Quick Maine Information Links:
Area Information |
Southern Maine Coast |
Greater Portland & Casco Bay |
Downeast & Acadia |
Aroostook County |
Maine Highlands |
Kennebec & Moose River Valleys |
Maine Lakes & Mountains
When planning your vacation, you might ask yourself, “Why Maine?” Well here at FindRentals, we would ask you, “Why not?” Maine, the northern most state in the eastern US, shares borders with Canada, New Hampshire and the Atlantic Ocean. Vivid scenery abounds from the rocky coastlines and white sandy beaches to the rolling riverbeds and dense forest inland. Steeped in tradition and culture, Maine vacation rentals have something for every traveler searching for that memorable vacation experience. During the summer, when the ocean waters warm up, the sandy beaches of Maine draw a crowd of residents and travelers looking for some fun in the sun. That is if you can find the smooth sand along the beautiful rocky coastline. See the waves of the Atlantic bounce off the steep stone cliffs misting the coastal grasses and abundant lighthouses with salt water, or get up close and personal with the fresh whitewater rapids of the Kennebec River, or any other of the numerous rapid rivers of Maine’s flourishing landscape. Maine is a nature-lover’s year-round paradise. During the spring and summer experience some of the best hiking, fishing, boating, kayaking, whitewater rafting, and more throughout Maine’s diverse terrain. In the fall, witness the foliage change in the majestic forests, or head out to one of Maine’s many snow-covered mountains during the winter for a skiing or snowmobiling retreat like no other. No matter if you’re looking for a seaside colonial for the whole family or a wooded cabin for a little alone time, Maine vacation rentals are your gateway to vacation bliss.
Beginning in the mid-19th century, Maine became a frequented vacation spot by wealthy northeasterners looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the emerging cities. At the time, the settlements in Maine were sparsely populated and almost the entire region was the way nature intended. This made for an ideal getaway to Maine’s picturesque coast and heavily wooded, untouched mainland. Towards the end of the century, families began to build more modern homes throughout Maine, whether relocating to the state for good or building a summer home. Certain townships became frequented spots for residents and tourists alike, such as Bethel, whose travel history dates back as far as any other location throughout Maine, as well as Greenville, Eastport, and Somesville. This storied history is evident throughout these quaint vacation towns. Experience the 18th and 19th century colonial mansions and historic hotels, and take a stroll down their Main Street to explore the antique gift shops overflowing with new world charm and American village history. As the 20th century came around, Maine’s reputation as a low key escape from the daily grind and a natural playground continued to circulate around the nation as more and more travelers began choosing Maine as their vacation destination. Maine’s well-earned reputation as a natural paradise led to the number of National and State Park regions in the state expanding as more and more skiers, fishers, hikers, and nature lovers in general started calling Maine their sporting home. As time past, the influx of recreational visitors sparked Maine’s tourism industry as a whole. In recent history Maine has become even more the leisure dream come true beyond the world-renowned sporting. Numerous festivals occur throughout the year in many of the cities and towns, museums and performing arts venues have been built to honor the history and diversity of the region, and shopping and dining have grown and flourished, backed by unique gift shops and exquisite restaurants serving the finest fresh seafood in the US (including lobster of course). Distinguished luxury, the great outdoors, and old country charm, see why Maine has become not just a part of American history, but travel history as well.
The Maine Office of Tourism has divided Maine into eight distinct geographic regions, each with their own style and recreational appeal.
Southern Maine Coast
The southern most portion of Maine shares borders with New Hampshire and the Atlantic Ocean. Experience the wonder of Maine by exploring the sandy coast and historic villages, and see for yourself why Maine is the vacation choice of seasoned sightseers and travelers worldwide. Start your journey in Kittery, Maine’s southernmost town. Settled in 1632, architectural relics and historic homes still stand in the historic community of Kittery Point and are a cultural treat not to be missed. But that isn’t the biggest draw for tourists to Kittery, it’s the village’s superb shopping. Antique shops and gift shops share the shopping space with the Kittery Outlets. With a collection of over 125 outlet shops, the Kittery Outlets draw daily visitors from hundreds of miles away, you certainly won’t go home empty handed.
