Larger than the other five New England states combined, Maine still offers experiences and places where crowds and queues are the rare exception and not the rule; where you can wander into an art museum without a timed reservation, discover secluded beaches and hike a trail or fly fish with wilderness as your only companion.
Here’s a list of experiences to get you started…
Maine is home to a handful of great art museums. Each of these gems is a destination, but museum-goers can easily link them together in a driving tour.
TheOgunquit Museum of American Art focuses on the artists of the Ogunquit Colony of a century ago.
The Portland Museum of Art is the cultural heart of this vibrant city and has an extensive permanent collection and significant holdings of American, European, and contemporary art.
Started in 1811, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick is one of the earliest collegiate art collections in the nation and has grown to more than 20,000 objects, including paintings, sculpture, works on paper, decorative arts, and artifacts from prehistory to the present.
In coastal Rockland, the Farnsworth Art Museum celebrates Maine’s role in American art, with more than 20,000 square feet of gallery space and more than 15,000 works in the collection. Also in Rockland is a cutting-edge museum, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art.
Looking for beaches without the crowds? Birch Point Beach State Park at Owls Head is a locals’ haven with great views of the Muscle Ridge Islands. To really get away from the crowds, hike to Seawall Beach in Phippsburg or take the mailboat from Stonington to Isle au Haut and hike to remote Barred Harbor. For more info, go to Visit Maine.
HIKING, WALKING & MOUNTAIN BIKING
Setting out for a hike? Go to the website of Maine Trail Finder, which has details on hundreds of non-motorized trails throughout the state. Another source of untrammeled pathways is the Maine Land Trust Network, a network of more than 75 land trusts that provide public access. It includes more than 1,260 miles of walking and hiking trails, 275 miles of mountain biking trails and more than 200 beaches, perfect for cooling down after a hike in the woods.
While everyone knows Acadia National Park, there are 48 Maine state parks waiting to be explored. They include coastal parks like Cobscook Bay and lakeside parks like Mount Blue and Lily Bay.
Fishermen angling for Maine’s fabled brook trout, landlocked salmon, or large or smallmouth bass have lots of waters to choose from. Those who want to elevate the experience can head to one of Maine’s sporting camps, which typically feature lakeside cabin accommodations. More at Maine Sporting Camp Association.