Ultimate Road Trip in Maine – Guide

A road trip in Maine is like a summer dream come true. From a stunning rocky coast to the inland mountains and forests, the state is like a postcard came to life. The best way to achieve a successful trip in Maine is to see multiple towns and attractions throughout the state. A road trip is an easy, fun, and exciting way to experience Maine, especially since driving distance isn’t too strenuous and the moderately low state population makes for less travel hassle! 

There are a couple of options when it comes to airport travel in Maine, although the easiest starting point will be the Portland International Airport. Since Portland is located in the Southern part of the state, you’ll be able to rent a car and drive up the coast, inland/North, then descend back down to where you began. 

 

Kennebunkport + Ogunquit 

 


The first stop you should make is somewhere along Maine’s Southern coast. Kennebunkport and Ogunquit are two adorable towns that will make a grand start to your road trip. Ogunquit Beach is a pristine point made for wading, fishing, and sightseeing. The small town is home to some delightful inns like Ogunquit River Inn, and local events are always taking place. 

Ogunquit’s neighbor, Kennebunkport boasts equivalently striking views with a little more action to spare. The town’s peak visitor season is summer, where guests often book a ride on boat tours or enjoy the Kennebunkport Festival. Once you step foot at any of Kennebunkport’s delectable restaurants and bars, you’ll immediately notice the super laid-back, easygoing personality of the town. 

Saco + Old Orchard Beach

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Only a mere 25 minute drive North, you’ll reach the next notable road trip destination – Saco. Another one of Maine’s desirable coastal towns, Saco is home to Old Orchard Beach, an enticing seaside spot in the center of town. Given that Maine is the second most Northern point in the US, the summer weather at Old Orchard is almost always delightful. The amusement park Funtown Splashtown is right around the corner, in addition to a series of mouthwatering seafood restaurants. 

Portland

Portland, Maine beautiful coast


As you travel further up the coast, you’ll soon hit the city of Portland. Portland is about as industrial as you can get in Maine, although the charming array feels more like a whimsical town. In Portland, you have to make sure to see the downtown shops, breweries, and quirky art galleries. Portland also has some of the best restaurants and cafes in Maine including Fore Street and Duckfat. 

Rockland & Camden

Camden Maine

 

 

These neighboring seaside towns absolutely need to be on your road trip itinerary, especially if this is your first time in Maine. While they tend to be more touristy than other areas in the state, Rockland and Camden are well-worth the trip.

The two towns perfectly depict the Maine coast, and always have something unexpected going on. You can find farmers markets, festivals, zestful shops, and a marine bay full of fishermen. Both Rockland & Camden are also perfect for photography, so make sure to bring your camera equipment along. 

 

Acadia National Park 

 

gorgeous lighthouse in Maine

 

While you’re cruising along Maine’s coast, you must see Acadia National Park. The 47,000-acres of land is famous for its classic Northeastern beaches, rugged cliffs, mountains, and beautiful granite rock. Acadia also claims Cadillac Mountain, the tallest point on the East Coast, which possesses the most enchanting panoramic views. In the summer, you can find bright greenery and captivating floral landscapes. During the fall season, Acadia consists of vivid orange, yellow, and red vistas that illustrate autumn in Maine. 

If you make the detour through Acadia National Park, here are the best scenic hikes to explore:

  • Jordan Pond 
  • Beehive Trail
  • Jordan Cliffs Trail
  • Beech Cliff Ladder Trail 
  • Precipice Trail
  • South Bubble Trail
 

Schoodic Point

 

Lake in Maine

 

Schoodic Point is a couple hours North of the coast, but the drive goes by fast with all the passing scenery. Maine is not a very industrialized state, meaning the highways mostly all consist of two lane traffic, and you’re taking back roads to most locations anyways.

Visiting Schoodic Lake is also a great way to see the central/Northern part of the state that deviates from the touristy coast. After making the pit-stop at this peaceful point, enjoy a picnic and short scenic hike, and watch Mt. Katahdin from afar. 

 

Moosehead Lake

 

Moosehead Lake, Maine 

Moosehead Lake is likely to be one of the most breathtaking regions of your road trip. As the largest mountain lake in the Northeast, Moosehead is guaranteed to make you a lake person if you’re not already. It’s located in a middle-ground point of the state, where you can see the inland, traditional Maine without being too isolated from other attractions. At Moosehead, you can experience a plethora of activities like seaplane riding, boating, and shopping at Moosehead’s bordering villages

 

Making the trip back down South 

 

As you begin the descent from Moosehead down to your starting point in Southern Maine, you’ll pass through lots of rural areas and small towns. Luckily, Moosehead is only a 3.5 hour drive to the airport in Portland, so it’s not painfully long. 

You’re more than likely to cut through The Highlands, Greenville, and Monson, all charming lake towns that are worth stopping by for a bite to eat or some souvenir shopping. The fastest route back to Portland also takes you through Augusta, Maine’s capital, which has some great shopping and museum attractions. In less than an hour, you’ll be right back at your stopping point and ready (or not so ready) to make the trip back home.

 

Ultimate Road Trip in Maine – Packing List

 

 

You’ll be spending lots of time driving, so keeping daily items on hand is essential. Keep in mind that Maine’s summer climate typically jumps between low 60’s – high 70’s with the occasional 80 degree weather hit. 

 

 

  • Light, comfortable layers
  • Hiking shoes
  • Sandals 
  • Windbreaker + raincoat
  • Rainboots
  • Easy-to-eat snacks 
  • Lots of water 
  • Camera equipment and protective bag 
  • Travel backpack for outdoor activities
  • Chargers for electronics
  • Swimsuit + water shoes 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Travel size hygienic items 
  • Extra cash 

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