Travel north along the coast and you’ll notice something unique about the southern coast when compared to the rest of Maine. You’ll make your way to the town of York, or Old York Village. You’ll notice the celebrated old-fashioned buildings and homes built as far back as the 16th century, many of which offer tours. Head over to the village of York Beach and you’ll see what makes the southern coast such a popular tourist destination. Most of Maine’s coastline is made up of picturesque rocky shore, but the southern coast is proud home of miles of beautiful sandy beaches making it an ideal choice for your next sun-soaked saltwater getaway. York Beach is nestled up to the sandy coast and features an old-fashioned boardwalk spotted with antique shops, restaurants, amusements, and much more for your family to enjoy.
From York, head north to Ogunquit, another small seaside New England town known for its heritage and hospitality. Established as an art town, tour the small art galleries and antique museums throughout the village, and then hop on a trolley and head to Ogunquit Beach, or take a stroll down Marginal Way, a path marked by luscious ocean views and quaint summer cottages. At the end you will reach Perkins Cove, a harbor known for its shops, galleries, and eateries. North of Ogunquit you’ll find the town of Wells, complete with more sandy beachfront and a nature preserve; the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge. With over 250 species of birds, this refuge is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Wells is a relaxed village and there are beachfront cottages kissed by the cool ocean breezes waiting for you.
Continuing up the coast you’ll reach the resort village of Kennebunkport, widely known for its expensive taste and knack for acquiring wealthy visitors, leaving many people to use the phrase, “Kennebunkport, a vacation spot where only the richest of the richest could possibly afford.” Though this gives one a glimpse into the upscale lifestyle enjoyed by the town’s residents, don’t let it fool you into thinking a Kennebunkport vacation rental is beyond your budget. There are many Kennebunkport vacation homes and cottages for the cost-conscience traveler, as well as luxury accommodations. Made famous for being the summer home of ex-president George HW Bush and family, Kennebunkport offers some of the finest dining and shopping in all of Maine and is home to numerous historical landmarks and cultural destinations.
Head up Route 9 and follow the signs for Biddeford and Saco to spend some time in these quaint side by side towns. The two earliest known settlements in Maine, the towns now attract visitors due to their charm and abundance of attractions. Tour the towns for great shops and restaurants, and spend the day on the coast at Biddeford Pool for some fun in the sun. From there, run up the coast and you’ll find the resort town of Old Orchard Beach. Old Orchard Beach is tailor made for your family’s vacation, with a downtown filled with clam shacks and gift shops, a pier and boardwalk complete with an amusement park and ferris wheel, and seven miles of fabulous Atlantic beach. Famous local attractions include a working carousel built in 1906, and a summer festival which holds an annual sandcastle building competition where you can see some of the greatest sandcastles built before your eyes.
Greater Portland & Casco Bay
Greater Portland is Maine’s largest and busiest urban center, sitting right on beautiful Casco Bay. A perfect blend of modern city life and old country charm, Portland is a year-round vacation destination for all due to it’s abundance of gourmet restaurants, museums, activities, and lodging. Check out the Old Port region of the city for renovated 18th and 19th century architecture now home to countless fine shops, eateries, and galleries. Stroll down the cobbled streets while experiencing the views of Casco Bay and feel like you’re at home, if only for a week or two. For some of the best laid-back accommodations in the area, there is Great Diamond Island, an island in Casco Bay right outside Portland. With a selection of homes and cottages available, Great Diamond Island vacation rentals offer a unique and relaxing vacation experience. With only a few main roads, the island is perfect for families, as most of the travel around the island is done by bicycles or golf carts, and is very kid friendly.
South of Portland, Cape Elizabeth is another popular tourist destination, in part due to it being home to the Portland Headlight, Maine’s oldest and best known lighthouse, and due to the abundance of natural treasures and park areas surrounding the beautiful historic village. Cape Elizabeth vacation rentals are surrounded by natural habitats and two of Maine’s best known state parks. Two Lights State Park, named for the two lighthouses visible from the Park, offers breathtaking views of the coastline and Casco Bay. Crescent Beach State Park is known for fun in the sun, offering water sports enthusiasts and sun-bathers alike a place to let go and soak up the rays while soaking up the scenery. Take the family for a walk around the part and stop at one of the picnic tables and grills and barbeque your own feast under the trees.
