supermarkets. Blueberry pie is even the state's official dessert.
- Indian pudding is a traditional dessert from Maine. English settlers seeking to make traditional English hasty pudding replaced the original recipe's wheat with cornmeal (which was more easily available in colonial Maine), substituted milk for water, and added spices to taste. This recipe stuck, and it's a dish that many older Mainers can fondly remember eating growing up but that has become less common with the sale of standard store-bought pudding and custard. Thankfully, some restaurants and households have kept this dish alive to enjoy, often with vanilla ice cream.
- Whoopie pies are desserts made by sandwiching sweet, creamy filling between two pieces of (usually chocolate) cake. Though multiple states claim to be the birthplace of the dish, Maine can claim some of the oldest surviving recipes for the treat.
See the regional and city articles for specific restaurants and venues.
Maine produces some of the highest quality beers in the country. When in the Pine Tree State, go for a tour or look for titles by these fine breweries:
- Allagash Brewing Co., Casco Bay Brewing Co., DL Geary Brewing Co., Gritty McDuff's Brewing Co., and Shipyard in Portland.
- Atlantic Brewing Co., Bar Harbor Brewing Co., Maine Coast Brewing Co., in Bar Harbor.
- Maine Beer Co. in Freeport
- Sheepscot Valley Brewing in Whitefield.
- Sea Dog Brewing Co. in Bangor.
- StoneCoast Brewing Co. in Portland and Bethel.
Maine's telephone area code is 207.
Maine has some of the least cell phone coverage in the country. Coverage is good along the Southern Coast, in the Portland area, and along I-95 from the New Hampshire border to Bangor -- as well as some Mid Coast towns such as Camden and Rockland.
- Hikers should carry and know how to use a map and compass and dress in layers for changeable weather. Maine has one of the lowest crime rates in the United States -- in fact, in some parts of the state, "Mainers" leave their houses and cars unlocked even when gone for long periods of time. Violent crime is rare, but visitors to Maine or anywhere should safeguard their possessions. Avoid leaving valuables in plain view in an unattended vehicle. Risk of death from animals is usually remote, but black flies and mosquitoes may drive one mad. Automobile collisions with moose can be deadly for both the moose and the occupants of the vehicle. It is best not to drive too fast in areas frequented by moose. Many areas with high risk of moose-auto collisions are marked with signs. Drivers from warmer climates visiting between December and April should avoid driving on snow or ice covered roads.
- It is unsafe to venture out onto Maine's coastal waters without having the necessary equipment and experience. This is true of kayaking, canoeing, sailing or any other kind of boating. The water is cold and hypothermia can set in a short amount of time, and the rip currents are strong. Dense fog often rolls in very quickly as well as the occasional storm. If you are determined to go out on your own, to do so without every single passenger wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) such as a life jacket and/or without having a compass and knowing how to use it and/or without understanding how to navigate safely around other boats and water hazards is not only foolish, but could result in serious fines from the Coast Guard or a Marine Patrol officer. There are numerous companies that offer guided sea kayak, sailing, and power boat tours.
- New Hampshire - The only U.S. state to share a border with Maine, New Hampshire is a fiercely independent state that offers the rugged White Mountains, idyllic lakes, and a handful of ocean resorts.
- New Brunswick - Maine's northeastern neighbor is one of the Canadian Atlantic Provinces. New Brunswick's interior consists of sparsely populated forests, while its vast coastline is home to most of the population.
- Nova Scotia - Located across the Bay of Fundy, this Canadian province boasts a Scottish heritage and stunning natural beauty.
- Quebec - Maine's western neighbor, Québec's European feel, history, culture and warmth have made it a favorite tourist destination both nationally and internationally.