Freeport is Maine’s chief shopper’s paradise. The birthplace of outdoor apparel retailer L.L. Bean, Freeport offers a huge outlet shopping center, as well as many locally owed and operated shops and boutiques. Take a walk around the downtown area and you’re sure to have bags in tow on your way back to you vacation rental. But shopping isn’t the only draw fro vacationers. Freeport is also considered by many to be the birthplace of Maine itself, and is noted for its New England feel and historic preservation. Many original buildings still stand and have been renovated and restored housing the town’s schools, restaurants, and local stores. From downtown, head a small distance west to experience the park regions on Freeport’s coast, such as Wolfe’s Neck Woods, for hiking and nature watching.
For the traveler looking for a more secluded vacation experience, Casco Bay is also the home to the town of Harpswell, part of the state’s mainland, but also including many islands in the bay, such as Bailey Island and Orrs Island. Pack up all of your necessities, turn off your phone, rent a cottage or a Harpswell vacation home, and spend a week away from it all in nature’s splendor on Casco Bay.
The Midcoast of Maine is a beacon of what most people think of when they think of Maine; miles of gorgeous rocky coastline, an abundance of small fishing villages, fresh caught lobster, historic buildings, and pictorial lighthouses. The primary industries of the region during its growth were shipbuilding and fishing, and to this day remain the main sources of both income and attraction. Though there are many villages and towns to choose from when thinking about exploring Maine’s Midcoast region, no matter where you decide to go, you’ll be sure to find a new world to explore and fall in love with.
Boothbay Harbor is one of the Midcoast’s most popular tourist destinations. Boothbay sits on the Atlantic Ocean with a jagged, rocky coastline creating many ports and boat docks, ideal for the lobstermen scouring the seas for the day’s catch as well as the fishermen heading out for a day of fishing the surrounding waters wealth of striped bass, cod, and more. Boats also leave the harbor headed for Monhegan Island, another popular vacation destination just off the coast, as well as those destined for whale watching cruises. To explore the sea while staying on dry land, there are numerous coastal trails which offer spectacular views of the harbor and the ocean for you to explore. And if you’ve had enough of the ocean, head back into town and be greeted by the old buildings and village charm. For the nature-lover in you, make your way a bit south and tour the coastal state park regions, Reid State Park and Popham Beach State Park.
Up the coast from Boothbay Harbor you’ll find the coastal town of Bristol by the coast of Johns Bay. A small fishing and resort village, Bristol is a peninsular area including New Harbor and the popular town of Pemaquid, known for its beachfront on the Bay. Pemaquid vacation homes and cottages are especially popular destinations for vacationers not only because of their proximity to the Bay and the beach, but also due to the historic Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, found on the tip of the peninsula a short trip from the beach community.
Just to the north of Bristol are Damariscotta Lake and the villages of Damariscotta and Noblesboro. The region is home to the Damariscotta Lake State Park, complete with picnic areas, hiking trails, and of course beachfront access to the beautiful freshwater lake, enjoyed for both it’s gentle swimming and great boating and fishing. The lake is also a popular destination due to the private, charming vacation homes and cottages which dot the lake’s borders, offering calm views of the water and the perfect atmosphere for a lazy summer afternoon picnicking in the sun or catching up on a good book sunbathing on the dock of your Damariscotta vacation rental. Close to Damariscotta is the town of Bremen on Muscongus Bay. Muscongus Bay is a popular boating and fishing destination for vacationers and locals with calm waters and jagged coastlines. Bremen is known for its beautiful waterfront vacation homes and could be the perfect destination for your next vacation.
North of Muscongus Bay you’ll find Rockland, Maine, a lovely town on the coast, known across the country for its annual Lobster Festival. The entire city is undergoing a renaissance, with a bustling downtown area full of new shops, galleries, and fine restaurants drawing more and more visitors every year. Rockland still maintains much of its old charm, with three lighthouses in the area for you to see, the renowned Fransworth Museum of American art, and plenty of historic buildings and sites for you and your family to see. Nature lovers and sun bathers can take a trip to Birch Point State Park on Penobscot Bay for pleasant views and gentle ocean waves. Rockland is also home to the most windjammers of the famed fleet in all of Maine. Many visitors head into town before taking a cruise and spending a few hours or a few days on the Atlantic. Other popular destinations on Penobscot Bay include Rockport and Camden.
Rockport is a lively little town known for its flourishing arts community. Several galleries and performing arts venues give you a good look at the modern fine art Maine has to offer at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, as well as a look to the past at the historic buildings and 19th century opera house scattered about the town. Camden is a popular summer village in the Camden Hills. This seaside destination offers pleasure by sea and by land, with boating excursions available on the calm Atlantic waters, and hiking and other activities available in the Camden Hills’ mountainous terrain just north of town in Camden Hills State Park. Camden is a bigger draw for tourists than Rockport, simply because it is home to more locals, and features some of the best shopping in Maine, complete with boutiques, gift shops, and specialty stores. Both towns are known for their shipbuilding prowess, both old and new, and are home to some of the Maine windjammer fleet. Both towns also offer you the chance to learn new trades during your vacation, as you can find instruction programs for everything from sailing to woodworking to painting.
Downeast & Acadia
The northernmost portion of Maine’s glorious coast is known as the Downeast & Acadia region of the state, Acadia referring to Acadia National Park. The region extends from the top of Penobscot Bay to the tip of New Brunswick, Canada. The coastline is a rocky wonderland filled with the sights and sounds of the majestic ocean, dotted with picturesque lighthouses and historic landmarks, while the mainland is a natural paradise of mountains and valleys dotted with several secluded lakes perfect for fishing or boating excursions.
It’s no secret that Acadia National Park is a haven for anyone looking for a serene getaway experience in the great outdoors. Bar Harbor is a resort town on Maine’s Mount Desert Island which has been a vacation destination for sophisticated travelers since the 19th century. The Bar Harbor area was the summer home of America’s elite families at one time with a line of summer homes affectionately termed Millionaire’s Row, owned by such prestigious families as the Rockerfellers, the Morgans, the Carnegies, etc. Many of these remarkable mansions have been preserved and turned into inns and can still be seen relatively close to as they were in the 1800’s. Today the town continues to bring in thousands of visitors every year looking for the luxury Bar Harbor vacation rentals have to offer, as well as the tranquility of the surrounding park region and boating prospects on the Atlantic. Bar Harbor also features a plethora of family-oriented activities such as a zoo, a nature camp, an aquarium, and plenty of restaurants and local boutiques. Bar Harbor’s vicinity to Acadia National Park also puts visitors as close as they can get to the miles of hiking and biking trails, the stunning mountains and lakes, including Mount Cadillac, the highest summit in the Eastern US, as well as the never-ending stunning views of Maine and the Atlantic Coast. Arcadia National Park features rock-climbing, mountain biking, golfing, paddling, and many more exciting adventure opportunities for you and the whole family to enjoy.
Another popular tourist destination in the region is the town of Eastport. Known for being the deepest port on the coast, Eastport attracts vacationers due to the town’s relaxed atmosphere and also because of the ferry rides which offer views of the exquisite northern Atlantic aquatic life and Old Sow, believed to be the biggest whirlpool on this side of the world. For a more secluded vacation experience, other towns are scattered throughout the Downeast area such as Blue Hill, Calais, Brooklin, Perry and more. Blue Hill is west of Arcadia National Park and is quiet town offering magnificent scenery and quaint local shops. Hiking at Blue Hill in the fall offers amazing views of Maine’s magnificent fall foliage. Calais, a coastal town north of Eastport, is a major destination for fishermen because of the salmon flocks and growing popularity of the surrounding camps among fly fishing enthusiasts around the globe. Calais is also a short drive from Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, with over 23,000 acres of untouched landscape that moose, bear, eagles, beavers, and more call home. Perry is a remote village close to the sporting waters of Cobscook Bay, secluded Boyden Lake, and Pennamaquan Lake, known for its quaint cottages and suited perfectly for a fishing trip. No matter where in the Downeast region or Arcadia National Park you choose, you’ll be sure to find a memorable vacation experience full of nature’s beauty.
Aroostook County is the northernmost region in all of Maine. Known by Mainers as “the County” and the land of 2000 waterways, there are few other places where the marvels of Mother Nature are so plentiful. The county is home to Aroostook State Park, a 600-acre natural haven for people and animals alike, though the entire county is like a national park region about the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. Nature enthusiasts frequent the area for the abundant wildlife and miles of pristine hiking and sporting enthusiasts head out to Aroostook for the fishing in the spring and summer, the skiing and snowmobiling in the winter, and camping anytime of year. Popular destinations in the County include the towns of Houlton, Madawaska, Presque Isle, Caribou, and more.
Houlton is a popular destination, dating back to the early 1900’s when it was considered one of the wealthiest communities in the US, with many of its historic mansions being preserved by the National Register of Historic Places and on display for you to see. Houlton also gives you easy access to hiking and snowmobiling trails as good as any in the world. Presque Isle is the largest city center in the County and is conveniently located adjacent to Aroostook State Park. Madawaska, home to the annual Arcadian festival, lies along the St. John River nestled up to the border of Canada and is known for its diverse cultural experience, as American culture blends into the historically French speaking community, speaking “Valley French,” a blend of French with American English and Quebecois. Other towns such as Orient on East Grand Lake offer top notch camping excursions, hunting, fishing, and snowmobiling in the enchanting beauty of the Maine wilderness.
The Highlands of Maine is a vast expanse of land in the middle of the state filled with natural splendor. With more parkland than anywhere else in the state including the 200,000 acre Baxter State Park, you couldn’t take a picture or paint a portrait that could do justice to the experience of touring this amazing countryside. Moosehead Lake is the most visited area in the Highlands as the home to many Moosehead Lake vacation homes and accommodations on the coast of the largest lake in Maine, known for its rich history and incredible sporting opportunities. Other towns of interest to travelers in the highlands include the resort townships of Rockwood and Greenville, and the community of Bangor, rich in history and culture, and a retreat for anyone who enjoys fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, and exploring untouched landscape. In the winter, the highlands are said to offer the best snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the northeast, with many trails and group outings, and in the spring and summer, the Penobscot and Kennebec Rivers are sought after destinations for amazing whitewater rafting and kayaking. To get close to Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin, the highest peak in Maine and the northern end of the Appalachian Trail, Millinocket is a popular stop for seasoned Maine travelers. If a picture of the Maine Highlands is worth a thousand words, than a trip there is worth a million.
Kennebec & Moose River Valleys
The central river valleys of Maine are revered for their phenomenal outdoor recreation, especially the water type. The multiple lakes, rivers, and streams in the area deservedly give this region the title of water capital of Maine. Whitewater rafting has become the region’s most popular recreation, as whitewater enthusiasts everywhere, from the most novice to the most advanced, have experienced the rapids of the Kennebec and Dead Rivers which provide some of the best rafting in the entire eastern United States. From anywhere you choose to stay in the valleys, head to route 201 and make your way to The Forks, a town known as Maine’s best spot for whitewater rafting. Situated right where the Kennebec and Dead Rivers meet, more than a dozen commercial rafting outfits in The Forks are waiting to lead you down the rivers’ fastest flowing waters, many of which offering combined tours with ATV rides in the valleys, mountain biking, rock-climbing and more. The Forks are also a short trail hike away from Moxie Falls, Maine’s largest waterfall with over a 90-foot drop. But these rivers aren’t all rushing water. Canoeing, swimming, and kayaking are popular recreational activities these rivers offer where the rivers’ waters are calm and peaceful. Tours of the rivers by canoe and kayak in the fall allow you to experience the bright foliage of Maine’s plentiful forests.
Kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and fishing are reasons why travelers choose Kennebec Valley’s many lakes for their vacation getaway. The Belgrade Lakes is a region made up of seven lakes and the surrounding country. The region is celebrated not only for its outdoor recreation and natural sight-seeing, but for its lakeside cottages as well. The town of Belgrade in the lakes region is also home to a top-ranked golf adding golfing to its impressive list of recreational prospects. The ample lakeside accommodations of Belgrade Lakes vacation rentals give your family every opportunity to experience all the enchantment this region has to offer. The Winthrop Lakes region, made up of twenty separate lakes, is another refuge for water-loving rusticators looking for an exciting vacation experience like no other. In the winter, the valleys still see a good number of outdoor enthusiasts, as the city of Jackman to the north is located on the Northeast Snowmobile Trail, part of an international trail system over 1100 miles long. Throughout the valleys during the winter months you will find snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing in the vast countryside.
This region, like the rest of Maine, holds onto its founding roots and is full of tradition and history at every turn. To the south you will find Augusta, Maine’s capital city and one of its cultural centers. A day in the capital will give your family a chance to see the preserved historic buildings of Augusta and nearby Hallowell, as well as tour Fort Western, built in 1754, and the oldest standing wooden fort in all of New England. Adjacent to the State House, one of Maine’s most distinctive architectural achievements, in downtown Augusta you will find The Maine State Museum, where you can tour the rich history of the surrounding regions and see what life was like in 18th century Maine. Augusta and Hallowell also offer local shops and restaurants catering to the culture and history of Maine for you and your family to enjoy on your next journey.
Maine Lakes & Mountains
Every season in this western region of Maine ignites with an astounding change in scenery and a new list of activities to envelop your senses. In the winter, the snow-covered mountains offer top-notch skiing for the most skilled skiers and amateur hobbyists, while the valleys present snowshoeing and snowmobiling at its very best. During the spring and summer months the lakes are alive with boaters, swimmers, jet-skiers, and fishermen out for the day’s bountiful catch, while hikers, bicyclists, and golfers enjoy the mountain views and warm breezes in the untouched landscape. And in the fall, experience the hillside views as autumn paints the trees with vibrant colors while taking in a county fair or soaking up the quaint village life in any one of the numerous towns.
Bethel is a well-known town in the Lakes and Mountains region, with two hundred years of rich history situated right in the middle of an outdoor recreational paradise. This historic village sits right by the town of Newry, home to Sunday River, the second largest ski resort in Maine with eight mountains and over 120 trails. Sunday River is a winter destination for skiers from all over, as the unique region offers trails for everyone from beginners to experienced skiers, as well as Nordic skiers with many ski touring centers. A quick drive to the west and nature-lovers will find two National Park regions, the 3000-acre Grafton Notch State Park and White Mountain National Forest, perfect for catching fish, hiking the trails, spotting moose and birds, and rock-climbing.
South of Bethel, travelers will find more engaging little towns happy to have company and ready to greet you. Fryeburg is full of history and recreation with many old buildings and 12 beautifully maintained public parks, most of which are part of the bike tour that goes around town. Fryeburg is also home to Maine’s largest fall agriculture fair, offering you the chance to get back to your roots while seeing the fall foliage in all its brilliancy. East of Fryeburg is Bridgton, a town centered right in the middle of a bunch of lakes, streams, and ponds, such as Highland Lake, Long Lake, Woods Pond, and more. A short ride to the south from Bridgton and you’ll find another big lake perfect for your next water sporting adventure, Sebago Lake. Sebago Lake State Park borders part of the northern shore of the lake and is a popular stop for experienced hikers and picnickers alike. For a waterside getaway surrounded by Long Lake, Brandy Pond, and the expansive Sebago Lake, stop by the charming town of Naples. All around Sebago Lake you can find charming vacation rentals and lakeside cabins, and even a golf resort, the Point Sebago Golf Resort, offering lovely accommodations and luscious greens for your golfing delight.
To the north, there is even more to see and do, mostly centered around the great outdoor recreation the lush landscape and incredible lakes offer. Lake Webb sits right next to Mt Blue State Park, with the town of Farmington nearby offering unique accommodations for your next trip. Rangeley Lake is host to Rangeley State Park on its southern coast and Mingo Springs Golf Course to the north. The town of Peru offers attractive vacation rentals on a secluded 2 mile lake in the middle of nature’s splendor and could be perfect for you if you are looking for an even more private getaway in Maine’s hillsides. Whether you are an outdoor sporting fanatic or looking to spend some time in a charming Maine village, the Maine Lakes and Mountains region is just the place for you and your family’s next vacation.